Archive for the ‘Hope’ Category

 It’s here.  Eclipse Day 2017!

If I didn’t know better and only watched the news today, I’d think all of humanity had finally reconciled in a bi-partisan effort to enjoy the temporary blocking out of the sun.

Darkness has a funny way of uniting us humans.

Today, on this rare beautiful day, we will be as one,  in our excitement to watch this solar event.

There’s something special happening here; we can’t quite name it or put a finger on it, but you know it for sure.  You can feel it

 For a solid minute, possibly as long as two minutes and 41 seconds in some places, we are going to forget that we are white or black or any other color people with so many grievances with those others.   We’re not going to be focused on our pasts.  We’re not going to be looking down at screens or looking within ourselves, replaying our tired soundtracks of our hopelessness–our perpetual victimhood to the circumstances we surely don’t have anything to do with, right?

No.  In this glorious moment, we are going to break with tradition and be looking outward and upward.  We will see human faces, not glass screens.  Instead of eyes on screens of glass, we will put screens of blackness over our eyes simply to protect them from the sheer beautiful brilliance of light and solar coronas.

We feel it.  Our hearts tingle in anticipation.  Our ‘to do’ lists will wait.  For many of us, even our jobs will wait.  Our hunger pains and base desires and anger—it will all wait.

For a single moment in time, our divided humanity will be united, as we witness this rarest of rare beauties.

We’ll be Staring at the Sun.  “Hoping we won’t go blind.”

Bono sings it best in this amazing song by U2.

Intransigence is all around

What is intransigence?  The inability to change one’s views or come to agreement.

That’s us, my friends.

Watch the news on any given night.  We are divided on everything!!   TOTALLY!

 Bonnie Tyler was more prophet then love-abandoned when she wrote “Total Eclipse of the Heart”.   In her loneliness, she really magnified the problem of the human heart:

It’s a heart of darkness.  On any given day it’s a dark nasty, empty void waiting to be filled with something.  It seems to be an endless gaping hole that can’t be satisfied, no matter what it’s filled with.  And boy can it ignore those whom we love and exact revenge on those whom we don’t understand.

TOTALITY

 

 Totality is the whole of something.  Some of us have allowed the whole of our hearts, or close to it, to be eclipsed by things like:

  • Anger
  • Close-mindedness
  • Hatred
  • Revenge
  • Hopelessness
  • Despair
  • Self-centeredness

Can I tell you the truth about something?

This is not who you are!

Deep down, you know it.  At least I hope you do.

What if division of people because of their colors, beliefs and preferences, and heaven forbid, their thinking and ideas was actually just true diversity?!  

Even despicable thoughts can and do die a natural death….IF:

We don’t feed them.

That’s powerful truth friends!

Next time you feel compelled to change somebody’s mind by shaming them on social media or arguing your point to the bitter end because it is “clearly the right one”, what if you simply listened?  Try listening for the same amount of time an eclipse at it’s longest would last.  Just ponder for a moment.  You don’t have to agree.

Maybe you don’t have to be the prosecutor of their truth or the defender of yours. 

“Yes, but!!!!!” I can hear you say.  “WE HAVE TO SPEAK OUT AGAINST EVIL!”

This is true, but take a breath.  Ask yourself, “Is this true evil or do I just disagree?”  If and when we do speak against true evil (and we must), we must take great strides to make sure we don’t behave the same as, or worse become that which we are calling out as evil.

This special moment in time today during the eclipse will never repeat again.

Even if you are blessed to live to see another eclipse, this moment will not repeat.

Just like all our moments.  They are each rare diamonds in a universe of stars.  And yet we cast them out like garbage all the time, with the things we say, the resentments we harbor, and the things we do or worse–things we fail to do.  Things like gestures of kindness.  Words like saying “I’m sorry.”  Moments of love we do not live and miss in real time, because we our so engrossed online or stewing in our own darkness.

We must look up, not down.

We must look out, not in.

Because after the light that has always been there is totally eclipsed by pure darkness, the miracle moment that we are taking on faith WILL happen:

THE LIGHT WILL BE UNVEILED!

 

We are taking on faith that this darkness won’t last forever.

Our proof that restoration of ourselves, others, and the earth is possible will be revealed today.

Because even with our darkened hearts, bloody and bruised from past hurts and disappointments, the part of our heart that beats and sustains our very lives, still hopes.

