Posts tagged #love

politics for ordinary radicals

We can start changing people's mindset. Instead of asking young people, "What are you going to do when you grow up?" ask them, "Who are you becoming?" The question is not whether you will be a doctor or a lawyer but what kind of doctor or lawyer you will be.These are every day miracles, the political lives of ordinary radicals. These are political and social and economic miracles. And miracles are different from marvels. Empires and corporations are good at marvels. Remember, in the desert Satan tempted Jesus to turn stones into bread to feed himself. But he refused. He refused to use his miraculous power to marvel people into the kingdom. He worked his miracles not to shock and awe or to feed his own mouth but to feed the masses. So we might not be able to turn water into wine, but if we can help the two billion people who are dying of thirst find water, that is a miracle. Then maybe Jesus will whisper to us on the day of judgment, "When I was thirsty, you gave me something to drink." And perhaps an even greater miracle than walking on water is walking on this war-torn earth for peace. -Shane Claiborne, Jesus for President

Very truly I tell you, all who have faith in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. John 14:12

Question: What kind of person will you be tomorrow? Next week? Next year? May we fight the temptation to clip the nails of the Lion and tame the faith built for radical living and extraordinary love. So tell me - how will YOU live this love?

Posted on March 30, 2010 .

intertwined

i watch him as he speaks - his hands moving awkwardly as he tries to find the words to say. his eyes shine and my heart's pulse quickens at the realization they shine for me.  i know he's probably nervous. i look for the overt signs of anxiousness but see none. his breath comes easy and his speech is smooth. i listen to the story from his side - the funny parts and the frustrating moments crash into my memory from a different perspective and i can't help but smile. i remember. i remember the cracked upholstery of his car, the embarrassment of spilled soda staining lobby couches, his hands gripping the steering wheel and turning white as i explained what the last boy did to me. i remember it all. and hearing my story come from someone else's mouth is absolutely surreal but beautiful.

i realize then, my story has become his story. we are forever intertwined through His gift of love and hope and redemption.

he glances at me and i catch the clue.  my turn. i pick up where he left off and continue to share - this time from my own memories. we continue like this for an hour and a half - like a symphony complete with moments for rest and crescendos. every time he speaks, my heart grows. every time he catches my eye, i can't help but smile. every time i share, i fight the strength of emotion.

we finish and climb down the stairs, making our way to our seats. he places his arm around me and pulls me close.

"i love you." he whispers in my ear - his breath caressing my cheek. i wipe the tears of gratitude and glance his way, memories still playing against the screen shot of my mind.

i grab his hand and give it a squeeze, our fingers laced together like the formation of our story. he smiles at me and i whisper, "i love you too."

Posted on March 10, 2010 and filed under fluttering pulses.

choosing to love

My sister got married this weekend. She made for a beautiful and pure and hopeful bride - and in every picture you see the joy of waiting for her Prince Charming.

 

 Her and her husband have quite the story. I may need to have her guest post a few entries when she gets back from her honeymoon - but basically - about this time last year, he broke up with her in a letter...saying he couldn't be with her because he didn't love her.

He shared their story at the reception, and with tears in his eyes he told us that when he broke up with her, he couldn't understand why God wouldn't let him fall in love with such an amazing girl as Christina. (And she is pretty amazing. She's one of my best friends and I miss her like crazy because I haven't been able to talk to her in almost a week. Dumb, stupid honeymoon. Totally kidding.)

In no simple terms, God gently spoke to Kyle: "if you think she's so amazing - why don't you fall in love with her?"

And so he did.

He realized then - as I feel most of us do at some point - that love is a choice. And he chose to love my sister in every possible. 

I've seen this before in my own parents. Growing up, they set the standard of what we were to look for in our own relationships. Trust. Loyalty. Laughter. Friendship. And most importantly? Love - choosing to love the other person daily.

 

I know I'm lucky. I know some people didn't have this lesson in love growing up and a lot of people don't understand our family dynamics: we're close. My siblings are my best friends and my parents mean the world to me. We hurt each other often and get on each other's nerves - but we love.

And I have my dad to thank for showing me how I lovely I am and how worthy I am of love. Watching him and Christina on Saturday brought back a flood of memories of my own day - latching on to his arm and leaning on him for strength as we walked down the aisle - moving from his protection to Russell's - knowing even though I was leaving and cleaving, my dad would always be there.

