Refugee Status

Warning: Compulsive Grammarians will be offended by the following:

Let’s just get this straight.  Politically, I am too lazy to be properly informed and don’t offer opinions, as I’m afraid of being “fullonfacebookignorant”. I don’t have time to read the news comprehensively, so I’m afraid of getting ahold of the wrong end of the stick.  My default state is pretending I don’t have my head in the sand.

Last November, I chose to write-in my vote.  Not throwing it away, but hoping that there were enough of us to bring both candidates down to percentages that didn’t represent a majority, so that neither could become president. (Yes.  That is a real thing.)  Mickey and I were not enough.

America elected a president who invited the Statue of Liberty to take a seat.

The Statue of Liberty*

The Statue of Liberty*

Millions of refugees had roamed the earth while we had plenty of space and a lame duck president.  When something could, finally, get done, it was a knee-jerk, face-slap.  Hundreds or  possibly even thousands with legitimate sponsorship and professional credentials, were locked out.  Families were separated; their loved ones left without legal status in any countries.

God brought me face to face with my own #refugeestatus

The Bible calls me a sojourner.  A refugee.

I walked away from my home, my status, my community, my history, my heritage. Choosing life over clinging to these things (Phil 3).  Choosing to roam, knowing I’m loved somewhere and will be reunited with my brothers and sisters, someday; rather than, dying in my own kingdom.

I don’t know what a day may bring.  I have to sleep with my shoes on.  Periodically, I have contact with far-flung brothers and sisters.  Joy and pain, and broken bread.

I’m on my way home.  I’ll fling my bag on the entry floor.  Eat my fill and change my robe.  And crawl up in Daddy’s lap.  To rest.

In the meantime, it’s not about me.  It’s about the heart of the God who sees.  He saw Hagar and Ishmael laying their heads on stones for pillows.  And he sees her grandchildren. (Genesis 16:9-15; 21:8-21).  It’s about a cup of cool water for the least of these (Matt 25:35-40).

See you back at the house.  (1 Peter 2:9-12)

 

*Inset: Emma Lazarus, whose poem, “The New Colossus” was immortalized at the foot of the Statue**, in which she refers to as ‘The Mother of Exiles’.

**“Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

Emma Lazarus (November 2, 1883)

 

 

 

They Weren’t Hypocrites When They Got Here

A common objection to the Gospel of Christ is:

CHURCH IS FULL OF HYPOCRITES.

I wish there were another word, because this one makes me thing of Cockroaches.  Don’t ask me why. It has since I was little.

I digress.

Cockroaches.  I mean, hypocrites.

Yes, the church is full of them.  Because, as with every place you go, your business there is not necessarily about your “business”.  Meaning, say, you are a hiker.  And your dry cleaner is a hiker. When you go into the dry cleaners, he knows you’re there to pick up your pants.  You do business for years without ever finding out that you have the interest in common.  Unless you see him on the trail. Because you aren’t there to discuss your hobbies, you are there to do business.

When you are in church, you are there to worship, God, fellowship with others, be equipped to live out your faith.

Not air your dirty laundry.

We are ordinary human beings, no more able to attain to our ideals, than to leap off the roof and fly.

When someone objects to consorting with people who are not living what they believe, they are rejecting the man in the mirror.

Who does Jesus love more?  The guy who never makes a mistake?  Or the guy who can own his @#$%?  The sinner?  Or the guy who thinks he isn’t one?

The Bible is conclusive.  Jesus came into the world to save sinners.  He died for our sins.  Not our excuses, not our rationalizations,or good reasons.  My children will put me in an early grave telling me the ‘good reasons’ they don’t need to do what I say, the way I say to freaking do it. How God must feel when we do the same to Him?

The church is called the Body of Christ.  The body, at least where I live, is sick.  It’s members are plagued.  Living lives of pain and degradation, while showing up every Sunday and making fashionable, interesting, competitive, Christian chatter.

We’re shaving, showing up, and shmiling.  Sitting the pew.  Dying on the inside.

I’m an oddball.  My business is usually out there.  I’m constitutionally unable to act fine when I’m crumbling. Dealing with stuff head on.    People don’t like that.

2013 sucked. I found out about a lot of hurting people.

A.  Lot.

Not just the messy public ones.

Lots of men.  Who are supposed to be initiators, protectors, leaders.

