Saturday, May 29, 2010

The invitation

The Invitation
It doesn't interest me what you do for a living.
I want to know what you ache for,
and if you dare to dream of meeting your heart's longing.
It doesn't interest me how old you are.
I want to know if you will risk looking like a fool for love, for your dream,
for the adventure of being alive.
It doesn't interest me what planets are squaring your moon.
I want to know if you have touched the center of your own sorrow,
if you have been opened by life's betrayals
or have become shriveled and closed from fear of further pain!
I want to know if you can sit with pain,
mine or your own, without moving to hide it or fade it, or fix it.
I want to know if you can be with joy, mine or your own,
if you can dance with wildness and let the ecstasy fill you to the tips of your fingers and toes without cautioning us to be careful, to be realistic,
to remember the limitations of being human.
It doesn't interest me if the story you are telling me is true.
I want to know if you can disappoint another to be true to yourself; if you can bear the accusation of betrayal and not betray your own soul;
if you can be faithless and therefore trustworthy.
I want to know if you can see beauty even when it's not pretty, every day,
and if you can source your own life from its presence.

I want to know if you can live with failure, yours and mine, and still stand on the edge of the lake and shout to the silver of the full moon, “Yes!”
It doesn't interest me to know where you live or how much money you have.
I want to know if you can get up, after the night of grief and despair, weary and bruised to the bone, and do what needs to be done to feed the children.
It doesn't interest me who you know or how you came to be here.
I want to know if you will stand in the center of the fire with me and not shrink back.
It doesn't interest me where or what or with whom you have studied.
I want to know what sustains you, from the inside, when all else falls away.
I want to know if you can be alone with yourself and if you truly like the company you keep in the empty moments.
I got this "writing" from a friend and it has really made me stop and think about what we look for in friendship, and what is most important. I wrote a few weeks ago about fighting for a friendship and my friend who is deciding what to do with her marriage. As she and I sat and talked last night, she told me that she was done, thru, and that she was okay with that. As she shared, the one thing that she said was "I'm loosing me - I worked so hard to become someone I liked, and I don't want to lose me." As she shared more of the gory details, I wanted to insert my opinion, but instead I just listened - and by the time she was done, I had to agree, that it probably is best that they split, at least for now - because the kids don't need to be raised in an environment of constant fighting.
When I got home, I thought of this poem and had to read it again. It has made me think about me, and do I fit into this 'mold', and it made me think of others that are in my life, and are they toxic relationships, or ones that really bring out the best in who I am and who God has called me to be. Didn't sleep much last night, because soul searching, has a tendancy to do that. Sat at the computer this morning at about 2am - and the words just didn't blend - but now my fingers are dancing on the keys, as my brain is over-riding the emotions.
This "invitation" is important to me for several reasons. It gives me something to "shoot for" as I realize the importance of the words. Is this the kind of person that I am, I'm not there yet, but I can say that I think I am well on the road to being the person that God is calling me to be - one that likes themselves, and doesn't loose themselves to be someone else, just to have a friend. I am learning I can be honest about myself and "take off the mask" and if people don't accept me for who I am - that is their loss. It also gives me a yardstick to measure by. What kind of people do I surround myself with, healthy ones, or toxic ones? Now please don't think that people that are going thru a rough time, are toxic people - usually they are the most healthy ones, because they are actually able to be honest with themselves. Then there are some people, they seem to really have their "stuff" together, and they are as unhealthy and toxic as they can be, but don't see it. Bob Marley is quoted as saying, "Truth is, everybody is going to hurt you; you just gotta find the ones worth suffering for." With God's help, I am starting to weed out those people in my life that aren't worth suffering for - thus "toxic" people. Those that drain me, never giving back, those who are "takers and users", thinking of themselves. I want to surround myself with people who are "true" friends, in the good the bad and the ugly - those that push me to be all that God wants me to be, as I encourage them to do the same.
Lord, help me to be the person that You want me to be - knowing that You judge me from the inside out. Help me to remember that, when dealing with people - that they are important to You, for their Soul value, and nothing else. Remind me how to be a light, in the midst of struggles and pain, to my world. In the quietness of the moments - calm my spirit, and remind me of Your never failing love, and Your ever present Spirit. And too, for those of my friends, who are struggling right now, give them an extra dose of Your Love and Mercy and Grace.
In Jesus Name - Amen.
Just a few of my thoughts this Sunday morning.
Walking with the King, Sandy

Monday, May 24, 2010

the Velveteen Dog and my Velveteen Life

I am housesitting tonight - last minute gig - but I absolutely love coming here. This is a great couple, they are wonderful, and I have lots of fun with them, and have no problem watching the "kids" when something comes up and they have to go out of town.

