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Armchair QB - Desiring What I Have

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Football season doesn't officially begin until next week, but since I am back at the blog, I figured I would resurrect a fun series, "Armchair QB."  In case you don't know, armchair quarterback (QB) is an American idiom for someone who offers advice or criticizes something but never shows that they could do any better. I do not seek to criticize the messages discussed here but instead I desire to interact with the text and the message, pulling it apart, wrestling with it, and occasionally offering a different perspective.
This Sunday we focused on Exodus 20:17... “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his male or female servant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.” Seems simple enough, right? Pretty much just want what is yours and don't desire the life of your neighbor.  I think I have that down.  I don't want a different house because one of my friends has it.  I don't want someo…

Starting Again, in the Dark

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If you have followed me before, you no doubt see the blog looks a lot different.  Perhaps I will sound different, too.  That is because there has been some strange things happening in my life. After 3 years, I finally graduated with my college degree from Eastern Mennonite University.  While this is a good change, it was still a drastic change.  I didn't have the same schedule anymore.  The moorings of school assignments, peers, and expectations were cut, and I floated aimlessly.  Who was I now?  What would be my next goal?  Was I even on the right track-being who I was meant to be?  I had been working 3 part time jobs during my time in school for flexibility but now that work schedule was overwhelming.  The work was never done.  Every boss needed more from me.  My husband wanted more from me.  Even I wanted more for me.  But I was frantic, empty, and ready to crash. So in true to me fashion, I chose to turn my life upside down. I pursued ONE full-time position in order to be abl…

Circling Grace

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I imagined for years that I was a lone wolf, a nomad without allegiance or alliance. It was a safe and rebellious way of life. I needn't follow your rules or be disappointed by you. But I was very wrong.
The past 2 Sundays have been devoted to the need for relationship. At first, I was repelled by the idea. I don't need circles. I have a couple people who I am willing to rely on, in a pinch, but a circle sounded like overcommitment to an idea which would eventually lead to annoyances. In fact, I found the image above, a Reuleaux triangle to be my personal "shape." Rebellious, remember?
Recently, however, well for several months now, I have been struggling with back and leg pain. It has caused me difficulty walking, severe pain, the need for medication, and now I have opted for surgery in hope of relief. As I have struggled through this time, I have spent lots of time in prayer and meditation. I have cried and cursed over this pain. I have had to rely on others, howe…

Armchair QB

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I have been thinking a lot about forgiveness this week-how the families of those murdered in a Charlestown church responded, how Christians and the LGBT community are responding to the Supreme Court decision, and, not the least of which, the series "Do Over" at Hope & yesterday's message on Letting Go.
I didn't think there was anything I needed to forgive because, in general, I try to deal with things quickly. Meditating today, I see there are somethings that I have been unwilling to release and it is causing me pain...to which I respond with anger. 
Injustice ticks me off. Ambiguity annoys me. Being wrong makes me mad. In all of these things, I lack control over the situation. So, as I have begun to explore these tender spots, I have found some places where forgiveness, letting go, may be in order.
I need to forgive God. Yes, that IS as arrogant as it sounds. Still, I need to forgive him for not being clear enough, being unwilling to answer all my questions. (Many …

Redemption of the Broken

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I am limping through another flare up of pain. I am embarrassed as a spasm causes me to seize and grimace. I try to not make eye contact with those coming my way because I am walking crooked with one hip higher than the other. Perhaps if I pretend to not notice, no one else will. 
While I may have resigned, more than surrendered, to the realization that pain is part of my life story, I am always grateful for how God is closer to me when I walk with a limp than when I run to catch up with my schedule. 
Is it because God moves slower than I want? Maybe it is just that I am trying to outrun him? It doesn't really matter. What does matter is that despite the mental and physical exhaustion of trying to attend to my life despite the pain, I am rested and revived spiritually.
I hear birds chattering joyfully and think of Elijah and his raven. I look around and see flowers blooming brightly and think how much more my father cares for me. In the fiery pain, I consider that the Lord himself en…

Busy? You Bet!

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I am busy. I feel the weight of my schedule sometimes, and I sigh. Others tell me to say no to this or that...to create margin...to rest...to find balance.
What is that? Ever since those blood clots, my life has been full-on-don't-miss-a-moment. Why? Well, I think it is because I am going to die.
I don't have cancer or some disease that I know the progression and how it will kill me. But I am terminal. Simply because I am alive. 
I don't want to miss anything. My husband says I am nosy. I want to get as many experiences as I can. One day none of this will be around. One day the laughter and hugs and learning will be done. Yes, I believe there is something after all this. Yes, I believe that what is to come will be indescribable. But...there is only so much time here. I plan to squeeze every last moment from it.

Make a Difference Wherever You Are

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I am a nurse, and I make a difference.  I don’t make a difference in the traditional sense of nurse-the comfort and fluffing and hand-holding.  It has been about 5 years since I have found myself out of the safety of bedside nursing & caring for patients who often confronted a potentially fatal cardiac illness but were recovering.  Today I serve the less desirable patient-the addict, the prisoner, the mentally ill. Working at a prison was never on my radar.  I had the option in nursing school to do a rotation there, but I was scared.  I was scared of the K-9 units whose handler snarls, “Move over there and don’t look at the dog” as one navigates the cavernous halls, scared of the criminals, the pedophiles and murderers whose faces you might see on the evening news, and scared of being “locked in” which caused panic attacks during my psychiatric nursing rotation.  I was anxious about being on locked units, and even more about not being able to get out of it.  Psych nursing and cor…