Monday, September 25, 2017

A Father's Heart

I haven't posted on this blog in about 6 months.  No excuses from this blogger, only the fact:  Life.

In the past, my times of silence have been due to the busy-ness of life.  You know how it is, right?  Activities, work, appointments, family

This period of quiet as had another source, though.  Grief.  Grief for situations in our personal lives and the lives of those we love.  This has been a year of great loss for our family and extended family.  Loss of dreams, loss of loved ones, and loss of hope in the midst of seemingly insurmountable tragedy.

In the past five days, it all seems to have escalated:
- a dear family (from our church) lost their home to a fire.  A family of 10, including a newborn, suddenly became homeless;
- a family member underwent a scary health situation, which is still not completely resolved;
- a man close to our family is undergoing tests to hopefully reveal the cause of physical symptoms that could be life-threatening;
- my uncle is fighting the last stages of a debilitating brain disease, which has in so many ways taken away the man we loved already;
- someone very close to my family is also battling a similar disease;
- one of my young piano students just found out she is going to lose her grandfather.  This young lady has already lost so much, and now this;
- a relative in his 40's suffered a massive stroke;
- our friends' teenage grandson has received news that the cancer has returned for the second time  and,
- my cousin lost her husband in a horrific stabbing.  She and her sons are facing all the difficulties of losing a spouse and father, in addition to the violence that caused his death.

My heart is so full of grief, it seems it will burst.

"Surely He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows..." Isaiah 53:4

Wednesday, March 08, 2017

Bottled Up

Life doesn't always treat us the way we've planned.  Over the past month or so, my life has been turned inside out and upside down in more ways than one.  I've cried a lot of tears and felt a lot of pain.

There's this really amazing portion of a psalm (56:8) that has been rolling around in my heart:

"You number my wanderings;
Put my tears into Your bottle;
Are they not in Your book?"

In ancient times, mourners would collect their tears in a bottle.  The tears would be placed at the tomb of a loved one as a visual reminder of their grief.  

From Wikipedia:  "Tear Catchers were commonly used during Ancient Roman times, with mourners filling glass bottles with their tears, and placing them in tombs as a symbol of their respect for the deceased. It was also used to show remorse, guilt, love and grief. The women cried during the procession, and the more tears collected in tear bottles meant the deceased was more important. The bottles used during the Roman era were lavishly decorated and measured up to four inches in height.[1]
Tear bottles were designed with special seals, which allowed the tears to evaporate. By the time that the tears were assumed to have evaporated, the mourning period was considered over."

David's psalm supposes that God has collected his tears as a remembrance of David's mourning and trials.  God has numbered, not only the hairs of his head, but every tear drop he has shed, keeping track of them in a book.  This is, of course, figurative.  But how beautiful!

In the New Testament, the woman sits at Jesus' feet and washes His feet with her tears.  She then wipes them clean with her hair.  Some scholars have speculated that she had plenty of tears, because she had been collecting them.  But the death here was not of a friend, but of her own sins and self.  It was a show of surrender to the Lord.

Tears are healing.  I don't know what you're experiencing, but I do know you don't have to hold back or hide your tears from God.  And when you do, trust me, the healing can begin.  God is faithful.  God is love.  Of that I am confident.  Let Him hold your tears and heal your heart.

Monday, January 23, 2017

But what does it mean?!

One of my favorite movies of all time is "Eloise at the Plaza."  If you're unfamiliar with the Eloise movies, here is the basic story line:  Eloise is the 6 year old daughter of a world-traveling mom.  Eloise lives at the Plaza Hotel in New York City with her nanny, whose name is...Nanny.  Miss E has many adventures and a contagious smile.

In one, very "Eloise-esque" moment, she is trying to discover the meaning of a French phrase.  She follows her tutor, Philip, into the bar at the hotel.  Of course, she is underage, being 6 and all.  She puts on her "little man" disguise and strides right on in.  And, in a way only she can, she wants to know the phrase.  She knows the words, but she wants to know what they MEAN.

It's humorous, and I hope you enjoyed the clip.  But, of course, I'm going somewhere with this.

The words "Pro Life" and "Pro Choice" are thrown around in our society as catch-phrases that are supposed to somehow comprehensively take in who a person is with regard to their politics, religion, feminism, and views on others' lives in general.

As someone who considers herself "Pro Life," I must admit there are MANY times when I am astonished and horrified at how the media portrays the Pro Life movement and those who support it.  Apparently, I am a hateful, uncaring person, who wants nothing more than impose my own views on other women, take them back to the dark ages of civil rights, and tell them how, when, where and with whom they should or should not have sex.  I love babies, but hate the women who find themselves facing an unplanned pregnancy.  I am an old, super-religious person who has nothing better to do than wag my finger in the face of progressive, professional women who have lives to lead and ladders to climb.  I am standing in the way of society's efforts to improve and enrich the lives of all women, young and old.

If you know me, you know these things really are not who I am.  What does it mean to say I am pro life?

When I say I'm pro life, I mean ALL life.  From the tiniest human being, created at the "spark" of conception, to the oldest human, breathing their last breath after a lifetime of sparks, I am pro YOU.  Whether you look like a "clean-cut professional" or have piercings, tattoos, shaved hair, long hair, purple hair, gray hair, or no hair, I am pro "your" life.  Whether you have been healthy your whole life, or you have suffered with a debilitating disease, if you have fought and beat cancer, or if cancer is kicking your butt right now...I am pro YOU.  Whether you are liberal, conservative, independent, or you're just not quite sure where you stand politically, I am pro "your" life.  Whether you are a virgin, or whether you have known an active, complex sex life, I am pro YOU.  Whether you are rich or poor, and no matter what color your skin may be, I am pro "your" life.   Whether you are "normal" (who really is, though?), or have been labeled as having a physical or mental challenge, I am pro YOU.  Because, though our lives' stories are made up of many experiences and choices, the bottom line is this:  you are a person of value, simply because you ARE.  You have value because you exist.  No matter who you are, or where your experiences and choices have taken you in life...I am pro "your" life.

Will I always agree with your politics, religious views, etc. etc. etc.?  Probably not.  But you probably won't agree with mine, either, right?  But does that make either of us less valuable?   My answer would be:  NO.  We are both of equal value.

Now, having said all that, I think the other side of the terminology deserves some consideration as well.  Is the definition of  Pro Choice shown clearly in the media?  Do all the women (who attended the Women's March--or wanted to) have the same stands on every issue?  Do they all think abortion is simply another method of birth control?  Do they all stand behind the mantra, "as much sex as possible with as many people as possible?"  Do they all string together as many f-bombs as possible to express their point of view?  Are they all atheists, or at least anti-religion?  Do they all hate ME?

Obviously (at least I hope it's obvious to you!), the answer to this is NO as well.In the end, the real question is not what it means to be pro life or pro choice.  The proper question should be this:  What does it mean to be human?