Friday, February 28, 2014

light so lovely

"We draw people to Christ not by loudly
discrediting what they believe, by telling them
how wrong they are and how right we are,
but by showing them a light so lovely
that they want with all of their hearts
to know the source of it."
- Madeleine L'engle

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

growing pains

A friend said to me once that life is pain.  The words stung me because they were true.

Human beings.  We hurt each other, even when we're not trying, and it tempts me to despair.

Today I clicked "like" on a blog post that was shared on facebook entitled Why The Christian Church is Not a Safe Place for an Artist.  Then a few of my friends pointed out that liking it could come across as disrespectful to certain people.  So I've been experiencing some grief over this because I do not like hurting others.

I have my own thoughts and opinions with regards to the topic presented in the blog post, but they're not crystallized yet.  Hopefully I can sort stuff out in my head and write on it in the near future after some more contemplation and prayer.

Facebook is weird because it's like an echo of reality, but it's not reality itself.  Conversations happen, but not as they do in real life, and you can't hear tone of voice or see facial expressions so people don't know if you're being gentle or not.

And when you click "like", people can only guess at your reasons for doing so without coming to a full understanding on it.  Furthermore, who knows if they'll even read the whole thing to the end?  I mean, there are an awful lot of lazy readers out there who will see only the title of something and start freaking out instead of accepting that someone's foreign opinion or story can help them develop qualities like wisdom and discernment or forgiveness.  Man, sometimes I have to read something four or five times before I understand it in any decent way.  Reading can be hard work, so I understand why people can get lazy about it!

But just like how people say stupid things in real life conversation, so they type stupid things into computers, too, and maybe even with nasty motivations.  Who's to say?  It just is what it IS.

When facebook hurts me, I like to ask myself what I can learn through the pain.  It also helps me when I remember my emotions can't always be trusted.

I'm learning that becoming mature involves recognizing I am a villain and so is everyone else.  It's one thing to know this on an intellectual level, but to have that somehow sink deeper into the heart... that's what hurts most.  As beautiful and endlessly fascinating as people are, they're also broken and faulty.

That's okay.

It's why I put my hope where I do.


Saturday, February 22, 2014

boy and a stick

On Tuesday, our four-year-old Trevor said to me, "Guys go to the moon at night!  On a very special
night when there's thunder and lightning."  So I smiled.

Later he inadvertently jabbed himself in the balls with a plastic doohickey that mysteriously appeared in our house one day.  It looks like a broken off piece of tent pole.

I heard high pitched wheezy noises so looked down from atop the stairwell to discover he had made it to about the fifth step, hands covering his precious nuts, tears shining with pain and desperation.

I don't know what it's like to have this male injury but I imagine it's right up there next to childbirth.

My entire being flooded with sympathy and I rushed down the steps.

He recuperated, of course, but the mystery stick remained in our house.  Trevor picked it up again and when I told him to quit, he shoved it behind a small shelving unit.

It's still hidden there.

art project 35

Monday, February 10, 2014

cuts like a knife

One of the times I laughed hardest was when I pushed the liquid soap pump in my brother's washroom.  Instead of squirting into my palm, the glob shot out sideways, soared over the toilet and splatted onto the shower curtain.  I laughed so full and long, tears rolled all over my cheeks.

Sometimes sarcasm makes me laugh, too, but not nearly as much.  I like it when it's used in a gentle or uplifting way.  For example, someone might say, "Valerie's just so selfish, spending all her evenings helping at the shelter."

I also enjoy listening to a banter between intimate, smiling friends.

Then there's an intelligent sarcasm, the kind that requires imagination and cunning.  I'm envious of people with this quick wit.  I wish I could come up with an example for you, but I'm not witty enough.

There's also a harsher sarcasm.  The kind that sneers and ridicules.  I suspect people who use it often do it so they can hide their insecurities and make themselves feel superior.  It's approached with an attitude that says, "Here, let me tease the snot out of you so I can feel good about myself for a second."

I think if you grow up surrounded with that, you become numb to it, pass it off as normal, or else develop a similar form of humor yourself.  As for me, it usually rubs me the wrong way because I can't see how it's edifying for anyone.  In fact, many people find it hurtful.

A lot of this depends on how it's delivered, like if it's done jovially or childishly.

All I know is I'll take silly, lighthearted humor over mean-spirited, cutting remarks any day.    

Thursday, February 6, 2014

housekeeping pep talk

Why not imagine I'm clearing away stars while I sweep?

The dishes could be squealing piglets wriggling about in the sink as if having a bath.

For every piece of laundry I fold, a bird hatches from an ordinary egg.  Or perhaps the garments themselves are birds' wings I can crease and close, later to be opened for the purpose of flying.

Putting shoes into the closet is to make room for a flock of polka-dotted chickens.  Bright ones that sing acapella instead of cluck.

What if by washing a single window I can bring eyesight to fifty blind pilgrims in a faraway village?

House chores aren't so bad.