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Rainbow tear

Who is NOT devastated by Orlando?  I can’t imagine, unless perhaps you have lost touch with your basic humanity.  And we know some people have.  But not all.  As history repeats itself again, another mass shooting rages on in even bigger number, the response is still the same:  Shock, horror, unspeakable grief.  But then….

THE LOVE COMES STEPPING OUT!

Stronger.  Fiercer.  More resolute.  More people.  More together.

Like millions of other citizens of Earth, each time this happens we struggle to make sense of the Why?

Here’s what I believe for sure.  It’s not about gay (though that was the “excuse” this time for the mass carnage).  It’s not about the guns, though we’ll argue about that too.  We know extremism that destroys is NOT a faith at all.  Because faith  is about enduring, struggling, persevering, and ultimately proving the worthiness of the faith you profess.  This IS simply the EVIL that resides in one’s heart and finding religious words to justify the barbarism of one’s heart.

Terrorism at it’s core is COWARDICE.  It’s a liar’s glory.  Yes, we will remember the act.  But history and people will forget your name as if you never existed.  We have no need to remember you.  This so-called “faith act” is actually the lack of stamina for figuring out how to be a resident of earth with people that are different than yourself, which NEWSFLASH:  That’s everybody! 

I repeat:  It’s not about the guns, the LGBT community, or God despite the coming arguments about all of that.

We are living in a day where there are two ways of simply choosing to BE:

Good. (To LIVE)

Or Evil.  (To inflict DEATH:  LIVE spelled backwards:  EVIL)

It is the yin-yang of humanity.  It spans across religious beliefs, orientations, and above all it spans across time.

I’ll leave to the philosophers and pundits and religious leaders as to why evil exists.  I have my own beliefs anyway, as do you.

Here’s what I need to tell you:

I don’t care if you are black or white or Asian or any combination of any races.  When I look at you, I FIRST see you, before your color.  I see kindness or attentiveness or arrogance or anger before I see simple things like  brown or black or white or orange.

If you are in a wheelchair, or old, or deaf, or missing limbs I see that as an attribute perhaps of your physical body, but I see YOU first.  You are a soul.   You are a living, breathing human being who wants to live and be loved, and to be respected.  I pray I always greet you in the manner that knows I see you as the individual you are.

I don’t care if you are gay or straight.  Your sexuality does not impact my life any more than mine impacts yours.   I will love you and cry with you and hold you no matter what when you grieve.  In this crazy mixed up world these days, your identity issues are the least of my issues.  I’m too busy struggling with my own identity as a friend, a mother, a wife, a Christian, and citizen in my community and as a girl with dirt who has issues of her own.  I fall so short.  The last thing I need is condemnation or shaming from anyone.  You are no different than me in that regard, I have no desire to condemn you. I seek only to understand you, despite our differences.  I will treat you with love.  Because I care about you, more than your identity.  I respect all the parts that make you YOU, we don’t have to think or believe or love exactly alike.

I can respect you as a person whether you are  Christian or Muslim or Atheist or New Age or you-pick-the-category.  Can you offer me the same respect?  Yes?  We’ll get along just fine then.  We can debate if we so desire.  But can we disagree in love?  Can we still go home friends?  Can we associate without fear that one person is trying to change the other.  I realize that is a fine line.  Sometimes even in our love for someone, it is misconstrued; it is perceived as unwelcome or intolerance or control.    Can we just gently remind each other  when it’s time to just call it a day and say, “I disagree, but I love you anyway.”  Is that so hard?

I don’t care if you are pro-gun or anti-gun.  We have our strong beliefs here.  It’s okay if we don’t agree.  I love my peace loving-activist friends with hearts as big as the sky, but I also love those who courageously protect our citizens in our cities and those who serve our country fighting in wars that they didn’t choose, possibly by people they didn’t elect.  Yet they serve us anyway.  That too is love in my book.  All the brave hearts that go courageously instead of me make me feel small, yet grateful.

I don’t care if you are Republican or Democrat.  I admit I’m passionate about some issues in my “category”.  But I don’t march lock-step with my party.  I’m betting you probably don’t either.    We are all diamonds in the rough.  We have both flaws, yet are capable of brilliant beauty.