Lots of kids.  Who we’re supposed to be loving and teaching the way to go.

We didn’t start out as hypocrites, but somewhere along the line, we forgot Jesus, like Billy Joel, preferred the sinners for dinner companions.*

That the prodigal’s dad was waiting for him to come home.  To party.

That the prodigal guy was sick of his sin.  A real hypocrite isn’t.

At our house, we don’t act like it didn’t happen.  If I yelled at Mickey, I yelled.  If I threw a book, I threw it.  If they told me they hated me, I said, “I know, but we’re talking about chores, right now.”

I get the impression that isn’t what’s going on around the community.

Kids are feeling like it’s burdensome and uncool to do what Jesus did.  Act out of love for the Father and others.  All the time.

Hypocrite?  That’s God’s call.

Sinner.  Yeah.*

The fault line is under pressure.  The tremors are coming.

We are about to get shook.

Church.

 

 

 

 

 

 

What To Do About Anger

Like I would know.

Very complex life experiences.

I need a mom to lean on, too.

God didn’t give me that mom.

In His beautiful, holy, grace; he made me that mom.

But I am helpless, hopeless, hurt and hobbling.

I have no good answers.

No timeline.

No authority to speak into the lives of people around me.

Who would listen anyway?

It’s only Maggie.

I can only get out half the thought.

Because I’m trying to condense, I cut out volume.  Miss meaning.

Only a few understand, yet it’s not their situation.

I am empty.

Falling.

Need a word, that isn’t forthcoming.

It’s said, that God trusts us in His silence.

He must be about to speak, because there isn’t anything left of me to go on.

 

 

 

 

 

The Actual Prayer Going Out

“My prayers are going out…”  “My thoughts are with…”  Or am I just letting someone else know I know about the news ?

Are we really praying but not letting God take center stage because my unbelieving friend might take this as further reason to reject Him?  Go ‘head.  As the song says, “God can handle your honesty.”  He can handle you in any state you find yourself.  He invented you.

Life is a breaking process.  Sometimes we break stuff on purpose and with deliberation.  A Pane of Glass, a cookie.  A Diamond.  We plan and prepare and do everything right and it breaks in the right place.  Or, for no good reason, it breaks in the wrong one.

GOD.

We are broken.  Wounded.  Afraid.  Selfish.  We’ll I’ll donate a guilt offering.  To appease You so it doesn’t happen to us me.

Remind us me You don’t work that way.

Remind us me that You didn’t do this.  You don’t approve it.

But the same free will that allows us me to choose mate, profession and what to entertain ourselves myself with; comes with the hazard of choosing to harm.  May You deal with us me ever so severely if we I forget that we I use that option to be rude to the kid behind the counter at Panera our my husband or our my kids whenever we I want to.

The same free will establishes our my right to reject You and all Your blessings.

I gotta say, God, it pisses me off that he will not face his accusers.

Something about it tells me he wasn’t THAT sick.

He was mad.  Angry mad.  That drove him insane mad.

You love him the same way You love me.  In spite of myself.  In the face of my continual daily rejection of Your character.  I don’t like this truth.

Which intersects in a bad way with my world view.  I want to demand causality and assign blame like the rest of the world that feels massive survivor guilt.  Demanding laws, demanding controls.  Never considering that law and control only control those who are already controlling themselves.

Lord, have mercy.

Christ, have mercy.

Break me in the right places.

Never ever let me be whole again.

If the tears of a billion eyes can water the seeds of healing.

If the blood of a single innocent can cleanse one heart of hate.  Heal one heart of torture.

Let it be so with our my soul.

Whisper peace to the soul of the survivor.

Peace be with you…

And also with you.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Oh, Yeah. It’s Also That Time of Year

I think it is going to turn out to be a really good idea to make that list I was referring to in this post.  The list of ‘Expectations: Met’ has come to mind over and over again.

See, the last week has been grueling in terms of getting where we are supposed to go, with what we need, for whomever needs it.

Tuesday Night’s Choir concert was meant to be a last hurdle before a short breather.

We had to make another trip to the Orthodontist because the “mouth guard, retainery thing” the boy wears, disappeared.

The tree is up in the living room.  No lights or adornment of any kind.

Then something happened that could be a routine thing, but in the twinkling of an eye, you know.  It won’t be.  Hassle.  Stress.  Dealing with something that wastes time, energy and money.

