What does it mean to be Weary?

Weary looks a lot of ways to a lot of different people.
Weariness looks like buying the weed whacker and leaving it in the van because you just cannot make the extra trip out.

Weariness looks like dinner dishes left on the table when you go to bed but at least you put the food away.

Weariness looks like making nice with your nice neighbors and wishing for a nice way to get inside.

Weariness looks like sitting when you should stand, crying when you should laugh.

Weariness looks like tired ears that don’t hear the question, a tired mouth that can’t form the words.

Weariness looks like frustration that you are weary because what do you have to be weary about?

But weariness is real and legitimate and sometimes physical and sometimes chemical but often spiritual.

We get weary from walking alongside the broken hearted. We get weary from standing strong while the earth under their feet crumbles. We get weary from the bending to embrace and to serve.

And we don’t want to be weary because there is work to do, callings to be fulfilled, and rides to be given. We know that we want to just be but the work requires that we do.

I have been through a time of great fulfillment that has come to completion and I am weary. I’m weary of the growth and the stretching. I’m weary of the slap dash nature adapting to a life with extras in it. I’m weary of combining the pieces into who God has made me to be and the ‘wherever next’nature of an exciting and ambiguous future.

So after putting the food away but not doing the dishes, I sit on my deck because I’m tired of bed. Because it’s not tiredness and not sleep I need, but rest.

What I need is a cave. The retreating Elijah space where God says to me ‘stop, and be filled’.

And I don’t need the extra sleep/chocolate/Netflix cure for weariness. I need the submitting, dedicated rest for the weary and heavy laden.

But my soul is tired and the physical and mental make the spiritual so much more difficult.

Like Elijah in the cave I recognize that this is journey. A journey of the three in oneness of my restoration. Where the physical, mental, and spiritual all weave together in the formless and void before being restored and recreated.

And I wonder what the ravens of God’s restoration will bring. Because I know they will come.

Right now, in this moment they bring the scent of cut grass in the twilight and the return of the creative impulse. Earlier they brought the energy to eat salad rather than cookies and the wonder of Narnia offered to young eyes.

And there are tears of release and cleansing and a willingness to someday again venture forth into the murk of walking alongside others, those others who need a conduit to the ultimate bearer of burdens.

But for now, among the cut grass, twilight, smell of pot smoke from the other side neighbors, I can recognize the end of one journey and the transition between another and find the potential for rest.  The rest that is offered by Him in grace and time and space and obligations of life that walk alongside the rest. And in that I am tentatively content and will be content.

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Cancelling Debts

One of the toughest and easiest lessons to teach and learn is forgiveness. 

I look at children, my own especially, and I see such capacity to offer the ‘I’m sorry’. Even in the midst of the embarrassment of having done something wrong, and much worse, being caught in it, children know that the easing of the situation comes from the short phrase. It makes all things better. 

That’s the easy part. 

The difficult part is the other side of forgiveness. When we are asked to receive the I’m sorry rather than give it. I know this seems counter intuitive. It would make sense that being in the wrong would be harder than being right. 

But sometimes being right is so much harder when we’re called to be part of a culture that forgives. When Jesus tells us to forgive we know that an apology goes a long way to righting a situation where we’ve wronged someone. And there is a sense of emotional release, a ripping of the spiritual bandaid that happens when we acknowledge and say the words of repentance. 

It’s the 70×7 that I struggle with. 

And I see my apparently mature spiritual self rebel at the injustice of having to forgive. Like my kids say, ‘It’s not fair! You don’t understand and if you did you would know that this just doesn’t cut it!”. 

Because if forgiveness was just, then it would be harder to receive forgiveness. 

I’m sorry wouldn’t cut it.

It’s the feeling we have that the anger of hurt outweighs the heaviness of guilt on the scales of justice. 

And I’m sorry doesn’t seem to have the human capacity to balance it out. 

I’ve known for a long time that God’s idea of justice and mine don’t align. That I’m so glad to be able to receive his grace and forgiveness but hav such trouble when he asks me to be like him. 

Because then it’s not fair. 

It’s an eternal struggle, seeing justice and mercy meted out where I don’t see a resolution. Where it doesn’t seem fair. 

I was reading in Deuteronomy 15 (if you ever want to ponder justice and grace, try reading through that lens) and came across the year of cancelled debts. It’s the idea, the requirement that God gave the Israelites to forgive debts of others every 7years. Wiped away. Clean and forgotten. 

This is a financial and social form of justice but in this passage God nudged me. 