It hopes, despite……

Despite all that holds you back

Despite all who’ve hurt you,

Despite…well, just all of it.

Eclipsed.

It’s such a miraculous thing.

May love and light fill every space of who you are on this most magnificent of days.

May you choose to see today.  May you choose to let go.  And live!   U2areloved.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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ALMA antennas under the Milky Way

  • Have you ever wondered if God is real?
  • Have you ever wondered if your prayers are heard?
  • Have you ever wondered if your dreams, your hopes, your deepest longings really will come true?
  • Have you ever begged to be spared from a certain suffering, but then you weren’t?
  • Did you ever have moments or days or seasons in your life that were totally beyond your control?

Chances are, if you’re human, you can most likely answer YES to the above questions.

Life can be so beautiful. It’s full of amazing moments: The birth of our children. The day we made eternal promises and said “I do” and “Forever”. The day we accomplished something so amazing, we surprised even ourselves. The day we looked out to the horizon and cried because what we saw was simply beyond words; it was indescribably beautiful. You wanted to just freeze time and stay in this place forever. And that’s always when the first stab of pain hits you. Because you know you simply can’t. Nothing here lasts forever.

When I was a child, I thought like a child. Kind of like Margaret of “Are You There God? It’s Me Margaret”. I had the same prepubescent worries as she did. Will I ever even need a bra? Will I eventually become a woman in every way? Will a boy even like me….ever?  Does God exist or care about me?   Like Margaret, I wondered where is God more likely to hang? A synagogue? A cathedral?  A mountain top? At the beach?

But those thoughts passed, as did those days. As a child, you can’t even see yourself as a grown up, when you don’t have to feel so awkward or get your feelings hurt so much. We were young. We were naive. We didn’t yet know what we do now: Those were the best days.

Life would get more complicated, time would march forward whether we were ready or not, for what was headed our way. We were still at the beginning of our journey. We still had more hurt to go.

Sometimes parents divorced. Sometimes they died.   Friends moved away.   We outlived our favorite pets. First boyfriends or girlfriends finally arrived on the scene. But they quickly departed too, taking the first of many bites to come out of our vulnerable hearts. Sometimes we moved away or our friends did. Some friends died inexplicably young. In less than a decade we transitioned from girls and boys to women and men. By the time we turned our tassel, we realized some truths:

  • Life isn’t always fair.
  • The hard work of our lives isn’t over just because we graduated, it was merely beginning.
  • I’m not sure if I’m ready to be who I’m supposed to be.

We continued to learn more. We worked. We said I do and we had babies—babies who grew from toddlers to little kids to teenagers to adults almost as fast as one of those rotating doors in a hotel lobby.   From band-aids on boo- boos to full blown medical emergencies where lives are on the line, the days passed. From seeing many dreams realized and some crashed—all these things happened too.

We went to countless weddings, family barbecues and gatherings, and funerals. Two thirds of them were fun and full of promise. The other third, the funerals, many of which were beautiful, never got easier. They only got more frequent. That too made our hearts heavy. We knew where this is all headed.

Which brings me to the point we all ponder in life, especially in times of crisis? Are you there God? It’s me. It’s you. It’s all of us as humanity, but it’s each of us individually and we want to know are you there? Are you aware of me, in this moment?

It’s the question people struggle with at their core, until they finally decide to choose. Even if you make no choice as to what or whom you believe in, you have made a choice, if only to stay grounded in ambiguity, unsureness, maybe even anxiety and insecurity.

Don’t get me wrong. Believers struggle too. But deep down they know. It’s the essence of faith. Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the being certain of that which we do not see.

Faith is truly a tightrope walk. It’s just like life—trying to find balance and not lose your head, especially when you are way out there, fairly far from the gravity of comfort zone, security, familiarity, easy street.   And yet you know, there is a safety net below. Should you fall, you’ll be caught before hitting bottom. It just doesn’t look like it. Or feel like it. You have to get your head and heart in alignment with a thing called trust.

God is like that. He is real. He is here. He is there. He is everywhere.   He sent his Son Jesus to catch us like a safety net, even when we’re way up(or out) there!

Each of us are so precious to him. He knows when we hurt, or fall, are sick, are weak, or when we lose, or succumb, or waver, or any other weakness as defined by us. But He knows differently; something we often can’t wrap our head around: His love is perfected in our weakness. We just have to be the willing Captain of the vessel called Self that will allow him to travel with us, in us, and pass through us in order to change our destination, and thus destiny by simply saying, not my will, but yours.

