About Me, California, Family, Meaning, Narrative Theology, Ramblings, Resurrection

I know the future. I ignore the future.

This is not unrelated to what I wrote a few days back.

The last few months have been a bit of a blurry season with a lot of travel, additional projects our family has taken on, and the regular rigamarole of the days between Spring and Summer.

I was in a conversation with some friends the other week about meaning, happiness, fulfillment, and the rhythms of life. We talked about work-life balance, finding joy in everyday moments, and navigating the frustrations of various seasons of life (a lot of them involving the complexity and noise of life with little kids).

It struck me that despite the present feeling fuzzy and complicated, the future is crystal clear.

One day I will wonder why I worked so much.
One day I will wonder why I didn’t spend more time with my family.
One day I will wonder why I spent so much time feeling stress from artificial or actual deadlines.
One day I will look back with both fondness and regret for the season I wake up to every morning.

I know the future, a beacon warning ships away from a dangerous coastline.
I ignore the future, a whisper of what will be but need not be.

Bronnie Ware was a palliative care nurse who spent time caring for those in their last stage of life and chronicled the five most common regrets people had looking back on their life:

  • I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.
  • I wish I hadn’t worked so hard.
  • I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.
  • I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.
  • I wish that I had let myself be happier.

We know the future.
May we not ignore the future.

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About Me, Brokenhearted Theology, Leadership, Meaning, Narrative Theology, Ramblings, Resurrection

And may I never, never, never grow so old again

I awoke early this morning, hoping to catch some time of quiet reading before the inevitable wave of chaos, volume, and wonder that is our kids waking up. I grabbed some leftover coffee I stashed in the fridge, opened a window, and sat in my favorite chair with a book.

In silence easy
To be born again
To be born again

About a half a second later our youngest woke up, ready to be “out! done!”

I went to help him out of his crib and thought maybe he’d play quietly while I read a bit. But it was time for “milk! milk!” And so I got him some milk.

And then it was time for “dance! dance!”

It was definitely not time for “dance, dance.” It was time for quiet, silence, coffee, and a book.

But he was insistent. He leaned in, patted the carpet where we have our family dance parties, did a few spins and leaned in again – “dance!”

So I popped on Astral Weeks and we danced.

You turn around you turn around you turn around you turn around
And I’m beside you
Beside you, oh child
To never never wonder why at all

As we danced, our oldest awoke and ran out, smiling and laughing. Within a minute we were all on our backs doing bicycle kicks. It was impossible not to laugh, smile, and find joy.

It was the best of all possible mornings, but when Krissy returned from her early morning working at a coffee shop, I had already entered a space of forgetful frustration:

“The boys have been cranky since they woke up.”

Looking back from the vantage point of this afternoon, it’s a slow release of silent and spoken curses and regrets. But also a glimmer of grace as I remember and solidify the true reality of this morning’s magic.

You breathe in you breathe out you breathe in you breathe out you breath in
you breathe out you breathe in you breathe out

And I will never, never, never

Grow so old again.

God, help me never, never, never grow so old again that I miss these morning moments.

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About Me, Books, Brokenhearted Theology, Meaning, Peacemaking, Pedagogy, Quotes, Reading Reflections, Resurrection

Do You Trust Your Own Soul To Speak Truth?

parker-palmer-black-and-whiteOver the last few months, I’ve been reading Parker Palmer’s A Hidden Wholeness: The Journey Toward an Undivided Life. I often read books quickly: skimming for ideas and thoughts that will stir creativity, capturing the big picture while discarding the rest.

A Hidden Wholeness has taken me over a year to get through (I actually found a coffee shop receipt from the day I started reading – July 8, 2013). It hasn’t taken me this long because the book is long or dense (it’s not) but because it’s deep and provocative.

Palmer’s premise rests on the idea that there is an undivided and integrated life within our grasp if only we make space to listen to and trust our soul. In contrast to life lived in wholeness and integration, Palmer speaks of the “lost ones:”

The lost ones [those who have become divided from their very soul/self] come from every walk of life: clergy and corporate executives, politicians and people on the street, celebrities and schoolchildren. Some of us fear that we, or those we love, will become lost in the storm. Some are lost at this moment and are trying to find the way home. Some are lost without knowing it. (1)

Rather than listening to our soul – the voice within – we’ve been taught to deny, ignore, betray, silence, and withhold trust from that sacred space inside. And yet Palmer says “we can reclaim our lives only by choosing to live divided no more…a choice so daunting that we are unlikely to make it until our pain becomes unbearable, the pain that comes from denying or defying true self” (37).

