Tuesday, March 31, 2015

It's Getting Harder and Harder

With each passing day, it's getting harder and harder to live this life of mine.

Harder and harder to keep my house clean when I would much rather be out on a walk
or reading or journaling or talking on the phone or meeting friends for lunch or planning getaways or watching NCAA basketball.

Harder and harder to eat well when there are bagels, Snickers bars, slices of pizza, licorice, sour cream and onion potato chips and corn muffins and chicken wings and bottles of Cherry Coke and Cheerwine everywhere.

Harder and harder to cut down on spending when the organic fruits and vegetables, the kombucha and green matcha tea, the gluten free crackers and hummus, the quinoa and millet are so much more expensive than the less healthy stuff.

Harder and harder to be away from people I love and haven't seen in a long time.
Friends who live too far away for regular visits.
Friends whose children are growing up without seeing my bright and shining face often enough to know who I am and why I love them.
Friends who work too hard and whose calendars are too full to engage in regular phone conversations or text exchanges.
Friends whose lives are being lived in other time zones.
Friends and family members, soul sisters and soul stirrers who are simply too far away.

Harder and harder to think of Maundy Thursday, Jesus' last night with his disciples, when he washed their feet, broke bread and shared a cup of wine with them. He knew they were going to abandon him. He knew one would deny him. He knew one would betray him. But he ate with them anyway. He loved them anyway - all the way to the end.
Harder and harder because I want to believe that I wouldn't have been like them, that I would have listened more closely and believed everything Jesus said.
Harder and harder because the better I get to know myself, my fickleness of mind, my insistence on concise answers to my clarifying questions, my yearning for safety, security, and ease, the more certain I am that I would have been no different, no more reliable, no more trusting, no more faithful than any of them.
Harder and harder because, even though I am more aware of my own faults and broken places, I still have precious little patience for people who abandon me or deny me or betray me - for the people around me who are so much like me.

Harder and harder to know what to think or say or write or do on Good Friday and Solemn Saturday. The days of his accusation, torture, mock trial, crucifixion, and burial. Those days when those who were closest to Jesus closed themselves into rooms and locked the doors, lamenting the death of the one they had hoped would redeem them and set them free from fear. Those days in which the women who followed most closely prepared burial spices to care for his beaten, bruised, lifeless body.

Harder and harder because it's far too easy to skip past those solemn, silent, and serious days. It is far easier to spend the days between now and Easter doing other things - baking cookies, planning Sunday's menu, and deciding what to put into Easter eggs and baskets. It's too tempting to plan my time so that I arrive at Easter morning without ever walking in the shadows, in the darkness, through the suffering, facing the sorrow, all in the knowledge that it was love that kept him praying in that dark garden, nailed to that rugged cross and subjected to the indignity of that tomb. Love for the people who walked with him and then abandoned him. Love for the people who accused him and framed him. Love for the people who were yet to be born - people like us, like you, like me. Which reminds me of that old song, "When he was on the cross, I was on his mind."

I want to skip the bloody, barbaric parts.
I want to get to Sunday morning.
I want to put on my Easter dress and shoes.
I want to sing hymns. I want to see the lilies.
I want to celebrate. I want to be happy.

But with hundreds of families mourning the intentional crashing of an airplane,
with far too many people recovering from difficult diagnoses and traumatic treatments,
with two hundred school girls missing from their Nigerian families for nearly a year,
with unjust wars that rage on unresolved for years,
with random acts of terror, rage, and violence happening around us, between us, and within us,
I need to find ways to be still and watch,
to be still and wait
to be still and weep,
to be still and know
that even though this life of mine is getting harder and harder,
even though it is getting harder and harder to remain tethered to hope,
even though it is getting harder and harder to believe that we won't completely destroy the planet in the next four to six weeks,
even though the list of earth's sorrows grows longer and longer,
even though it's only Tuesday and there is a long way to go between now and "the first day of the week,"
between now and then,
I will recall and recount the goodness of God,
the provision and protection,
the help and healing,
the love and laughter,
the touch and tenderness,
and the friendships and faithfulness of so many.

I will love the ones I'm with and receive their love
- even though I know how broken and flawed and afraid and lonely we all are.