This grace even extends to our politicians too.  It’s hard, but think about it.  Picture in your mind the politician or several you despise the most for a moment.  Are they completely wrong in every area of life, in every decision they make?  Do we truly despise another human being because of our profound disagreements that we can’t see even a morsel of truth, or perhaps more importantly a soul worthy of being loved despite polar opposition of belief? That’s a hard one. Yet, are they not flesh and blood as we are?

Think about this.  Meditate on this for a moment.  If we get all caught up in our vastly differing religious, political, and practical approaches to the solution of evil, we ourselves will first become angry.  Then very angry. We will inefficiently argue semantics in rooms, rather then take to the streets and just help.   And if we don’t tame the beast within, we too will become the way evil most hopes we will be:

Like them.

We will begin to rationalize that our identify of self is more worthy.  We know more.  We are “the identity” who cares.

Isn’t it funny how it’s always the identity “OTHER then ourselves” that is usually the problem; they are the enemy–the EVIL one?

That’s how crafty EVIL actually is.  It seeps into our soul, without us even realizing it.  “Our” superiority always knows better than “their” obvious inferiority.

In my faith, Jesus said “You will know them by their love for one another,” about Christians and their faith.  I get that our faiths can be different.  It’s not our identity of anything be it faith, orientation, whatever– that identifies us.  Or at least, it shouldn’t be.  

It’s how we live our identity in the presence of humanity that truly defines us:  

We can choose to be good.  We can choose to be kind.  We can choose to serve and to help others.  We can wrap our arms around them and hug them and love them as if it were our last second on earth.  Because you never know when that moment actually could be.  These painful moments remind us that good-byes come unexpectedly, quickly, and all too often in unspeakable tragedy–not at all.

This is how I FIRST see you:  You are worthy of love.  I will approach you with love.  All I ask in life, if for you to do the same.  And together in life, through unbearable grief, and indescribable joy, we can walk together if you want to.  Bravely, together, we’ll walk–hand in hand, over the sea of tears and across a rainbow bridge to a better earth under a vivid blue sky marching onward together, seeking our heaven.

Don’t leave earth without loving others.

CARE •PRAY• GIVE •SERVE •PROTECT •GRIEVE WITH •RESPECT LOVE U2ARELOVED

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

U2 and the Black Eyed Peas — Where is the Love — October 2009 — Madison Square Garden

Regarding Baltimore:  It makes me so sad to see a city under seige by those who seek only to destroy.  If I could sing a prayer over the city, this is what I’d sing.

Because this is what U2 fans know.  This is what those who love God and love people know:  Love covers a multitude of sins.  Love changes things.  It heals us.  But it’s costly.  It hurts to give it away when you’re hurting.  God, it almost kills us sometimes!  But in the end, it’s the only thing that will save us.

Wake up world!  We can choose love.  Or we can keep on destroying and burning it all down to the ground.  Which will you choose?

 “Where Is The Love?”

What’s wrong with the world, mama
People livin’ like they ain’t got no mamas
I think the whole world addicted to the drama
Only attracted to things that’ll bring you trauma

Overseas, yeah, we try to stop terrorism
But we still got terrorists here livin’
In the USA, the big CIA
The Bloods and The Crips and the KKK

But if you only have love for your own race
Then you only leave space to discriminate
And to discriminate only generates hate
And when you hate then you’re bound to get irate, yeah

Madness is what you demonstrate
And that’s exactly how anger works and operates
Man, you gotta have love just to set it straight
Take control of your mind and meditate
Let your soul gravitate to the love, y’all, y’all

People killin’, people dyin’
Children hurt and you hear them cryin’
Can you practice what you preach?
Or would you turn the other cheek?

Father, Father, Father help us
Send some guidance from above
‘Cause people got me, got me questionin’
Where is the love (Love)

Where is the love (The love)
Where is the love (The love)
Where is the love, the love, the love

It just ain’t the same, old ways have changed
New days are strange, is the world insane?
If love and peace are so strong
Why are there pieces of love that don’t belong?