In order to hear, listen, and trust our soul and move towards integration, an undivided life, Palmer suggests practices that can move us forward on this journey (none of which are quick, easy, cure-all gimmicks or sales pitches):

  • Believing that within our soul resides a wise teacher.
  • Finding community which allows us to speak and be heard, a space Palmer calls “being alone together.”
  • Listening deeply and engaging creative exercise that further deepens our listening.

A few years ago I began some serious wrestling with the notion of original sin, and specifically the way that idea has shaped and formed the way I perceive my own value and worth. In this piece, I asked if we are children of God or children of the devil, and if there is a way we can be both? Here’s a snippet of that inner-dialogue, which gets to the heart of what Parker Palmer addresses in A Hidden Wholeness:

Are we born children of the devil? Utterly depraved. No good thing – no good thought! – can come from us. We are reprehensible monsters, not only capable but destined for evil. Our ancestors were created in God’s image, indeed, but that image has been so shattered and tattered that we dare not even think about it lest we find ourselves trapped in our overconfident arrogant state. There is nothing in us worth redeeming, making the grace of redemption nearly unbelievable.

Are we born children of God? Created as things of beauty, reflecting our creator’s own image. Unique amongst all creation with magnificent potential, bringing unmatched joy and satisfaction to God. Through no fault of our own as well as through terrible faults of our own, this image is distorted, faded, and shadowed. But, at our core, this image can still shine through, reminding us and others of the created glory and beauty of all humanity awaiting redemption. There is something in us worth redeeming, marked for redemption by the unmistakable grace of creation.

I’ve continued to ask these questions and wrestle with these ideas without coming away with a simple answer, but I’ve found deep hope in the asking and wrestling. And as I’ve come to appreciate, trust, and listen to my own soul – trusting my created-ness – I’ve found myself better attuned to listen and trust in the Creator and Jesus, the firstborn of Creation.

I’d be curious to hear from you:

(How) Do you care for your soul?
(How) Do you create space for your soul to be heard?
(How) Do you trust your own soul to speak truth?

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About Me, California, DIY, Food, Ramblings, the Ridiculous

Turning Green Beans Into Coffee (My First Shot at Coffee Roasting)

After a friend of mine had a strange dream in which I requested her help to make coffee using canned green beans and rice and another friend made me an excellent cup of coffee using his home-roasted beans, I decided to buy some green beans (coffee beans, though, not the Jolly Green Giant variety) and attempt to roast them.

After receiving many recommendations to roast outdoors because of the smell, being the contrarian that I am decided to roast inside using the oven roasting method outlined here – partially because I didn’t think it could smell that bad and also because I didn’t feel like getting out our backpacking stove (because, you know, that would be so much work).

While I’m not sure my coffee beans will be any good (they are a bit light and uneven because I tried roasting too many at once), the house didn’t end up smelling too bad. And I didn’t burn anything down.

Here’s the process in pictures:

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About Me, Brokenhearted Theology, California, Ramblings, Relational

Fences

As I walked through our neighborhood last night, I was struck by the vast amount of fences.  More high fences than low fences.  More steel fences than picket fences.  Fences, I surmise, designed more to keep things out rather than to keep things in.

When were these fences put up?  After the riots in the early 90s, or much earlier than that?  Likely sometime after my neighborhood transitioned from a semi-wealthy suburban university neighborhood to a highly diverse, low-income urban neighborhood.  Did they all go up at once, or was it a slow entrance of these metallic barriers?

I could not help but wonder what my street would feel like if all the fences were taken down.  Our house is one of the few without a metal fence.  We do, however, have a small waist-high wooden picket fence.  True to the rest of our neighborhood, the front gate had been boarded shut to (in)effectively seal off our tiny front yard from the sidewalk.  Some months after we moved in, we ripped out the boards and opened the gates.

Now I want to rip down the fence entirely.  It serves no good purpose.

Let the dogs come in.  Let the kids run through. Let our street look like a place to live rather than a place to hide.

Maybe we can be neighbors instead of strangers.

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About Me, Bivocational, Brokenhearted Theology, Meaning, Ministry, Ramblings, Relational

Other Things I’m Over (that I should not be over)

Yesterday I posted about “being over” the American Dream. It was a bit of a ridiculous post, but something I have been thinking about for a while as the nation works itself into a frenzy approaching next week’s election.

On a lighter (kind of) note, I have realized that in the past few months I have “gotten over” a few other things, including:

  1. Reading books for fun.
  2. Cleaning the house.
  3. Not drinking coffee.
  4. Riding my bike.
  5. Not getting stressed out about holidays.
  6. Growing vegetables in the backyard.
  7. Meeting new people.

In other words, I feel that I am a bit unbalanced lately. Unlike the American Dream (which I am really over), I hope that I get over being over these things.  Sooner rather than later.  Feel free to recommend any ideas you have for how I might go about adding more hours to the day.

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