What about the forgiveness part?

Some of our spiritual and emotional debts are excruciating to forgive. There may be no justice, no repentance, no face or a too familiar face to the deep wounds that plague us. 

There are debts that feel like they can never be repaid or forgiven.

I struggle with what to write next. There are platitudes about forgiveness that undermine the need for security and don’t acknowledge the depth of brokenness. There are words of should that we say in order to make another person better or, at least, their problem go away.

When 70×7 doesn’t even feel like the tip of the iceberg and it’s said with the tone of a cocked head and wagging finger. 

And yet, the truth of God’s word that says forgiveness is necessary and obedient and healing. 

And there is my tension. 

The acknowledgement that God’s abilities are not mine, but are available to me. 

A decision to pursue his idea of justice even when I don’t understand it or feel that it’s sufficient. 

And the need to ask for the ability and strength to forgive soul debts. 

Forgiveness is not easy and forgiveness without visible justice is sometimes only possible through the strength of the Spirit.

But it is asked of us.

Asked of us in our wondedness and outside of our understanding and willingness. 

But we are not asked by someone who just wants it over with and swept under the rug. 

It is asked of us by the One who sees past the past and into the future healing and justice in ways we don’t see. 

We are not asked to forgive as a result of our punishment. We are asked to forgive as a testament to grace freely given. 

So maybe the tension is a reminder. A sacramental reminder of love poured out for us. A baptism into our slow rising toward greater healing and understanding of the holy mingling of justice and grace.

70×7 steps toward Him who receives us without blemish and with loving arms, wounded and broken, healing in his presence. 

Redrawing the Boundary Lines

Boundaries are hard.

And this post is hard to write because boundaries are something that are easy for me to teach and preach but hard for me to submit to in my own life.

Because I’m a people pleaser.

And there are expectations on me and I want to meet them because then people will need me and want me around and I will be valuable to them.

And that’s messed up and messy and a miserable place to be.

And I thought I had all this all figured out.

God, Family, Other stuff.

But I didn’t. My head had all this figured out but my will and my treasure was not focused in these directions.

God, Family, Other stuff.

This was not the order. The order became other stuff, family, God, sometimes.

I have boundaries like our old Basset Hound, Zelda, had boundaries. If you know anything about hounds, they get the scent, put their head down, and follow, boundaries be darned.

Following it through traffic, through staff rooms and mail rooms. It’s a climbing-on-top-of-1997-Ford-Mustangs-to-scale-6-foot-fences-with-your-4-inch-legs kind of following.

And that’s what I was doing. I was following a goal to the good of that goal and the detriment of everything else. Because that’s how it happens for me sometimes, and maybe it happens for you, that all the things are good things but all the good things are in the wrong order.

And the good things take the place of the best things.

So I found myself weeping on a stool in our garage as my husband gently reminded me that saying no is sometimes the most loving and holy thing you can do for yourself.

That saying no to the outward expectations and yes to the long-term potential for family memories is a sacred space and healing place.

That the outside world and my world would not crash and burn if they did not intersect for one day.

Because if you’re like me, then you begin to believe the lie that the things that bring you accolades are the same that bring you nourishment.

That the  approval of one who seems great is not worth disappointing the heart of the one that is tiny and trusting.

When I turn my heart to what is the less permanent treasure, when I lose sight of the God then family, I lose focus and direction.

For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also

Matthew 6:21

Sitting on that too tall for comfort garage stool I realized that my focus was outside-in and backwards. That I was so tied up in outward expectations that inwardly I was slowly wasting away. And the decisions I was making, so concerned about doing my duty, for being accountable to what I had signed up for, were decisions that meant saying no to the nourishment from God and nourishing of family.

I was all wrong and boundary-less.

My heart and my head needed to align. My sight needed to focus in on the one who creates and gives life.

And I needed to re-draw the boundary lines in my memory and intentions.

To remember that the fleeting Samaritan interaction does not compare with the memory stored in a child’s heart.

To remember that I am God’s treasure stored in this jar of clay. That I am free to choose, free to seek and strive.

And

That I am freed to be free of the outward expectation when it does not align with the still small voice heard in the quiet seeking.

The tears on the garage stool were healing, full of purpose and repentance.

Because that’s what Jesus offers when we need to reorient and walk our boundary lines. Direction, clarity, courage, and sure-footed peace.

A Mother’s Day is…

A Mother’s Day is stepping on the 2 foot long pink Barbie speedboat in the shower.

