Feb
15
2013
0

Keep Riding

Your dad’s hands on the bike handles and the rear of the seat, while you awkwardly wobble.

Your small fingers squeezing tight to the grooves of the rubber grip, your feet peddling harder.

You remember that feeling? So unsure.  But even then, so young, you know it’s got to be done.

So you keep going. You keep your eyes forward. You pick up speed to move you faster and faster ahead.

And soon, you no longer feel that wobble.  You’re really moving! You can feel it! Something is finally carrying you along reliably— smoothly—letting you glide forward into all of those places ahead you strained so desperately to reach, just before.

You look back to the handle bars to make sure you still see those hands holding you tight, and find only your own.  Your face jerks to the left. Nothing but rushing trees and bushes.  Your dad’s not there. In fact, there’s no person there at all! It’s only you! Panic overtakes, until you realize something else is holding you up. Something powerful. Something you can’t see. Something that’s a part of all of the movement you’re now a part of, too. Something that if you trust, and realize is there, and let yourself feel and accept with each turn and each movement of your legs, it will hold you up steady as you go, no doubt.  So you move with whatever that silent, invisible force is. You embrace that fact of the universe, you feel both around you and inside of you. And you go with it. Letting it carry you as far as you’ll go.

How do you feel God in your life? How do you trust God to move you forward to the places far and close ahead?

Where do you find your faith?

 

A thought to meditate on this week:

On Faith and Doubt:
“An act of faith is an act of a finite being who is grasped by and turned to the infinite. It is a finite act with all the limitations of a finite act, and it is an act in which the infinite participates beyond the limitations of a finite act. Faith is certain in so far as it is an experience of the holy. But faith is uncertain in so far as the infinite to which it is related is received by the finite being. This element of uncertainty cannot be removed, it must be accepted. And the element in faith which accepts this is courage.” –Paul Tillich (Dynamics of Faith)

 

 

 

Jan
14
2013
0

Our Status Updates to God (aka Life!)

A  Day in the Life of a Desk Dweller ;)

 

Alright…*cracks knuckles*  Let’s get some work done.

Freshly plucked and preened, she sits down at her desk, ready to face a brand new day of tapping her fingers, staring into a screen, and hitting send and enter for all of the tasks swirling in her head like a cheesy graphic from a Twilight Zone episode, since last night.

Hmmm… But first…

She minimizes her work file and clicks on the big blue “e” sitting just to the left of Matt Bomer’s handsome smile.

“I’ve gotta get my head into this day, before I start,” she whispers to the quiet, clicking into the social network. “Gotta get centered.”

Glancing into the blue and white framing her facebook page, her routine begins, just as it did yesterday, the day before, and the day before that—and just as it will continue tomorrow, the next day, and each of the days she’ll be glad to wake into after those.

And here’s how it goes (posts may vary):

9:00AM Facebook

Share your thoughts…

“Welp, here comes another work day. Think I’ll start dressing like Batwoman when I come in. Spice up the scene at the office with a nice, billowing cape. …What? Think I’ll get fired? …What do ya think?”

Four likes. One “LOL!”

Nice.

9:12AM Work

10:11AM Facebook

“Man—I’m feeling tired *already*! How’s this even possible?? Think I’m a little burned out. If you wanna come help me with a mocha frappuccino, feel free to stop by! ;)

10:12AM Work

11:59AM Facebook

No comments on that one? Not even a like??…Hope they know I was just joking about the coffee, and nobody got all weird, thinking I was asking too much.

12:00PM Lunch

1:00PM Facebook

She glances at the comment box.

Share your thoughts…

Still frustrated by the lack of response before, she clams up and clicks out.

1:04PM Work

2:06PM Facebook

“*Grrrr* People are SO frustrating!!! Why’s this world so screwed up? Here’s an idea… if each one of us, one at a time, decides every morning they can only be a jerk ONCE a day… what do you think the odds are that the world will be at least a *slightly* better place by next year? I’m down to try. You wanna help me out on this one? ;D”

2:07PM Work

3:30PM Facebook

Seven likes! Sweet. If I was at a party, that would’ve been a laughing crowd! Should I type more in the comment box? …Nah. Seems to have done the trick.  Leave it.

