Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Cut Glass

My dad always stood between my mom and I. More buffer than bridge, he kept us from colliding and clashing. Himself a small fury if provoked, sobriety transformed him into a peacekeeper. 

Years of bad stuff loaded on top of dysfunctional, unhealed wounds had forged deep pain and created wedges so immense, I convinced myself they would exist into eternity. 

Days before he passed, I held his hand as he stared into my eyes. He was past the point of speaking, but I knew what he was asking. Could feel what he was saying. Time was too precious to waste with words. It didn't matter anyway. The apologies on my tongue felt fake, trite and useless in that moment. 

The truth is, he saw. He knew. He had been the buffer. He could see her part in it, and he could see mine. He never called either one of us out on our stuff. But that day, he held my gaze long past his ability to keep his eyes open, clasping my hand until sleep took him. And, I knew. I knew what he was asking of me. I knew what he needed to go peacefully. 

I didn't know how I would do it. I didn't think I had enough belief in me or her to even try. And lord knows I've been tested, and I've failed miserably! Dad died and my bulwark collapsed. And we didn't know how to live with each other without him in the middle. We'd never had too. 

But his death required a new kind of living for us both or we would die with Dad and cease to be. Now we had to see each other, be with each other - with no one in between. And that's a scary thing when two people are walking shards of broken glass; fragile, cut, jagged... 

Truthfully, the seeing sends us headlong into grief because seeing one another reminds us both of him and the place where he always existed, as the buffer in between us. We haven't fully mended, and I'm not sure that we ever will. But I can tell you, the jagged edges of the glass no longer cut as deep. The once sharp points have dulled and blunted and I'm no longer running into painful places that send me scurrying. 

Five months it's taken me to finally NOT be afraid of "coming home. Five months to get over the fear of what I could possibly be walking into. Would this be a good visit or a bad one? Would I win at loving and eschew harmful, pain filled words? It feels weird to run my hand along the edges of cut glass and not get sliced. 

I miss my dad with every breath, but the flowers that are pushing up from his cold head is a truth I've finally been able to embrace now that he is no longer between us... she is not my enemy. 

Not that I would have ever consciously deemed her as such. But my defensive posture - fists clinched so tightly my nails bit into my palms and lock kneed battle stance - would not have convinced you otherwise. With dad no longer in between us, somewhere inside of grief and a Jew reality, I discovered a choice. 

I could continue to seize up and resist or I could allow Love to break open my tightly budded heart. As with a rose, there's always the risk of getting pricked. But I'm slowly saying yes to the beauty and the fragrance of the flower petals despite the risk. 

My mom and I are like a beautiful work of stain glass, and I can't help but wonder how many times the glassmaker cut himself before he learned to handle the cut pieces with delicacy. I had no realized how co-dependent we both were on him to exist with each other. Dysfunction seems so normal when it's your reality. 

How about you? Who or what are you avoiding because the fear of being hurt outweighs the risk of being loved? 


Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Enough is Enough

Often, we look at "original sin" from the starting point of Adam's actions. In doing so, we miss a huge key to transformation. Adam's demise did not begin when he ate the apple, Adam's sin happened when he believed in his heart that he was separate from God and had to DO something to be like Him, to obtain something from Him. From that grave omission, we have oft repeated this same pattern in society, expecting our doing to produce a certain result.

When people "sin" or act unjustly, we demand they DO something to correct their behavior. We tout "action oriented" solutions as the answer to all the world's problems and attack injustice with a vengeance, willpower against willpower, using negative energy to attempt to bring about good. 

Had Adam believed differently in his HEART, he would have responded differently. Jesus, himself said in Matt. 5:27-28 "You have heard that it was said,‘ You shall not commit adultery ’; but I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart. 

Don't sleep on Jesus. Just as pain and disease is an outward expression of inner dysfunction in the body, the -isms of today in all their vile expressions are outward expressions of hearts in great turmoil. 

No lasting change to systemic injustices will come without an inner experience of union with the Divine and His creation. A wise person once penned, "guard your heart with all diligence for out of it flows the issues of life." Something happens within before it ever flows outward. If we miss the both/and of that truth, we will fail to rightly respond to the need of our day. 

We do need action that produces results, AND we need action that is borne of hearts awakened to the collective experience of humanity. Whatever I do to you, I do to me. We are not separate from one another. There is nothing more for me to chase or consume or aspire to that would vindicate me trampling over you to get there. The fear of scarcity has us living selfishly and running amuck in chaos. We have enough. We are enough. Enough is enough. 


What am I doing to awaken my heart to love? How am I cultivating compassion  within so that kindness flows out? How am I intentionally participating with the Divine to be a peace maker among humanity? Am I known for what I'm for even more so  than the things I'm against? What am I demanding of myself in my demand for others to get it right? Have I removed the log from my own eye or addressed the hidden places in my own heart before I've leaned in to touch yours? 

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Buck Up A Bit

My mom said tonight, "I hope you get to the point where one day you will love coming home." I'm not a liar and I strive to be as authentic and true to me as I know to be, so I said nothing. But inside I was thinking, yea, that will never happen and seriously, before I could finish the thought in my heart, she said, "You know people change." And again, I was quiet. She was right. What could I really say to that? 