Nations droppin’ bombs
Chemical gasses fillin’ lungs of little ones
With ongoin’ sufferin’ as the youth die young
So ask yourself is the lovin’ really gone

So I could ask myself really what is goin’ wrong
In this world that we livin’ in people keep on givin’ in
Makin’ wrong decisions, only visions of them dividends
Not respectin’ each other, deny thy brother
A war is goin’ on but the reason’s undercover

The truth is kept secret, it’s swept under the rug
If you never know truth then you never know love
Where’s the love, y’all, come on (I don’t know)
Where’s the truth, y’all, come on (I don’t know)
Where’s the love, y’all

People killin’, people dyin’
Children hurt and you hear them cryin’
Can you practice what you preach?
Or would you turn the other cheek?

Father, Father, Father help us
Send some guidance from above
‘Cause people got me, got me questionin’
Where is the love (Love)

Where is the love (The love)?
Where is the love (The love)?
Where is the love (The love)?
Where is the love (The love)?
Where is the love (The love)?
Where is the love (The love)?
Where is the love, the love, the love?

I feel the weight of the world on my shoulder
As I’m gettin’ older, y’all, people gets colder
Most of us only care about money makin’
Selfishness got us followin’ the wrong direction

Wrong information always shown by the media
Negative images is the main criteria
Infecting the young minds faster than bacteria
Kids wanna act like what they see in the cinema

Yo’, whatever happened to the values of humanity
Whatever happened to the fairness and equality
Instead of spreading love we’re spreading animosity
Lack of understanding, leading us away from unity

That’s the reason why sometimes I’m feelin’ under
That’s the reason why sometimes I’m feelin’ down
There’s no wonder why sometimes I’m feelin’ under
Gotta keep my faith alive ’til love is found
Now ask yourself

Where is the love?
Where is the love?
Where is the love?
Where is the love?

Father, Father, Father, help us
Send some guidance from above
‘Cause people got me, got me questionin’
Where is the love?

Sing with me y’all:
One world, one world (We only got)
One world, one world (That’s all we got)
One world, one world
And something’s wrong with it (Yeah)
Something’s wrong with it (Yeah)
Something’s wrong with the wo-wo-world, yeah
We only got
(One world, one world)
That’s all we got
(One world, one world)

Lyrics by Black-Eyed Peas

     Hello U2areloved friends.  It’s been a while.  Been off-blog for a while, but will post very soon because I’ve missed writing here! 

     Right now I can’t contain myself.  I really am dreaming with tears in my eyes as I’ve been waiting (how long?) for so long now for a new U2 album.

    Many of you know that my U2areloved blogs are often inspired by the music and lyrics of U2.  Other times, they are inspired by my Christian faith.  It’s kind of where my faith and my passion for music merge with my desire to create through writing and photography. 

     I tease my son sometimes that “U2 follows me everywhere I go.”  Case in point, this week:  Twice he asked if I could change the radio from the talk radio station I often listen to, to the pop music station he likes.  “Fine,” I relented.  It’s a good thing.  A beautiful thing actually.  BOTH TIMES (2 out of 2) U2 was playing.  “With or Without You” a few days ago, and “Where the Streets Have No Name.”   Good decision, I told my son.  A slight cringe from him, because he knows I’m right–they tend to follow me (elevators, bathrooms, movie theater lobby music, grocery stores, Irish restaurants (ok, no surprise there).  Maybe I’m just hyper aware.  But maybe it’s more?

    It’s that strange bond, we U2 fans and friends have with the band and each other.  Sometimes you just think of someone, and well…..they seem to pop up in a message, a song, a thought. 

     It’s what we U2 fanboys and fangirls get:  We are all connected.  Love is the better way.  Music can do a whole lot more than entertain us; it can teach us, it can inspire us to change the world and change ourselves.  Bono has said he’s not sure if he believes that music can change the world, but I beg to differ.  Their music inspires people to write, to paint, to cry, to smile, to remember, and so much more, but above all to love.  That’s a change I can live with.