Jesus said in this world, we’re going to have some troubles and he was by no means exaggerating! But he also said to take heart, for he has overcome the world.   Every time I hear that, I rejoice a little more inside. I reclaim the parts of my heart that which is unfair or unbearable or unexplainable tries to conquer. The truth gets etched a little deeper each time. Because it frees me:

  • From having to have all the answers.
  • From being responsible for fixing that which I don’t have the power to do.
  • From focusing on why (the unfair/hard/unexplainable) of pain, and instead focus on the who I can trust with all this (God/Jesus).

We are not invisible to God. And although the universe is a fairly big place (science can’t even agree on where/if it ends and how long it’s been around), we are by no means small. We are not insignificant in God’s eyes.

We can look from the most powerful telescope billions of light years away and all we see are dots. But God can look across space and time and see us, every bit of us—our tears and our dreams-and all He can see are stars. We are His star, the crown jewel, the masterpiece of His creation.   Whether we are searching outward as far as our eye can see, or inward, as deep as our heart can bare, our heart beats strongest when we choose to simply be still and know He is there.

 

God is so big, He is real, and is involved in the details of our lives.   Verses (promises) that inspired this story:  Deuteronomy 31:6, Joshua 1:5, 2 Corinthians 12:9, Hebrews 11:1, 1 Corinthians 13:11 John 16:33, Ephesians 2:10, Psalm 46:10

Books I’d recommend to anyone who is searching:Purpose Driven Life

Search for Significance

0 MA 370Photo Credit: Romeo Ranoco/Reuters

The mystery of missing flight Malaysian Airlines 370 only intensifies with each passing day.  How can 239 souls simply vanish?  As the investigation has changed from finding a fallen aircraft to searching for evil intent that commandeered this aircraft and where did they all go, the agony of not knowing is surely some of the most unimaginable pain someone could ever know.

I can’t even fathom the pain these families are enduring as they have surely been “all over the map” emotionally, logistically, and probably spiritually.  How does one keep faith and hope alive in an ever-changing crisis?

You simply get up and go on, trusting God in every breathe, moment, and step.  Sometimes you don’t even know you have faith or hope, until you look back and you realize that’s all you had or you wouldn’t be here now.

I have never experienced the depth of unknown that these families have, but the few intensely difficult, extremely painful circumstances I have had to endure, all in relatively short order, has both tested and strengthened my faith.

These are the questions we wrestle with whenever the intensely painful unknown occurs:

Why did this happen?

Did I do something to cause this?  Did I deserve this?

Could I (or others) have prevented this?

Where is God in all this?  Is He even aware I can not deal with this for one more minute, even more so, one more day? 

And yet you do.  You will.    Though time stops in your world, the rest of the world keeps on moving forward.

And everything in life is divided into two chapters:

BEFORE and AFTER

You know the moment this occurs, from here until the end of your life, everything else will be referenced by assigning whether it happened before or after.  I don’t know why.  It’s just the way the mind works.

I’ve read the posts.  I’ve seen the news.  I’ve heard every speculation imaginable, as have you.  But this is what my heart knows:

THERE ARE 239 LOST SOULS ON BOARD

My heart hurts because we struggle when we cannot know what only God knows.

It also hurts because each of these souls are so very precious to not only their families, but to God.

My heart hurts because I’ve walked the solitary path of unfathomable grief that only the bravest wish to hear.

My heart hurts because I know what it means to have to wake up with unknowing.

My heart hurts because I know life is brief; and despite our best executed plans, our dreams of how we wish our future to be can’t be guaranteed.

My heart hurts because I’ve known through harsh experiences, what it means to cry out to God to save someone, please just SAVE THEM.  It may be their life; it may be their soul.

Sometimes God seems silent.  I’ve learned not to mistake God’s silence for God’s absence.

We are not in control; we settle for a certain comfort in thinking we are.

Certainly, our soul hungers to know that those we love are okay.  Especially when we are suddenly severed from someone we love.  Like phantom limb pain, our hearts throbs with longing and memory and beats to the rhythm of hope, no matter how slim.  Wherever we are, we feel as if we are held hostage to both yesterday and tomorrow, barely enduring today.

