Safe and Sound

It seems to me
/in my limited life experience/
that we all need
/yup, need- even when we wish we didn’t/
people–friends and mentors
/don’t be scared of the title; it’s a compliment/
who are safe and sound.

Safe
with your best interests at heart
/God’s best/
tight lips
/no joy in getting your dirt; no plans to share it/
shared tears and laughs
/don’t forget the Kleenex/
a hug when you need it
/avoidance of platitudes/
and acknowledgement that sometimes there are no easy answers.

Sound
reminders of what you once knew
/without lording over you your need for reminders/
prayer before you go
/especially when you don’t know how to pray for yourself/
encouragement to trust Jesus
/even when it’s hard/
and truth you desperately need
/this means knowing and sharing the truth when it is hard to hear and sometimes unwelcome/

In my limited life experience, when you find safety and soundness
/encapsulated in one or more real live humans/
you’ll usually find love, too.
/the real, messy, pain-inducing, heart-breaking, joyful investment is what I’m talking about here./

At that point, hang on. You’re in for a great ride.

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(Re-) learning

“Do it again, counting out loud.”

“This time, play it staccato.”

“Again.  Keep counting.”

“Now, add your left hand.”

Teaching piano involves some explanations, some demonstrations, and some evaluation.  Today it included all of the above as well as some directed practice.

The old adage says that “practice makes perfect.”  Some say practice makes permanent, and perfection depends on how you practice.  It’s true for playing the piano, and it’s true for thinking.  Repetition of the wrong notes or the wrong timing makes it easy–natural– to play the passage wrong.  In the same way, unhealthy or untrue thoughts become more and more entrenched as I rehearse them.  Unhealthy and untrue beliefs follow quite naturally.

My Teacher offers a better way- He speaks life.

When habit dictates perfectionism, my teacher Jesus whispers, “Peace.”  When fear of failure looms, He calls me beloved.  Instead of “do, do, do,” He says, “Come.”  And when I see years of practicing wrong and get discouraged, He reminds me that there is no condemnation in Him.

“Redemption’s now the story of my soul.”

Facing Backward

My traveling buddy, his mom, his dad, and I left Bandon a few minutes after 11 this morning. We made a few stops, but by 6 pm, he was d.o.n.e. with his car seat. Watered-down prune juice didn’t help; various attempts to entertain with a multitude of toys were fruitless. He just wanted to be there- anywhere besides his seat! The destination didn’t matter. The straps that held him safely in the same position for much of the day were sheer limitation.

I told him we were close.

I stroked his head and gave him more juice.

Facing backward and, at seven months old having no concept of distance or time beside now, didn’t help.

As I sat close, wishing I could truly comfort him, I was struck by how similar my nephew and I might be. I, too, can’t always (often?) see where the path leads, and I have a (only slightly less) limited sense of time when compared to the Eternal One.

And maybe, just maybe, He wishes I would listen long enough to hear Him say, “It’s ok.”

Maybe I just did.

20110530-075516.jpg

Facing Backward

My traveling buddy, his mom, his dad, and I left Bandon a few minutes after 11 this morning. We made a few stops, but by 6 pm, he was d.o.n.e. with his car seat. Watered-down prune juice didn’t help; various attempts to entertain with a multitude of toys were fruitless. He just wanted to be there- anywhere besides his seat! The destination didn’t matter. The straps that held him safely in the same position for much of the day were sheer limitation.

I told him we were close.

I stroked his head and gave him more juice.

Facing backward and, at seven months old having no concept of distance or time beside now, didn’t help.

As I sat close, wishing I could truly comfort him, I was struck by how similar my nephew and I might be. I, too, can’t always (often?) see where the path leads, and I have a (only slightly less) limited sense of time when compared to the Eternal One.

And maybe, just maybe, He wishes I would listen long enough to hear Him say, “It’s ok.”

Maybe I just did.

Facing Backward

My traveling buddy, his mom, his dad, and I left Bandon a few minutes after 11 this morning. We made a few stops, but by 6 pm, he was d.o.n.e. with his car seat. Watered-down prune juice didn’t help; various attempts to entertain with a multitude of toys were fruitless. He just wanted to be there- anywhere besides his seat! The destination didn’t matter. The straps that held him safely in the same position for much of the day were sheer limitation.

I told him we were close.

I stroked his head and gave him more juice.

Facing backward and, at seven months old having no concept of distance or time beside now, didn’t help.

As I sat close, wishing I could truly comfort him, I was struck by how similar my nephew and I might be. I, too, can’t always (often?) see where the path leads, and I have a (only slightly less) limited sense of time when compared to the Eternal One.

And maybe, just maybe, He wishes I would listen long enough to hear Him say, “It’s ok.”

Maybe I just did.

Sent from my iPhone

In the midst of a seven-hour drive, I pulled out my phone to check mail and Facebook, update a few apps, and delete last night’s shopping list. I found this unposted draft, and realized it might provide fodder for valuable reflection, especially as I head into a weekend of family– not phone –time. (except for camera use, which may lead to instagram use and fb and…)

“I’ve had my iPhone for a little over a week. Already, my habits of thought have changed. When I realized tonight that I would need to wait a few minutes for the rest of my family, I felt ok with the wait because I had my iPhone with me. I would have instant entertainment at my fingertips and would not have to develop even one more ounce of patience.

I resisted the switch to an iPhone because of the cost. I resisted because of the increased connection to my email and Facebook accounts.

Maybe I should have resisted on the basis of preserving

The bit of patience I had.

Sent from my iPhone”

Perfect Peace


You never know what you’ll find in a doctor’s office.  My visit to the otolaryngology clinic at UW yesterday led to the discovery of this labeled cabinet in the exam room.  I didn’t get a button (thankfully!!), but I did snag a picture while the doctors and speech pathologist were chatting about me somewhere else.

You never know where God’s going to surprise you with a reminder that you’re not in control.  It’s true; I can mentally acknowledge that I am completely dependent on God’s grace and provision for everything in life.  Somehow, though, when it comes to not being able to do something I’m supposed to do, that restful dependence disappears and in its place comes the burden of self-decreed failure.

Along with it comes the all-to-common resignation that something is wrong with me.  In this case, it was something wrong with my personality- a drivenness that apparently makes me “the kind of person that this happens to.”

I sat in the speech pathologist’s office as she told me to do things with my voice that I couldn’t do and she couldn’t teach me to do.  About 7 minutes passed before I bursted into frustrated tears- frustrated that I couldn’t do what she wanted me to do and frustrated that my muscles tried to maintain my voice and just made things worse.

Thankfully and somewhat mysteriously, my voice recovered while she was assisting a surgeon in another room.  I am quite glad to be talking again and not taking a moment of speech for granted!  That said, there’s a lesson in everything, and this one might take awhile to sink down deep.  (I don’t want to keep re-learning it…but maybe that’s part of the issue, too!)  

There’s nothing quite like working really hard to do your best…and having your best be the opposite of what you should be doing.  That’s where Jesus’ offer of perfect peace comes in.   Isaiah 26:3 is clear in Laura Story’s song, “Perfect Peace.”  Enjoy!