A Mother’s Day is being accidently shot in the leg by a Nerf gun. 

A Mother’s Day is finding undies buried in the mountain of laundry. 

A Mother’s Day is cold toes creeping into the warmth of your slumber. 

A Mother’s Day is hearing the words unspoken in tiny hands and sticky kisses. 

A Mother’s Day is reading endlessly while smoothing back wisps of baby hair. 

A Mother’s Day is loving the man who parents by your side. 

A Mother’s Day is teaching and learning truth and grace. 

A Mother’s Day is creeping away for silence so you can be present later. 

A Mother’s Day is outpouring equal measures of justice and grace. 

A Mother’s Day is navigating and negotiating the return of Nerf bullets. 

A Mother’s Day is wearing the dress for a daughter who longs to embrace the feminine. 

A Mother’s Day is accepting the compliment that she is squishy and comfortable. 

A Mother’s Day is tender tears and toenails on your blanket. 

A Mother’s Day is watching the consequences of choice unfold with tender heart and waiting arms. 

A Mother’s Day is extraordinary intimacy and absent privacy. 

A Mother’s Day is grace and truth and joy and pain. 

A Mother’s Day is longing for the past and future. 

A Mother’s Day is rampant and suspended all at one time. 

A Mother’s Day is Proverbs 31 and Job. 

A Mother’s Day is praise at the city gates and the consistent battle for self worth. 

A Mother’s Day is doable when placed in God’s hands. 

Happy Mothers Days. 

Why can’t this be easy?

I am not a runner.

I want to be a runner. I look at other people running lightly down my street, on their toes like nymphs who frolic in the chilly spring morning air.

I am not naturally inclined to frolic.

Yet, there I was this morning, headphones in, bundled up to the teeth in layers (it wasn’t that cold, I’m cold blooded), following the dulcet tones of the lady on my ‘from couch to 5K’ app as she guided me in running and walking to running intervals.

I can’t say I expected it to be a spiritual experience, but it was, in a way.

Not the running part, I still kind of hate that, but the getting out there part.

You see, I have committed to getting more exercise, more sleep, eating better.

Because more often than not these days I feel wearier than I want to and older than I should.

Some times in life are busy and hard and all I want to do is cross stitch and watch tv and eat burgers. And those desires creep into the areas of my life that should be nonnegotiables.

Like spending time with God, seeking his wisdom above my own, lifting up rather than shouldering the worries.

Because some days can feel like 40 years of wandering aimlessly.

As I’m sitting here this feels like a place to dive into the idea of discipline, but there are some times when the discipline isn’t at the core of what’s really going on.

Because even though I cherish the importance of discipline, sometimes what my life needs is the bleeding over of grace. That flowing of memory of God’s mercy and love that floats off the burdens and reminds me of the whats and whys of who I am.

Because the disciplined mind knows, but the heart longs for. 

My heart longs for the closeness and memory of God. To remember his goodness and his loving intervention in our lives.

What other nation is so great as to have their gods near them the way the Lord our God is near us whenever we pray to him?

Only be careful and watch yourselves closely so that you do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them slip from your heart as long as you live.

You came near and stood at the foot of the mountain while it blazed with fire to the very heavens, with black clouds and deep darkness. Then the Lord spoke to you out of the fire. Deuteronomy 4:7,9a, 11

In the busyness and stresses my memory grows short. I feel the weight and the drudgery and ask, why does this have to be so hard?!?

It’s hard because I’m tapped out. Tapped out of my own strength, my own resources.

I forget what it’s like to stand at the foot of the mountain. Forget the still small voice.

Forget that the nearness of our God is something unfathomable. That he is ever present and a breath away.

Today as I ran and huffed my memory started to change. I focused less on the physical goals and trials and the spiritual started to break through.

I saw the sun, the grass, felt the warmth of God’s presence.

I began to remember the goodness, the mercy, the interventions and the patience of his presence through the long hours of sleepless nights.

And my soul’s health began to be restored.

Wounded Creations

One of my kids wrote on my table. 

This might not seem like a big deal, and usually it’s not. Pens slip, markers bleed, and Magic Erasers do their work. I get that mistakes happen.

But this wasn’t one of those things. This was a signature, a sentence, a proclamation on MY table. The table I had worked hard on. My first piece of furnature. The work of my hands. 

And I was mad. 

I was mad because it felt like a shot. It felt like an insult. It felt disrespectful and hurtful. 

Because how would they feel? How would they feel if I took my pen and wrote over their creation? If I took what was theirs and claimed it as mine to do with what I would.