Every time you hear or read a story, remember that talk is cheap and media can dull our mind if we don’t hear properly: that is to say with intention, not just attention.   The investigators have a job to do.  But so do we:

Those of us who believe, have a calling to pray for the souls of each person on board MA 370 as well as their families.  These souls who disappeared in the sky over a week ago are this: BELOVED friend, coworkers, sisters, brothers, mothers, fathers, sons, daughters, beloved grandchild of many remaining souls here on earth.

Pray for wisdom.  Pray for resolution.  Pray for miracles.  Pray for the peace that passes understanding in Christ Jesus.    May you see this and appreciate your own family and life more.  Don’t leave angry.  Say I love you before you say good-bye.   Find, and then focus on what really matters.

Today I pray that God has the souls of Malaysian Air Flight 370 are in the palm of His hand, that they are in His perfect care, as the families carry on in courage and hope.    Because they too were/are loved.

Brothers, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for them is that they may be saved.  Romans 10:1 

 U2’s  One Tree Hill – Auckland, NZ

Not a Hopeless Case

Posted: May 16, 2013 in Hope, Loss, Love
Tags: , ,

Love EnoughHave you ever known someone in the pit?  Someone other people need to take a break from?  You know–someone with issues? 

How could they just screw up their life like that?  What a colossal failure.  Why didn’t they just decide better?  Some people need to just get in gear and pull themselves together.

Yeah sure they should.  If they could just be more put together like you.  Like me.  NOT!

See the problem is when you’re in the pit, you don’t need someone to come along side you and condemn you for being in the pit, even if it is a disaster of your own making.  No, what people need is a friend.  A friend who is honest and understands bad choices lead to bad consequences but they love you anyway.  A pit-dweller needs someone who will climb down and sit beside them and stay awhile.    Not an enabler, but a disarmer of that which entangles you is what is called for.

Judgment is reserved for those who hear our trials and determine the consequences. But mercy?  Well that’s a higher way.  Mercy is dispensed liberally from those who have a compassionate heart and realize that forgiveness can lead a person living in shame out of darkness quicker than condemning them.

Next time you see the so-called bum on the corner, realize maybe they aren’t just another bum, but a hurting heart that took a series of wrong turns coupled with some circumstances beyond their control.  Maybe the teenager who is always wasted hates himself more than the people who pass him by totally unaware, except for a momentary case of disdain.  Maybe the person you know who is behaving stupidly needs to be reminded that you care enough to let them know you cannot stand idly by and watch them destroy their life and the lives of those around them.  Confront them.  In love.  In truth.   Maybe they’ll lash out.  Or perhaps they’ll break.  Maybe they’ll just deny.  Or avoid you.   Be courageous and persist.  The truth takes a stab at our dark hearts until hopefully some of the light will seep back in.

We all need someone who loves enough to hold us accountable, but we especially need it when we’re being gripped by that which can destroy us whether it’s outward behaviors or inward attitudes.  We need someone who won’t let us blame others for our mistakes and someone brave enough to not let us be a perpetual victim.  A real no-nonsense, no-excuses type friend is someone who lets you be you without trying to change you, but draws the line when you cross over into narcissism just because you’re down and out.  A true friend will build your self-esteem with encouragement but will call you out at the first seeds of arrogance.   A friend for life is the one who will sit beside you in the pit and never let you go back to the place that helped you get here.  They know your dirt but love you enough to not pass it around for others to inspect.

No man (or woman) is an island.  It’s true; sometimes you can’t make it on your own.  You can’t save everyone you ever encounter but if there is someone in your life whose story is stirring up unrest in your soul, all I can say is this.  Help them.  Go get them.  Don’t ignore your instincts.  Be the life-preserver that allows rescue to happen.   Above all, pray for them.  Be courageous enough to say something.   You may not be able to save them or change them, but God can.   When they are ready to choose change, you can be their biggest cheerleader to encourage them to hang in there and take steps in a different direction.

       Don’t abandon the hurting or injured.  Don’t pass by the down and outers.    Don’t hold back your love from those who need it most.  None of us are a hopeless case.  And in case you feel forgotten or neglected or abandoned, rest assured if you are still here, even if people have forgotten you, God has not.

Never forget that!    Hold on.  You may not feel it yet.   You may not believe it.  But you too are loved.

“Touch me.  Take me to that other place.   Reach me.   I know I’m not a hopeless case…..”  More than a song, perhaps it’s a prayer of someone you know.  Who will you reach out to and love today?