Tuesday, December 17, 2013

God in Me. God in You, You, You, and You Too.

On Sunday, my daughter got on a plane and flew to the other side of the country. This is the farthest she has ever been away from me. She's never flown without me. The last time we were this far apart, I was in Las Vegas, and she was reading Harry Potter. That was nine years and one child ago. My reason for sharing that is: My world is a bit off-kilter, and I am using that as an excuse for bad skin, unexplained crying, crappy eating, not working out, and this is starting to sound a lot like pms...

Anyway, that wasn't my point for writing. My point was this: I have been reading this awesome series (and if you have a penchant for self-awareness or just appreciate great writing, you should read it as well) and every day little granules of truth plunk me in the head.

Most recently I've been overthinking how we all process the same things so very differently. In my family of origin, if you ask each of us to describe the same event, you'd get five different stories. When my other two brothers were alive, their stories would be different still. Add in my parents' views and you'd have even more. Each person firmly believes his or her version is the truth. Many of them were the hero in their version. But, it's kind of like this:

Remember the time:
No, that's not how it happened. It was like this...
OHHHH yeah, but then you said...
No, that's close, but I said...
You did not...
She wasn't even there...
Were you even there?
Oh, I remember, we were having Neopolitan dinner dish...

Even though we experienced a lot of the same things (we all lost our brothers and our dad), each of us walked away--except the two who didn't--with different scars, stories, and memories. A few weeks ago one sibling summed up another sibling's behavior with, "That's just how he processed the shit that happened to us. We all dealt with it differently."

I recently read Carry On, Warrior, and my biggest take away was her description of "Namaste," acknowledging that the divine in us recognizes the divine in those we meet. That was bigger than a granule, it was like a rock on the head. God in me; God in you.

Ughhhhhh...we all process it differently...we all have the same God in us...My daughter's on the other side of the world, and I have pms, OBVIOUSLY...

God is in my brother. He is in my mom. He is in that person who annoys the CRAP out of you. He is in the guy who cut you off in traffic. I'm not entirely convinced that there is the same amount of God in everyone...I'm kidding; calm down. God is in the Fed Ex driver that can't find my house--dude...really? God is in the union guy that calls my husband at 1:00 a.m. and drags him out of our warm bed. He is in your boss. He is in the four disgruntled old ladies who complain the entire time in line. He's in your kids. He's in your mother in law. He's in that homeless man, and you walked to the other side of the street to avoid him.

It is not my job to fix you, nor are you called to fix me. I may not change the world, but I can love and accept you and me as God loves and accepts us both. We might never be best friends, but I will see past your humanness and look for your divinity. Today my prayer is to step out of my own way as the divine in me reaches out to the divine in you.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Mowana, Magic, and Monday

Snow is not my deal. I don't like to be cold, so I politely decline to make snowmen, ride sleds, ski, or ice skate. Well, I have ice skated on occasion. It's rare. Mostly, when the kids want to play outside, it's on Daddy. Granted, in my overachieving 20's and and early 30's, I suffered through these activities, but not now. My kids know I love them; I don't have to get my toes frostbitten to prove how much.

However, this past weekend, we attended Making Room for Jesus at Camp Mowana*, and my snow perspective shifted a bit. We hiked through beautiful, picturesque, landscapes; every picture I took looked like a Christmas card. Okay, I still had frozen toes and skipped sled riding and the second hike, but for awhile, it was pretty amazing.

In those quiet, still, cold, and beautiful moments, God felt so close. It is easy to feel close to God when you remove the pressures of daily life. No tv's, ipads, xboxes, or computers, but no one gets bored. Kids play chess, hike, color and make crafts. Moms had great conversations, Bible studies, and spent time in prayer, fellowship, and worship.

It is one of those places where God is just so near. You know? You can feel His presence. You are calm. You are centered.

The bad thing about going to those places is that then you come back home. Home to dog hair--seriously, IT'S DECEMBER! ENOUGH ALL READY. Home to migraines and tummy aches and another day off school. Home to "Are you done with your Christmas shopping yet?" I HAVEN'T EVEN STARTED. Home to whining and bickering and sickness and cooking dinner and shopping, and did I mention the freaking dog hair?

Just yesterday, I felt so calm, centered, close to God. Well, I was close to Him this morning as I yell-prayed, "Please LORD, I have so much to do. PLEASE, Lord, no more headaches. NO MORE STOMACHACHES. PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE." And God said, "No."

But in His no, He reminded me that cleaning, working, writing, scrubbing, gifting, shopping, cooking, and stressing can wait. Stop, look around, and embrace the magic in the moments that you are forced to be still. It's not about going away to find Jesus in a perfect, beautiful place. Sure, that's great and wonderful, but it's really about making room for Him in my messy house, cluttered mind, and imperfect life.

It's about shifts in perspective. It's about seeing the obstacles as opportunities. I didn't make it to the gym Monday, but I got to spend the afternoon watching movies with my sweet boy. I'm not going to finish my shopping today, but I get to hold my snuggly littlest all day. I'm not going to spend as much time this holiday with my precious firstborn, but she is going to have an amazing experience on the west coast.

Today, Lord, I'm thankful for messed up plans and the magical opportunities they present. I'm thankful for the ability to see You not only in the picture perfect beauty of Mowana, but also in the messy chaotic beauty on North Park. I'm not thankful for dog hair, but I'm a work in progress. Amen.

* We are not Lutheran, but our good friends are. Also, the camp is more loving Jesus, less being Lutheran.