Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Below is the Sermon I preached on Sunday February 11th at St. John’s Episcopal Church in Kirkland, Wa.  This was the first time I’ve ever done this and it was an amazing experience.

My Sermon is based on the following Gospel reading from this mornings lectionary.

Six days later, Jesus took with him Peter and James and John, and led them up a high mountain apart, by themselves. And he was transfigured before them, and his clothes became dazzling white, such as no one[a]on earth could bleach them. And there appeared to them Elijah with Moses, who were talking with Jesus. Then Peter said to Jesus, “Rabbi, it is good for us to be here; let us make three dwellings,[b] one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” He did not know what to say, for they were terrified. Then a cloud overshadowed them, and from the cloud there came a voice, “This is my Son, the Beloved;[c] listen to him!” Suddenly when they looked around, they saw no one with them any more, but only Jesus.

As they were coming down the mountain, he ordered them to tell no one about what they had seen, until after the Son of Man had risen from the dead.

Mark 9:2-9 New Revised Standard Version

_________________________________________________________________________________________

There were two things that stood out to me as I read through this mornings gospel.  Firstly, the idea that Peter, James, and John were TERRIFIED by the transfiguration of Jesus and secondly the words from on high saying ‘This is my son, the beloved, LISTEN TO HIM!’

As I read through the scripture this week, did my subsequent research, and pondered it’s meaning there was one thought that kept coming back to me … the idea of stepping out of our comfort zones.

Peter would have been most content to stay there on that mountain top with Jesus and his friends.  To build dwellings for Christ, Moses, and Elijah and stay put.  He would have loved to not have to come down from the mountain and do the DIFFICULT work that was to come next.   As much as he was frightened in that moment I believe he was more afraid of what was to come.  It was more comfortable there, doing what they had been doing, all this time with Jesus.

Comfort zones are great!  We like them, I love them.  We know what to expect and how to behave but nothing changes, nothing grows, nothing gets better.  Instead it often gets stagnant and stale.

Obviously, I will be the first to admit that the comfort zone is nice, but I also realize that I would not be the person I am today if I wasn’t shoved out of it, usually kicking and screaming, more than once in my life.

When I went to Covenant Players, when I take on new challenges, and leadership roles in every environment of my life, every time I’ve had to get up in front of a group of people to speak  – It’s been uncomfortable, but it’s also been this amazing time of growth, stretching me, as a person, as well as my faith.  This need to stretch, and grow is not just for people individually but communities as well, one’s personal growth can also help grow the communities around them and vise-versa.

Thinking back to three years ago, when I decided to go back to teaching, I promptly messaged my old boss to come in a talk with her.  I had planned to go back to what I knew, what was comfortable no stretching, no growth, no discomfort required.  I think about what I would have missed out on had I not listened to God as he pointed me in another direction.  I would not be at the amazing school I am, with a staff that supports and challenges me and each other every day.  I would not have met a little boy who desperately needed someone in his life to love him unconditionally and guide him, or at least would not have been able to steer his family towards our school and the environment he desperately needed; an environment I needed.   It was challenging, it still is, and it was hard, and it was hugely uncomfortable, but it was what was needed and what I was told to do.

Here I come to the second part of the scripture that stands out ‘LISTEN TO HIM’.  ‘This is my son, the beloved. Listen to him’. I get that this is hard.  I am a 2 x 4 to the head kinda person when it comes to hearing, and following what Jesus is telling me to do.  The idea, the instructions, will come and I will have to watch as everything slowly falls apart on my way in the opposite direction before the 2 x 4 hits me smack across the head and I go ‘OH, that’s what I am supposed to do’ or ‘Ok, I’ll listen’.  Usually the latter, as like Jonah I am usually running away.  I’m working hard to listen before the 2 x 4 or giant fish moments.

As I contemplated all this I kept thinking about St. John’s and all the change we’ve been through over the past few years and all the change that is coming.  Over the past few months we’ve had staff changes, we’ve had program changes, and so many other changes all of this takes us out of the comfort zone.  We are being lead into the new and the unknown which can be amazing but terrifying.