      And now, U2 is sending all their fans, including the ones they haven’t met yet a free gift (thru 10/13/14).  On the house!  That’s right.  Price is zip, zero, nada!  ENJOY!   So go to I-TUNES now and download U2’s new  free album!  It may not only the biggest give-away of all time, but perhaps the best.

       U2.  They’re BACK!!!!!  

http://www.utsandiego.com/news/2014/sep/09/u2-releases-new-album-for-free-on-itunes/

 

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Photos by Liz Gray

When you look at the world
What is it that you see?
People find all kinds of things
That bring them to their knees

U2 – When I Look at the World

      What is it you see and experience that lets you know without a doubt there is God and He is is good and He has given you a beautiful world to experience and enjoy?

       It’s not the big things for me.  It’s so much smaller than that.

       Last week we had an opportunity (third time this summer in fact) to rescue a baby bird that had fallen out of its nest, with some enhanced assistance from my cat that has expert hunting skills.

       Thankfully this bird was not yet bitten, so it had a fighting chance.  I held this baby bird near my heart most of the night, but pretty much anticipated a dead bird by morning.  I alternated holding it and keeping it on a towel wrapped around a hot water bottle.  Around 5 am, I awoke because apparently the bird could now fly.

          Since my phone takes better small pictures, I began clicking as this little fellow (or lassie perhaps)  flew from floor to window ledge to my arms.   After a dozen phone pics, I guess the bird decided to hop on the phone to see what all my fuss was about.  QUICK!  That’s when I ever so carefully walked backwards out of the bathroom, into my bedroom and grabbed my DSLR to get pictures of the bird looking at his own reflection.

       As I did so, I became very aware I was witnessing an amazing moment:

       God puts LIFE everywhere around us; BEAUTY to behold, SOULS to nourish and cherish, and MOMENTS to be aware of and to feel a divine love.

       The rescue business–it’s that thing that tugs at your soul and you beg God:  Please let it be someone else; don’t let it be me. 

     It never works like that.  If you have a heart that loves, you will be called to give, share, pray, serve, sacrifice–because all these things are an extension of love.  Someone or something less fortunate than you is going to be put in your path and you’ll have no choice.  Don’t just see; respond!

       Love until it hurts.

       Love until someone is healed.

       I am a flawed person, but not so much, that I can’t get my hands dirty or wear my heart on my sleeve on occasion.

       And that is the world as seen through my eyes.  You too are loved.

Post script:  This bird was one of the lucky ones we tried to save.   He lived.   He sang his morning song from a branch, until he simply flew away.

paw2013

Video by Scott Gray and Music by U2 (“Exit” –Joshua Tree)

     One day you’re on top of the world; the next you’re down in the depths.

That’s what happened to my husband for his 50th birthday.  After a surprise party last Saturday night, he suddenly found himself the next day on an airplane with me, his wife of both trial and triumph of nearly 30 years, headed towards Key Largo for a short, but well-deserved and much needed mini vacation courtesy of his brother who paid for our hotel and airfare and his boss who surprised him with two dive trips.   My husband was blown away by the kindness and tangible love shown to him that perhaps he doesn’t receive often enough.

When I took him to the dive center where he would meet his crew of fellow divers, I asked him where he thought he’d be diving.   He said he didn’t know; it was really up to the Captain.   Since I had already poured over the Key Largo guide book at our first stop, I told him I hoped he could go see the “Christ of the Abyss” statue—a famous bronze statue, just under nine feet tall, that was purposely erected in 1965 twenty five feet below the surface in John Pennekamp State Park.  It is one of only three identical under water statues.    One statue known as “Il Cristo Degli Abissi” is located off the Italian Riviera in Genoa, Italy and is separated only by the vastness of the Atlantic Ocean and a second copy stands underwater in the oceans of St. George’s in Granada.  Together, they make up a holy trinity of underwater salvation!

My husband said they would be doing one wreck dive (a deeper dive) and one shallow water dive, but seriously doubted he would see the “underwater Jesus” because rarely did dive boats go to it.  It is a bit hard to find, a bit obscure and off the “beaten path” in terms of diving, and perhaps to some divers not as exciting as exploring sunken ships, and colorful coral reefs.

