Monday, April 29, 2013

Transcendance Movement One- stuck

depravity- a nature of isolation

stuck


something stuck deep within
can’t name it, can’t label it.
it keeps me isolated
from you and from the world.

burrowing deeper and deeper
can’t catch it, can’t stop it.
digging into my soul
causing my increased pain.

attacking me at core
can’t give word, can’t give warning.
keeps me warm in hate
utterly alone to wait.

help me get it out
can’t grab hold, can’t excavate.
stuck in agony
underneath an unknown pain.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Story- Take Two...

***  This is the post that I had intended to post last week right as the events in Boston were unfolding.  The rest of the week was really intense on many fronts and so today I want to share some thoughts on story.  I do believe the stories we believe and tell greatly impact the direction our lives go in.  My guess is that I will probably do a series of posts on this idea, in due time.  Enjoy!***


I often spout off with critique about the culture that is surrounding us, but today I have a different sort of perspective to offer up about the times we are living in.  I have seen a revival of more layered storytelling in all of the arts and it is most certainly very exciting to me.  Story is my passion.  My story, another individual’s story, community story, spiritual story, national story, global story.  I love story via song or silence, via image or tone, via poetry or prose, via movement or stillness.

I will let you in on a little secret. I just kind of landed in children’s ministry, it was never where I intended to go.  I am glad for the diversion because I learned so much during that season and I know that there was purpose in that time.  I was searching to understand my story and just fell into my first vocational ministry job at the tender age of almost 20.  Take that in for a minute...I was only 20 when I was charged with the spiritual education of young people...and 20-ish at that, still a babe myself.  I was there for a minute before I fell in love with my work.  I had experience as a nanny, a preschool aid, and a youth leader, so I loved combining those skills into a patchwork quilt that covered me with God’ grace during what ended up being a 10 year career.  I was good at what I was helping to create, but it was not my passion.  What I loved about my work was understanding story.  Teaching story.  Listening to story.  Inspiring story for someone else.

And then I could not deny I was aching to go off to write more of my own story, so while struggling with infertility, I went to half time work in order to have more time for writing, or school, or adoption, or child-rearing, or something that I was not quite sure of yet; but I knew I needed more space for my story in the next season of my life.  Nothing changed right away, but over the course of many years I found my groove and travelled through the unfolding of my life, my marriage, and eventually my family blessed with three incredible little people who showed up with their own stories aching to be experienced.

I have had to daily disciple my narcissistic heart to honor my own story but keep it in perspective, so I don’t miss a person who wants to share their story with me.  I actually kind of suck at that level of intuitiveness and sensitivity most of the time... but some days I get it right and the older I get the more days I get to experience someone around me entrusting me with a glimpse into their heart story.  That is were the good stuff is now isn’t it. 

We all have a story that we carry with us and conventional wisdom suggests that the story gets written for us and we just need to accept it and go on our way through life, doing the best we can with what narrative we were given.  I now believe that is only half of the story.  We are born into a distinct time with caregivers, resources, or geography we don’t get to choose, yet we can write our own revision of the narrative we were given and we can change the direction of our path.  I know this first hand.  My story has neglect, abuse, misuse, and isolation woven into the seams, but it also has hope, unconditional love, and community reinforcing the very structure of my tapestry.  How I feel, what I choose, how I behave, where I spend my resources and my time are all greatly impacted by the degree in which I can hold in integration all of the dynamics of my story.  The bad experiences are as powerful as the good experiences, but no single experience deserves to overshadow all of the others.  When I can see my story as a whole entity... good with the bad, struggle with the triumph, success with the failure I can live in the middle of my center.  That is what I believe I am supposed to be doing... living in my center so that I can be expectant and open to the story God wants to tell through my story.  Jesus was the ultimate story teller...teller of his own story, teller of the love and peace that passes all understanding that brought the story of humanity to climax and ultimately to an ending that works really well for us depraved souls.

I choose to embrace story, to pay attention to the stories swirling around me, and celebrate this amazing art form.  I hope you have a day with some excellent story woven in and through it!

