Tuesday, May 26, 2009

sidewalk bodytalk

i don't know if i've ever mentioned this before, but there's not much by way of personal space in this country. even when there exists space to be used, often it is still not. case in point: this morning i'm driving home from our first AIA project meeting of 2009, and i saw two women walking on the sidewalk. there were people scattered throughout, but definitely enough space for everyone to walk comfortably. despite this fact, i watched as the two women walked past each other and gave a clear shoulder check to one another - both their arms went flying awkwardly into the air, but neither stopped or even gave a second glance. they went on as if nothing had happened! it was incredible to me. if that happened in north america, someone would have been shouting, possibly punching, maybe even calling their lawyer.

a similiar story comes from my great pal, arielle schade, who spent the year with me here in the czech republic. this time, the setting is italy. arielle is a fairly tall, strong gal (after playing hockey for years and being, well, canadian). she told me that when she was travelling through italy, she was getting fed up with being bumped, nudged, bodychecked, etc., by passersby, so decided to take matters into her own hands. she resolved that the next time someone walked closely past her, she wouldn't dodge out of the way or try to avoid running into them. unfortunately for her, the next person to come her way was a man - a man apparently without regard for anyone else using the space around him. this might be an extreme case, but none the less, it did happen. so arielle braced herself and as the man approached, she even leaned into it a little. BAM. the guy slammed right into her and sent her flying to the side, shoulder aching and feeling more than a little ticked. the guy didn't look back, didn't say sorry, apparently he hadn't noticed the shoulder check he'd administered on the sidewalk in rome.

i guess the moral of the story is... if you don't wanna get hit, you better get out of the way! what a place, this european nation.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

brokenness, an epiphany

last night i had an epiphany. a good one. one that's maybe been a really long time coming.

yesterday i turned 25.

that's not the epiphany. but it's part of it. see, birthdays to me are a big deal. but this year was a hard birthday because i was felt more alone than i ever have. it was my first bday away from home and therefore the people that know me best were not around to make my day the awesome day it usually is. it was an ordinary day, with some disappointing rainchecks, a hard off-ice training session containing completely hockey-unrelated exercises, and just an uber-normalesque day. i think these, combined with the low after a great weekend,plus the emotional state i was in, left me feeling nothing but broken.

i got home from practice and cried in bed for quite a while. soon i let the rational thought switch turn on and wondered at my state. i was feeling the intense emptiness of being alone on such a big day and feelings are totally legit. but i was quivering on the edge of letting myself feel unloved. it was time to put the F train to work: fact, faith then feelings. at that point i stopped and opened my bible. it was time for some truth.

now some of you might be wondering at my mental/emotional state, that i would cry over a bday. it's not like i'm 16 or something. but those of you who have lived overseas, far away from home, from normalcy, from your support system, probably know that what i'm talking about is really not that crazy. being in the midst of this whole situation is sometimes just really hard.

so what did i learn last night? here are words of truth that spoke to my heart:

"So the Lord must wait for you to come to him so he can show you his love and compassion. For the Lord is a faithful God. Blessed are those who wait for his help. O people of Zion, who live in Jerusalem, you will weep no more. He will be gracious if you ask for help. He will surely respond to the sound of your cries. Though the Lord gave you adversity for food and suffering for drink, he will still be with you to teach you. You will see your teacher with your own eyes."
Isaiah 30:18-19

people are going to let me down. i'm going to have times where i feel unloved - whether that's true or not. but last night in my brokennes and in god's goodness he taught me this:

if no one ever loves me and if everyone i know lets me down, he'll still love me and he'll still be the same kind and loving god he is.

and that's good enough for me.

here's to 25 years and one amazing Father.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

loving a person

Loving a person just the way they are, it's no small thing
It takes some time to see things through
Sometimes things change, sometimes we're waiting
We need grace either way

Hold on to me
I'll hold on to you
Let's find out the beauty of seeing things through

There's a lot of pain in reaching out and trying
It's a vulnerable place to be
Love and pride can't occupy the same spaces baby
Only one makes you free

Hold on to me
I'll hold on to you
Let's find out the beauty of seeing things through

If we go looking for offense
We're going to find it
If we go looking for real love
We're going to find it

i love this song by sara groves because sometimes loving the people in our world is one of the hardest things we're called to do. among other things, our most staggering obstacle is the disease of self, rooted in pride. how can we eliminate this ugly tendency from our lives when, in our pride, we can't even see ourselves the way we truly are?

here are eugene peterson's words from the message, a new favorite translation of mine:

In simple humility, let our gardener, God, landscape you with the Word, making a salvation-garden of your life.

Don't fool yourself into thinking that you are a listener when you are anything but, letting the Word go in one ear and out the other. Act on what you hear! Those who hear and don't act are like those who glance in the mirror, walk away, and two minutes later have no idea who they are, what they look like.

But whoever catches a glimpse of the revealed counsel of God—the free life!—even out of the corner of his eye, and sticks with it, is no distracted scatterbrain but a man or woman of action. That person will find delight and affirmation in the action.

Anyone who sets himself up as "religious" by talking a good game is self-deceived. This kind of religion is hot air and only hot air. Real religion, the kind that passes muster before God the Father, is this: Reach out to the homeless and loveless in their plight, and guard against corruption from the godless world.

so loving a person comes back to spending time in front of that mirror so that we know who we truly are... so that when we glance into our mirrors we see christ and we know who we are and therefore how we act, how we treat people, the way we live our lives.

loving a person's no small thing... so start with christ.