Something New

The other night on a whim we decided to go up to the nearest cross-country ski trail that would allow dogs.  For some reason skiing or hiking in the snow at 8:30 at night sounded irresistible.  We were aching for adventure.  We hopped into our Landcruiser, the ripped seats and familiar smell welcomed us, dogs and all. Our tires clicked over the gravel roads towards the mountain, leaving the street lamps of the city behind. The heat running in the car, the dogs curled up waiting for the SUV to slow, we eased our way into the forest.  

 

Upon arriving at the ski park, we put on our gloves, hats, and coats and even broke open hand warmers.  All we had was an Eddie Bauer flashlight, the one you crank to create light, the kind with no batteries.  We weren’t super prepared. What a pair we were.  We carefully stepped on the stairs cut out of snow and onto the packed trail. We decided to take the narrow snowshoe route, which made staying in the lines difficult with the dim light to guide us. I walked in front of my husband, but didn’t have the flashlight so I couldn’t see too well.  Missing the trail and falling repeatedly, I asked for the flashlight and moved to the back.  That lasted about 2 seconds.  My heart started racing as I pictured the ghost of the night tracking me.  I jumped around my husband, the fact that my steps took me a foot down in the snow and off the trail made no difference.  I was back in front in an instant!  I guess I thought that I would have some extra time to get away from the unseen att

acker being a foot ahead! 

 

As we walked all you could hear was the sound of that cranking flashlight and the crunch of snow under our boots. We stopped at one point in a clearing and took time to look up.  The treetops rested against the sky.  The stars were so thick they looked like a film of white above our heads. It was a breath-taking site.  The lights of the city near our home had masked the stars; only the really bright ones stood out there.  But here, in the quiet and solace of the forest, the darkness set off the stars in such a way it looked like a painting.  Nothing mattered at that point. Nothing called.  God was near. 

 

We continued walking, me in front with the flashlight and my husband behind me, protecting me from the evils of the forest.  As we moved into the dense trees, all I could think of were the days I had to hike to our outhouse from our cabin every night in my flannel nightgown.  I would pee and run like lightening back to the cabin to escape whatever lurked behind the trees.  At that moment when that memory flew at me, I asked if we could turn around.  It had been a nice walk after all; maybe it was time to go home.

 

After reaching the parking lot, we hung out at the car for a while, holding hands and agreeing that this had been a truly fun adventure.  For me, my heart had raced, not about work or a time commitment, but from sheer safe fear and imagination.  The stars against the black sky had spoke to me as I stood in that clearing.  Flashlight off.  I was a reminded that sometimes in life, in order to see the good, feel the joy, touch the light, we have to experience the contrast of darkness.  This simple walk of adventure had brought me a gift of imagination, God, gratefulness and comfort.  My face was cool, my hands warm and my heart at peace.

 

This week bring something new to your life.  It’s healthy.  It’s fun.  It’s better than watching TV; you will never know how it will end or what you will learn. 

 

 

A birthday note

Beau,

Today would be your 21st birthday.  You may not be here with us physically, but there are no rules, right?  We can still send you a birthday greeting!  Today, your family and friends in your life want to share what you brought into the world and what we all would have missed out on if we did not get the opportunity to spend life on earth with you. 

Beau, you brought us…

The belly laugh, if you haven’t heard Beau’s, you haven’t heard a belly laugh

Endless hugs, you know the tight, I’ll never let you go kind

A love for Top Ramen

A voice, I’m not sure you realized what impact your singing voice had on others

Fearlessness in the way you approached life

A deep sensitivity that gnawed at your heart and invited others in to love you

The charming grin, no one could resist

Knowledge of how to bust a fire in any weather condition

A musical talent that was so perfect and effortless

The flamboyant entry into any room

An affinity for ridiculously spicy food

An artistic temperament

An aching for freedom

A gift of a compass for your nephew so he would never lose his way

A dislike of expectation and the desire to accept anyone

Brilliance in so many ways besides that in your brain

The search and acceptance of Christ and the wanderings only God can understand

A love for books

An ability to create your own spotlight effortlessly

A fascination for life

An eagerness to discover and attempt new things

Writing that was meant to be shared but for now remains with you

So, today on your birthday we celebrate all of the wonderful gifts you brought into our lives. They serve as little reminders of the impact that you continue to have on all of us. Happy Birthday beautiful boy.

With so much love,

Your family

Today, take time to enjoy your loved ones in a whole new way.  If they are struggling, see their strength, if they are unmotivated, see their heart, if they are lost, see their dreams. If you are focused on the fear, find the hope.  If you have made issues too big, find a way to let them go. Flood yourself with positive memories, loving words, and live today with them more lovingly than you could ever imagine. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The hard and the beautiful

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Today I talked with a wise woman who in the midst of tragedy in our community, found nuggets of hope.  She walked into my office to discuss the recent event that occurred at Bend High School; a young man had taken his life while in a classroom. We spoke in hushed voices as we shared.  Our eyes filling with tears of empathy at whatever level we could understand the situation having not been there, and compassion for all those involved, students, school employees, families, friends and the young man who took his own life.  It was clear this event had rocked the world of so many.  As we continued to talk our conversation moved to awe.  We both looked at each other as though we should never have arrived at this point.   It had to be wrong.  But we had landed there and it was true. Life’s journeys can be hard and beautiful at the same time.

Sometimes when tragedy occurs we see the strength, love and the best of people, people who on any other day we may have passed in a hall without a word.  We see close groups become closer.  We see people who didn’t understand us, listen to our story. We see communication barriers collapse and new relationships built.  We see faith.  We see God.  We see tears and laughter all mixed together like a wonderful dish without a recipe.  We see leaders of all walks of life and ages rise.  We see heroes born.  We see petty complaints dissolve into nothingness, making room for our presence and caring.  We see life and death and are reminded of our true purpose.  We see heartache and we reach out.  We see hugs.  We see shame and we empathize.  We see unconditional love offered to those who have hurt us.  We see life.  All of it wrapped up into a moment.  We can touch it and feel it.  We can grow. So remember the moments and today and everyday, bring your “beautiful” to life’s journey.

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If you have not seen the facebook page in support of Bend High School, look at Wear Blue and Gold to Support Bend High, it’s inspirational. 

https://www.facebook.com/events/235408213305100/

 

A God Bump

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I bumped into a young man and his wife in Portland, Oregon last week.  Literally bumped into him while taking the flank position of a group hustling down the Portland sidewalk.  The bump knocked us both out of our respective paths.  He quickly and carefully grabbed my shoulders and said "you must think I'm a jerk for bumping into you".  "Of course I don't", I responded. This was the beginning of a conversation and what I hope to be a life long relationship.  In front of a bustling restaurant with people going in and out, time had stopped. I talked with him about my son's struggle with addiction and choked out the words, "pain kept him here on the streets didn't it?"  Although Michael didn't know Beau and did not live on the streets, he understood him.  He shared that Beau never wanted to come home unless he was bright and shiny, he wouldn't have been able to face the sadness in your eyes if he were to return home high on drugs or alcohol. 

 

He went on to speak of how he too had once felt that way. He couldn't go home to see his mother even though she encouraged him. Now healthy, he had seen his mom prior to her death.   And there on the curb of the sidewalk, with invisible people passing by, he said, "from a man who lost his mother, to a woman who lost her son"….and he gave me a hug. As it began to drizzle, we moved underneath an awning and continued our conversation.  I listened to his story, met his wife, saw a picture of his beautiful son with gorgeous Shirley Temple locks of hair bouncing around his face. We exchanged phone numbers and before leaving he said, this was a God bump.  I was meant to talk with you tonight.  

 

I can't imagine my life at this moment without the memory of that encounter.  I am changed.  I wish for you today, a God bump.

 

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