Yes, I was mad.

I wanted to get that kid and tell them what’s what.

I wanted to make sure they knew how hurt I was and that what they did was wrong.

I didn’t care about maturity or turning the other cheek. I felt like an injustice had been done and I wanted them to know about it.

My upset phone call to my husband sought commiseration and affirmation of my sense of being wronged. 

And he gently attempted to turn the ship.

Through his gentle intervention and wise words to both sides he brought the younger to a sense of repentance and the older to a place of offering grace and forgiveness. He’s a pretty amazing guy.

When someone hurts the work of our hands, disregards our creation, it wounds. 

It wounds us, and I think it wounds God.

For you created my inmost being;

You knit me together in my mother’s womb.

I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; 

your works are wonderful, I know that full well. Psalm 139:13-14

I know there have been times when I’ve hurt someone else, one of God’s fearfully and wonderfully made creation. 

Sometimes it’s intentional, sometimes an accident.

For my child, they thought it would be funny, a joke, to write their name on the table.

I’ve done that. I’ve made and misread jokes, hurt someone unintentionally.

I’ve disregarded feelings and opinions and left other people feeling like they don’t matter.

But just because it was an accident doesn’t mean it didn’t hurt. 

And I wonder what God thinks of it all. Actually, I don’t.

I have a pretty old idea of what God thinks and feels when I wound one of his beautiful creations. I bet, like me, that he’s angry, hurt that I did that. That he wishes I could see how much care and time he’s put into that person. That they are crafted in his image and he loves them to the depths of his soul.

Like my impulse with my child, he could be really tempted to show me my faults, to make me feel the full depth of my wounding of another person.

But he doesn’t. 

He shows grace to me. He forgives. He corrects. He gives me a new way of looking at things so that I begin to see the person through his eyes instead of my own. 

His wounds are much deeper than mine, because the cost was much greater.

But so is his grace. The deep and wide grace that sees me as his child and looks past my sin and to the love he has for me. 

Because I’m his creation too. The work of his hands. And this hands continue to form me and show me new ways to reflect who he is.

A I’m a Creation in Progress.

More than Words

One of my children felt the need to defend the family honour yesterday.

One of those schoolyard/classroom discussions about ‘my dad is smarter than your dad’ which I heard about in detail during after school pickup. He was sheepish but also certain that this course of action was the right one. “One of the things that we’re supposed to do, Mom, is defend our family. I’m a representative of the Ralph family and it’s my job to defend them.”

I love that about him. 

And what was it about our honour that needed defending, you may ask?

It was a my dad is better than your dad situation. This other kid was comparing parental professions and brought in his interpretation of what it meant that my husband works at a church. 

“Your dad just talks all the time.”

What an interesting perspective. You see, this other kid’s parents are in law inforcement so compared to that I guess he didn’t know or see the value in what working at a church is. 

Is that how people see those in ministry? As doing nothing but talk all the time?

I can just see my ministry friends reading this and shaking their heads. We’ve heard it all. “Pastors only work for an hour on Sundays.” “What do you do for the rest of the week when you’re not preaching?

Ministry can seem elusive to those who haven’t experienced what it means to put your living and earning energy into serving others in this way. 

It’s a lot of words. 

That young boy wasn’t wrong. Ministry requires a lot of words. It requires emotional intelligence and spiritual energy to come alongside people and walk with them as they discover who God created them to be.

Lots and lots of words

Words of comfort, of confession, words of encouragement and truth. And sometimes listening silence. With others doing a lot of talking.

 Large chunk of my chaplaincy training day is words. Listening, searching. And lots of stairs. Lots of words and lots of stairs. 

What got me wondering was not so much this young person’s idea that it was all words (I’ve heard that before), but rather, why this was a bad thing?

Why have words used by people in ministry become something that some look on with derision?

Maybe because words have been used to hurt and not heal. Maybe words have been offered as platitudes for intense pain. Maybe words have been used during that one hour on a Sunday morning to create feelings of isolation and shame.

Or maybe words were offered when what was really needed was self-sacrifice

When I look at Jesus and how he ministered to people, he used words. Lots of words.  He taught, encouraged, admonished, healed, and restored with his words.

But his words without the action of the cross would have been incomplete. His words point the way to the glory of the cross.

As I think about this young boy and his idea that words aren’t enough, I think he’s right. 

Jesus modelled for us a balance of words and deeds. That’s how we can most effectively love people, too. So often what people see are the Sunday morning words and not the Monday to Saturday deeds. 

