Friday, June 9, 2017

In the Fullness of Time...

In the fullness of time…

Have you ever had a desire to do something and you wanted to do it now, or there was something you wanted and you wanted it now, however for whatever reasons, known or unknown, now was not the time? I have certainly experienced the frustration that can go with the thwarting of my desires. I have also faced questions when something seemed the perfect answer or direction, yet I could not go there at the time. It then comes as a surprise almost when it does open up in the fullness of time.

I have thought about this in terms of both my sons. Jeff and I were thwarted for so long in our desire for children. After twelve years of marriage, and nine years of trying, suddenly we were gifted with Andrew. Another six years went by, no longer trying, when we were completely surprised by the advent of Max. In the fullness of time, our miracle sons were gifted to us.

Over the past couple of years, I have been sensing that a new adventure was just out of my sight. Anytime, I tried to see what it was, I could not. I was being drawn forward without knowing where or when. I continue to be invited into a mystery that is being unveiled. In the fullness of time, I will know more. In the meantime, I know that I am held in the awesome web of belonging in God’s grace.

Ephesians 1:8b-10
With all wisdom and insight God has made known to us the mystery of God’s will, according to God’s good pleasure that God set forth in Christ, as a plan for the fullness of time, to gather up all things in Godself, things in heaven and things on earth. 

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Random Thought in the Midst of Transition

Random thought in the midst of transition:

My sister-in-law Barbara and I were close to finishing our journey with Frodo and Sam to the fires of Mordor where the ring of power could be unmade. As they stood overlooking the valley which they had to traverse, orc encampments with their fires nearly filled the space. The two hobbits were daunted by the sight, wondering how they could possibly make it to Mount Doom, when Sam said simply, “Let’s start by going down this hill.”  Every journey, no matter how long or hard, starts with a single step. I was reminded of a piece of sage advice from 12-step programs—“one day at a time.”

As I stand at the beginning of this next phase of my pilgrimage, I find myself peering ahead with Frodo and Sam wondering how I am going to make it through all the changes which loom before me. Like them, and those who have gone before me, all I can do is take one step, one day at a time, trusting that the One who is the Ground of my being will accompany me.

Saturday, May 27, 2017

The Goal Is Not Agreement

“For Bowen[i], the goal is not agreement.” This statement made me sit up and take notice. While I believe this, and wrote my doctoral paper from the perspective that unity does not mean unanimity, hearing it so simply stated felt like a blast of cold water on a hot day. It got my attention.

Today on my walk up a fairly steep hill in Kerrville, TX, with the humidity so high it felt like struggling through a hot cloud and I would have welcome an actual blast of cold water, I refused to look at my Fitbit to see how many steps I had traversed already. I thought back to an exchange with my nephew Ben when I first got my tracking device. I made some comment about having walked 10,000 steps and it was around 4 miles. He said for him to get in 10,000 steps meant going way more miles than that. I replied, of course, your legs are about twice the length of mine! I imagined walking with Ben where I would have to walk almost two steps for every one of his. It was a humorous picture in my mind.

When Jeff and I used to stroll together, not a fitness walk, but a companionable gait, we would try to get into a rhythm that worked with each other especially if we were also holding hands. Otherwise, it felt awkward. Sometimes it seemed in our lives we kept wanting to try to make ourselves, or the other, fit into a pattern or rhythm that agreed with each other. For us, agreement was not an easy state. We were both of such strong wills that to create agreement often meant that one of us really had to remain silent, or simply go along with the other.

While there are moments when this can be important, after all only one person at a time can drive a car, I have often felt somewhat guilty that I could not simply be quiet and go along. After all, isn’t that what love means in our world? Well no, it does not mean that. Love means being able to hear where the other is, and when there is not agreement, sitting with the differences. It does not mean pretending to agree.  It means allowing the other to think differently while not looking down at them for it.

What would our world be like if we could truly disagree but continue to live together in the unity of the Spirit with peace?

Ephesians 4:2-3
Conduct yourselves with all humility, gentleness, and patience. Accept each other with love, and make an effort to preserve the unity of the Spirit with the peace that ties you together.

[i] The Bowen referred to is Murray Bowen, the psychiatrist who developed Family Systems Theory. I have been engaged in studying and learning the concepts of this theory for nearly ten years now, with Roberta Gilbert, Kathleen Cauley, and Kenton Derstine.