Monday, April 22, 2013

Transcendance Movement One

depravity- a nature of isolation


survival

wasteland within my soul 
complete emptiness
a compulsion to purge reality
disguise rage
numb pain
deny the mistake
leaving disconnection to reign

Friday, April 19, 2013

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Story

Life has once again interrupted the flow of this blog space and today I take rest and remember the stories that were shattered and the stories that were ended so cruelly in Boston on Monday.  My heart aches for all those effected, for the destruction, and for the evil.  Many stories of the tragedy are already being shared and we as the public have new visual imagery seared into our souls along with the eye witness accounts.  I mourn with those who are feeling devastated and I am wrestling with intense fear of the unknown and anger towards an enemy yet unseen.

Interestingly enough my original post for today was about the need for storytelling in our time and I'll post it another day.  I do still want to pause on the idea of story and share this:

I will choose with all I have within me to remember the stories of heroism and hospitality yesterday.  I choose to store in my memory the first responders running towards the blasts to help.  Lives were saved because of their acts of courage.  I choose to celebrate the the professional and the amateur athletes that are an inspiration for us all.  I choose patience for more facts to be evident and I choose prayer as my posture.  I will shield my children as best I can and hold those I love a little tighter and express kindness a little more freely.  Evil is too big an enemy for me to conquer, so I will stick to battle the darkness within me until the better angel of my nature is more evident then my depravity.  And with a whole lot of grace, life will move forward.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Transcendance

It's been a tad funny that my blog has had very little poetry in it for the past years.  I have often felt like I  might not be accurately portraying my writing, but every time I was tempted to change the name, two things would happen:

1.   I would remind myself that I try and live poetically, so as long as I'm recording the rhythm of life the name still makes sense.

and...

2.  I would hope for a day when I was no longer laced with fear to share my poetry, so I guess the title of my blog held a space for one of my most tender dreams.

And now it is time to do this.  I want to add a series that shares some of my poetry.  I hope to be courageous enough to share weekly at least while I share this first bit of work.

I wrote Transcendance as series of short poems years ago, during my time of infertility and so it deals with the spirituality, doubt, and reconciliation.  I wrote it in four movements:

depravity
a nature of isolation

despair
a response to depravity

question
the bridge from despair to hope

encounter
hope embraced

I am purposeful in the misspelling of the piece and I have struggled with this bit of creation for a good long period of time.  I have gone back and forth trying to decide whether I wanted to add visual imagery to these words and in the end I have decided to keep it barren, as a way to honor the season in which I first began this work.  

I think that I am sharing this now because I am craving beauty and rhythm in the middle of all of the social issues tugging at my heart.  I want to start my weeks with poetry and end with photography so that I can sandwich my prose responses to the world or my recording of family life in between two bookends of beauty.  I hope this works!

So for today an introduction:

my heart

i feel myself held back by my own heart
it's beating betrays me to my humanity
reveals me broken in need of redemption
and unearths my resistance to movement

oh how i wish my beating heart would transcend
bring my living beyond my own life
capturing the rhytthm of your truth with my presence
your grace with each day i begin



Friday, April 12, 2013

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Some Blog Business

Okay, so now there are more people reading this blog...it's not just my mother and husband anymore so I just want to share a few things about this here o' blog:

1. I finally updated my labels and have added the categories to the left panel of my blog.
2.  I added most popular posts to the right panel.
3.  I just updated my photography site so click through the link on the left panel if you are interested.
4.  I'm going to start two new series, one for my photography and one for my poetry.  I am hoping to make it a weekly thing for a while, but we will see!

For those of you reading via my feed...please click through and check out the updates.  For everyone... send me some love or critique via comments.  I see you...

Monday, April 8, 2013

My Inspiration These Days

I'm feeling a bit worn out right now because my blog has been a tad on the heavy, linear side and I want to shake things up a bit.   I thought I would share with you what is making my life light up right now... so enjoy:

Books:
1.  The Divergent Trilogy-  I'm on book two and I'm pacing myself because book three doesn't come out until the fall.

