Wednesday, August 17, 2011

The News

I read about it in the paper. I hear about it on the radio. I pick up the phone and it's there too. The news is everywhere and most often it is bleak and heart-breaking. Souls fighting. Souls taking the life of another soul. Souls ravaged by abuse. Souls drowning in a sea of alcoholism. Souls dying. Souls full of cancer. Souls starving because of drought and famine. Souls that are homeless. Souls robbed of hope. Souls in prisons of their own making. All this strife and pain resounds in a sad refrain in the news. I could put names onto these souls, so could you. Sometimes the weight of the news seems too much. Where is hope? Where is love? Where is kindness? Where is light? Darkness, despair, greed, bitterness, lust and sorrow tug at the hope that's inside of me and threaten to pull me under in the dark undertow.

I read this other book. I try to read it often because it tells me that there truly is Good News. It comforts me. It tells me that there is hope. It shows me purpose in the middle of the darkest night. It buoys the hope that is inside me. It cradles my fragile thoughts and emotions and reminds me that this place is not as it should be. I sometimes ask myself what difference does my life make in the middle of the bad news all around me. How can I change it? What can I do? Is it possible for this world to be fixed?

Jesus quotes in Luke 4:16-22 these words from Isaiah 61 that infuse me with hope and light. "The Spirit of God, the Master, is on me because God has anointed me. He sent me to preach good news to the poor, heal the heartbroken, announce freedom to all captives, pardon all prisoners. God sent me to announce the year of his grace - a celebration of God's destruction of our enemies - and to comfort all who mourn...." Jesus says he has good news. I believe that He is Good News. The enemies that he is talking about are everything that we hear in the news. It's murder. It's greed. It's homelessness. It's starvation. It's abuse. It's terminal illness. He has conquered those enemies. He has put in motion a plan that has given hope and light to the darkest of days; the worst news.

Jesus asks that anyone who has ears to hear the Good News, to spread it all around. He says to his followers in Matthew 5:14 that, 'You're here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world." If the Good News is in me, I have light to offer the world around me. Have you ever been in a room at dusk? As the light fades in the room, colors fade. The only colors that you end up seeing are the non-colors; black and grey. If you turn a light on in that same room, colors explode like a rainbow. Red, green, blue, yellow, orange all bringing the scene to life. That's what LIGHT does. That's what I do. I bring out the God-colors in this world. In the face of bad news, I have love. I have compassion. I have justice. I have grace and mercy. I have forgiveness. I have hope and joy. I have peace. I have hope. There is Good News for anyone with the ears to hear it...Jesus.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Weeding Therapy

Please read that title correctly. Not 'weed' therapy...just to clarify. There is something so cathartic about yanking ugly, bothersome weeds out of the ground. Some people punch a punching bag, some people run, some people scream at the top of their voice. Me? I pull weeds. There was a day a month or two ago when I really needed to blow off some steam, I weeded the entire yard in a couple hours. The weeds were really flying that day. Yesterday, I spent a couple hours weeding again. When I was finished, I felt so relaxed. I think it's because no one wants to help so I get to be alone with my thoughts for a couple of hours. I guess I really need that once in awhile.

I am one of those people who definitely recharges by being alone. I need time to process things. That time, if I am honest with myself, really points to areas in myself that need some recalibrating. Whether it's frustration, anger, unsettled thoughts, or just a busy brain, I find these times of being alone to really work out the kinks and refresh me for the next foray into craziness. I find that usually my frustration or whatever is unsettling me, needs to be looked at from many different angles. Weeding gives me time to do that. Weeding gives me time to sort out thoughts and get to the bottom of the issue. It also gives me time to pray. I find that weeding has double strength power for me. As I pull weeds out of the ground, I weed my thoughts. I pull out the garbage and I'm left with beauty, for the time being. If I don't weed, things get tangled up. Everything is a mess, it all becomes interconnected. Every issue is tied to the next. It all starts to seem hopeless and insurmountable. I'm not a drama queen, but if I don't get time to weed, my brain leans towards hysterics, which leads to headaches, which leads to more weeds! It's a bad cycle to get into.

Each of us needs to weed. It truly keeps us sane. Do what you need to do to be alone for awhile. Do that weeding in your mind. Getting rid of the clutter up there is healthy. As for the other kind of weeding, try it. It just might be your thing too! (One thing though, I am not available to weed your garden. You plant it? You weed it!)

Monday, August 1, 2011

Carpe Diem

For as long as I've been a part of the Seatter clan, and probably for years preceding, a clock hung on the wall of the kitchen just to the left of the garden doors in Jeremy's parents house. It always let us know how many hours we had spent around the table feasting, talking, laughing and enjoying each other's company. Yesterday was one of those days. Hours spent in that room doing just that. The only difference was that the clock was missing. I looked for it. In it's time honored place now hangs a picture of Jeremy's mom, Valerie, and her friend Tina on the day that they made it to Mount Everest Base Camp back in March of this year. This got me thinking...

For all of us, time passes. Our lives are marked by the minutes, hours and days that we live. Most of those moments are forgettable. We check the clock to see is we are late for a dentist's appointment or if we are missing our favorite show on TV. The many mundane minutes that we squander doing nothing particular while our dreams are wasting away seem like such a tragedy. I get it though, we all have responsibilities and demands that must be met but doesn't it seem kind of crazy that we sacrifice the things that we really want to do in life because the 'other' stuff eats up our time. There has to be some room for both??!! If you sacrifice one for the other, disasters are bound to happen. Let me give you two illustrations. I knew this guy, he got married young. He was in love, he was happy. He had a dream of family and life with his wife and kids and he was living it. One day he sacrificed that dream for a different one, one that could only be lived out by himself. He left his family, his first dream, to pursue his second dream. He no longer has a family and I don't imagine there is as much fulfillment as he thought he second dream would bring because he's alone. Here's an example of the other side of the coin. This makes me crazy. I know so many women that have given up the things that they are passionate about because they have children. There is no room in their lives for their passion anymore because they have kids. The thing that they are sacrificing, their dreams, the things that they are gifted at, are the very things that kids need to be shown. Kids need moms that are alive and that are pursuing their dreams. There is a balance. There is time for both. There just aren't easy answers that we like for solutions.

Wasted minutes could be replaced by photos of a Mount Everest climb. We need to mine out those minutes from our days to pursue dreams. Everyone has a dream. My sister-in-law wants to record some songs that she's written. I have been kicking around the idea of writing a book. My dad wants to have some chickens and horses on his acreage. My friend wants to become a mid-wife. Some want to travel. Some want to create. Some want to teach. Some want to farm. Some want to race. Some want to heal. Some want to change the world. We only have one life. Carpe Diem.