31 Days...

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Remembering and Re-Membering

How can it already have been nearly 3 weeks since I last posted? I mean yes, Spring Break and a trip to Wine Country with my most favorite Wine Guy and events of importance there and trudging back to work for 7 more weeks and back to grad school for a few more weeks seem to have made the last, nearly 21 days, seem like a time warp. But actually that IS my life.

So now I am ALMOST at a point of taking that deep breath and releasing that heavy sigh - if I could ONLY get this darn paper to start writing itself. Seems it should be easy enough - 15-20 pages about...ME! I know, right? This should be a no-brainer...I mean I get to talk about ME! For lots of pages! UGH! Not as easy as you might be led to believe...and I am either using this platform to further procrastinate or hoping (praying) that it will be some sort of a catalyst to this odd sort of writer's block I feel I am experiencing. And of course, I do work best under pressure! (Wink, wink)

April has been a big month here in the Life of Merit. I've been doing a lot of remembering. It didn't start out this way...I was trying to do some forgetting. I now, thank my dear and loving God for not letting me forget - but nudging me  to remember. The remembering all began during Holy Week. How can you not remember? Remember the ultimate scarifice made for me, for you, for the world in the greatest act of unconditional love ever made in the history of humankind - Christ's death on the cross to redeem me, you and everyone who will receive the gift. That is where we need to start our remembering.

Then someone was courageous and fought for me. He wasn't willing to just sit back and watch me slowly slip away - because I was forgetting and all caught up in the Me of MErit...he reached out and grabbed me and said he wanted ME...despite ME! And the trip to Wine Country with Wine Guy was more remembering. Remembering what an amazing, loving, compassionate, caring, genuine person he is. That he encourages me and thinks I can do something good. And that we love so many of the same things. That we love to laugh and drink wine and eat good food and just be together. And when we travel we actually do it well without arguing or getting mad about schedules or directions. And what the heck was I thinking? Sheesh, that was a close one! I will always remember he fought for ME.

I felt sort of dis-membered once I returned from California..the red-eye alone could set a person back for months! I felt like pieces of me were scattered between here and there...and just when I thought I had gathered all the pieces and was about to move forward my sweet dog was hurt and I had to put him down. And it was sad and hard, but people I love and who love me were there with me and that made all the difference in the world. I keep remembering Bruce though - as I walk out of the bathroom in the morning and he isn't there, as I come home and he isn't there, as I get to sleep in for a change...and he isn't waking me up to be fed - who thought I would ever miss that? But I remember how he sat by my side as I cried and cried nearly 4 years ago as my marriage fell apart. How he would force his nose up under my arm so I would pet him. How I would lie next to him and warp my arms around his neck and feel his soft fur and feel him relax with my touch. That I will always remember.

Today, I especially remember my dear sweet Dad. The loving, loyal, intelligent, genuine, musical, God loving, Bourbon drinking guy who had his name on a brass plate at the pub he loved so dearly. "Where everybody knew his name" and if someone was sitting at his barstool they were kindly told "Dr. Bob is here and you are in his seat."  And I remember how much I wish I had more time to tell him how much I loved him and how he made me feel like the most beautiful girl in the world and how I remembered how he would rub my head when I didn't feel good and how I wished we could ride in the old truck to kindergarten one more time and sing silly songs. And to tell him that he would be so proud of his grand-daughters and he could tell them how beautiful they are too.

And all this remembering makes me remember again the sacrifice that was made for ME. That He died and rose and for that I am free. For that I am free to be who God designed me to be. And I will still sometimes forget...forget that people, and dogs, love me. I will forget that I don't have to be afraid to live my life boldly and courageously and ON FIRE for Him! So what am I waiting for?

I need to remember...the Eucharisteo...the GRACE, the Thanksgiving, the JOY - all a gift...for me to embrace...and share and remember.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Die to Live...Then the Moon

So today started off pretty good - I mean I got to sleep in sort of...well - not at all because I have this old pitiful dog named Bruce and he decided he was hungry at 5:38...so I got up and fed him, but then he needed out and then he whined for an hour and then I gave up...and just got "up" -which means I was still in bed but I was awake with the light on and my coffee trying to get into this next Joyce Rupp book..which maybe it is too soon for after the last one that has ROCKED my world...ANYWAY...

I thought I was going to be productive...clean out the fridge-  which is at critical mass - which in and of itself is comical because we never eat at home so where *DOES* the food in there come from anyway...and the floor really needs vacuumed and, and, and....you get the picture.

But it was not to be...my friend Becky said she could "go with the flow" since my schedule seemed out of my control...I said I "felt like I was being beaten by the waves into a rocky shoreline and why hadn't the coast guard put out the flag to warn"...I was just off a phone conversation I was not expecting or prepared to have; I had run the girls here and there; I didn't get to spend the time with Becky I had intended and my fridge was still acting as a petri dish for the next medical breakthrough of the 21st century.  Her sweet and perfect text response - "that means u will b shiny smooth and pretty when u come 2 shore." That is why I love her! It made me stop and take a breath and tears (as usual) came to my eyes. Thank you sweet friend.

So, in the back of mind my all day has been this day -Good Friday...but what could be good about it? I mean - do you know what we did to HIM? Can you even begin to imagine a death so painful? I still haven't watched the Passion of Christ because I am not completely sure I would ever recover...
But there is something good...it's that HE did it! HE - Yeshua - fulfilled the law...all of it. Last week at the Passover experience - the JEW telling the story said - "This is what WE (Christians) have that NO other religion offers - the completion- the fulfillment of the Torah (Law)." And it was through the Seder plate and the Passover experience that this is so obvious...and amazing and so...GOD!