One of the dogs, in particular, just touches my heart. Maggie is OLLLLLLDDDD. She has a thyroid problem, so has to have thyroid medication morning and night, and she is just very "well loved" literally. One of my favorite books, as a child, was the velveteen rabbit - and you know you have been "well loved" when your fur has been rubbed off, and you are missing an eye, and your ear is torn, etc. Well Maggie is "well loved". Once I had a friend come over for dinner while I was housesitting here, and she was scared to touch Maggie, because half of Magg's hair has come off, and her tail is just the skinny bones, with a little hide left on it, and if you aren't comfortable with animals, she can be quite intimidating. But let me tell you, you aren't going to find a more loving dog than Maggie anywhere.

I needed Maggie tonight. I needed Maggie to remind me that it isn't what is on the outside that is important, but what is on the inside. I've had a rough going these past few months. As much as I hate to give satan credit, he has really had a hey day with me, and my feelings of self worth. When I go to have myopathic muscular therapy, the therapist always can tell when I am struggling, because in the area of my body, which houses the "self worth" block as she calls it, she really has to work hard to get my body to balance out. Those of you who know me well, know that this is an area that I really struggle in - and I am working on it and seeing some progress.

I guess I am coming to "terms" with me, and am frustrated when others aren't so quick to do so. I guess in many ways I see myself as "velveteen". I'm not the prettiest thing anyone has ever seen, not the thinnest, not the smartest, at times not even the nicest - but I guess I look at my life and I see how life has rubbed "the fur" off in lots of areas, and how I feel like I am missing parts. I will never hold a PHd in anything - but then you know what, God hasn't asked me to either. I know that I have "My Master's Degree - the AUG one, Approved Unto God." But,also in my defense, even in my imperfections, you aren't going to find anyone who loves more fiercely than I do - sometimes even to a fault. You aren't going to find many people that "put up" with so much crap, and never lash out in retaliation. I've been reminded so much of this a few weeks ago, with one of my elderly ladies and when a doctor thanked me for taking such wonderful care of her, going far beyond the call of duty, to make sure that she died with dignity. And all I could think was, that's what I do - how could I do any less.

I have been blessed, far beyond what some people can even begin to imagine, and I know it. So tonight, in my "self-worth" imbalanced self - I needed Maggie - a physical reminder that it isn't what is on the outside, the looks, the education, the whatever, but it is the heart that is in us, that God judges, and is most important.

Thank you Lord for providing Maggie - to remind me, that You love me, despite all my imperfections, and it doesn't really matter what others think, because if You are for me, what do others matter anyway. So I will continue on in my "velveteen life" doing all that I can, to be all that You have asked me to be.

Walking with the King, Sandy

Saturday, May 22, 2010

God of Second Chances

This last week, I've had the opportunity to watch a couple of little boys playing with an etch-a sketch. It was fascinating to hear them, as they were trying hard to draw something, which I could never quite figure out. They would work together, then one of them, would take it away from the other and try to do it by himself, and finally the other one would get mad, grab it from the other one, and shake it. It brought back many many memories. As a child, we all remember playing with Etch-A-Sketch toys. We would turn the knobs to draw our pictures, making the most entertaining artwork, but when we wanted to start a new drawing, we could simply turn the toy upside-down, shake it up, and have a clean slate to start again! My friend, God is like that with us. Sometimes we get turned around and shaken up a bit, but He is the God of second chances!

In the Bible, there are several examples of those who needed another chance:
The great apostle Paul was responsible for arresting and murdering Christians before his Damascus Road experience. He was among those at the stoning of Stephen, the first Christian martyr.
Israel’s King David, called a man after God’s own heart, committed adultery with Bathsheeba.
Peter denied knowing Christ three times, even after he had the revelation of who Jesus was.
However, God showed mercy toward those in the Bible. He didn’t want them to miss their heavenly purpose. He gave them a second chance! I am so thankful for those second and third, and fourth chances.

I think of the times in my life when God and I would be working together on a picture, and I would get frustrated and take it away from God's hands and try to do it myself. I am not saying that God was the second child, who got mad - took it away from the other one - and shook it up, but God is the one who patiently waits for us, watching us get frustrated, and when we have finally had enough - we take it back to Him and He "shakes it up" and gives us a clean slate once again. I'm thankful for friends who give second chances, and I hope that in this very vivid illustration this last week, that I will be quicker to be willing to wipe the slate clean and give second chances to those around me, who prove to be human.

Thank you Lord, for second chances. Thank you for reminding me that there will never be third and fourth chances, but only second chances - because as we come to You, You are willing to forgive and forget, so it will always be a second chance. Help me to become more like You!

Walking with the King, Sandy