I walked out of her room and thought about us, thought about that moment. Why is it that we hold the people closest to us hostage to their worse version of themselves? Why do we allow the pain of our past to be the base through which we judge every present moment? How would I even know if she's changed if all I remember is who she used to be (or more accurately, who I perceived her to be)? 

I sat quietly for a while, beating myself up and then I heard the sweetest dose of encouragement from a still small voice. She said, "Girl, buck up a bit. You've made some progress. Life doesn't change overnight. It's an incremental process. Be kind to you. You're here. You're showing up. You're opening up. Start there." 

In that moment, I was reminded that the intellect of pain is a bad place to process life from and guilt is like a vortex. It will spiral you down into a negative space. Thankfully, there are other options that staying in my head or succumbing to guilt. I can own the parts of my mom's words that were true and the parts of me that are true and begin with truth. 

Truth is light filled and leads to reconciliation. Embracing truth deepens our courage. No, I'm not quite at the place where I'm over the heels in love with the idea of coming "home", but I'm courageous enough to show up. 


There's a place of convergence in the pain of your past and your now. A place that is full of invitation to open up to the tender moments and embrace truth with courage. Buck up a bit. You got this. 

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Redemption Nears

Last night we sat in our living room with the first two couple friends Doug and I ever made in Georgia, laughing, eating, sharing life. Like everyone else, none of our families have been exempt from moments of tragedy, tension, seeming defeat and bottom feeder experiences that can only be summarized as living in hell. In the laughter last night, the sharing, I felt Father so clearly dancing over and through our moment. "I waste nothing," He whispered.

If it is true that the Lamb was slain before the foundation of the world, then Jesus's incarnation, death, burial and resurrection was always Plan A in the heart of Abba, not a shot from the hip, clean up the mess Adam made Plan B.

This is a crucial understanding to life with God and life with people. For in His choosing, it means Father looked out over creation fully aware of all the messes and heinous hurtful, harmful, painful choices and actions we would rend upon the earth and upon each other and He still decided creating us was worth it.

You. Me. The very good of all things created, we are worth it. And in our worth, He anchors us to Himself in His love with one goal in mind: redemption. To bring us back to Himself. To restore us fully to the dance of relationship with Father, Son and Holy Spirit and to restore harmony once again to all relationships.

I saw redemption in the air last night. That on the other side of hurt and wrong, being judged and passed over, forgotten or misunderstood...on the other side of silence and questioning and feelings of aloneness. All the dark parts of being human and living in relationships, just through the intense parts of the crosses we bear, hangs redemption. And it is for that Jesus endured and why we endure.

Redemption is the joy that is set before us. It is the return of relationship to its rightful place. The place of alignment where you belong, where I belong. Redemption is the place where the weaver weaves and the singers sing and Abba dances.

Wait for it, my friends. Participate with Him, even when doing so feels a little like slogging through wet mud. Redemption is the summing up of all things. Like a conductor striking his baton and summoning the instruments to play middle C, the groaning of the earth is waiting for that moment, that fullness of time when the Master Weaver weaves redemption through your situation. Rest assured, all around He is at work redeeming the world to Himself.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Shine On

The ego demands our participation in either/or. False self says I have to choose. Living from the Tree of Life, we ask the question, what does love look like here? How do I participate with Love? What is love doing? It holds a wider, broader, deeper view than just I. True self says yes, and.

Ego demands that I choose life or death. Love has swallowed death. True self demands no such thing. Ego says we have to choose to celebrate a woman's right to march or tear it down, violently or religiously. It does not matter how we trash it, only that we do. True self says yes, I can hold on to my credo, my expression and someone else's without being critical or judgmental. Ego says I either save my country first or I choose to help other countries at the expense of my own. True self says there is room for both. Yes, I can be other centered and still practice self-care. Ego demands that I choose my allegiance to my beliefs or be accepting of how people live that I don't agree with. True self says yes, there is a place for me to honor my credo and a place for me to honor people, even people whose expression of life and choices are markedly different than mine.

[Jesus] Himself is our peace. [He has] made both groups into one and broke down the barrier of the dividing wall, by abolishing in His flesh the enmity, which is the Law of commandments contained in ordinances, so that in Himself He might make the two into one new man, thus establishing peace, and might reconcile them both in one body to God through the cross, by it having put to death the enmity (Eph. 2:14-16).

Love has forever settled the issue. No longer do we have to stand on one side of the dividing wall or the other. No longer do we have to participate with either/or, split into tribes and factions. He has taken us all into Himself, holding us within His Love, establishing peace, bringing reconciliation to humanity by abolishing the enmity that has kept us in darkness.

The only question now is will we receive His love? Will we pause in our fight for right and participate wholly with Love? In Him life was existing, and this life was the light of men. And the light in the darkness is constantly shining. And the darkness did not overwhelm it.