As Christina & Kyle move in to marriage, I pray they remember the newness and excitement of these first few weeks. I pray they never forget what it felt like to wake up to the love of their life for the first time and in moments where taking the easy road seems logical and the door seems far too close, they choose to love.

Congratulations, Mr. & Mrs. Kroeger.

Kyle - welcome to the family.

Posted on November 20, 2009 and filed under fluttering pulses.

daydreams

As an aprivot tree stands out in the forest, my lover stands above the young men in town. All I want is to sit in his shade, to taste & savor his delicious love.Song Solomon 2:3

I was young - still in elementary school. I went to work with my mom that day - which was always super exciting because that meant cuddling up in the back room & reading books all day long. Today though, for some reason, I was sent to the waiting room up front to wait for my teeth cleaning. I rummaged through magazines, read my Nancy Drew, and just...waited.

I got bored after awhile. So, I did what any little girl does in boredom. I daydreamed. Soon, my daydreams casually meandered to my future wedding.

And, you may think I'm crazy - you may think there's possibly no way I can remember this - but I promise you...this is how it happened.

I was sitting there, smiling at the pretty dress I knew I would probably wear - one that would make me feel like Cinderella. I would probably have my hair up & wear one of those pretty, sparkly princess tiaras too. And then it hit me. An intense anticipation. An earnestness. A feeling of certainty that my future groom was indeed out there & being taking care of & waiting for me.

It was the first night I prayed for my future husband.

At the time, I didn't know what to call it. I just felt overwhelmed by...a feeling of some sort. Looking back, I know it was the first time I heard God speak to me.

From then on, I prayed for Russ. I had no idea who I was going to marry - but my heart already loved him. My heart was already promised to someone I hadn't even met yet.

On the other side of the this memory, I am married to my heart's best friend. I think about all of those moments I was prompted to pray for him before we met - times in high school & college where the earnestness & anticipation & waiting hit my heart with a ton of bricks. I think about the times where he came to my school for band competitions and walked past my own band hall and classrooms - each of us having no idea. I think about the time he decided to eat at Wendy's instead of Schlotzsky's after a trip to Schlitterbahn the summer after high school. Had he made the trek down the block, we may have met. I worked at Schlotzky's at the time and after high school pulled 40 hour weeks in order to help pay for college.

I think about God's perfect timing. I think about God's perfect matching.

And then I think about Russ. His love for life, his desperate need for music, his belief in justice & love & walking humbly with His Lord - all of the things which still make my heart skip a beat. I think about his ability to take risks - to lead our small family & to listen to the still heartbeat of Christ... I think about his forgiving spirit even in the midst of one of our arguments. I  think about his smile and absolute infectious laughter.

And then I smile. Because my man does indeed stand tall above the rest. I rest against his chest & sigh - realizing I don't have to daydream anymore.

Posted on October 28, 2009 and filed under fluttering pulses.

A Life Well Lived

Every one has a story. I was reminded of this a couple months when I opened up my e-mail and saw a message from one of my favorite professors – a man I deeply respect for his authenticity. He opened the e-mail with a simple phrase – “a writer must know things” and challenged us to consider what we know from what we have read and what we have done. He suggested creating an inventory of these things – a detailed list, a mental note, something. At first, it seemed a bit like the typical brainstorming exercise. But then I read his list. Short in length, weighted with emotion, his list mentioned simple things –

- slept on the grass of Central park

- ate a steak in Chicago

- bought a mum for a girl in high school

His list mentioned heavy things –

- sat in typing class and listened to the announcement that Kennedy had been shot

- stood in formation on the grinder in the early morning darkness during boot camp

- walked across the University of Maryland campus while it was being occupied with armed soldiers

His list mentioned all of these moments that belonged to him alone – until he shared them. Isn’t this the life of an artist? Virginia Woolf speaks of the writer as someone who is free to think and feel and do. Writers typically don’t mind the status quo, but we notice the importance of moments. We know that although it seems silly, we can’t help but watch the young boy falling asleep in the pew in front of us, or the man stopping cold in his tracks when high heels crash against the concrete floor of a garage, or the way the sun splits the morning sky in a vibrant show of color. We notice these things. Most importantly, we remember these things.

I’ve always wondered why. I think I am beginning to understand - people need their story told.