When we met up later in the evening for supper, after he enjoyed not two, but four dives, he said, “Guess what?”  “What?” I replied.

“I saw Jesus underwater.”  If a landlubber unfamiliar with the dive destinations of the Florida Keys were to have overheard this, perhaps one would roll their eyes, and think to his or herself, “Sheesh, there goes another delusional holy roller from the south!”

But for me, well, I was impressed and beholden to even hear those words tumble out of my hubby’s mouth.  Without getting into personal details, let’s just say there have been some conversations across the decades in our home as to the value, validity, proof of existence, debate over theological and historical accuracy, and need for reliance upon this man of mystery, the savior of mankind, this Son of God–this essential relationship found in the faith of Christians, and my heart as well.

Together we watched his video from the underwater dive camera I gave him for his birthday.  I semi-gloated (a sad symptom of pride) at being spot-on in the gift giving department as I watched schools of glass minnows flutter by.  I saw fish of the brightest yellows and bluest blues, and various other colorful beauties like the deadly and abundant, and now frequently eaten Lion Fish.  I felt as if I was watching a reality version of Finding Nemo produced, directed, and filmed by my husband.

Then I saw Him!  Jesus!  That’s right, just below where the sun fades from view stood the barnacle and crustacean-crusted, sea-weed covered, and somewhat greenish-bronze Jesus.   This Jesus who is crusted over with sea life in much the same way our spiritual Jesus took on the sins of man.   Here he stands in the sea’s silent depths with arms outstretched up as if  reaching towards sunlight, towards life, towards the universe—offering himself to the life all around him, both mammal and fish.  Here lies a hidden treasure, a blessing buried in the deep I thought.

I was captivated.  How many times had I seen the white alabaster Jesus on the steeples of churches, or the crucified Jesus perched across gold, silver, or diamond studded crosses adorning the chests of believers, or even the various wood-carved versions of Jesus upon church alters?

Then it hit me!  I have always seen Jesus on land, or better said, in the air—in the land of the familiar.  But seeing Jesus underwater– this was new.  I watched mesmerized by this small patch of real estate in the earth’s seemingly infinite ocean!  It’s so full of life, and yet eerily silent.  Only the gurgling sounds of my husband’s dive regulator could be heard.

So many thoughts bubbled up in my head as I gazed upon this beautiful bronze gift of Jesus–4000 pounds of Italian artistry sculpted and placed so carefully in three different places on earth, yet he will be encountered and witnessed only by a small number of souls certified to dive the ocean’s depths.  Only the fewest of divers in this small slice of sea will ever be able to find him.

This tangible bronze Jesus of the sea is not easily found and is witnessed by few.  I wondered what the impact is on those who believe, and even those who don’t.   The idea for placing the first Italian underwater Jesus in the ocean was to honor the first Italian diver, Dario Gonzatti, who first used SCUBA gear.

For just a few moments, I wished I had been underwater at the moment the Christ of the Abyss came into view.  Did other divers grasp what seemed instantly obvious to me?

Jesus love for us knows no depth.

Jesus will be with us, no matter how low we sink.

To see Jesus in a new light, you have to dive deep.

    This Jesus of Key Largo was lowered into the ocean about the same time I drew my first breath in 1965.  We are almost the same age.  But Jesus, son of God, and the foundation of the Christian faith, has been around a little while longer, and thankfully can be accessed by more than just scuba divers.   No certification or travel to an exotic location is required to find this Jesus, only a sincere heart that earnestly seeks Him.

This Jesus is not found by us descending down to Him, but by simply reaching out and accepting him on faith.

Like the Key Largo divers who are lucky enough to find Jesus of the Abyss, we count ourselves blessed once we are convinced that a spiritual Jesus not only exists, but is already waiting in our deepest place of pain, despair, shame, or guilt.  Jesus knows that in our flawed state of humanity, most of us are going to get some “bottom time” in where the pressure weighs us down, where we are desperate to come up for air, and where the gravity of our situation surely feels as if we will drown here—alone, and without notice by those around us.