In the stillness of Love, I see clearly that all is not bleak. There is no plane crashing into the earth. The sky is not falling. Every proclamation of darkness stems from the false self.

Yet, Love is not overwhelmed by the sound or anyone's participation with it. With razor beam focus, Love continues to shine Light into darkness, "I am the way, the truth and the life. Awake, o sleeper. My son who was once dead, trapped in his false self, has found his true self and come home to Love." L'chayim. L'chayim(to life).




Friday, October 7, 2016

The Pain of My Past

Our upcoming Fatherheart school (www.fatherheart.net) is being held on a plantation in SC that was once owned by one of the largest slave owners in the state of South Carolina. While my heart isn't healed enough to actually PAY to stay at a place that once enslaved my ancestors and profited from their labor and their breeding, I have been praying in to being on the grounds each day for hours at a time and what that means for me, for my ancestors.

I have a HUGE burden in my heart for generational alignment and restoration. Honestly, I am not even sure what that entails but its brewing deep within. So many parts of our history are both brutal and beautiful. Things that seem so insignificant and minute affect us at a cellular level.

I think a lot about my ancestors hundreds of generations back. What would they want us to know today? What would they say about those times over a cup of shared chicory? How do I honor the atrocities they endured with my life today? ...I don't want to hate. I don't want to be bitter. But, I also don't want to be in denial of their fight or their pain. My pain.

During my morning meditation, I heard so clearly 2 Corinthians 5:9, "God(Father) was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them." At first, as I was releasing those held trespasses downstream into the river of forgiveness, I thought I was letting go of the past - what was horrifically done to my ancestors. Then Holy Spirit said very gently, "Free them too. Beloved this is not their fight. Let them go." And I realized, I was still holding blame and allegiance in my hand. My heart was still wanting to shake all the folk that just don't get it. So I slowly, with a LOT of effort, uncurled my fist and let all of these imaginary people that I really want to shake...go. I let them all float downstream. All my shadow figures I was carrying on my back from my past, my ancestor's past. All the people who ever committed an injustice against another human because of the color of their skin AND all of the people who see it and say nothing AND those who aren't even willing to acknowledge that there is just cause for being upset about the present narrative. All of the people I want so desperately to see what I see, but even more accurately, see it JUST like I see it.

We all have a fight. A cause. A passion. It's okay that the things we're fighting for are not the same. It really is okay.

Having said that, it is time for us to change the narrative. It is time for honest, brave conversations. And the first conversation must begin within. For me, when I was honest with myself, I realized that if I keep blaming someone in the present for something someone else did in the past, all I will ever see is blame. All I will ever feel is mad. I don't want to be dumb or numb. I don't want to sleepwalk through this crucial time in our history. I want to show up every day with my heart wide open to love.

At the end of my mindfulness meditation, this was my resolution: The worse possible take away from tragedy is to act like tragedy never happened. So, I will walk the grounds and halls of that plantation holding my ancestors in my heart, remembering their blood shed, the lashes on their backs, the ropes burning into their skin as they swung from those great trees. I'll remember their bloody fingers from picking cotton and their sore backs. I'll remember their robbed virtue and raped bodies. Eyes wide open to the pain and injustice of their existence from greed.

And, I'll embrace today willing to see it differently. I will embrace today with hope and love, believing the best about our future, humanity's future. With my heart wide open, I will pursue reconciliation not counting the trespasses of the past against my friends of today. If low expectations is our country's greatest wound, then believing the best about others is the way we heal. I'm going to a plantation where my ancestors once lived with my heart bearing love and my feet carrying healing.

Friday, August 19, 2016

He sees. I See.

When God created colors, He never asked of pink to deny the fact that it is pink or red to stop being red. The uniqueness of each individual color blends together to give us the beautiful rainbow we enjoy.

The same request was never made of the stars. No demand was placed on them to surrender their individuality or stature and when placed together, we get to view brilliant constellations.

So why then, do we ask of humans to deny their race? If God only wanted people to look one plain way, He would have never dispersed Noah's three sons into different regions of the world where they would establish distinct cultures and practices and the environment and surrounding conditions would affect the color of their skin and the shape of their noses. If He wanted us to all sound the same, He would not have stopped the building of the Tower of Babel. 

I have Hispanic friends, Indian friends, Chinese friends, Caucasian friends, African friends, Black friends, Polynesian friends, etc. I don't want to see through people. I want to really see them for who they are. Race is as much a part of who we are - our history, our culture, our experience - as our soul and spirit. 

In my opinion, to see all of who a person is and celebrate the totality of that person is to see through God's eyes. People say God can't or doesn't look on flesh and yet Jesus is fully man. So does God veil His eyes when He looks at His Son who is seated at His right hand? 

God sees all of you and He celebrates your uniqueness and individuality. Just as the individual colors blend together to make a rainbow and the stars join together to make constellations, all of who I am connects with all of who you are and together we make up the human race. 

It isn't denial of my skin tone that brings about this effect. It's the celebration of our diversity that does. 

"How good and pleasant it is when brethren dwell together in unity! For there the Lord commanded the blessing - life forever." Ps. 133:1,3