From Ashes

This morning I watched as the sun rose and the sky turned from black, to purple to the brightest pink. It did not last. I could not slow it down. I wanted to wake the kids to come sit with me but I knew that I would miss it too if I left my window seat.

Ashes to ashes. From dust you come and dust you will be.

Today I spoke with a colleague and he said to me, “most of my life I can look around and realize I am the most powerful person in the room. And then 12 hours later, I feel like I have no power at all, that someone else is making all the decisions for me”

So say we all. It matters not what sort of authority you wield…you are the subject of this story and you cannot slow the earth spinning round the sun. You cannot control that human beside you. You cannot delay your aging or avoid your impending death. You do not get to write the ending.

I step into Lent and I think about how I can’t stop this sinful heart either, how much I wish to be better than I am.  I can’t hold my tongue. Cannot calm the tempest of my heart. There are so many things I covet. I wish my compassion didn’t run low on so many days…

Some people consider this depressing. The atheist Bertrand Russell once wrote, “When you hear people in church debasing themselves, and saying they are miserable sinners, and all the rest of it, it seems contemptible and not worthy of self-respecting human beings.” I think his pride and arrogance is a bigger risk. I work in some of the most obscenely power soaked environments on the planet with some great thinkers. I have found it to be the epicenter of delusions of grandeur. I have seen more men crushed there then anywhere else on earth. Being your own God will choke you on your pride.

So what then? How do we spend these few moments from ash to ash? I think the metaphors are all there.

BURN bright with the passions and promises you have been given.

SHINE like a lamp on a hill, and be a beacon and a restorer to the city that you have been called.

HEAT the spaces around you with the love you have already been given.

These are our short and only days. How will you burn?

 

 

What keeps you afloat?

Tomorrow lent begins and while it isn’t traditionally practiced in my denomination, I pay attention to, and follow the Christian calendar. I think there is a lot to be said for the rhythms and disciplines that keep your head above water when you start to sink. When you can no longer tread the depths and need assistance with the buoyancy of your faith. When you don’t know what to pray, sometimes a book of prayers works. Pray the psalms when you can’t find your words.

That is what lent is for me. It is the season in which I ask myself, what is it that is keeping me afloat? I challenge myself to remove anything that could become my first or only and ask ‘how am I facing up to this life’?

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Recently I have been thinking of all the ways I cover for God. All the ways I tread water with dying-flesh strength instead of floating on the generous gift of His spirit. There are so many ways I seek the applause of man instead of the clear and succinct well done.

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Whenever it is that I start to tread water in my very own strength, when I start to believe that I am really nailing this life, whenever I achieve some success, without warning my insecurity rises up. Whenever I attempt to build my reputation I disintegrate. I can only really thrive when I am under the thumb of God. The truth of it is I am entirely too small to be the centre of my own universe, I create a black hole, collapse in on myself. Keep back or I will take you with me.

For me, this lent, is not about removal but renewal. This Lent it will be about all the ways I am taking my life, my pain and my pride to Christ. I will crucify it with Him and for me the only way to do that is pen and ink.

So for lent…join me here

More than a Scavenger

DSC_0225Before I moved to the woods, I believed bald eagles to be noble fisherman, mighty hunters. I had only ever witnessed them darting from trees over Shuswap lake, pulling out salmon, congregations of them at the river head waiting for the spawn; Sitting like royalty on the edge of the Kettle River, curved beak pointed toward us, keen eyes watching us cooley as we floated by.

Now though…Now I see them mostly sitting at ‘road kill corner’, the place on Highway 33 where the wildlife dies. We most often see the dead white tail deer, though once there was a small black bear, an elk, more. And now we see the eagles there too. The animals cross over there, from the good eating on Black Knight mountain on down to Mission Creek for water. Eagles have become, much less the noble creatures I once believed them to be. Now they sit and attack the vultures, get chased by the murder of crows who make this home. Watching an eagle rip into a deer carcass has changed the image for me.

Why does he eat maggots? Does he not know he is the top of his food chain? The mightiest in his family? How did he forget?

He chooses what is easy…that is all. Don’t you?

Don’t you, so often, choose what is right in front of you, the path of least resistance? Don’t you, sometimes, choose just what gets you by instead of what raises you up? How often do you revert to your base instincts?

How often do we let our fear rule when Christ should?

How often are you picking off of dry bones when you should be sitting down to a feast?

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These days, I can barely read the news, so many giving way to the worst of themselves…letting fear rule. It was no mistake that we are told to ‘fear not’ more than we are told anything else. This world can be/is always a scary place. We were never told it wasn’t. We are asked to be brave anyways. To let love rule.

Rise up. Rise up and be a force of Love to this desperate world. Rise up and join the prince of peace. Rise up and care for the widows and orphans. Rise up and do the thing you were made to do.

Please don’t settle for a life of fear…

You are called to be so much more than a scavenger.

Makin’ Peace: 11:11:11

How can you be part of #wagingpeace this advent season? Love to hear your thoughts!

one thing blog

Sometimes the world just feels so sharp. Blade to flesh. Sword to heart.

I watch one soul slay another with a word, or by withholding them.

I watch a man speak icy to wife, she feels the frost and pulls herself away… bit.

I see a mother chop down child…right at the knees. I watched him crumple before her.

All of them clinging to the hand that will inevitably slam hard against the cheek.

And there were the others. Those that shopped alone. Lonely. They sought to make eye contact with me and we did and I smiled warm and I felt frost melt and I felt soul draw near and I knew soul deep loneliness from across the meat cooler. I tried to tell them I loved them with eyes alone. Say we’re in this together you and I. When I lifted bran muffin mix she requested from the…

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A Mother Letter: On the Peace

I will be spending these days…all the weeks leading up to Christmas thinking about ways that I can #wagepeace. I am developing a calender with 30 ideas for the advent season of ways that our family will be part of waging peace. I would love to have you join us! Share with me your ideas? Till then I will be sharing some reblogs from the archives!

one thing blog

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Dear O,

When you asked for a pistol for you birthday it got me thinking.  Being your mamma always makes me ask the hard questions. This time I wondered about THE PEACE and how we are living it.

You said you  “want to shoot down a tree and to shoot down the power lines”, and there isn’t anything wrong with this, hear that clear. It just made me stop and think for a moment. Little boys love guns and wars and battles of all kinds. My daddy said no guns at our house but we found ways to make our own, turn the garden implements to battle staffs for our ninja club. Children find ways to fight. I just want you to know that you are part of a better way.

You need to know that your daddy and I? We believe the Peace.

You can watch us. The way…

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