Because words are first line of interaction, deeds are the love in action. And ministry requires both.

As I hear more and more the discussion about why caring for people spiritually is of lesser importance, I think it’s because others wonder what we do.

It’s complex because the nature of what we do is to be doing, but that doing is often done in secret. 

Often only God sees the doing.

I loved my son’s defending of the family honour. And I honoured him for that. 

But I also told him that often people won’t understand what his dad does. And that this is not a new experience. 

Good spiritual care is often more a sense or memory than a list of needs checked off. It is that conversation. It is that freezer meal, that oil change for the single mom.

Ministry is the work and words twining around one another. The mouth, hands, and feet of Jesus all together.

It’s His teaching culminated by the cross and resurrection. The being with in tandem with the speaking with.

So for my son, “Next time, words, but careful words.” And hopefully through his and all of our examples, it won’t be just words. 

God is in the Room

Yesterday I sat in a parking lot, crying in my van.

This isn’t the first time. The most memorable occasion was when I was pregnant with my first child. I found myself uncontrollably crying in a shopping mall parking lot, feeling perfectly happy but bawling my face off.

This wasn’t like that.

Yesterday was a day where crying in parking lots was the only response possible when interacting with the brokenness of the world.

I’m usually pretty resilliant in terms of helping others with their pain. I’m good in a crisis, level headed, calm. But yesterday was too much feeling hopeless in the face of other people’s pain.

My day started listening to the news while driving to visit patients. A story came on that you feel duty bound to listen to because as Christians we shouldn’t hide our heads in the sand about justice issues, and yet, was so horrible that it took my breath away. The abuses suffered by orphans in refugee camps at the hand of UN peacekeepers.

My heart broke as I heard the stories of young boys, the age of my oldest,  exploited by those who were supposed to protect them, just so they could have the meagerness of what life should grant them freely.

Then the reality of the nearness of life’s hurts filled my morning as I sat with people, in pain physical and emotional, sitting present and feeling hopeless.

A Chaplain once called spiritual care “standing in the wind of someone else’s pain”.

Being present with someone in the hardest parts of their lives means that the force of injustice, brokenness, and helpless hopelessness can leave us feeling battered by our inability to fix or change what’s going on.

I can’t heal that person’s physical and emotional wounds. I can’t exact justice for those orphans a half a world away.

And that’s where the tears come from.

From the feeling that my meager offering of presence isn’t even a drop that registers in the bucket.

That some hurts are too big and too complicated for me to be of any help at all.

So I cried, trying to process, trying to pray, not even trying to make sense of the absolutely senseless. Seeking God in the I don’t know what.

And then the still small voice came.

“I’m there, I’m in the room”

Because even though my presence feels inadequate, God’s presence isn’t.

When I walk into each room, God has gone before me. Whether the person in the room knows or acknowledges Him at all, He permeates this world.

He’s in the room. He’s in the room with them, with me. He surrounds the situation and their pain with a depth of understanding that only the Sacrifice for that pain can know.

The depth that I ache is nothing to the tears that he sheds as he looks upon his creation, that person sitting in the bed. Seeing the depth of their experience where I only see the sliver.

He reminded me that my role is to add my presence to His. To bring into the room the knowledge of Him that may be lacking. To bring into the room the hands and feet of His servant. To listen, to grieve, to encourage, to be.

Because I can’t alleviate their pain, but He can.

 

It’s Normal to Fuss

My son’s gymnastics facility is the loudest place on the planet. Really. Not kidding. 

 A kid’s wilderness dream haven of play structure, sponge pits, trampolines, and decibel level that is unmatched in anything I’ve seen in my life, apart from a U2 stadium concert.

And it’s my pleasure and privilege to take my two youngest children to this wonderland every Monday evening for the next foreseeable future. 

What is my cure for this, you may ask? Why, headphones, audio books narrated by soothing British accents, and the handcraft of my choice. 

But not this week. This week is spent headphones off, listening to the echoing madness that plays out under the rules posting. Foremost of which is “use your inside voice”.

Not my idea of bliss. 

And it was in this state of compromised compassion that it began. 

The observations over the rim of my large London Fog. The sideways glance at the freaking out toddler held in a father’s fussing toddler who hits to get her way. The imperfections of humanity laid out in child-sized packages. 

Please don’t get me wrong. I love children. It’s just that when I get feeling judgemental that I realize a.) how glad I am for my own imperfect-but-not-as-bad-as -them children and b.) how virtuous I feel as a parent. 