Yes, Jesus is already waiting for us in our moment of greatest triumph, deepest loss, or our worst pit of despair before it ever happens.   He’s with us when we reach the depth of our disgust with our self (acknowledged sin), or the arrogance, or even ignorance of our deception (unacknowledged sin).   When He seems to us so far away, in reality, He’s only a whisper or prayer away.

He’s there before our first tear ever slips from our eye, the first lie we ever utter, the first deception we ever conceive, the first act of evil we ever act upon.    We don’t have to dive deep to find him, but “going deep” into God’s word (the bible) is a great place to start to find answers to the great mysteries of life such as why do we live, why do we die and what happens after, and what do we do in between the two?

Ah yes, Jesus.  His very name can evoke division or it can evoke peace.  His very name can arouse suspicion or conjure up love.

It comes down to this.  Whatever people say about Jesus, this much is undisputed:  Jesus is a choice.  He is not a mandate.  That is our freedom.   For how could one ever mandate love?  You could force obedience to law, but never love.   Jesus is not an arranged marriage, but a free choice. 

I could quote a bunch of scripture and turn people off or find similar friends who nod their heads in agreement.  I could say Jesus is love, Jesus saves, or Jesus is the way, and I would be both condemned and praised for telling the truth or lying.   Within two sentences the focus falls off Jesus and becomes about the person speaking about Jesus.

I believe I cannot adequately express the magnificence of Jesus due to my limitations of vocabulary, time, space, and most of all flaws in my human character.  Nor can I adequately defend Jesus, so I am at peace knowing I don’t have to explain or defend what only God can do infinitely better than I could possibly attempt to do.

But I can love Him.  I can praise Him and seek to know Him more. I can share my thoughts, if someone is interested.  I can strive to be more like Him.   I could be like the fish of Key Largo who swim by Jesus every single day and never even comprehend how set apart they actually are compared to the other umpteen jillion fish who will never see this Jesus.

As I watched the end of my husband’s first dive video ever, I can say this with absolute certainty:  As a person who believes absolutely there is a purpose for each moment and encounter of our life, and that there is no such thing as coincidence, I know Jesus was waiting for him, as he waits for all of us:  in the depths.    He awaits a loving, life-changing relationship with us with open arms, an open mind, and open heart, already knowing and understanding all who we really are.

He awaits–radiating sunlight in the ocean’s depths, a fixed buoy and beacon for all who search for Him, providing stability, shelter, protection, peace, provision, rescue, light, and love for those who seek it.

May you find Jesus not only in heaven, and at the end of your life, but in real and tangible ways here and now for the duration of your life.  And if you happen to struggle, especially if you struggle, may you find courage to reach out to Him–he who already awaits for you with open arms, and may you have  faith to know that He is indeed real and good, especially in the depths of your abyss.

Happy 94th Birthday Nelson!

Yesterday was Nelson Mandela’s 94th birthday!  No one has been more effective  in righting the injustices of apartheid in South Africa.  God took note and after 27 years in captivity, he was released from prison in 1990.  He is known today as the Father of South Africa and a voice of freedom worldwide.

Read more about his 94th birthday here:  http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-18884590

Liz will happily be on vacation for a few days, so no posts.  Hope you can find time today and count all the many ways you have been blessed!!  See you soon!

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Dreams are illustrations… from the book your soul is writing about you.  ~Marsha Norman     

  So I’m having a totally stressed out day and I can’t put my finger on the cause exactly.  I had the day off work, and enjoyed spending the afternoon with my little boy and my mom.   We even treated ourselves to a yummy lunch at the restaurant where my daughter works.  You know the kind, where the food is a Renoir painting that you’re almost sad to eat.  We got great service; she got a grandmother-sized tip, we had a nice meal, and everyone was happy.  I was.

      Until I got home that is.  That’s when a dark cloud rolled in.  Knowing the rest of the week I have to work and even a precious day off still involves laundry, dishes, bills, paperwork, email, organizing, grocery shopping, cleaning bathrooms.   It seems these chores that seemingly never end and never cross a finish line continuously plague me.   I so want to be grateful for the mundane moments of life, not just the magnificent ones.  I struggle with the repetitiveness of reality I guess.   What should be easy is hard because it endlessly repeats.