2.  The Year of Biblical Womanhood-  One amazing read.  Rachel was spot on and showed such integrity and humor in how she approached the issue of gender equality in the American church.

3. The Homekeeping Handbook-  While I was reading the book above this book was mentioned a couple of times and I became curious, so I trekked out to my local library and checked it out.  This book is filled with little treasures.

Movies:
1. Lincoln


2. Les Miserables


3. The Mirror Has Two Faces-  An oldie but goodie.
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0117057/

For My Kids:
1.  The Jesus Storybook Bible-  We've loved this book for years... loved it so much that both of our copies needed emergency repair services last week.  Now that's a well loved book!

2. Abraham Lincoln and the Heart of America-  By Jim Weiss... one of the best storytellers I've ever heard!
3.  Thomas Jefferson's America- Also by Jim Weiss...We love his art!

Music:
1. This:

2.  Night Swimming:

3.  Could Not Resist:

Friday, April 5, 2013

The Wall and Why it Matters


I had this very skillfully written essay crafted to dive into the controversial waters of the big issues of marriage equality and it was very articulate.  It was also very divisive with unbridled ego chest banging and gnashing of teeth.  I was chastising those within the church for the unkind arrogance and I was verbally attacking the more progressive thinkers in and outside of the church for their righteous indignation.  I bemoaned the way the politicians on both sides of the aisle are not being helpful and it was poetic.  But as important as it is to think critically about what our leaders and peers are saying, my tone gave my secret away... I was not offering commentary, I was offering judgement and that is just no good.  I don’t want to use my voice in that way and so after pondering I decided to scrap it and speak a very different truth with the space I have carved out here.  

I choose to use my voice to speak truth as I see it and my soul is crying out to speak to the underbelly of many social justice issues at hand, not just the current favored topic of conversation.  I feel we need to bring light to the underlying dynamic that has our culture trapped in an unending battle of ideals with little room for kindness, justice, freedom, and reconciliation.  Until we as a people confront the dysfunctional systems that keep us all in gridlock, we will continue to deteriorate as a culture.  Our core problems are not feminism, or conservatism, or liberalism, progressivism, relativism, humanism, capitalism, communism, terrorism, or any of the other isms.  Our problem is how we are responding to the changing times we are living in.  

There is a silent majority in our midst and I know this with all that I am...because I am part of it.  The silent majority includes most of my friends, family, and peers within the church and outside of the church.  I am sick of the rhetoric and I am not alone in this sentiment.  Yet I stay quiet.  I stay quiet out of fear.  I stay quiet out of a desire to be respectful.  I stay quiet to calm the waters.  But I cannot not stay quiet anymore.  I will use my voice to call upon our leaders and advocate for moderation, because we need moderation now more than anything else.  The silent majority must rise up with one voice and declare that we stand for something very different from the voices that are shouting over the people for the last word.  That time is now.  People matter.  People are suffering at the hand of those in power and this is not the American way.  

I will use my voice to speak out against injustice, even if that means that I will face social consequence.  I want to shed my polite girl cloak and speak with the voice of my full humanity.  I want to shy away from judgement yet speak directly to my point.  And here is what my belly yearns to speak freely...

I consider one of the most unique aspects of our American democracy to be the separation between Church and State.  I do not want the government to be granted the power to define my religious belief system nor how I can express my beliefs in any way.  On the other hand, I do not want the church to be granted the power to define my rights and my liberty based upon some moral high ground that declares they know what is godly and what is just because God told them so.  This separation is the thing I cling to always.  It is what I would die for.  I am willing to concede that others will not agree nor participate in my chosen form of religion or morality, because if I want that freedom then others deserve the same.  I am also willing to concede that the law cannot be dictated solely on the grounds of my particular moral code.  I make such concessions to preserve the separation of government and religion, so that our society can maintain balance.  Saying all of this though, I must also express the reality that just because the law allows something, doesn’t mean I have to adopt everything that is legal into my personal moral code or spiritual journey and neither does anyone else.  Those things get to be mutuality exclusive because that is the point of the separation between church and state.  Every person’s self evident rights rest not on group think, but rather the ability to pursue life, liberty, and happiness.  Laws ideally provide a balance between personal and collective liberty, so that we can all pursue these virtues.

