Deep Breath

I’m an emotional chameleon. Give me a sad story and I will twist myself into knots to avoid the sadness of it, shade myself to some less mindful clime.

Too often, I don’t stay to fight, the flight instinct is strong and carries me through nodding, smiling and beating a quick retreat to denial.

Friends are not made with denial however. And we don’t take breaths because of a God who winks at our tears.

Instead of flinching, we are told to lean into the mess. Just a little longer. Just a little dearer.

I’ve been thinking a lot about it these weeks, and realizing that if I weep for the world or someone else’s hard news – these aren’t tears falling out of line with Scripture.

Instead, we are agreeing with God’s design for burden bearing, not the fixing, fussing or fleeing that I love so much.

So I’ll seek out the sad and stay awhile. Put up a tent and boil some tea.

Keep them close. And tell them the truth.

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Extra

Do we leave room in our lives to love each other extravagantly?

Do we have space to give above and beyond?

Do we believe that Jesus is enough and that we are free to utterly enjoy Him?

Do we reflect the generous nature of Grace in our lives…

                                        …and in the Tuesdays and Wednesdays and Saturday evenings,

thankfully, paint the world a bit brighter with His wonder?

 

 

 

 

 

He Tells Us

Brin’s favourite thing is to do her copy work sitting in my lap, while I read from my phone with one hand, and scratch her back with the other. If I stop at one chapter she urges me to another.And the other day, in the middle of that famous winter-time story I read this,

“and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”

This is not the traditional Christmas reading of peace on earth. This is special. An intent of peace-making that declares Jesus the king of it.

And the next day I read another verse, a song of heavenly hosts to come,

“He brought me out into a broad place;

He rescued me, because he delighted in me.”

And in the amen those words pleased and delighted nearly scandalized me. Because I understand the fall, justice and at least the idea of substitution. I can wrap my mind around a crisp, legal agreement where we are at least happy to scrape through and stand in the back row of Heaven.

This delight is something new all together, though. God’s pleased face as He restores peace to the chaos is an idea that seems too good to be true. And His care because He not only sees me as righteous, but also as delightful, is so deeply humbling, gratitude for grace bubbles up again.

If we set our faces to this world as those assured of God’s delight in us and His mission to bring beauty out of the ashes, we might walk the hum-drum differently. Praise God for the joy to be more than conquerors this day, and tomorrow.

 

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26 Things for 26

Hey. This is for this year.

  1. please procrastinate bathroom cleaning less
  2. learn to make a killer hot sauce
  3. volunteer
  4. be friendlier to your literal neighbours
  5. become a green card holder
  6. say yes more quickly
  7. find a piano to play
  8. pray without ceasing
  9. see a snake
  10. trust God about money
  11. go skating!
  12. learn the Lord’s delight
  13. go on more walks
  14. practice the art of NotNagging
  15. wear your glasses BEFORE the headache starts
  16. trust God about money
  17. buy more plants
  18. read books that you simply love
  19. listen harder than you talk
  20. go to bed earlier on week nights
  21. buy some blank canvases
  22. speak Truth, not just the easy stuff
  23. become a compost expert
  24. give thanks
  25. speak more words of affirmation
  26. eat a quince

A Little Remembering

I’ve purposefully forgotten what it’s like to stare at the map and miss another.

What it’s like to fall asleep in bed by yourself.

Most days we pretend it didn’t happen.

But then the other day I found myself sorting through the pictures and letters as I rearranged boxes in the spare room.

The pictures bring back the anticipations of being together again. The letters…how little we knew each other and how completely in love! Some screenshots of messages that he sent me after parcels were delivered…a few birthday cards and a whole book of wish-dreams written in black ink.

There was an anxious and awkward sweetness to that year and a half, but on the other side I find I’m not mourning the beauty left there.

Instead, the beauty is in coming through. Through the first kiss and missing-you blues, the wedding planning and honeymoon squabbles. And that time you came to your parent’s, just so we could spend Christmas Eve together.

It’s in coming through it all and every day learning the other person a little bit better.

When I think on not so long ago – those long-distance-days…I’m filled with nostalgia. and then with gratitude that they even were. They are what they should be and where they belong.

And count the blessings of these days you’re in now. They’ll be the good old days sometime soon.

Be My Friend

I wrote something the other day about being a stranger and by extension, the Christian practice of community belonging. It’s heavy on my heart I guess, because here I go again…

To the persevering, tenacious people who will invite, re-invite and soldier through awkward silences.

To the ones who will look for the least familiar face, smile and walk straight towards them.

To the quiet ones who tolerate and love the funky, loud and wild.

To the act of baking bread for others and the sharing of food in polite silence that melts into laughter by dessert.

To the ones who are willing and the ones who are shy. To the difficult, wonderful world of sharing your life. To bathing babies, walking, coffee, swimming, books, beer and the desperation that bring us together.

The whole world wants a friend, so thank you to those who are all of this.

And the whole world wants a friend, so be this person too.

A Place of Your Own

New neighbours moved in several months ago, hailing from the other side of town, previously from Florida, before that in Pennsylvania and originally from Cuba. They have an American flag hanging out their back window and scoff at people who think they don’t know the laws.

“We’ve been here for fourteen years,” the wife says, “It’s people who grow up here who don’t know!”

For myself, I hardly ever let where I’m living sink in, besides the fact that it is humid, flat and far away from where I grew up. The language and rules of the road are the same, even with my New Brunswick licence. But I was carded at a restaurant one evening, and after asking to see my passport they told me that they technically couldn’t serve anyone who didn’t have current paperwork.

Because the fiance visa is issued for 90 days, it doesn’t matter if I’ve fulfilled the terms of the entry and married an American citizen within that time. My passport still has an ‘expired’ visa and without a study of immigration types and rules, I can’t expect anyone to understand.

I felt jarred and vulnerable, even when they made an exception, handed me my drink and kept thanking me for not being annoyed. The FYI was too much to swallow right then. That scrutiny and a panicked feeling the leaped up as quickly as the need to explain why I even exist here.

In a moment of clarity I understood a little more of the other side of immigration. I’m not immediately pegged as someone from ‘away’ but in that moment in a restaurant I could only imagine how it feels when your appearance, clothing or accent is a flying flag to the fact that you did not begin your life journey in this place.

I do not venture opinions about immigration policy or the wisdom of open doors, but beyond that issue is another. Once the wanderers are here, how do I treat them? Deserving or undeserving, do I think twice before I assume their story? This is not a watery porridge of tolerance – but simply the kindness to strangers, the prodigal, the Samaritan, the woman at the well that God calls us to.

A new land and heart. A redemption and changing and pathway for us to follow is at the very heart of who we’re remade to be. So this will flow to the homeless and confused and shy in the back corner of church.

Belonging isn’t something I take for granted and these days…it is most certainly something I want to share.