Monthly Archives: April 2011

today: good(ness).

“I hear the whisper of wild hope.”
-Ann Voskamp

Good Friday, so we did what we do sometimes: made some food and packed the car and loaded the dog. We went to the park (but not the one where the dog can run off-leash, a mistake, we discovered and a minor one). We set out a blanket and opened some wine. We watched the sunset. We ate. We added something to our picnic ritual as well: we read the story of Good Friday, aloud, to each other. We planned poorly, though, and lost the light. And then we prayed and we thanked God for grace and we remembered the sacrifice and tried to honor the cost. I think what happened mostly, though, was we experienced his great love. And we are first children of God, so says John who was his friend.

I opened these files today, looked at the photos and thanked God for his goodness. I love these images; they are not my best, really, but they remind me to slow down, and not just on date nights with my boyfriend. These images remind me that we have these opportunities- every day, every moment- to be purposeful and see God and interact with him in the moment. I don’t always get it right; I really struggle to slow down at all. But there we were, on Good Friday, with him. And here we are, back to Friday, and that awareness of his presence returns. And it’s good Friday all over again.

tonight: the old is the new is the old is the new

Today was meetings and new friends and old friends and so much love and life. And there will be more to tell later (hopefully soon), but for now, just a mediocre poem written to remember…

seated on ragged couch, diagonal from the old man
his weathered face, his accented voice, his easy smile
and his words are a story broken and redeemed
his life, foreign, in this homeland to me
and we visit, just people, just meeting
and I leave with a friend, heart beating
seated in her car, beside my old friend
my memory scatters places, their voices, their smiles
and their words are stories fragmented and healed,
in process and progress, steps backwards; steps forward
their lives, valuable, in this homeland above and beyond all we could hope or imagine
my life, I do hope foreign here
oh. today, in an old man, a glimpse of the past
and today, it’s not that I want to go back
it’s just that the old invites the new, calls the new, reinvents the new
because ancient is this call,
from couches here, from rooftops there:
come one; come all

today: this is the day you were born

Which ever way I go I come back to the place you are
Peter Gabriel (I see John Cusack every time I hear it and smile. I am sure I am not alone in this phenomenon.)

Hallelujah, every breath is a second chance
And it is always, always, always yours
And I am always, I’m always, always yours

Switchfoot

I am 21 and we have just read the story of the Passion. April is there and Jessica is there, and other friends who were really close then but who aren’t the lifers that those two are, are there. We are outside, and we are doing mission work. I have a thought in my head that I really do believe this story: that Jesus washed the feet of the disciples and broke bread and was arrested and tortured. I really do believe that after they beat him he hung on the cross. I believe his disciples denied or fled, that a friend asked for his body, that his mother cried. I believe they laid him in a grave. I believe that before that Isaiah, a prophet, said the story would happen. I believe that his punishment becomes our peace.

I am 21 and the whole story is profound, and my friends are there but I am unaware of them because my face is wet with tears, because I am hungry for and humbled by the kind of God who is love and is humble and who dies. And even though I know the finality of the cross points to the fullness of a whole different kingdom, because what seemed like the end in that moment, well, it wasn’t (but we’ll save that for another day), I am in the moment.

And Jesus, he is serving.
And Jesus, he is thanking.
And Jesus, he is breaking bread.
And Jesus, he is taking the cup.
And Jesus, he is betrayed.
And Jesus, he is surrendering.
And Jesus, he is arrested.
And Jesus, he is suffering.
And Jesus, he is broken.
And Jesus, he is dying.

And the sky goes dark. And the world groans. And the curtain tears. And the world receives back the fulfillment of hope.

I am 31 today, and that moment of the realness of the story of Jesus then still cuts me to the core today. All I have is thanks. All we have is grace. This Friday, it is good indeed. The world receives back the fulfillment of hope. We are living the best story. And it is always, always, always yours.

tonight: run.