And so today I get it...We must die to live. We must DIE to live. We must die to LIVE people! How crazy is that? But that is what, like nearly every single day of my life, I must do - over and over again..DIE so that I can LIVE! He did it FOR ME - because HE loves me that crazy much. Because He wants ME to live - not just get through it - but to LIVE! I mean LIVE! Do you hear me? LIVE!!! So every bashing against those rocks is just one more chance to LIVE - to be shinysmoothandpretty!

(and this picture does no justice to the sight we saw tonight)

And as we laid Yeshua to rest in that tomb tonight - dark and cold...so dark and cold...we turn to see the MOON - and I mean the MOON - round and huge and orange and amazing and the most awesome sight ever to behold  - right here in the parking lot of  Mills River United Methodist Church...and I know that HE LIVES and that because HE LIVES...I MUST LIVE - BOLDLY and COURAGEOUSLY - trusting and faithfully - unafraid and KNOWING that HE LOVES me...

And the JOYGIFT is just that - to be smashed against the rocks and come out shinysmoothandpretty - because I LIVE because HE DIED and ROSE AGAIN...

And the Eucharisteo continues to overflow...the GRACE, the THANKSGIVING, the JOY...

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Stinky Jealous Feet

Maundy Thursday
Perhaps for me this is one of the more powerful days of the Christian calendar. Ever since my weekend at Walk to Emmaus in  2010 - soon after two significant events in my life... the loss of my father and my divorce being final - I have considered Communion in a whole different light. The power of love in the act of breaking bread and receiving the wine became so overwhelming that I rarely can receive the elements without tears. But tonight, at our service at Mills River United Methodist Church, in little old Mills River, NC...the power of love was not only overwhelming, but humbling beyond words.

What made the difference tonight?


Have you ever had your feet washed by someone else?

Would you?

Would you allow someone else - your pastor or perhaps even an enemy -
to wash your feet in front of others?

In biblical times this was the most humiliating act  - done typically by a slave for his master. What could be lower? Washing the dirt and dust and grime off of someone's calloused and dirty, do I dare say... stinky feet. Yet JESUS, Yeshua as I have come to know him from my Passover experience last weekend, did this. He washed the feet of his Disciples - even the feet of the one he knew was about to betray him.

And so tonight, through my tears humble, I had my feet washed by the beautiful pastor  - the same one I have had feelings of jealousy towards. Yes, jealousy. And I am not proud of it - it humbles me even further..but she lovingly washed my nasty/stinky/in flats with no socks all day feet. And she did it with genuine Christ-like love for me. And I sat there and tears rolled down my face. Because she might as well have been Yeshua - right there at my nasty, unworthy feet - kissing them. Kissing away the envy, the pain, the hurt, the it's all about me stuff that often dominates my heart, mind and spirit. She loves...Yeshua-Jesus loves... even me.

So it is through this act of total love and grace that I come to more fully understand the New Commandment Yeshua has called me to. To love one another - as He loves me. Not as He "loved us." But as HE LOVES ME RIGHT NOW.  To surrender to the love. To remember that we are -EACH, all of us, LOVED BY HIM. And that I must learn to love the hard to love, because guess what...I am one of them.

And the Eucharisteo is overflowing - the grace, the thanksgiving, the joy...

Monday, April 2, 2012

First Thoughts After A Threshold Encounter

So it's been a while. A too long while. But I'm here now and I think I might be comin' round more often now too. I've been challenged to write more. I've never considered myself a writer, more of a talker. But I have found a love of writing..so I am going to feed that love as much as I can.

You know - the whole world of blogging is sort of intimidating these days...so many amazing blogs out there. So it's easy to tell yourself - why one more? What do I have to say that anyone wants to read. But I think maybe I do. And does it really matter if anyone reads it anyway? I mean, sure it would be great to end up with a  book offer or at the very least with a few sponsors who pay you a little dribble of cash or goods for your space...but that's not why I write. It's in the hopes of touching some one's life. Of turning over something that they have been wrestling with and needed a new perspective. Or encouraging someone going through something similar to what I have experienced...just by the sheer act of sharing this thing called life.

So I am going to write - tonight I am just writing - the things that come into my head..I know - that is scary. I am not one to sit and ponder the next post - I am more of a feel it, think it, write it kinda gal. I want it to be real. It sure isn't going to be flowery or beautifully posed like my favorite blogger turned author and overnight phenom - but maybe, just maybe it'll touch just one person who needed to read it, hear it, know that some one else has felt it and gets it.

I giggled when I saw my last post - Favorite People - because I was just thinking about some of them tonight. And there is one who is going through a really tough transition in her life and all I can think about is how I really want to be there for her. I know her pain - for the most part - though our situations were different. But I know the pain of losing a marriage, a home, a way of life. Moving to a new house and "starting over". But I also know - she will be okay. In fact, I know that she will be better than okay. She is going to be incredible. Hope. That is how I know. Because there is HOPE.
Hope is not in the things seen, but in the things unseen. And without hope - what is there. And when she, every now and then, thinks there is no HOPE I will come up beside her, along with her other HopeGiverFriends and offer her some of my HOPE. Because you can share HOPE. It's a perfect gift. Doesn't need a box or a bow...just a hug or a shoulder and a smile and a word of encouragement. Sometimes it might need a raucous girls' night out with laughing and loving and crying...that is the best way to share hope I think.

So I think I need to change the title of my post...cause you are surely confused...but maybe not. Because after a threshold encounter you find something, some ONE most incredible and amazing and the mystery of it all makes you want to share something...can you guess? I think you already know...