Because for certain I would NEVER allow my children to behave that way. I wouldn’t hold them when they were screaming in temper, I would march them out to the car when they so much as fussed. 

Yeah, right.

In the observations of my judgement, I realized some things. 

My stuff is not other people’s stuff, but I and my kids sure do have our stuff. 

But most importantly, how often am I behaving spiritually like those kids?

How often does my Heavenly Father carry me kicking and screaming from a place I want to stay to a place I should be?

How often do I come before him kicking, screaming, hitting, all in my desire to have my own short sighted way in this world?

All too often.

And He parents me through. Always loving, a mixture of mercy and truth, goodness and leadership. 

He’s such a better parent than me. 

And you know how He reminds me that His goal for me is to be like Him?

He sends my daughter to me, through the noise and the chaos, dragging her new little friend (doesn’t know his name) so that I can make his owie feel better. 

A child bringing another child to a loving parent. A parent they trust to bring healing and comfort. 

I hope my daughter learned that from watching me. 

And I hope I learned that from watching Him. 

Taking Stock

One of the most intimidating and beautiful parts of my chaplaincy training is walking with people through their end of life experience. As people are dying, one of the elements that Spiritual Care givers can offer them is the opportunity for an end of life review.

It’s a time where they can look over their life and experiences, find the good and the bad, see where their life impacted others and the world. It’s a beautiful process.

One thing I’ve noticed, in experiences with my grandmother and now with others I’m walking beside, is the natural impulse to look over our lives. In the stories they tell me, stories that they haven’t thought of for years, I can begin to see the people they were and how their experiences shaped them to the people they are now.

Stories of war and peace, family and foes, struggles and ecstacies. All these moments in our lives feed into how we perceive ourselves and our place and purpose in the world.

Seeing the value in these life reviews, I’ve been thinking about how little I take stock and inventory of my life as I’m living it.

Do I take the moments to see where I am, my place and presence in the world?

As my days slip into weeks, how often do I strive to find the meaning in the momentous and minute?

Make a careful exploration of who you are and the work you have been given, and then sink yourself into that. Don’t be impressed with yourself. Don’t compare yourself with others. Each of you must take responsibility for doing the creative best you can with your own life.

Be very sure now, you who have been trained to a self-sufficient maturity, that you enter into a generous common life with those who have trained you, sharing all the good things that you have and experience.

Galatians 6:4-6 MSG

When I take time to review my life I’ve noticed that I don’t yet have the gentle art of balanced perspective.

Often I see only the terrible failures of self and others.

Other times I puff up like a peacock and hope that my review is being reviewed by others.

God’s words through Paul encourage us toward balance and care in how we see ourselves and our lives.

The idea of ‘careful exploration’ conjures up a minute examination of the most fragile and delicate flour or the brooding of a mother over her newborn.

The delicate and loving fingertips gaining knowledge as they tend to what they’ve been given.

If I review my present life, what would I see?

I would see work, some play, procrastination, juggling, good words and harsh, time with God and times of omission.

I would think highly of myself and badly of myself in teeter-totting measure.

But God encourages us on a different path of discovery. As he deals with us, in truth and gentleness, so we are to come to a better understanding of ourselves.

Don’t be impressed with ourselves and don’t compare. Both swings of the pendulum that lead us to unbalanced thinking of ourselves.

As we review the well and badly done aspects of our lives we’re called to accept and move forward with intention. This is the hardest part for me. I can get caught in the guilt or the pride and barrel down a path of not so wise action.

I can’t be trusted on my own. Maybe you can, but I can’t.

As we make this careful exploration we need to center it around God’s truth and wisdom. Ask him into the process. Seek his truth and balancing of our emotions and impulses.

I’ve found that when God is at the center of my interpretation, the balance is there. I can see where I’ve made good or poor choices and from there can move forward, not locked in guilt or worry.

Because the purpose is for us to move forward. To enter into that ‘generous common life’ with the people around us and as yet unmet.

Our lives are meant to be shared. The good and the hard times set in the context of community add a richness and meaning to what’s gone before and what’s to come.

So often in end of life reviews what has been most meaningful to people is their faith and relationships. How they view God can give them comfort or concern. How they’ve lived in or out of community can be a source of strength or sorrow.

Taking periodic stock of our lives can give us God’s perspective in an unbalanced world. By showing us our blessings and helping us with our struggles, He shines light upon our meaning and purpose as we explore this life we’ve been given.