And I will remind myself over and over again:
It's Tuesday, but Sunday is coming.
It's Wednesday, April Fool's Day, and this fool is clinging to the fact that Sunday is coming.
It's Maundy Thursday, which will end in the darkness of a silent sanctuary - but Sunday is coming.
It's Good Friday, which always feels so God-gone bad - but Sunday is coming.
Shhhh, it's Silent, Solemn Saturday - just one more day.

Hang on - because Sunday is coming.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Thankful Thursday - "It's a boy!"

Arthur and Claire already had a set of twin daughters, four or five years old already.
Then they heard this announcement - "It's a boy."
Fifty years ago today, my sweet husband was born.
My joke is that he was born, and my parents immediately celebrated.
I was born a few days less than nine months after him.

Today we will celebrate his life.
We will eat, drink, and make merry.
We will tell stories and remember our 28+ years together.

Nope, it hasn't always been smooth sailing.
His birth family wasn't the Waltons or the Huxtables.
That's all I'm gonna say about that.

Nonetheless, he grew up into a bright, determined, hard-working young man. He graduated from St Peter-Marian Catholic High School in Worcester, Massachusetts, and joined me in the class of 1987 at Williams College. One cold night in January of our senior year, he shook off his mantle of shyness and asked if he could sit next to me at a movie on campus - and we have been together ever since.

After such an unceremonial start, we have traveled many miles, celebrated many milestones, and endured much sorrow since that first night. Four and a half years of dating before being married. Two amazing children. Connecticut. San Francisco. Hawaii. San Diego. Florida. North Carolina. GE. Bank of America. Spain. England. Costa Rica. Puerto Rico. Never missing a college reunion. Kanswer. Bipolar disorder. The death of both of our fathers. Both of our mothers moving to Charlotte.

 This man adores his children

 Giving direction to his boy

Who wouldn't love a man who looks at fashion exhibits at the local museum?!?

Clearing snow - fearlessly

Headed onto the beach

A Hilton Head sunrise

Even though not everyone thought we were a good match, even though we (may) have had that same thought ourselves on occasion, I am enormously grateful that we have stayed together. Through the very difficult times. Through sickness and health. Richer and poorer. Family problems and rejection.

He has blossomed into the most generous, gentle, encouraging husband and father and son.

Hugging his mom 

And today, he reaches the half-century milestone.
Still bright, determined, hard-working.
Still loving, kind, gentle, generous.
Still peace-loving, protective, and loyal.
Still funny, thoughtful, and caring.

I thank God for this man everyday.
Here's to 50 more years, my dear.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Thankful Thursday

It's a rainy Thursday evening in South Charlotte.
Daffodils are in bloom, past their prime in some yards.
Trees are budding. Spring is springing.

What am I thankful for - other than all of that?

I am thankful for our empty nest. My husband and I talk more and laugh more and spend more time together than ever. On Sunday evening, he was on his way back from visiting our son and I was on my way back from dropping our daughter off at the end of her spring break. I called him and we set up a date at the airport overlook - we leaned against the hood of my car and enjoyed the view. We wondered where each aircraft was headed and dreamt aloud about our future travel plans.

I am thankful for new recipes that my hubby and I are enjoying. I don't like to cook, but since I have to do it on a regular basis, I may as well try new things every now and then. Earlier this week, I made taco soup, a spinach salad, and pan-fried polenta - delicious vegan dinner. Tonight it was salmon and broccoli and what we call dirty rice - brown rice with cranberries, pine nuts and pecans. Both of our children are allergic to most nuts, so we are taking advantage of their absence to incorporate pecans and walnuts. Small things, I know - but I am hugely grateful for the small things. Aren't you?

I am thankful that my children are healthy and strong and doing well. I am thankful that even when they aren't feeling well, when they are stressed, and when life isn't easy for them - even then, I am thankful they are mine. I am thankful that they call us and text us and share their needs and tears and sorrows with us.