I think that we are being pushed out of our comfort zones to grow, and change, and be something new as a community of faith.  As we stretch to meet the changing needs of the community around us we have to do things in a new way, which can be exciting but new is often uncomfortable.

We are heading into a huge time of change as we look for a new rector.  This is a time of uncertainty.  This is a time to ‘Listen to Him’ and to do all that we can to hear what God is telling us.

As we head into Lent, a time of change, I challenge us to keep this scripture in mind.  Lent is a time of heading from comfort into uncertainty for the disciples and for us. I would challenge us all to look to what we are being called to do.  To ‘Listen to Him’ and step out of our comfort zones, where we will be stretched, and we will find growth.

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

Grief isn’t logical. Yesterday was three months since my dad passed, yesterday was also Good Friday. My uncle died, 5? years ago, on Good Friday. Jesus died on Good Friday and came back to life. I’ve been teaching my class about this great miracle all week, repeating the words Jesus loved us so much that he died for us but then God brought him back. He spent time with his friends and then went to heaven.


There’s this voice in the back of my head that says it’s not fair. Why can’t my Dad come back so I can hug him one more time, tell him I love him one more time. Why can’t my uncle come back so we can say all the things that we’re left unsaid.

As I said grief is illogical. I know these thoughts are silly and don’t make sense. I know that comparing the situations is dumb but your brain does it’s thing in and in my grief I just want that moment more with the people I love and miss so much.

I thought I understood grief after loosing all my grandparents, even after loosing my uncle with unfinished business but I knew nothing. My dad and I have nothing left unfinished except that he’s my dad and I wasn’t and am not ready for him to leave me yet. There are things he supposed to be here for, little moments like silly conversations and big moments, life moments.

Grief is illogical and it sucks!

Read Full Post »

“Light up your face with gladness

Hide every trace of sadness

Although a tear may be ever so near

That’s the time you must keep on trying

Smile, what’s the use of crying?”

WHY? Why do we tell ourselves this? Why can’t we just embrace and feel the sorrow instead of putting on a happy face? I don’t understand it.

I teach my students to understand and identify their emotions, that it’s ok to feel what they feel and yet as adults we have to put on a smile and only ‘feel’ (i.e. Show) happiness. You must answer the question “how are you” with GOOD or great. I’m ok isn’t enough and God forbid you’re “fine”. It’s bull&@$t!

We were given all the feelings, we’re allowed to feel them, to process them, and maybe we’d be able to do the later better if we weren’t always forced to pretend.

Read Full Post »

Why do people have to be so hateful?  If you spend any time on social media these days is mostly someone b$%#@ing about what someone else does or doesn’t believe.  If you’re a Christian than you are a mean nasty person who believes that everyone who doesn’t live the way you do is going to hell.  Then there’s the whole right wing /left wing christen thing where they all seem to think the other side is going to hell.

Supposedly to all Christians non-Christians are evil, wrong, and damned.  Of course to all non-Christians Christians are hypocritical sh@#s who don’t care about anything but convincing them that they must change and be like them.

I watch all this crap.  I watch as friends (Christian, Pagan, agnostic alike) all have moments when the bash on someone else’s beliefs and just want to shout “Can’t we be friends”.  I hate it when I read something a friend writes in attack of a stereotypical Christian belief, a belief that isn’t actually all that accurate, a belief that I don’t actually know a single Christian who actually believes that way.  I feel the same frustration when I see other beliefs attacked, when I see post about how Wicca is devil worship or other Evils that are perceived of Pagan faiths.  Evil believed of any religion or faith that is not founded in fact frustrates me.  So often if you do a modicum of research (I don’t mean searching Meme’s or Wikipedia but actual research) you find that much of what the world is fighting over is bunk, it’s misunderstood, misinterpreted beliefs.  It’s the junk that the minority of people spews as fact but is actually made up garbage to insight fighting for God knows what reason.

