Wednesday, December 29, 2010

That, of course, is the message of Christmas. We are never alone. Not when the night is darkest, the wind coldest, the world seemingly most indifferent. For this is still the time God chooses. -Taylor Caldwell

As this Christmas approached I was having trouble understanding why I should celebrate Jesus’s birth. The work of redemption that began with his arrival is so far from completion, the brokenness in the world still so strong, that Jesus’s birth started to seem like a non-event. The beginning of something that would one day be meaningful, but right now made no real difference.

During Christmas Eve service I began to understand. My favourite Christmas carol, O Holy Night, was being sung and one line stood out to me: Long lay the world in sin and error pining, Till He appeared and the soul felt it's worth.

The soul felt it’s worth.

Yes the world is broken, yes we are wounded, yes we long for mercy... But we have worth. So much worth that God sent his Son to start the work of redemption, so that one day the world will be whole and healed and full of joy.

This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger. (Luke 2:12)

Jesus will be a sign to you. A sign that one day “He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain” (Rev 21:4). A sign that we are precious to Him. A sign that God is here with us.

But now we wait, a painful anticipation, a longing for the day when things are made right. Until then, we can celebrate Christmas, the sign that was given, the symbol of our worth, the hope of redemption.

A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

How are we to live?

I've set my intentions and tried to carry out my plans.
I'm social, I'm resting, I'm working out, I'm eating locally, I'm engaging in productive hobbies...
Yet, my life does not feel full.
Part of me hopes that a new apartment, closer relationships, more activities, a boyfriend, volunteering, etc, will fill it.
But something else stops me
Where is my heart?
I am only moderately connected to these gifts,
and I'm certainly not connected to their Giver.

Once before I opened my heart to marrying what I experienced to what I believed
I tried and it hurt
So now I tiptoe towards the throne room, inhabited by my Creator
and I leave my token offerings at the door.
Not daring to enter and risk having my hope and safety destroyed.
Even though, in the deepest depths,
I know that the destruction has already occurred
And it is only by entering the throne room that the foundation can be rebuilt by the Rock of Salvation
Growing stronger where the cracks had been.

Instead I stick with my illusion.
Telling myself that being in the vicinity of the throne room is enough.
Even though my heart is quietly crying that it is not.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Airplanes in the night sky are like shooting stars...

Everything comes together so quickly and so seemingly perfectly
Graduation, new apartment, great job
Then as the newness wears off
and you find your place
you start to ask
is this all of life?

I'm in that existential crisis place again
wondering if this is supposed to fulfill me
or what makes up a fulfilling life

I spend days trying to be present as people bind up their wounds
inflicted by this broken world
wondering how God stood by
and watched it get so broken in the first place
questioning if its really fulfilling trying to fix something
so senselessly damaged
or if the fixing is just as senseless

praying Lord have mercy
Lord have mercy on us
clinging to the faint hope that there is a better way
for the people I encounter
and for myself

Its one thing to believe it
another to figure out what it actually looks like
how am I to live my life?

Monday, March 1, 2010

I hold this to be the highest task for a bond between two people: that each protects the solitude of the other...

In her book Eat, Pray, Love, Elizabeth Gilbert discusses the idea of place and people having a word that represents them, or the season that they are in. I think that my word for this season of my life is solitude. I crave time alone and honestly enjoy the time I have to myself, puttering around the house, renewing my heart. I've been learning more about introversion and nurturing and honouring that part of myself.

Paradoxically, I've also, by necessity, been more outgoing than usual. Making small talk at the coffee shop, entering into deep conversations in counselling, all with strangers. Likely, it is this need to be outgoing that has increased my need for solitude in the first the place.

I wonder how long this season of my life will last. Has my desire to be a homebody and hang out by myself come as a consequence of getting older? Or as I grow more comfortable with my role as a counsellor will my need for solitude decrease? Only time will tell, and until then I will be here, relishing my solitude.