I am thankful for the simple process of printing photos - sending them to a local printing place directly from my computer. I am thankful for a seven year old laptop that still functions perfectly. I am thankful for pots and pans and a functioning stove. I am thankful for the washing machine, the dryer, and the hanging racks in the laundry room. I am thankful that every time I pull into a gas station, there is gas available. I am grateful for the drastic reduction in gas prices during the past six months. I am grateful for pens and paper, for staples and thumb tacks. I am thankful for thank you notes and for the gifts that motivate me to both write and receive them. Again, these may seem like small things, but they are all amazing things.

I am thankful for the connection I have made with the young man I tutor in Spanish. His parents adore him and want him to do well, not only in Spanish but in all of life. His smile is sweet and quick. Today I had the chance to meet his teacher. Hard working, dedicated, encouraging, and direct, she has high hopes for him, and so do I.

I am thankful for the tremendous outpouring of support and encouragement about my admission to seminary. From church friends. From the pastors at my church. From friends who don't go to church. From neighbors. From family. I am excited. And nervous. And looking forward to the next phase of my life journey. (I cannot wait to meet Katie Cannon, one of the professors at Union in Richmond, VA. I may have to go up there for a summer course or some other class that she teaches.)

I am thankful for Anthony Smith. He and his wife, Toni, are heavily involved in community development up in Salisbury, NC. They have founded Mission House, a new worship community there. Night crawlers, a group that walks through the town at night, talking to folks, sharing blankets on cold nights, offering friendship and connection to many that are on the margins of their community. Man Up Mondays, getting men involved in the lives of needy boys around them. Challenging everyone who will listen to stop complaining and do something, touch somebody, make a difference. My daughter and I got to hear him speak last Saturday, and he introduced me to a new way of reading Scripture and understanding what God is up to in the Word and in the world. He talked about how God disturbs us, disrupts us, and interrupts us. We've got our plans and ideas and hopes. We know what we want and expect and what we dream. But God has a way of disturbing our complacency, of disrupting us in the midst of our feeble attempts to protect what we think we deserve, and interrupting us when we are trying to go back to sleep, to crawl back into our safe cocoons. As I have thought about Luke 24 this week, I have been stunned by the illusions and disillusionment of the women who went to the tomb expecting to find a dead body and the disciples who were hiding away in a locked room in despair over their slain Savior. Thank you, Anthony, for moving me to a deeper place, to a deeper reading and understanding of the stories of our faith. Thanks to you and Toni for all that you do for those around you. Toni, I'm praying for your Mom.

I am thankful for all that is yet to come -

* my son is coming home for the weekend
* I will talk to my dear friend, Lisa, tomorrow morning
* time on Saturday morning with a friend from Ecuador
* dinner on Saturday evening with a friend from Puerto Rico
* speaking a lot of Spanish, the language of heaven, this weekend (you'd better start studying, people!)
* writing class next Tuesday
* I will be speaking next Wednesday at noon at First Presbyterian Church (Why do I still hesitate to use the verb "preaching" in a sentence that begins with the word, "I"? I'm gonna have to process that in my journal one of these days.)
* planning a date with my friend who lives on the lake (I miss you and I miss us!)
* Finally, I am thankful for the banana dessert I am about to go make. Two ingredients - ripe bananas in the skin, cut open the long way. Lay them face down (fruit side down) into a saucer covered with soft brown sugar. Then lay the sugar side down in a hot non-stick pan. After the sugar begins to bubble around the edges of the skin, let it sizzle for about 30 more seconds then lift it out with a spatula. Eat it with a spoon out of the skin. Once you take the bananas out of the pan, if any brown sugar is still bubbling in it, toss a few almonds into the sugar and make a quick almond brittle. Your eyes will cross with delight. Simple, bubbly, sweet, and (mostly) good for you. Yum yum.

Thanks be to God.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

A few questions for Jesus

I have spent a lot of time this Lent reading and rereading and pondering and writing about Luke 24, the final chapter of that gospel. Early in the chapter, we read, "Peter got up and ran to the tomb; stooping and looking in, he saw the linen cloths by themselves; then he went home, amazed at what had happened."

Today my mind has snagged on the linen cloths that had been wrapped around the body of Peter's crucified friend, rabbi, mentor, and redeemer. Like the tomb in which they were discarded, the cloths were empty.

That image prompted me to think about the One who had abandoned those linen cloths a few hours earlier. That image prompted me to pen a few questions for Jesus.