At the end of his e-mail, he told us to take part in the inventory. People immediately began sending him their lists. Within two hours I had received about three more e-mails from him of other lists – moments in time that were now shared. Some brought back tears; some brought back laughter; a few brought back pain. Today the lists are still coming, and I can’t get my mind off of the importance. I received another e-mail just now encouraging us to send more – to declare ourselves – to speak because someone is bound to listen.

I’m still not sure exactly why this has impacted me so much, outside of the simple realization that these moments are meant to be spectacular. We never know when what we do could change a life. At least, we never know if we never share our story.

My list?

  • ridden bareback in the Sawtooth mountains of Idaho with my great grandfather
  • Fallen in love with the scent of Haiti - a mix of burnt marshmellows and freshly cut grass
  • Sang in front of my nana and papa's congregation when I was little - a mixture of about ten white-haired members, mostly relatives.
  • Sang in front of my home church, a congregation of about 1,000.
  • Watched the towers fall in my dorm room of OBU, right before my first New Testament exam of the semester. I failed.
  • went stargazing in the bed of a truck in the middle of a baseball field, and actually looked at stars
  • went searching to crash a party on Frat Row in Norman, only to find no one home because of a game
  • walked across town in College Station singing at the top of my lungs and dancing with friends
  • heard my first drive-by when I was in middle school
  • Experienced the death of a close friend at 21
  • cried over someone who didn’t deserve it
  • forgave someone who didn’t deserve it
  • Had my first kiss in the back of a band bus at the age of 15
  • Stayed up until the wee hours of the morning after hearing about the Columbine shooting my junior year of high school to write a poem that was later published in the SA Express News
  • Had a Haitian women wipe tears from my cheeks
  • danced with the owner of a karaoke bar in OKC while he serenaded me “Brown Eyed Girl” (I guess he  didn’t see my eyes were blue)
  • got into said karaoke bar when I was only 19 because the owner saw my friends and I walking down the sidewalk and invited us in….not the smartest decision but certainly one of the most fun
  • read Poisonwood Bible
  • made it through my masters
  • eaten pig’s feet
  • serenaded my husband after two weeks of dating (first time to sing for just one person)
  • Was told by a student I was not only a teacher, but a mentor, a mother, a sister and a friend
  • Cried in front of students
  • felt completely naked when I shared my writing for the first time in college
  • spent the week in Wimberley with my family - got sunburnt, an in-grown toenail, and the scar on my chin but met a man from India who changed my life.
  • Wrote love on a student's arms
  • felt the chill associated with a witch doctor’s property
  • bought into the idea of the American Dream
  • realized there is so much more than the American Dream
  • married Russell
  • read Fanny and Zooey
  • Met some of the most innovative and revolutionary minds while spending a weekend in San Diego last year
  • became a history maker
  • learned early on that joy can be found in a sunrise
  • created routines with cousins and siblings to Free at Last
  • swam in the Caribbean
  • was chased by a Havelina in the jungles of Haiti
  • seen the sunset over the Pacific
  • experienced how something can ruin your life in the best possible way
  • watched Dirty Dancing five times in one week
  • read Irresistible Revolution
  • met my guardian angel
  • learned to hear what God is saying to me through nature
  • stayed at a hippie commune in Biloxi while doing relief work after Katrina
  • baked Santa cookies
  • watched Beauty and the Beast
  • watched MTV incognito with my teenage uncle (when they actually played videos-I remember Video Killed the Radio Star)
  • found my words in Brooke Fraser’s “Albertine”
  • learned how to walk like a giant
  • met a homeless man named Derrick who lost everything in Hurricane Ike & is now living under a bridge in downtown Ausitn
  • met a homeless man with no tongue named Bird whose favorite ice cream is Amy's chocolate.
  • read The Things They Carried
  • saw Slumdog Millionaire which intensified my desire to a)travel to India and b)adopt

And there’s more. I think this may be the beauty of this exercise, actually. I sent Dr. Peterson my list months ago and have been processing what I wrote and my own additions since then. I would hope that my list only grows larger, as my writer’s mind continues to pay attention to what others can’t see - the lady nervously scratching her neck during an intense conversation, the deaf couple laughing at an intimate joke, the barista greeting a familiar face with a smile and casual conversation.

There are stories to be told. People aching to be heard and seen.  Go ahead. I dare you. Think about your own list. Declare yourself, as Brady Peterson says. Someone will listen.

Posted on April 8, 2009 and filed under finding{and telling}your story.