A Dangerous Way to Live

giver

I watched the movie trailer of The Giver. I was confused.

Then I read the synopsis of the book on wikipedia. (I know, not the best source.) Still confused.

Eventually, I thought maybe I should just read the real actual book.

When in doubt, read the book.

 

Jonas lives in a ‘perfect’ community without war, pain, suffering, differences or choices. At age 12 he is chosen to take the place of The Giver, the memory keeper, who must transfer all the memories of humanity to Jonas.

When he feels love for the first time- “I can see that it was a dangerous way to live.”

Though the memories of suffering, pain, and loss are excruciating they change the course of Jonas life. The story is a beautiful parable of how we need to keep telling stories.

 

If the stories of the past are not in our proximity, we too easily forget.

If stories of present challenges are not in our proximity, we too easily ignore.

 

At the conclusion of the book, I read Lois Lowry’s Newberry Award acceptance speech. Best take away: We can’t live only us, only now. 

 

Live dangerously.

Draw up close.

Love.

 

What book has touched you with deeper meaning?

 

 

 

 

You Don’t Really Know Us

I read a few books, did little computer, little television, no writing.

Instead, we were present. The kids and I did cousins and family. And it was very good.

I love that these unplanned cousin journey pictures in Michigan and Minnesota so mimic each other. Summer and cousins are like peanut butter and jelly.

cousinsI love them.

cousins4On Saturday we rode the Amtrak home from Iowa. Fourteen hours. By then what had been uncomfortable quiet, had settled peacefully, and I people watched instead of doing.

 

There in one train car:

An amish family in traditional clothing, the little girls in bonnets.

A kindly gentleman on the way to babysit five grandkids who shared his seat with me.

Two young men one with black skin, one caucasian discussing zen buddhism philosophy.

… and the one I struggle to describe. Purple hair, engaged but in an open relationship (on the train, I guess), and recovering from a hangover. She ripped a color page of an intricate patterned elephant from an expensive drawing book, and poured brand new markers into a container before handing them to Ellie.

She asked what I did, and went on to share how she made a difference for close to an hour. She helps people with illness have a better life by dispensing medical marijuana. ‘I ease their pain, and there is nothing better.’ ‘Kind of like God easing the pain of our messed-up choices by forgiving.’

 

And I was reminded how much I love people.

His best creations. Everyone of us.

 

When we got home there was this:

You Don’t Really Know Us. An op-ed for the Chicago Tribune by students at Bradwell School of Excellence.

Listen to the the interview on Weekend Edition here. Read the whole article here.

 

They defend their neighborhood…

We want you to know us. We aren’t afraid. We know that man on the corner. He works at the store and gives us free Lemonheads…When the sun shines here, it’s not God saying he wants to burn us; he sees us all with bright futures…. This is home… this is us.

 

You don’t really know a person’s story, until you know.

And when you know, you love.

cousinlove

Fourteen days of silence and I think I’m right back where I belong.

he swam right up to me

DSC04311When Josiah was young, we visited the Cincinnati zoo. The polar bear there swam right up to the glass over and over again. Josiah kept exclaiming, “He  swam right up to me!” That polar bear was a big part of his stories for years after. The following Christmas he received a stuffed polar bear that was once white and is now a special color of gray.

A couple years later we visited the Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago. (This zoo is free and has some beautiful animals.) Once again the polar bear put on a show, swimming right up to the glass.

DSC04313Although the picture does not quite show the delight on Josiah’s face, you can see his excitement.

Everyone needs someone who swims right up to them.

Have you been the recipient of someone going out of their way to love you? I know I have and it changes everything. I want to be that kind of person to others.

 

1 Timothy 6: 17-19 from the Message. 

Tell those rich in this world’s wealth to quit being so full of themselves and so obsessed with money, which is here today and gone tomorrow. Tell them to go after God, who piles on all the riches we could ever manage- to do good, to be rich in helping others, to be extravagantly generous. If they do that, they’ll build a treasury that will last, gaining life that is truly life. 

100_1335

 

Swimming right up to those in need of renewal…

that is gaining life that is truly life.

 

Who has swam right up to you? 

Love, a voice not afraid to speak anymore

Each member of a church family has spoken and unspoken expectations of their ministry leaders. What people may not understand is that humanly you cannot measure up to each person or subgroups expectations. Many times these expectations fall under personal characteristics and traits, the very things that make a person who they are.  God’s work can be hindered by something as tiny as unkind words. They build in a group of people and start to pursue.

Words that are spoken in hushed whispers, behind the backs of others, on the inside of closed doors, and during secret meetings have a way of seeping out, morphing, and expanding. They do not return void, but find their way back to the person they were spoken of and their weight lies heavy.

If we hold close that we are hurt and broken by words, the silence indicates that act was acceptable. Silence allows the church to keep hurting people, to become repeat offenders of deeply affecting words spoken behind backs. The hearts of those who love the Lord are hurt.

 

 I write to bring encouragement. I also write to speak for justice. I write that the church might find wholeness in loving one another, that they might place focus on loving those in need of renewal. 

I found my calling IN the midst of brokenness. Uncomfortable nudges change.

Without pain, I might have never gathered the courage to write, for that I am thankful. I am deeply, deeply thankful.

 

We all have a beautiful voice, God intended to use for his glory.

Those voices need to be built up in the church with words that bring unconditional love.

Love- A voice not afraid to speak anymore.