* What was that morning like for you, Lord?
* What did you see when you opened your eyes?
* Was it still dark in the tomb or had the stone already been rolled away?
* How did you remove those linen cloths if you were wrapped in them?
* Were angels with you in those early hours or were you alone?

* What were your thoughts as you exited the tomb?
* Did the soldiers outside see you as you walked away?
* Is that why they fainted?

* Where did you go first?
* Did you go see your broken-hearted mother?
* Did the world look different to you after death than before death?
* Were you thinking about how scared your disciples would be when they saw you again?
* Did you smile with the knowledge that Mary Magdalene and the other women would come to the tomb and find you gone?
* Did you shudder with the thought of their story being considered an idle tale?
* In this chapter, you appear first to those two men who are walking to Emmaus? Why them? Why not the larger group of your followers?
* What is so special about the breaking of the bread? Why were their eyes opened then and not sooner?
* Why did your stories and your presence make their hearts burn?
* Why did your disciples and friends sometimes not recognize you?

* And what about the rest of this crazy story - your virgin birth, your miracle-working life, your brutal execution, your resurrection from the dead, your amazing grace, and your death-defying love - how are we supposed to explain it or prove it or convince other people to believe it? 

* What are the dark places in my life where stones need to be rolled away so the light of your love and healing can enter?
* How often are my eyes blinded and my mind darkened so much so that I miss your presence and don't see you walking with me along the way?
* Who am I supposed to tell about the ways in which you show up and show off and show yourself faithful and true, loving and ever-present in my life?
* What will be the first thing or person I will see when I open my eyes on the other side of death? Sweet Lord Jesus, I sure hope yours is the first face I see. 

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Does anybody remember how to create footnotes and bibliographies?

Back in 2006 or 2007, I taught a class on journaling as a spiritual discipline to a group of women at the church I attended at the time. One of the women in attendance was not a member or even an attender of the church, but there Bonnie was. Attentive, asking questions, taking notes, sharing her thoughts and questions. At the end of the class, she approached me and said, "You belong in the pulpit."

I was shocked, stunned, silenced. And certain she was wrong.
How could I, a woman, be in the pulpit?
That certainly wasn't an option at the church in which we stood.

Not long after that I began to attend another church on Wednesdays at noon, the church I attend now, and the woman who preached at that service every week showed me, and continues to show me, the beauty, wisdom, strength, insight, compassion, and unique perspective that women bring to the pulpit, to loving and serving the world as ministers.

Within a few months, she invited me to teach a few classes at the church.

Again, I was shocked, stunned, silenced.
How could I teach at a church where I was not a member?
Weren't there hoops I had to jump through in order to prove myself, to qualify?

I had no idea how deeply I had absorbed a mindset of inferiority and inexperience and lack of qualification. I had learned my lessons too well.

There I stood at First Presbyterian Church - and continue to stand - before groups of men and women, pouring out my heart, my questions, my failures, my doubts, my joy, my gratitude, and my love for God and God's Word. I often wondered when some angry man would stand up and tell me that I was out of line, that I needed to sit and learn in silence while the men led the way. That has never happened.

Soon after meeting Bonnie, she introduced me to Larry. In turn, Larry introduced me to a group of funny, gracious, welcoming, kind, thoughtful and prayerful senior citizens at a retirement community here in Charlotte. They meet every Wednesday morning for Bible study, with each invited speaker bringing a month-long series. I was invited to lead a series not long thereafter. I remember vividly my prejudices as I entered that room the first time: I was convinced that those rich old white Southerners would hear me speak once and be done with the crazy black woman who moved down here from Connecticut with my strange accent and foreign ways of thought. I am glad that I was completely wrong on all counts.

There are retired missionaries in that room, retired pastors in that room, retired teachers and poets and business people. There are parents, grandparents, single men, single women, widows and widowers. Every one of them decides over and over to return, to listen, to ask questions, to listen to my rambling answers, to watch me cry, to listen to me try to weave Scripture into our lives and challenge us all to be people of joy and love and gratitude. And they have made that decision over and over for the many months that they have invited me to be with them on Wednesday mornings.