       So on dreary rainy days like today, all I really want is to go to my HAPPY PLACE.   I realize for everyone it’s different but for me, it really is being in a crowd at a U2 concert as close to the front as possible.   For folks that aren’t U2 fans or haven’t seen them in concert it’s nearly impossible to describe. 

      The only way I can describe it is a cross between a rock concert and a service in a beautiful cathedral, peppered with some mind-blowing technology.  Your eyes and ears are in sensory-heaven!  Everyone around you will seem like the happiest people on the planet.  That’s because they are!  At least, for the moment!

      People that are shy, people with bad singing voices and smiling bright faces will all sing and sound beautiful in unison.  It’s for one simple reason.  U2 simply puts on the best concert out there.  The band, the audience, and the music just kind of meld together into some kind of surreal atmosphere that can only be described as magic!  You WILL forget you ever had worries in the first place.   

       Perhaps the biggest take away lesson I learned from my three and only three U2 concerts is this:

I want to dream out loud!

     Yes, full-out dreaming out loud in Technicolor and 3D surround sound! 

      Here me right, this isn’t just, “Oh I have a fantasy that if life were perfect I’d (fill in the blank)”   No! Dreaming out loud requires a game plan, a plan that requires time, discipline, and action.

     The thing is we all work, and most of us if asked if we liked what we do would say, “Um, it’s okay” with as much enthusiasm as we can muster.  Remember, most jobs last for years, yes, decades even!  Maybe you’re one of the lucky ones and are exactly right where you should be and you wouldn’t change a thing.  If so, good for you, and keep doing what works for you.  Yet maybe you’ve got something scratching your brain that there is something more in the plans for you, but what exactly??.

Am I bugging you?  I don’t mean to bug ya!

   If you’re feeling any of the same symptoms, don’t panic.  It’s not necessarily a mid-life crisis.  It may just be the seeds of creativity or change are starting to bloom somewhere inside of you, and you’re desperately trying to find water.  

       Going to a U2 show under a U2 open sky will do this weird thing to you.  It will make you want to be more than you are.  It will make you want to get lost in the sound and come out with a need to do or create:

Take a paintbrush to canvass

Write words

Build something amazing

Take a picture like no one’s ever seen

Sculpt something with your hands

Run a marathon

Climb a mountain

See other people in other cultures and countries

Help another human in a way you’ve never done before

      What is your dream?  Are you working on it?  Even U2 started out as four young boys in Larry Mullen’s kitchen in Dublin after he put up a flyer looking to start a band.     The rest as they say is history.

      But it started with a dream—a  dream that the whole team worked at, honed their skills together and separately, studied, failed sometimes– but always with a refusal to quit, and a willingness and open mind to go in new directions, to follow where the Spirit leads.

       I say, leave fear behind, step into the sound, and go towards the light and then magnify all that is waiting for you to behold.  Go ahead; dream out loud!

 

You are invited to the Happy Place.  Enter here: 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IJBjCHEd0Dw

Galatians 5:13 For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.

Colossians 3:23-24 Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.

I woke up knowing today I would have slightly less freedom because I had to go to work.  I won’t have the luxury of time to focus on my writing. The thing is, I work part time for myself.   Better stated, I work kind of for myself and kind of my clients.  I clean houses.

It’s actually fun.  It’s flexible. Best of all, it lets me determine who I want to work for, when I want to work,  and for how long.  Though I can’t seem to meet my own standards in my household, in terms of organization and cleanliness, cleaning other people’s houses gives me a certain freedom…..in  a restrained sort of way.

See, I still have to show up and honor my commitments.  I still have to do the best job I can, just like if I worked in private industry (I used to work at a major airlines) or for the government (I used to be a teacher’s assistant).    I have the flexibility of picking my start times, working around my kids’ events, and best of all listening to whatever I want.   Sometimes it’s talk radio, a certain 2 letter/digit band, or any variety of music deemed My Favorites which ranges from classical, 1940s,  Christian/Gospel, contemporary, musical theater, country.  You name it; I listen to it.

