Hey. Let’s all take a deep breathe together, shall we? Don’t speak. Don’t complain. Can we all, just for a second, sit together in silence? Can we take a moment to just be together? Yes, because when we do that – we take a moment in the quiet and see each other for what we really are – brothers and sisters. When we look each other in the eyes, and see each other’s hearts, we can’t hide anymore. We can’t call each other names or judge each other – we just see each other. For the love of Pete, stop posting mean things on Facebook. OVER IT.
It’s been a hard little while, hasn’t it? Let’s just be real about it – life is hard. There won’t be a time in the history of a broken world where we aren’t just that: broken. So let’s realize that hard will always be here, but what do we know about that? There is always good and hard. They are never separate.
“In church on Sunday we participate in a liturgy – a ritualized way of worship – that we repeat each week and by which we are transformed. Even those traditions that claim to be freeform or nonliturgical include practices and patterns in worship. Therefore, the question is not whether we have a liturgy. The question is, ‘What kind of people is our liturgy forming us to be?’” (Liturgy of the Ordinary, 30-31)
I’m reading this new book (if you need a recommendation here it is), Liturgy of the Ordinary. It takes the daily activities of our lives (waking up, brushing our teeth, eating leftovers, checking email, etc.) and transforms them into spiritual practices with deep meaning. Overall, it is a reminder that every small part of our lives is important. Everything has meaning.
I’ve been particularly struck by the quote above, specifically the final lines: “The question is not whether we have a liturgy. The question is, ‘What kind of people is our liturgy forming us to be?’”
A few months ago a friend was dealing with a difficult situation. I won’t go into detail because it’s her situation, not mine (sorry not sorry, you nosey people!). It was one of those moments where I asked her how she was, and she just burst into tears like she couldn’t hold it all in one more moment. She explained the situation, and then talked about how in the midst of it everyone and their mom (my exaggeration, not hers) had an opinion about it. Isn’t that the way it goes? Everyone always has an opinion. And sometimes those opinions are less than helpful.
All she really needed was someone to listen, a shoulder to cry on, and probably a big glass of red wine. And a cheese plate. We always need a cheese plate.
A few days later, I texted her just to tell her I was praying for her, and added at the end: #imwith___ (insert friend’s name here. Anonymity is my specialty, ok?) Yes, this was inspired by Hillary Clinton’s campaign slogan. Don’t freak out.
Since then, I have loved this idea. No matter the situation, no matter what someone is going through, that is I want them to know above all else. I’m with you.
So we are entering into New Years season; I hope you are prepared for everyone to be screaming, “new year, new you!” at you with their peppy workout plans and Instagram goals. In all seriousness though, I’m all about goal setting, and I love thinking about new themes for new years. If I am around you anytime in the next month, expect me to ask you about that.
But this year something feels different, a little deeper. God has been walking me out of a season of burnout, and into a season of living fully alive. He has asked me to give up some things, some easy and some much harder. But I am choosing to say the hard no in order to experience the new yeses He has for me in the future. I have no idea what these new yeses are, other than a few hatching dreams, which is the beauty of this newness. And when I realized and admitted that saying no feels a whole lot like quitting or failure, He said it again: “No, I am inviting you into a new season.”
Well friends, it is our last week of Advent. (As far as the Christmas season goes.) The final theme is LOVE. I have been contemplating how crazy it is to be loved.
Then I think of that song that says, “It’s not unusual to be loved by anyone.” I think it’s dumb. Maybe I am not understanding what he is going for, but it seems nuts to me. I mean seriously, it is INSANE to be loved by anyone. It is actually mind-blowing.
Here is a silly little example: Every time someone calls me Kal, my heart could just actually burst. I lose it because I feel known and loved.
I’ll be honest; I’m struggling with JOY.
Remember the first week of Advent where I said of the weekly themes (Hope, Peace, JOY, Love): “In the church we toss these words at people like fuzzy blankets, all happy and glittery. In reality they have depth and strength to them that are highly underrated”? Gosh. I keep coming back to that. This world is messy and hard and broken. I mean seriously – my heart is breaking over Aleppo. Not to mention all the other heart wrenching events of this year. And JOY – it seems the most fuzzy and glittery of them all.
Advent week two! Updates: Still single. Still ready to go home. (In case you were wondering.)
The second theme of Advent is peace. Peace has been a major topic of conversation in my home, you will find out later why that is.
As I have been pondering peace and looking into the difference between the world’s idea of peace and the Christian understanding of peace, I came across something very interesting. From a Biblical standpoint on peace, there will never be peace without justice.
We can find hope right here and now; we can make it a practice in our everyday lives. And we can hope for a better future, both in our lives here on earth and when Jesus comes back.
I’ve been sick this week (darn November colds), and so not a lot of energy to write. So here is something I wrote a little while ago, a prayer for my mornings. A prayer to cover my day, to help me begin well. Pray it over your Friday? I pray for today to be […]
The eleven-year-old sixth grader got into the car, slammed the door shut, and sat in silence. I tried to make conversation but she clearly was not having any of it. In silence, we drove to pick up her two younger siblings from their school. When we all arrived back at their house, she ran up […]