Over these past five years, there has been a steady stream of invitations to speak and teach, emails, voice mails, text messages, and even snail mail - all expressing support and encouragement and gratitude for my presence at church and at the senior living center and my involvement in the larger community of faith. In addition to that, many men and women have repeated what Bonnie told me way back when: "You should be in the pulpit."

After years of hearing that same message, I decided to ponder it.
To question it. To pray about it. To investigate the possibilities.

I also pondered the reactions I assumed I would get from people I know who believe that women should not be leaders in the church, that half of God's people have nothing to say to the other half. I questioned interpretations of Scripture that I had accepted for the first 45 years of my life. I tried to imagine conversations I would have with those whose opinions used to matter so much to me, what I would say to try to convince them to see things the way I now see them. With the help of my spiritual director, pastors, teachers, friends, books, journaling, praying, and reading, I have been able to let go of the urge to convince the unconvinceable. That is not my job. That is no longer my concern. This is my story. This is my journey.

Someone once told me: "I would rather stand before God and have to explain why I preached when I was supposed to be silent, than why I stayed silent when I was called to preach." That is the risk I too have decided to take.

I applied to Union Presbyterian Seminary here in Charlotte after meeting the Dean of the school late last fall at a meeting at church. He invited me to visit the school, to sit in on classes, to join them for worship and lunch. I arrived late on the appointed Saturday, slipped into the chapel and found a seat during the sermon. When I stood with the group to sing the last hymn, I knew that I had arrived at the place where my ravenous soul could feast on the Bread of Life and gulp down mouthfuls of Living Water.

I have been accepted and will pursue a Masters degree in Divinity.

I will spend the next five years taking classes on Saturdays and the occasional Friday evening. I will read and write and learn ancient Greek and Hebrew and theology and preach practice sermons and intern at a local church and learn about baptism and communion and things I cannot even imagine now. I will learn how to submit papers online and relearn how to write papers with footnotes.

It will be a long uphill climb, but I am excited. Thrilled. Grateful. Joyful. I look forward to figuring out where God wants me to serve and love and listen and teach and walk alongside people on their spiritual journeys and how to welcome others to walk with me on mine.

Thursday, March 05, 2015

Thankful Thursday - Be Careful What You Pray For

Yesterday morning, I had to get up early as two people near and dear to me were going on a trip. In the fog. On the highway. When stuff like that happens, unavoidable things that feel dangerous or uncertain, I pray. A lot. Neither of them were looking forward to the drive, so I felt prompted to pray that they be "surprised by joy." I prayed that they would have moments and experiences that would cause them to smile, to give thanks, and to reflect on the goodness and generosity of God. I prayed those prayers incessantly for about four hours. When I heard that they had reached their destination safely, I gave thanks to God and went about my day.

I walked my little doggie and chatted briefly with a neighbor. I took the tiny beast back home and set out on a much longer walk by myself. By the time I got back home, the temperature had risen at least ten degrees - a warm front approached and promised us a respite from the cold we've experienced over the last few days.*

I got into my car and began the drive to church for two Wednesday activities. As I drove up a nearby street, I saw a license plate that said the following: "EPH4UNC." Unbeknownst to most people, the nickname for Williams College students is "Ephs." That word, which rhymes with "reefs," comes from the name Ephraim Williams, who was the founder of my alma mater. There aren't too many mentions of "Ephs" here in Charlotte, so I was intrigued. By way of answering my as yet unasked question, a Williams College sticker was affixed to the back window of the car. I set out in hot pursuit of the license plate. A half mile later, we approached a red light.

I pulled up next to the car in question and signaled to the driver, an elderly gentleman, to roll down his window. While I waited for him to notice me,  I offered up a quick prayer that he wasn't an advocate of "stand your ground" laws who traveled with a loaded pistol by his side. He rolled down the driver's side window, which would have been great if I had been on the driver's side. I was not. He finally figured out how to open the passenger window.

Me: "Sir, did you go to Williams?"
An enormous smile spread slowly across his wrinkled face as he responded proudly, "Yes."
Me: "I did too."
Him: "I was there back in 1948."
Me: "I graduated nearly 40 years later, in 1987. I don't see many Williams stickers in these parts."
Him: "You sure don't." His smile never faded. Nor did mine.
The light turned green, and we both drove on.