I wish we as a people could just find a way to go out into the world in love and caring, instead of judgment and hate.  I am a Christian and there are times when I want to run from that word because of what it has come to represent for so many.  Instead of representing a loving caring God and people it seems to represent so much hate and anger.

I try so hard to live my life by two simple rules, “loving God” and “loving people”.  I’m not perfect (so so far from it) and I fail sometimes (ok a lot)  but the reality is in my mind the latter is what the world needs most.  It needs people who will just show love and kindness to one another regardless of our differences or similarities.

Read Full Post »

Yesterday a friend in a group on Facebook posted about a video that was posted by a Comedian named Nicole Arbour entitled Dear Fat People. I was saddened by the fact that this persons attempt to be funny had hurt someone I cared about but thought nothing more of it. Throughout the day I saw the same reply post shared by many of my friends. A reply that was well thought out, honest, and mostly kind to those of us who fight with our bodies and body image as larger people. At this time I also came across Ms. Arbour’s video and my only thought was “Wow, what a Bitch” and “She really doesn’t get it!”

Fast forward to today when another friend shared yet another video in rebuttal to the original, shaming Nicole as well as Fat people. Where the original video had little effect on me, this one did. It left me in a huddle mess sobbing and feeling like a useless bundle of fat. As anyone who knows me knows I have battled with my weight my entire life, I have always hatted my weight but rarely hated myself because of it. I hate that a stranger talking to an anonymous audience had this effect on me.

All this emotion has led to this posting, one I need to express how I feel so that it doesn’t fester and grow into something else, and two I want to say that appearance has nothing to do with who you are inside. I hate that we live in a society that puts so much emphasis on how we like. Telling girls, and guys, that if you aren’t a specific size, if you don’t have a six pack…if if if … then you aren’t worth anything. This is BULL SHIT!!! A person’s worth has nothing to do with outward appearance and everything to do with the kind of person they are. So please remember that whether you are a size 0 or a size 20. You are important in this world and what you do, who you are, and how you treat people is more important than anything else!

Now to work on getting myself to remember and believe these words. Do as I say not as I do…for now.

Read Full Post »

The following started as an e-mail explaining ‘Always Keep Fighting’ to someone I love and in reviewing it I realized that it’s a good explanation to all who’ve asked the question of me as well.  So as a step in helping to remove some of my own fear of the stigma surrounding my own mental health issues and to educate those in my life here goes.  Some of me open to the world…be kind!

I’m writing this in hopes of helping you understand the ‘Always Keep Fighting’ stuff and why it’s so important to me. First, I know that many of my friends and family don’t understand my enjoyment and fascination with the show Supernatural and that’s ok but my interest in “Always Keep Fighting” has nothing to do with my interest in Supernatural. AKF just happens to have been started by one of the stars of the show and was therefore put in my purview. I do find it interesting that my resurgence of interest in the show and entrance into Fandom happened just as the campaign started, I wouldn’t have known about it otherwise. But again, the two have nothing to do with each other, other than SPN bringing AKF to light for me.

So what is ‘Always Keep Fighting’ really about? It’s about bringing awareness, and acceptance to the reality of mental health issues, removing the stigma that makes people hide in the corner and not seek help. It’s also become about creating a support network for people who live each day with these battles. Where the campaign started to raise awareness and funding for charity it has turned into a support group and a family of sorts.