Most of the social issues of our time or of any age really, are intimate and they are not black and white, so of course we are going to disagree with how to address the issues.  That is a good thing, not a liability.  So from the middle I say to the loud voice on either side of me...stop blaming the middle ground or the opposing side for our cultural decay just because we disagree about solutions.  In fact, stop blaming anyone for the problems we face and start controlling your temper and the way you are communicating.  We all need to come to the middle ground to resolve these dynamics.  Humanity, liberty, and empathy live in the middle ground between opposing ideals, that’s why our democracy has worked to this point.  Let’s trust it to continue working and submit to the art of compromise.

Thomas Jefferson wrote these words to the Danbury Baptist Association in 1801 addressing the social issue of his time and they still ring true today:

“Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between Man & his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legitimate powers of government reach actions only, & not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should "make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof", thus building a wall of separation between Church & State.”
If we use the wall of separation to ensure our right to exercise our religious freedom, we must also use this wall to ensure that rights are not denied based on one specific religious ideology.  

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Alittle Wrap Up

So I feel like I want to do a little closing post for some of the conversations I started during Women's History month... even if it a tad into the next month already.  Hey, the issue of how we are talking about marriage equality was a worthy disruption that I am sure I will unpack more in the near future. (but I can never tell where my writer's heart will go next... I am learning to just listen and follow my inner voice)

Last month I touched on the issues of domestic violence, censorship and oppression based on gender, the issue of submission and dominance in literature and media, the gender gap in math and science, the lack of strong male characters in children's movies, the phenomenon of the Disney princess, and issue of communication and socialization.  I feel tired just listing these things all together.  I chose to focus not just on women's issues but human issues and more specifically how our current culture impacts gender issues in overt and covert ways.

My goal was to open my own eyes and take notice of what is happening around me and this exercise has changed me.  I feel more alert, more alive, and more purposed to continue the work of equality in our world.   I am becoming the change I wish for in the world...even as it is hard and and slow progress.  There is quite a distance to go personally, as well as collectively; yet we can celebrate the distance already travelled!

Monday, April 1, 2013

Can I get a strong male character please?

IMG_1365.JPG
... Okay so back to my regular programming... 

I’m focusing on the male side of the equality equation still.  Today I take on the Disney-fyied image of manhood and it probably won’t be pretty because I am more frustrated with the way men have been portrayed in this era than the ways women have been exploited.

For my daughter I was able to look at three female characters and their attributes that I would want my daughter to model her development after.  The most important aspect about this is simple...they were all animated humans, so she could see herself in their depiction.  So let’s attempt to do that exercise with the male characters in the last 10-15 years, and here are the options I come up with:

The male soldiers from Mulan
Flynn Ryder/Eugene from Tangled
Any of the male suitors or heads of the clans from Brave
Woody and Buzz Lightyear from Toy Story
Marlin from Nemo
Lightening McQueen from Cars
Sully from Monsters Inc.


My momma heart sinks with the options I have before me. The characters at the top of my list are portrayed as immature, brutal, criminal, or some combination of all three.  The male characters remain mostly flat throughout the stories they are a part of.  There might be some evolution of their personality but I find it hard to locate through the narcissistic way they are portrayed.  Ugh...so on to the second part of my list.  I can get into some of the personality qualities of these characters, but they are not actually HUMAN.  Can my boys really imagine their adults selves embracing the positive character attributes of plastic toys, a car, a monster, or a fish?!?  Maybe...but I certainly don’t like the choices I have before me to point them towards male maturity.

I know I’m picking on Disney...but I don’t really think it’s their *fault*, as much as, I think they are one part of a bigger problem.  The children’s movie market is driven by what sells, so I believe Disney is capitalizing on our societal problems.  Can we just find some balance in our culture?  Men and women are both complex, layered creatures with the ability to overcome difficulty, evolve in maturity, and connect deeply with others.  Can we do some better storytelling for our future generations?  That seems to be the billion dollar question.