After the noon service at church, I sat in the sanctuary thinking, prayed a few more quick prayers that my beloved ones be surprised by joy throughout their day. Then I chatted with a few friends before setting out on an errand - to find a birthday gift for someone I adore.

I ventured into a shop called The Boulevard - no luck with birthday shopping. But I did find an excellent sale corner - 60% off all winter clothing. Jeans, dresses, leggings, skirts, tops - and none of it was exorbitantly priced to begin with. Jeans that were originally $36 were marked down to $14! Even though I don't need any clothes, I picked two pieces anyway: a pair of jeans and a beautiful deep jewel-toned greenish blue top. After the owner rang up my purchases and put them into a bag, we chatted for a couple of minutes about how much she wants to get the winter clothes out of the store. She said that if I knew anybody who needed those things, she would make them a great deal, and whatever she didn't sell would be given to a local women's shelter. Then she asked what color thread (I think she used the word "piping") was in the jeans I had purchased. White or orange? I responded, "Orange, I think." I pulled them out of the bag and, sure enough, it was orange. Then she PUT A PAIR OF THE SAME JEANS WITH WHITE THREAD INTO MY BAG and said, "Just take them. I really want to get this stuff out of the store." What??? And to top it all off, she recommended a nearby shop as a better place to find a gift for my friend. Her suggestion yielded excellent results.

After a successful gift purchase, I drove to a nearby park where I sat and read for about an hour. It was a gorgeous, sunny, warm day - nearly 70 degrees. Delightful. I watched two little red headed sisters as they stared and pointed at bulldozers at work. I watched boys run and play. I watched other children defy gravity and good sense on skateboard ramps. A carload of teenaged boys pulled into the space next to my car, music blaring, heads bobbing. They got out of their car, still singing, and set out on an adventure in the park - as happy as the little to be out in the warm sunshine.

The book I was reading was delightfully insightful and encouraging. About silence and writing and learning to trust that one leads to the other in life-affirming ways. I nibbled on almonds, drank cool water, and gave God thanks for the wonder, the beauty, the warmth, and the joy of that moment.

Tears sprang into my eyes as I realized that my fervent prayers had been answered. I had prayed that two people I love be surprised by joy. But as it turned out the joyful surprises landed on me. Seeing another Eph in Charlotte. Receiving communion at church. Spending time with others on the journey of faith. A gift of a pair of jeans. Meeting a woman who would rather give her goods away than see them go unused and un-enjoyed. Time in the park on a gorgeous day. Observing adults and children, families and single people basking in the warmth of the afternoon. I was the one who had been surprised over and over by laughter and grace and joy. How could I not be thankful for the many answers to my prayers?

Later in the evening, back at church, I saw a woman I met a few weeks ago in a journaling class I taught. She came into the fellowship hall with her husband and three adorable children. After her two daughters spotted me, one ran back to her mother and excitedly pointed me out, "Mom, there's Gail!" I was honored that they remembered me and recalled my name. I look forward to getting to know them all better. Surprised again by joy.

I attended a class entitled, "Race Matters," later in the evening and was profoundly affected by the stories we shared of how race has mattered in our lives. We each told when and how we began to notice our own race and the race of the people around us. Rich, deep, sad, and painful stories. Stories of open minded family members, racist family members, and oblivious family members. Stories that must be acknowledged and told so that dialogue and change and healing and reconciliation can happen. There we all sat, listening, asking questions, opening up, and being held tenderly in community. Surprised by honesty and surprised by joy.

I drove home from church, from the entirety of yesterday, thankul, so very grateful for every moment of it, every conversation, every meal, every story, every phone call, every mile I had safely driven.

Be careful what you pray for - it just might come to pass.

* Okay, okay - if you are in Connecticut, or anywhere north of Virginia for that matter, you can stop rolling your eyes in response to my comment about it being cold down here. I know that our definition of "cold" is far less nuanced than yours. But still, it has been cold for us. We've gotten as low as the single digits a couple of times this winter. We've also had snow - only an inch or two - but that's enough to close schools down here. And ice too. Nothing compared to what you all have endured. I bow in respect for your perseverance and in prayer for a respite from the brutal conditions you have endured up north over the past three months.