Did I mention, next week is the anniversary of Mickey’s mother’s passing?

Yeah.  The office Christmas Party is on her birthday. She passed the evening before her birthday.

I desperately need a list of things that are going right.

THE ACCIDENTAL ACCOUNTING OF EXPECTATIONS MET OR EXCEEDED

1) The house is warm and solid and looks freaking sexy when decorated for the holidays.

2) I worked in the attic for several hours the other day and “found” massive amounts of space to store things up out of the way.

3) The veterinarian’s office had the flea control tabs for both dogs this month.  The medium can get back ordered.  After the new year, I’m hoping to buy several months at a time.

4) Daughter’s solo?  Please.  She is not afraid of being on stage.  She nailed it.

5) One of the other youth leaders called me Wednesday and took my group.  Some other families brought the kids home, so Mickey and I could chill.

6) The coffee maker works.  Every day.  It’s over $100, new, but I got this one for $10 at the thrift store.  Five years ago.

7) Whatever the little cold was we were passing around, it didn’t turn into the viral brochitis-y thing that we were warned about.  And we completely dodged the bullet on the stomach thing.  (I wouldn’t mind a little round with something that would blow a pound or two off me, but only if no one else got it.)

8)  I got to volunteer for the home tour.  In so doing, I had the opportunity to visit with a near neighbor.  It was pretty great.  The house was ultra unique in that the couple are artists and they converted a warehouse to a residence.

9) The weather has been fantastic.  So we are not fussing with boys about being adequately dressed or misplacing hats and gloves while all this intense action is going on.  And the gas bill is not gouging us more than usual.  Someone told me we were supposed to have flurries by the 7th.  This is why weathermen need to figure out another way to do this.  And I need an emergency kit.  One of these days, someone’s gonna say,”It’ll miss us.”

10) Today is the last day of Co-op before the holidays.  Hip hip…you know the rest.  Oooh, the catching up with non-co-op schoolwork that will get done!!!

Bonus: Compared to last year at this time? The cupboard is full and the new TV is this season’s “Soft glow of electric sex”.

 

 

 

 

 

To Edify

To edify means to build up.

We can edify by means of words or actions.

The activities of the last week have made a tremendous impact on me.

I have made a conscious choice to be aware of what comes out of my mouth and to really listen to other people’s meaning.

Not only in my house, but out-of-the-house, and online.

Why do I mention online?

It’s funny you should ask.  As it turns out, I, having spent most of this election season writing about Fall and Pinterest and Dogs with Low Self-Esteem, found myself at a blog which attacked the political party I belong to and lumped all members of the party with racist bigotry, ignorance, hatred, and evil.

The post wasn’t characteristic of the quality of writing the blogger is FAMOUS for.  She received a lot of positive encouragement.

I was hurt and that was her intention.

I am became convinced at that point that I would never be found behaving in such a way, and that I would study to be a voice for honor, if I have failed to be one up until now. In the three years I have been blogging, I have not been so disappointed in someone whose work I had admired so much.  I now understand better (okay, I am hungry and I wrote the word butter three times before I finally wrote better) a disappointment I experienced early on.  And may seek to mend a fence the other blogger doesn’t know or care was broken.

I wrote a much needed email to a blogger who inspires me.

I called to communicate by spoken word with someone I was getting more and more frustrated with by email.  We parted excited to meet and with a much better understanding of each other as persons.

I lost my temper, and had to take responsibility for why I did that.  Unmet expectations drove my little tantrum.  And the the realization that that causes almost all conflict and it’s a very human trap.  Because we don’t keep a list of our expectations that have been met or exceeded.

Should I begin such a list?

Suddenly I began to notice all sorts of ways we build each other up and make our preferences known and fail to give all the information necessary.  I’ve begun to realize the ways we evade understanding to avoid responsibility.  Not necessarily me, but by observation of what’s going on around me. Then I begin to wonder if I do it too.  Usually, I do, just in a different way.

It’s as easy to learn from someone else’s mistakes, as it is to learn from their good example.

This combination of experiences is making a huge impact on everything.  It glows like inspiration from my heart, and as if by magic, my daughter is aware and testing my resolve.

Words can hurt, but words can heal.

They can build a bridge or just throw the bricks and slide around in the mortar.

If I am going to build something, that’s a luxury I can’t afford.

 

 

 

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