(quote by Rainer Maria Rilke)

Thursday, February 4, 2010


"I hear everyone telling me that they are there for me,
but I can't make myself trust them"
says the seventeen year old sitting in my office

How do you teach someone to trust again?

I pondered this all the way home
My car holds all the secrets and unanswered questions I carry

What I came to realize is that TRUST
[defined as the firm belief in the reliability, truth, ability,
or strength of someone or something]
is really just a leap of faith

You will never be able to know without a doubt
That your loved ones will live up to their words
That they will never betray you
That they will protect you and always be there for you

If you believe them and trust their words
You are doing so by faith
You are choosing to believe
Deciding the risk that they might not follow through
Is worth it

So how do you learn to trust again?
Look back at the broken promises
Take lessons from your mistakes
Find the one worth the risk
Close your eyes
Be brave

Sunday, January 24, 2010

The things we carry...

Its been a number of years since I watched the news regularly. Since my brother graduated from RMC and any news of deaths in Afghanistan made me tear up. However, if something big was going on usually I’d tune in to make sure I was an up-to-date citizen of the world.
I’ve probably watched less than a minute of coverage of the earthquake in Haiti.
The thing is, every image, every story, that we bear witness to stays with us. It becomes a part of what we carry. We can manage the effect it has on us and how much we remember, but it adds to our load. Maybe a heavy weight, maybe only a little, but you carry it with you.
In my new role as a counsellor, I hear a lot of stories. Terrible, sad, what is wrong with the world stories. My load has gotten a lot heavier. Some days I can see clearly the light and the hope, some days I can’t stand under the weight. I trust that I will get better at bearing these burdens as I learn and grow.
What would be the point of making this weight any heavier than it needs to be? Could I still contribute to aid for Haiti without knowing the details? Yes. Would my knowing the details help them any? No.
My lack of knowledge about this disaster might lead some to believe that I am ignorant. But something in me tells me that I need to protect my heart. This is not my trauma to bear witness to right now. I have another role.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Have mercy on us...

My heart throws up a desperate prayer
even though it is roughed up
and losing hope and faith

It cannot praise
because it is uncertain of God's provision
wondering why there is no intervention
only humanity's inadequate attempts
holding a hand against the wound
not able to heal
only acting as a bandaid
for a trauma that should never have occurred
human intercession has no power over the darkness
that damages these poor souls
yet Your light does not pierce it
where is God?

And yet
my heart throws up a desperate prayer
in its distress
it knows not what else to do

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

While you’re in the midst of doing said scary thing...

... you will simply put one foot in front of the other and make it happen because you have no other choice.

My supervision summary for this week stated "Biggest Achievement: Surviving"

That's how my week is going... 

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Please don't fight these hands that are holding you...

I didn't update this last term nearly as much as I hoped to. I think that I only processed in bits and pieces, somehow knowing that if I opened my heart and mind to all that I heard and saw I would not be able to handle it. What I did feel was quite enough. Helplessness in the face of terrible parenting leading to broken young women. Watching a life spiral out of control. Breaking confidence to stay in line with the law and damaging relationships in the process.
I'm nearing the end of a two week vacation from my counselling/student role. I blocked out most of my experience and didn't give it a thought. When something did come to mind I pushed the thought away, giving my mind and heart a much needed break. But now as the new term draws very near I feel a lot of anxiety, not having processed what passed before. I could use another week, one spent in solitude without distractions, just to think about and process everything I've learned and experienced and discover what I need to do to be successful in the months to come.
I'm also anxious because the women I've come to rely on at my placement have moved on to other pursuits. Who will be there to coach me through the hard parts? When I'm unsure and overwhelmed? In some ways it feels like I'm starting from the beginning again. Being outside of the experience has lead to questioning again if I can do this, if I'm meant to do this... once again praying for strength and wisdom, whispering to myself to go forward with courage.