Wednesday, March 04, 2015

Some trust in chariots

One of my favorite verses in the Psalms is found in the 20th Psalm.
Verse 7 says this - Some trust in chariots and some in horses, 
but we trust in the name of the Lord our God.

I love a good list, and the first half of that verse is a short list of things people believe in - or things people believed in at the time the psalm was written. As I consider the psalmist's list, I am prompted to create a list of some of the things we trust in, some of the things I trust in.

Some trust in cash and some in credit cards
some trust in the stock market and some in savings bonds
some trust in Bank of America and some in Wells Fargo
some trust in Mercedes and some in Audi
some trust in brand names and some in second hand treasures
some trust in neither, some trust in DIY - do it yourself

some trust in the government and some in anarchy
some trust in Democratic ideals and some in Republican
some trust in Fox News and some in CNN
some trust in "the good old days"
some trust in the good times that are yet to come

Some trust in popularity and telling every story in a public and exaggerated way
some trust in keeping their stories and their lives to themselves
some trust in others to make decisions on their behalf
some trust in themselves and no one else

Some trust in homeschooling and some in military schools
some trust in homework and some trust in play time
some trust in exclusive "gifted and talented" programs and some in everyone's giftedness
some trust in community college and some in Ivy League institutions
some trust in GPAs and some in GPSs
some trust in degrees and some in pedigrees

some trust that men and women have equal standing in the world and in the church
some trust that women ought to be silent in church
(except for singing in the choir, teaching children, and talking to each other)
some trust that children should be seen but not heard
some trust that children are our future
some trust that children are people who deserve dignity, love, and protection

some trust in marriage and some in remaining unmarried
some trust in parenting and some in freedom from children
some trust in spanking and some in non-violent parenting 
some trust in honesty and some in deceit
some trust in sarcasm and insults
some trust in flattery

some trust in Western medicine and some in Eastern, non-traditional practices
some trust in organic food production and some in conventional practices
some trust in yoga and some in lifting weights
some trust in their physical health, beauty, and thinness
some trust in their emotional strength and stability
some trust in green tea and some in coffee
some trust in cigarettes and some in alcohol

some trust in the right to bear arms and stand one's ground
some trust in bombing "the bad guys" out of existence
some trust in capital punishment
some trust in the justice system to carry out justice
some trust in vengeance and vigilante justice
some trust in turning the other cheek
some trust in the military might of this nation
some trust in the work of diplomacy

Some trust in gratitude for a glass half full
some trust in punishment for whomever drank from their glass first
some trust in prayer and some in the strength of their own bootstraps
some trust in finding answers to every question and some in living into the questions
some trust that God answers prayer
some trust that prayer is wasted emotional energy

I still trust in some of those things. 
I no longer trust in some of those things. 
I never trusted in some of those things.

But for as long as I can remember, I have trusted in the name of the Lord our God.
I have trusted that I am loved, seen, and heard by God.
I have trusted that all would be well.
I have trusted that the name of the Lord would bring me peace, would bring all people people, profound, inexplicable peace even though world is sometimes dangerous and untrustworthy.
I have experienced the name of the Lord my God bringing me peace, calming my anxious heart, and settling my fears. Personally. Many, many, many times.
I say "many, many, many times" because many, many, many times, I forget. I doubt. I wonder. I wander. I worry. Then I remember God's faithfulness again. And the goodness of people I love again. And the presence and support of my sister-friends and brother-friends again.

This trust cycle is an exhausting one sometimes. I am grateful that as often as I forget, trust regrows, that its roots go deeper in times of emotional and spiritual and physical drought. I am grateful for the stacks and shelves of my filled journals which house the stories of my misplaced trust and my re-placed trust. I am thankful for the scars - mental, relational and physical - from the many battles I have fought in my 49 years of life and for the reminder those accounts provide of how far I have traveled on this my life's journey. 

Some trust in chariots
some trust in horses
some trust in guns
some trust in bombs
some trust in fear
some trust in intimidation
some trust in rules and regulations
some trust in making it up as you go along

We all trust in something. 
We all trust in someone.

I choose to continue to trust in the love, the grace, and the name of the Lord my God.

Who and what do you trust?