Here’s the thing.  When I clean, I’m also learning about our current events and political viewpoints and divisions as they occur. If that depresses me, then I switch gears and listen to music that soothes and inspires my soul.  It’s a great job.  I’m working for others helping them have a cleaner home, and hopefully reducing some of their stress and feelings of being overwhelmed in this busy world of managing family, careers, activities, and our own dreams.I’m also working for me!  I’m earning some money, while having the luxury of having time to think or pray for or plan what I want to do with my life.  I also spend a lot of time thinking and praying for others.   I get to self-determine how my future will look, and who I want to be.

Or do I?  I’ve had plenty of time to mull this question over the last few years.  No, scratch that; the last few decades actually!  But I’ve been more acutely aware the last few years, I suppose, while having vast amounts of work time that is seldom interrupted by other people.   The thing is, whether I work at a “place of employment” or “work for myself” I’ve still got a boss.  It could be that jerk down the hall, or it could be that slacker I sometimes refer to as ME.

But beyond earthly bosses of all kinds of temperaments and expectations, we also serve someone else.  After all, where does motivation, or lack there of, come from?  Where does our imagination of how things could or ought to be originate?  Somewhere deep down, we intuitively know, we are working for more than just a paycheck or a position.  We work (in whatever capacity you define work) for someone.

Bob Dylan sang it best; You’re Gonna Have to Serve Somebody.  Who do you work for?   How do you serve?  Do you believe you are “working all things as if unto the Lord” knowing someone bigger is in charge of your life?  Or does it seem you work just for you and you alone are responsible for figuring it all out; paying the bills, planning correctly for a hopefully, if all cards are played right, prosperous future?  Or does it seem like to get ahead, you will have to “sell your soul” so to speak to reach your financial or professional goals?

Rats!  It’s time for me to stop writing and actually go out and work a few hours in the world.  Time goes by too fast, when we’re working at something we love, and often too slowly when we’re working outside of our realm of joy.  And even though the best jobs are never a state of constant bliss (there is a reason it’s called “work”), I guess for me, it helps knowing that wherever my brain, hands, and feet are toiling today, I have a pretty awesome Boss who wants what is good for me.  If you’re feeling stuck today in a job that doesn’t give you joy, I pray you’ll at least find some time to reflect on who your Boss is, get quiet for a little while, and listen to those small stirrings in your soul of what might just bring honor and glory to you both!

Gotta Serve Somebody – Bob Dylan

Partial Lyrics—Full Lyrics available at:

http://www.bobdylan.com/us/songs/gotta-serve-somebody

 

You may be a preacher with your spiritual pride
You may be a city councilman taking bribes on the side
You may be working in a barbershop, you may know how to cut hair
You may be somebody’s mistress, may be somebody’s heir.

But you’re gonna have to serve somebody, yes
You’re gonna have to serve somebody,
Well, it may be the devil or it may be the Lord
But you’re gonna have to serve somebody.

Might like to wear cotton, might like to wear silk
Might like to drink whiskey, might like to drink milk
You might like to eat caviar, you might like to eat bread
You may be sleeping on the floor, sleeping in a king-sized bed.

But you’re gonna have to serve somebody, yes indeed
You’re gonna have to serve somebody,
It may be the devil or it may be the Lord
But you’re gonna have to serve somebody.

Hello world!

Posted: May 22, 2012 in Uncategorized
Tags: ,

Today, I decided to write a few words.  So first I looked for some words about words.  These are just a few quotes that seemed to stick to my soul.  Hi!  My name is Liz.   I have much to be grateful for.   These were the words that aligned with my soul today.  I’m ready….to take the plunge into the unknown and start blogging!  Enjoy!

Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart.  ~William Wordsworth

The role of a writer is not to say what we all can say, but what we are unable to say.  ~Anaïs Nin

And by the way, everything in life is writable about if you have the outgoing guts to do it, and the imagination to improvise.  The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt.  ~Sylvia Plath

Ink on paper is as beautiful to me as flowers on the mountains; God composes, why shouldn’t we?  ~Terri Guillemets


If I don’t write to empty my mind, I go mad.  ~Lord Byron