Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Hug your kids and tell them you love them.
Because you just don't know what tomorrow holds.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

What I Wish I Could Say ... at times.

It's Spring Show time.  We're learning new music.  It's mostly "pop" music.  I had never heard this song before.  Now it's stuck in my head.  I have to admit, there are times I wish I could say these words to people!  (C'mon, you know you've wanted to say them too!)
"Keep drinking coffee, stare me down across the table,
While I look outside
So many things I say if only I were able
But I just keep quiet and count the cars that pass by.

You've got opinions, man,
And we're entitled to 'em
But I never asked.

So let me thank you for your time
And try not to waste any more of mine.
Get out of here fast.

I hate to break it to you babe
But I'm not drowning
There's no one here to save.

Who cares if you disagree? You are not me.
Who made you king of anything?
So, you dare to tell me who to be?
Who died and made you king of anything?

You sound so innocent
All full of good intent
Swear you know best.

But you expect me to
Jump up on board with you
Ride off into your delusional sunset

I'm not the one who's lost
With no direction, oh
But you'll never see.

You're so busy making masks
With my name on it in all caps
You've got the talking down
Just not the listening.

All my life I've tried 
to make every body happy while I just hurt and hide
Waiting for someone to tell me it's my turn
to decide.

Who cares if you disagree? You are not me.
Who made you king of anything?
So, you dare to tell me who to be?
Who died and made you king of anything?"
-Sarah Bareilles-

Saturday, March 19, 2011

The Phoenix Rises

Back in August of 2009 I blogged about beauty from ashes and the rise of the Phoenix.  It was written by faith.  In the middle of the ashes and darkness we were going through it was hard to believe that anything good could ever happen again.  The combination of death (dreams, ministry and my father) and the betrayal we experienced were almost too much to bear. 
Recent lessons and thoughts, including last night's movie (about which I wrote yesterday) combined with tonight's experience at the Tulare County Symphony (hearing Rachmaninoff's "Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini" and then "Firebird Suite") cement in my heart what has been going on in my mind. 
It sounds cliche (someone please teach me how to do accents on the computer) but here goes, "We don't know what the future holds, but we know WHO holds the future".  The Phoenix will rise.  Spring begins.  New life replaces death. We're moving on. 

Friday, March 18, 2011

We just watched "Charlie St. Cloud".  I wasn't sure if I'd like it.  I didn't know anything about it.  Turns out it's about letting go of the past and moving on.  At the end of the movie Charlie says "It hurts as much as the day you died".  Sam responds, "It hurts because you're alive".   We hurt because we are alive.  We love because we are alive. 
There's something comforting about living in the past, like somehow we can fix it.  We can't.  I know that the only way out is to let go and move ahead.  Oswald Chamber says; "let the past sleep, but let it sleep on the bosom of Christ... and step out into the irresistable future with Him."  On a more secular, but true note, Ann Landers says; "Hanging onto resentment is letting someone you despise live rent-free in your head." 


Move ahead or go back? 
It's time to start looking ahead. 

Monday, March 14, 2011

So Needy

I have been thinking a lot about grace and mercy, judgment and punishment.  A few weeks ago at school a situation came up that really had me wondering and reflecting on all of this and how I handle certain situations and personalities.  A student really messed up and was suspended.  He was allowed to go on our recent choir trip, being given that second chance... grace.  Choir seems to be the only reason he even comes to school.  It seemed the right thing to do.  Now I'm not so sure.  There is always the risk of the "grace receiver" taking advantage of the gift and thereby cheapening it.

So is grace and mercy given freely to all no matter what?  Or does grace only come to those who humble themselves, who recognize their need?  Do those who are proud and unrepentant still receive grace? 
I, for one, am so conscious of my need of grace and mercy lately.  Every where I look I see my sinfulness, my lack of grace, my lack of love and kindness, my lack of wisdom (which I so desperately need).  I understand my total lack and realize my only answer is God's mercy and grace.  For this I am so grateful.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

The Power of Forgiveness

"When deep injury is done to us, 
we never recover until we forgive...
Forgiveness does not change the past, 
but it does enlarge the future."

The Amish school shooting was a shooting at the West Nickel Mines School, an Amish one-room schoolhouse in the Old Order Amish community of Nickel Mines, a village in Bart Township of Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, on October 2, 2006.  Gunman Charles Carl Roberts IV took hostages and eventually shot ten girls (aged 6–13), killing five, before committing suicide in the schoolhouse.
The emphasis on forgiveness and reconciliation in the response of the Amish community was widely discussed in the national media. The West Nickel Mines School was torn down, and a new one-room schoolhouse, the New Hope School, was built at another location

On the day of the shooting, a grandfather of one of the murdered Amish girls was heard warning some young relatives not to hate the killer, saying, "We must not think evil of this man." Another Amish father noted, "He had a mother and a wife and a soul and now he's standing before a just God."
Jack Meyer, a member of the Brethren community living near the Amish in Lancaster County, explained: "I don't think there's anybody here that wants to do anything but forgive and not only reach out to those who have suffered a loss in that way but to reach out to the family of the man who committed these acts."

A Roberts family spokesman said an Amish neighbor comforted the Roberts family hours after the shooting and extended forgiveness to them.  Amish community members visited and comforted Roberts' widow, parents, and parents-in-law. One Amish man held Roberts' sobbing father in his arms, reportedly for as long as an hour, to comfort him.  The Amish have also set up a charitable fund for the family of the shooter.  About 30 members of the Amish community attended Roberts' funeral, and Marie Roberts, the widow of the killer, was one of the few outsiders invited to the funeral of one of the victimsMarie Roberts wrote an open letter to her Amish neighbors thanking them for their forgiveness, grace, and mercy. She wrote, "Your love for our family has helped to provide the healing we so desperately need. Gifts you've given have touched our hearts in a way no words can describe. Your compassion has reached beyond our family, beyond our community, and is changing our world, and for this we sincerely thank you."

Some commentators criticized the swift and complete forgiveness with which the Amish responded, arguing that forgiveness is inappropriate when no remorse has been expressed, and that such an attitude runs the risk of denying the existence of evil; others were supportive.  Donald Kraybill and two other scholars of Amish life noted that "letting go of grudges" is a deeply rooted value in Amish culture, which remembers forgiving martyrs including Dirk Willems and Jesus himself. They explained that the Amish willingness to forgo vengeance does not undo the tragedy or pardon the wrong, but rather constitutes a first step toward a future that is more hopeful.  (from Wikipedia)