Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Brotherly Love

Well, summer is passing all to quickly. It has been busy and fun thus far. One thing that has been an adjustment for everyone, but mostly for Coen, has been the reality that his big sister is around all the time. All year while Elle was in school he would ask (usually a half an hour after I put her on the bus) when Elle would be home. Now he's not sure what to do with her and her with him. There have been numerous episodes of complete and utter meltdown between the two parties. It's like they are learning all over again how to be with each other. It seems so hard for both of them.

Last week, I was speaking at a camp full of teenagers. It was a great time. I really loved being able to share every night about God's love and how that love translates into real life. While at camp, my kids had many tantrums. Elle, because Coen was all up in her business, and Coen, because he was on the bored side and just needed someone to throw stuff at. One morning this was all unfolding while we waited for breakfast. I noticed a girl and a boy, close in age, sitting at a table having coffee together. It was not the first time during the week that I had witnessed this morning ritual. I had asked them a couple days earlier if they were related and they told me that they were brother and sister. I was totally moved and shocked to see these two siblings taking time away from the craziness of camp to sit at a table together and take a few moments to connect in the morning. Pretty incredible. As we waited for breakfast, the tattler came over to complain that the annoyer was pushing and I saw a perfect opportunity to talk to the tattler about brotherly love. A picture of it was sitting across the room having coffee in the morning sunshine. An older sister, a younger brother. Most likely ten years earlier a tattler and an annoyer now sharing moments together before another day started and they wouldn't have a chance to be together. I told my tattler to take a good look at the coffee drinkers. I told her to remember that her brother, though truly annoying at times, really is the best friend that she could ever have and though it is really hard to love him at times, it is not optional.

I had been talking about God's love all week at camp. I saw it lived out in brotherly love. This is truly an expression and a lesson to be learned and cultivated. We only love God as much as we love our brother. Hmmm. I read a quote by Abraham Lincoln the other day that also really challenged me in this line of thinking..."Am I not destroying my enemies when I make friends of them." This is my hope for my kids. Though they truly are enemies at times, I know what is possible, I've seen it. The part that really hits home to me about this whole thing is that my kids find out what real love looks like when I love. They see it when I love their dad. They see it when I love them. They see it when I love people that are hard to love. They see it when my love is more than words; when it has been translated into actions. They see it when I say that I love God and then love the people around me. They see it when I destroy my enemies by loving them...what a concept?!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011


I played a game awhile ago called Urban Myth. It was very enlightening. Most of the things that our mothers have told us over the years turned out to be myths. Carrots really don't do anything for your night vision. Watching television in the dark isn't going to ruin your eyesight. Spinach isn't a high source of iron. I was shocked. I had been watching TV with the lights on while eating my carrots and my spinach cause I was trying to cover my bases. It made me wonder how many other things that I am fed everyday as "gospel" truth really are just nice theories that people spout off not really knowing the whole truth.

This brings me to mosquitoes. Earlier this spring, there were so many wild and contradictory stories about mosquitoes that it made my head spin. It seemed every person I talked to had a bit of a different twist on why there were so many, what would get rid of them, and which wind had blew them here. None of these fabrications were based on fact and really did not change the glaring reality that there were mosquitoes and that there were a lot of them. Funny how people hear something and then choose to either pass it on in the next conversation that they have with someone or store it away in the memory bank as a wierd tidbit of information, which is what I did with the mosquito information after a good laugh at all the bunk that people spread around.

After playing this game and all the mosquito fables I started to really analyse what comes out of my own mouth. Am I merely regurgitating things that other people have told me as a means to carry on a conversation or do I speak about what I do know, reality and truth from my own experience? I can sure pick it out in the conversations that I have now. The more awkward you feel around the person you are talking to, the more the theories pop into the conversation. My theory is that we are more truthful and real with people that we know will see through our talk of mosquitoes, carrots and television. Generally speaking, we aren't that great at truthful and real, at least I'm not. It's easier to not go deeper than generalities and theories. To keep it all on a philisophical playing field is safe. It doesn't cause change in us if we only scratch the surface, and even then it may not even be truth that we are speaking.

I totally understand that it is impossible to have the real kinds of conversations with every single person that we talk to everyday. Those telemarketers would be in for a shock if you started telling them about your day and even more so if you asked them about theirs. Sometimes conversations are about relaying information, facts. Like when you talk to the tellar at the bank. They are more like transactions. You don't leave that situation and go and tell everyone that you paid your power bill and made a deposit for $235.00. No one really cares. But, when you have the opportunity to really talk and really listen, weed out the theories and take a risk. Be real. Ask good questions. Listen. It's no myth that we have a lot to learn when it comes to relating.