“Methinks that the moment my legs began to move, my thoughts began to flow.”
-Henry David Thoreau

strip down to weather appropriate costume
lace up and let these two feet wander
abandon, silent, to collect thoughts and heartbeat
abandon, steady, to rejoin them, if starkly
drive these two feet into the ground
spread these two wings for freedom found
and ache for wonder staring at horizon
experience redemption in putting these miles in
strip down to all that i have- little
this movement, a grace prayer, as longing stills
tomorrow: rinse and repeat
find brand new cloaking for these age old dreams
run, but not away, daily
home, but not a place, really

tonight: holy week, monday

“The Giver alone- ocean enough…”
-Ann Voskamp

everything, a dance
this, a story
here, a world emerging
in the shadow of a cross that changed everything
death that meant life
everything, beyond what seems possible
this, a miracle
here, a world alive, freed
remember, remember, remember
taste and see
dance and live
believe, believe

tonight: how to say yes

watching small boy, new skills
across the floor with satisfaction looking like a grin on his face
crawling which will turn to walking but right now
crawling!
watching eager motion, hands reaching
for the life in the bedroom playground feeling like the whole world
seeing which will allow these tears to fall but right now
seeing!
we are young in this old world
we hunger for this brand newness
we yield to the beauty
morning with a small boy, reminder of how to say yes

today: why I bought new running shoes in D.C.

“There are as many reasons for running as there are days in the year, years in my life. But mostly I run because I am an animal and a child, an artist and a saint. So, too, are you. Find your own play, your own self-renewing compulsion, and you will become the person you are meant to be.”
-George Sheehan

A few weeks ago, I flew to D.C. for a whirlwind engagement session for my cousin and her fiance. I planned to fly in Sunday, photograph the session that afternoon and return home Monday afternoon on a standby ticket. Because I thought the trip would be so quick, I packed very light. The flights filled up, though, so I ended up flying home Tuesday. Early Monday I checked the flights and realized mine filled up. I shifted my plan to returning home Tuesday. And I immediately went and bought gear to run in, as I had not packed running shoes or clothing.

Maybe it seems ludicrous to spend nearly $200 to get a run in during a trip that was unexpectedly lengthened, and maybe it is. I needed new running shoes at home, though, and even if I hadn’t, I may still have made the trek to the running store down the road from Rachel’s house. I knew I had a full day of work, and pairing that with changed plans demanded a run. Running works to focus my thoughts, to allow me to connect with God and to put before me a daily challenge. It helps with flexibility. I sleep better, work better, think better, love better and live better when I run more days than not.

In an unfamiliar city on a spring day, the benefits of running expand to hold the adventure of running streets I don’t know under a gentle sun. When I feel boxed in by monotony, I covet days like that Monday. I laced up brand new runners, pony-tailed my hair and wrote turn-by-turn directions on my arm, thanks to a running friend of my cousin. A six-mile route lay before me. It would take me past Iwo Jima and around Arlington Cemetery, then across the Potomac to Lincoln Memorial, along the water to Georgetown before I crossed back to Arlington and Rachel’s apartment.

And the run was glorious. If there is a running city in the U.S., D.C. is it. This directionally challenged girl may have turned a six-mile run into a nine-miler thanks to a bit of confusion on how to get to Georgetown. I didn’t even care. My feet ran hard, and my heart lightened. I felt alive, and that aliveness felt like hope and clarity.

It never ceases to amaze me that God created the world and called it good and then placed people in it who see and think and live and dream uniquely. Part of the way he put me together means a great run in a new place wakes me up to recognize his hand in my life. This year was supposed to be a year of less busy and more intentionally focused work and life, and I ran those miles staring at an over-filled plate hungry for stillness and peace. I ran those miles recommitting to doing less, because I hunger to be free to say yes to the infinite wonder of living out of who he made me to be. I learn and relearn this simple identity lesson time and again, and thankfully God is ever-patient with me. This is my life being redeemed today.

And this morning over coffee and muffins, I am thinking about that day and marveling that God is able to take small circumstances (a delayed trip home and a desire to run) as well as grandiose ones (a new baby or a miracle or, um, spring time) as well as really messy, hard ones and craft a life around his goodness. Life is rich. May you know it. May we celebrate it.