Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Recovering Identity

After a weekend of being haunted by fits of sadness and anger, I entered Monday with little sense of identity or purpose. My heart was saying, “I’m not sure who I am anymore, and I’m not sure it matters.” Obviously this was a toxic mixture of sadness, confusion and a little anger.
As I got ready for work that day, I felt very “off.” I was easily irritated and overwhelmed. I was just trying to get out the door, and if I could manage that, I would try to put the pieces together later when I had time and space to do it. In the process of hurrying out the door, I forgot my wallet at home, which is something I’ve never done before. Realizing it as soon as I pulled in to work, I scrambled for a few seconds trying to figure out what to do. Frustrated and ashamed, I texted my wife to see if she could bring it to me sometime during the day before I had to drive again. I felt awful interrupting her day with this. Her homeschooling and housekeeping are more than full time jobs!
My delightfully gracious wife, Cheri, brought me my wallet a little later, without a hint of annoyance or frustration with me (which is what I expected, since I felt a great deal of annoyance with myself). Instead, she empathized with my frustration and validated me. As she left I felt very thankful that she loved me that much – to bring it to me without any hint of shame or annoyance, but simply because she loves me. At that moment my question had been answered, my ID returned – I am one who is loved and cared for.
My situation was symbolic of the inner realities I was experiencing. I left home without much sense of identity, and if a police officer would have happened to have stopped me, I would not have been able to legally prove who I was. I was “driven” by confusion and pain, no longer sure of who I was. An act of incredible God-like kindness woke me up and restored my sense of self, my sense of identity. Cheri didn’t just bring my wallet which happened to contain my I.D. - she brought me a much greater gift: she brought me radical grace which provided me the space to receive who I was again, in a humble receptive posture before the Lord Jesus.
In the Kingdom of God as a disciple of Jesus, I am one who is, and always will be, loved and cared for. This is something I continue to learn as each situation of my life filters through the loving and brilliant hands of my Jesus my Master.

Wednesday, March 02, 2016

To Birds Gone Bye

[Last week I said goodbye to the hundreds of thousands of Robins and other birds that had migrated to the small forest behind our complex. For three months their sheer numbers and artistry in the sky have entranced me. Then all of a sudden, they were gone. I knew it was coming, but dreaded it. I had to mourn the loss of this unique display of beauty, one that we’ve never seen before. Every morning about thirty minutes before sunrise they would take off in massive rivers piercing the dawning sky, a process that would take ten minutes because of their sheer numbers. Every sunset they would return, flooding the trees with their song and stories. As soon as the sun was set, they had all nested in the trees further back, still making noise but no longer seen.

It’s amazing how I can hear the unique individual bird calls now that were drowned out by the Robins. I am learning to see God not just in the massive flocks but once again in the single bird; not just in the big and impressive but in the simple, quiet presence of one or two things. Every day this week the Lord has sent Rabbits to accompany me on my walks, a scampering reminder of the tenderness caring for our world.

Anyway, I decided to write a goodbye poem to the birds. Until next time, compadres.]

The sky seems
so empty
so quiet

I’ve grown
to the sounds
to the sights
of thousands upon thousands
overflowing artistry
weaving skillfully
slicing through
God’s atmosphere


But this is the migratory way,
the turning of the seasons
from emptiness to fullness
and back again
and again
and again.