3:31PM Work

4:04PM Facebook

No one’s posting? BOR-innnngg…Why do I even get on this stupid thing? Waste of time.

4:57PM Hits send, enter, save. DONE. ALL WORK FILES CLOSED. Ready to go.

Hmmm… But first…

“Gotta unwind,” she whispers to the quiet, clicking into the social network. “Re-center and settle into the night.”

4:58PM Facebook

“Oof. DONE. Finally! Productive day…aside from all the messing around on FB! lolz Ready to go lie down on the couch with Dexter and the huz! Thanks for not de-friending me after all this lame rambling. ;)

5:00PM SHUT DOWN. Laptop screen flat. Shoes back on feet. She stretches up from her desk and walks out the door.

It’s not a bad schedule. She likes her life. Likes her work. But a lot of the time, in one of the quieter corners of her mind, she feels there’s something missing….though she can’t quite figure out what.

So there it is. A day in the life of a Desk Dweller. Not a bad, or insulting, term. It’s just the way we are, now—a lot of us, anyway. We sit. We type. We click. We stare. We think. We close up, and we go back home.

Does any part of this day feel familiar to minutes of your own?

It’s kind of a rhetorical question, because I think this schedule maps out the minutes of most, these days. A lot of us spend a crazy amount of time on facebook! Just a fact. Nothing wrong with it, really (aside from all of the piled fragments of time it tends to take away from our work!…But we all need that kind of release, so it’s good. It’s healthy).

Our words might change each time, but these themes in our posting stay the same:

-thoughts of happiness for a good turn

-words of sadness, frustration, or surprise at something awful

-Requests for support regarding an idea or action

-Connecting during a moment that riles up our passions (by setting up a link to special songs, or movie scenes, or whatever image we want to share our thanks in feeling)

Each time, each of these posts sent with a hope for a response—feeling joy and validation when we receive it, and frustration, doubt, and sometimes even anger, when we don’t. Either reaction from the outside driving us to reach out either more or less.

We wake up in the morning with a need to sit down and tap into surrounding life, this way; and after a day spent randomly clicking back in and out, we close up our night by connecting this way, too.

All of this communication going out to a faceless Someone, when you think about it (a little ironic, given the name of the network!) because our words generally speak to a collective whole—to anyone willing to notice our thoughts and respond with some kind of interest or sign that we’ve been heard.

We center ourselves in doing this, because we self-express. We connect. We remember we’re with the life around us, even when we feel distant; and we understand that in doing this, we are known and remembered through all of the slowly passing moments.

So let’s give ourselves a space in spirit to dig in for a minute, and think about what it is, inside, driving us to so often tap into life this way.

Any parallels—any similar actions—coming to mind?

There’s another word for what we do when we log in to facebook.

It’s an old, overused word that’s lost its luster in a lot of modern minds because of the ways people have misused the spiritual practice.

And there’s a different spread of blue and white people sometimes stare into, while doing it.

Yes.

…Prayer.

Maybe a better way of saying it: the time we spend talking to God. Talking to Life. Sharing ourselves—our experiences—with The All.

Another question to meditate on the next time we log in to facebook (which I’ll be doing in a just minute, myself—because it’s about that time!):

Who is the “You” we’re addressing, when we type?

Another:

As often as we sign in, does this say something about the depth of our spirituality? In our yearning to connect with that Greater Life around us, does it say something about the level of relationship we seek with The Universe/God/Life/(or whichever name you’d feel okay giving The Whole)?

Another:

When you sign in to facebook, how much satisfaction comes to your soul? Is it the satisfaction you seek?

The last:

Could it possibly be Life/God/The Whole we seek more deeply than anything we could ever feel through all of this more surface-sharing?

Just something to think about. Something for your soul. God bless, take care, and talk to ya soon on this thing.

 

Your Fellow Desk Dweller,

Rev. Laura H.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sep
01
2011
0

Late Night Ramble–Deer Park UMC– Denver Area Church–God and Change

A Late Night Ramble

 

This past weekend I went on a two day camping trip into the Byers Peak Wilderness with some friends who I didn’t realize until just now are actually some “long-time” companions of mine.  These people I’ve been sitting and talking and walking to different places with for almost a decade now, stayed up late under the stars, sharing their experiences in life by the fire with me; they walked up and down dirt trails in search of new places with me; and they strolled along rushing waters with me, laughing at my jokes, and showing me how to catch fish.

 

As I type these words, I realize I won’t have the company of these faces forever. As long as I’ve been a part of each of the lives I just spoke of, there will come a day when they’re only referenced with a smile, as something from the past, now gone. We all know as we grow older, that these things happen not necessarily by will, but by the natural way of things. Some people pass away before your paths would have later parted; some move to new places to make new friendships with new people; some start families, and start lives separate from the things and people they knew before; and some just sort of quietly fade off into the distance, before you realize far later that they’ve gone.

 

Life is always changing, and it does strange things to your mind to think of that terrible and beautiful fact of existing.  Feelings of depression, and gratitude, and love, and loss flood you all at once, and you don’t really know what to do with it.

 

Personally, my first reaction is to clutch.  My first thought is to hold tighter, and try to stop life from moving those things which are close to my mind and heart, away from me—concocting some plan to do all I can not to allow those faces and things and places to go.  But doing that, I realize in clearer moments, is like trying to grip water with your hand. It’s impossible. Life moves outside of our ability control, and trying to fight against that, and manipulate that reality to work in our favor is probably one of the more purposeless and wasteful ways we can spend the short and blessed moments of our lives. Of course, that still doesn’t stop us, right?

 

I’ve found lately that I’ve been adamantly staying awake late into the night, despite my boredom and exhaustion. I’m doing it even now as I write this blog. Tonight was the first time I allowed myself to wonder why, and one of the initial thoughts which popped to my mind was the possibility that I might be subconsciously fearing the progression of time.

 

Life has been strangely wonderful in recent days, and knowing life changes sooner than we’re usually given warning, or any kind of notice, I’ve been somehow plagued with a fear of losing this new found happiness to the unknown moments waiting ahead. Moments which hold the potential to alter this beautiful bliss I accidentally stumbled upon not too long ago.

 

But as I think of this, I can’t help but feel embarrassed by the blatant ridiculousness of it all. I recently found happiness, and I’ve somehow managed to turn even that into misery by dwelling in fear of losing the good thing which is (for the moment) still my blessing to enjoy.

 

In fearing losing the happiness I now have, I cease to enjoy the beautiful moment for what it is. By dwelling in my fear of not having it longer, I’ve already lost that thing I’m so afraid of losing.

 

Being human is a real pain in the glutes, isn’t it?

 

This is a problem our species has been dealing with for a while. Ancient Buddhist and Hindu religious philosophies are almost entirely based on this concern, actually. Christian spirituality as well speaks to these things. In all, is the idea that we need to let life be what it is, when it is. To accept the nature of our days, and to stop ourselves from grasping, and clutching, and worrying, because in doing this we only bring our fears to reality unnaturally sooner than they would have come on their own, and we isolate ourselves from truly experiencing the moments of our lives as they occur, dwelling constantly outside of reality, in the fictional realms of the past and future. This is paraphrasing and generalizing these three very unique belief systems, but it expresses basic truths found in each of them.

 

As a minister, I can’t help but think about the nature of God, compared to ours. There is nothing in the universe which remains constant except for the totality of eternity.* That Totality I believe is what we use the word “God” to describe. Then I start to wonder, if God is in all things, and all things are smaller parts comprising this totality—this eternity—does anything ever really die? Does anything ever really end? Or do we just stop seeing it?

 

Do we just become somehow isolated from our experience of it, in this time, and in this space? And do we expedite this experiential isolation, by premature mourning our loss of the sense of it?

 

Alright. That’s it. I’m going to bed.

 

 

 

 

*For the specifically minded, in saying this, of course, I’m speaking of particular manifestations of objects and events and excluding basic principles of calculation we can apply to these manifestations, (i.e. the speed of light).

 



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