As for why it’s important to me… all my life I’ve been told that I was depressed, or manic, or whatever and all my life I’ve fought the people who’ve told me that for so many reasons that I can’t really explain anymore. Long about the time that this campaign began I began to realize that Yes, I do have some issues. At this time I also started to do some true soul searching as to who I am. I am, at my worst, an anxiety ridden mess who can see the worst in any situation. An introvert, who’s shy and extremely unsure of herself, and who has severe social anxiety just to round out the ‘I don’t like people” (not literally) trifecta. Meeting others in this crazy fandom and through the Always Keep Fighting campaign, the AKF Family as it’s lovingly referred, has helped me to accept my own issues and realize that I need to fight through them. It’s also helped me to realize that I am far from alone in these struggles.  And for me that’s not only fighting with the anxiety and mild depression that comes with the Meniere’s, but the Meniere’s itself, and all my other quirks. I’m worth fighting for! When I was little my Dad would strive to comfort my self-hatred by telling me that ‘God don’t make Junk’ and this ‘thing’, this support network, this family had helped me to start believing those words for myself.  They’re there when I’m scared, sad, or panicing necessarily  and unnecessarily.  They help me to remember that I am not alone, I am enough, and to always keep fighting.

If you’re part of my family or my friends and you really don’t understand it that’s fine but please don’t poke fun and please try to accept the AKF idea, because for me as it’s something that is helping me to accept myself, faults and all.  I would also encourage you to ask me more about it, this ‘campaign’ has quickly become and important and formative part of who I am and my work to become a better and more confident version of me.

Read Full Post »

My Uncle Steve has been on my mind a lot lately. I often think about him around Easter since he died on Good Friday and before that the last time I had seen him was the Easter before. Usually it’s a passing thought, a moment of sadness, and I move on. Ever since his death I have taken a moment on Easter Sunday to stand in my churches chapel and remember our last conversation. As he marveled at the beauty of the music that morning (our choir is rather good) and we talked about how beautiful the stained glass window at the back of the chapel is. Maybe I’m having trouble letting go because I didn’t have that moment.

I’ve written about him before, sharing wonderful memories, sharing them keeps them at the surface. Maybe writing down the bad will make those ones finally be at rest.

I am usually rather good at focusing on the good memories of him. The trips out on his boat as a girl. My silly stuffed koala that created a love of koalas, a toy that I still have and cherish 32 years later. Walking down through the quad at the U with all the cherry trees blossoming overhead. Talking about my plans. Him trying so hard to distract both of us from my Grandfathers heart surgery. Hearing stories convincing the band director to let him first wife Sally into the band even though she didn’t play an instrument, or some such silliness. Working out the details for a short story with him about a Chameleon named Cami. These are the memories and more that I try to focus on but the bad ones keep seeping in lately.
The missed holidays cause he was drunk. The arrests, the time in jail for more DUI’s then I can count. All the trappings of an Alcoholic who’s fifth of vodka a day was more important than his family. I was in my 20’s when he crashed off the pillar I had placed him on. See until that time he was tied as my second favorite guy in the world with my Grandpa Hap, my Dad being top of that list. When I found out that he was a drunk, and all that went with that, that changed in a moment. A moment that was never repaired.

I remember picking him up for my Dad’s ordination and he was lightly drunk maybe just hungover, but he came. I have the same memory to go with my Nephew’s baptism. I look back on the day of Eion’s baptism and want to beg my sister for forgiveness. I made her come with me to pick him up because I couldn’t face him, his possible (probable) drunkenness on my own not after the last time.

See a year earlier I was supposed to stay with him for a week. I was so excited to get to spend some time with my Uncle, to get to know him as an adult, I hadn’t spent much time with him since I was a teenager. I arrived and he was wasted. He was unintelligible, nonsensical, drunk of his ass. I felt like he had done it because he didn’t really want me there. I left, I ran from his boat sobbing. I forgave him for that moment but he never forgave himself. Unfortunately because he couldn’t move on our relationship was never fixed. He avoided me, which added to my fear of him not wanting me there. At family functions there were many times he would greet or say goodbye to everyone but me.

There is so much I regret in our relationship, I wish that I had tried harder but I was at a loss to make it better. He’s been gone for five years. He knew it was going to happen, the doctors warned him and yet his booze was more important that his life. I know that’s not fair but in this moment, in a moment where I’m having trouble seeing the light for the darkness it’s how I feel.

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »