love is letting your daughter play in the waves.
love is holding your granddaughter while your daughter watches for her favorite animal in the whole world.
love is holding a strawberry half while the other is smeared on your legs.
love is letting your daughter stay with you while her husband is away so that the one year old doesn’t wear us all out.
love is being heartbroken over the news.
love is standing with those who are hurting.
love is choosing your words wisely.
love is letting your actions speak louder than your words.
love is finding actions that can speak.
love is working to bring peace.
love is reaching out, not shutting off
love is taking risks.
love is stretching past boundaries and breaking down walls.
love is being uncomfortable
if God is love, then Love is: past, present, and future.
Love is. Love has been. Love will be.
love is stronger than I can be under my own strength.
love is hard.
love is strong.
love is tender.
love is difficult.
love is powerful.
love is all that some people have left.
love is the only thing that some people are missing.
love is bigger than any of us can imagine.
love is more intimate than anything else in the universe.
love is what we need to heal.
love is what shows us what is broken.
love is what we hunger for.
Properly using and utilizing metaphors is incredibly important when changes are happening. Changes are happening in my denomination and though we really don’t know what is going to happen, as we move forward, precise language is vital.
I recently was present for a conversation about the future of the church and thought that perhaps there might be a different way to look at things than the speaker was presenting. so I wrote this reflection offering an alternative.
The blog where it is posted contributes to the conversation about the moves of the church, where I hope to contribute fruitful dialogue. Go check them out!
one of the most important prayer actions that I have ever taken up is the act of being still. I enter into my time of centering prayer, and I become motionless. my mind quiets. thoughts become gentler. my body is given over to God. I open up to whatever God has for me at that moment. Sometimes it is nothingness. and I am still.
Oddly, in my time of motionlessness, sometimes I feel my hands or body shift. they grow larger or smaller in my sense of them. my sensation moves, even when I know that my body is not moving.
While centering, I’m really not supposed to pay much attention to it since even that is something that I turn over to God in my prayer, but it is odd. I probably need to read The Interior Castle by Teresa of Avila again, to see if this is what she was trying to describe. I wonder where else my mind can move while my body remains still.
it’s odd, isn’t it, that our contemplative action is usually centered on the idea of stillness being peace. is there peace in movement? we beseech those who are dead to lie in peace, because they have ceased moving. is there a reason that they would not have peace?
we tend to hear peace and stillness in the same intent. but I wonder if they are always suited for each other.
in some times, peace requires movement, action, changes. it is the very act of no one moving that means that peace is nonexistent. moving becomes crucial to survival.
we cannot tell those who are in syria that if they just stay where they are that they will be at peace. there is no peace where they are and they must move.
and we need to move and change in order to help them. we have to shift what we have in order that they can find some peace.
when God moves, I want to move with God.
when I am centering, my body doesn’t move. but my heart continues to pump blood through my veins, my lungs cycle air over and over again, and I am not really still. but I am at peace.
I’m having a hard time seeing the image of God in folks these days. Rather. I’m neglecting to look for it. I’m not really seeing many people, actually. I’m seeing tweets and Facebook updates and news headlines and an amalgamation of what serves as entertainment. These snippets of people, either the best of them or the absolute worst of them (and really, it depends who you talk to as to which is which), are not their full embodiment. There is more to the story. There is more to the narrative. There is more to us than our lies or our successes. There is everything in between.
I’m having a hard time finding the in between.
The in between isn’t very exciting. It’s the part that gets left out of the novel. The only time you see a bathroom in a movie is when the heroine is checking her pregnancy test result. There’s no suspense in vacuuming a house. Cleaning up after dinner is boring.
Even the fun stuff is mundane. I love my daughter’s giggles, but I don’t need to tell you each time she does it. I don’t want to tell you about every time my husband and I have a conversation after which one of us needs to apologize for a hasty word. (usually I need to apologize.)
But it is the in between parts that make us human. I’m not seeing many people in their humanity these days. I also do not feel seen in my own humanity. I don’t participate in a community in which I can be wholly myself, and so I feel pieced together. not whole. Scattered among my various support networks, are pieces of me, parts where I celebrate and exult. but not all of me. Not all at once.
And sure, some of this is because I am finding a new reality in staying at home and taking on the mantle of full-time motherhood. Some of it is because I have been working over the last eight years for the church and towards the church and now I’ve reached a place of not yet. Some of it is utter disgust at the current political climate and the ease at which I can say that those who support the candidate I don’t like are wrong on all points. More than a little bit of it is exactly that.
But I’m worried that I am not seeing the whole person behind someone’s statement. A person, with all their history and narrative and emotions and struggles and difficulties cannot be distilled down into a headline or a tweet.
I need reminders to look for the humanity of those around me. I need reminders to look for the image of God. I know it’s there. Sometimes I refuse to see it because it makes my life easier. But easy is not always holy.
My daughter threw her first tantrum yesterday. She’s one year and five days old. It was a very simple tantrum: I was cutting her nails, and she didn’t like it. She wanted her hand back, she wanted the nail clippers, she wanted to be free. She also very much needed a nap. And so, she cried. This is the first time that I can think of that she has cried for a reason that didn’t have to do with comfort, fear, or hunger.
She was crying because she couldn’t have what she wanted and she would not be consoled. That’s a tantrum. I’m sure she will learn to step up her game in the future, with leg kicking and fist pounding and so forth. This was simply crying to the point of needing to catch her breath. Which, I have to say, it has been a while since she has cried like this. Before, this kind of cry was just in the carseat, because at the beginning, she hated her carseat.
It would have been very easy to give her what she wanted. I could have given her the nail clippers, let her go off with them, and let her play on her own. But, they are nail clippers. They are sharp. They are dangerous. They are not a toy.
They are what she wanted.
I did not give in to her want.
It was not a good thing. To her at least.
I know better than she does. I know where the dangers are.
I could have been soft in setting those boundaries, just this one time, and let her have what she wanted. But what about the next time?
I had to hold this boundary firm, so that I can be soft in other ways.
Because as she cried, I held her. Even as she twisted out of my grip, I let her stand on her own, and held myself open for her. I never let her have the dangerous thing, I didn’t give into her want, but I did offer something better.
This was our first tantrum. It will not be the last.
Because it was the first, I can say that I have done exactly what I wanted every time my daughter has had a tantrum. You can say those kind of things when you’ve only done them once.
There will be tantrums that I give in to. There will be tantrums that I lose my patience. There will be tantrums that I will do the opposite of what I want to do.
I hope to be soft on myself as I learn this parenting gig alongside my daughter. I hope I can show grace to others who are learning as well. I hope that as we learn, we may continue to live into boundaries that allow us to keep our hearts soft towards our children, and those around us.