I wished I told him that

The one-way streets of Portland moved me at a leisurely pace towards a conference. The drive allowed me time to reflect. Reflection has occupied much of my time recently.  I have prayed, I have read, and I have grown. Through the quietness of an open book, a verse in my Bible, a walk in the woods, a conversation God or with Beau, I have listened.

I passed a restaurant with chairs stacked on tables like a school room and a girl riding a baby blue bike through town, her speed causing her hair to float up and down in rhythm. It hit me, I have done a lot of reflecting.  What about taking action and experiencing life?

Experience life.  Ok.  I parked my car and walked down the street. A man was lying on the sidewalk. His hair was long, mixed with dreadlocks and free flowing strands. Experience life I thought, meet someone new.  I bent down to talk with him, my hand on his knee balanced my crouched position. He shared his name was Bo. Really God?  Bo?

I asked what it would take for him to not live on the street and so his story eased out, he spoke of divorce, job loss, and trouble with the law….. he was not full of pity but of shame. Each word from the story was thick and heavy.  “You speak to me with such calmness and kindness”, I said. “You are an amazing person.” His head dropped, “That’s nice of you to say, but I’m not  a good person.”  There it was, shame, saying I am broken.  I understand because I too have felt broken. But he is not, he feels guilt, he feels embarrassed, he has made mistakes, but he is not broken.  Neither am I and neither are you.

As our conversation slowed, I asked if he could stand up. He did. We hugged each other tightly, with emotion and without words.

Upon entering the conference I reached for water; I lifted my hand and the smell of his filthy green jacket filled my senses. It was a smell of an experience I had no need to wipe off. I shared with a friend that I had wanted to help this man, yet I couldn’t. The response I got surprised me, he said maybe you could just let him know how he has helped you. I wished I had told him that, next time I will.

 

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The bid

There is a mug that is made for Starbucks for the city of San Diego.  It flaunts the skyline on the outside in china blue with these words on the inside, “70 and sunny”.  Today in Bend, Oregon, the sun warmed us in just that manner. 

I was sitting at a meeting with some phenomenal teachers.  We sat outside on cobblestone patio with pine trees gazing down on us.  There was just the right amount of sun and shade to create an enjoyable lunch break.  Most of us had just finished and had cleared our plates; tortilla chips and homemade guacamole were left on the fireplace table.

Above us a Blue Jay squawked, loud and endlessly. Eventually we became distracted from our meeting.  At that moment I recalled the days at our cabin where as children we would lay out left over pieces of pancake along our porch rail.  Our goal was to feed “camp robbers”.  Excited and in competition to get the next morsel, they would squawk to the point of annoyance.  So today, I was sure the chips had enticed an all call for food. 

We all gazed into the tree some 20 feet up.  Small white feathers floated down like the flowers released by the wind on a tree in full spring bloom.  The bird continued to sound the alarm.  We then realized that a hawk had entered the Blue Jay’s nest.  The sound of the chirping babies had stopped to be replaced by the guardian’s notes of terror.

As we sat there someone said, this is a lesson to us.  We thought the bird wanted our food, but they were protecting the babies.  I held my head in my hands, not wanting to observe the feathers fly. I felt slightly teary and a bit sick.  I think I do this to others.  When someone  “screams” at me, I jump to fix it, to calm the situation when in reality I haven’t listened or looked closely enough to find out the real problem. My thoughts or my words only hurt, when if I would observe, listen, suspend judgment, I might be able to help. 

Today we tried to make sense of the feathers.  Maybe they didn’t belong to the babies, but maybe they did. All I know……we wish we could have helped. This is life.  May today we offer a listening ear that allows us to hear someone’s true bid so we can help them in their suffering.

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Miraculous Peace

Ahhhh….

Today I sit, relaxed, my mind still and my heart beating slowly.  I can feel the fabric of the chair against my arms, the dogs are clicking across the floor, the door squeaks, the last bit of sun slides across the wall.  I am here, present.  I’m not fighting anything, not my fears, not my chattering mind, nothing.  I can see, hear, and feel what is with me in this moment.  Peace.

I think in the past I have experienced this peace when all was well. When the kids were doing well, when the bills were paid, when I felt I was able to offer my best at work, when I could make life be what I wanted.  I now realize that this was not peace, but temporary ease when control was at work.

Now, this peace I have feels less fleeting. It requires no struggle or fight, I don’t have to lay down a weapon in order to I feel it.  The fear of failure or of what the world thinks of me is gone. Vanished. I tell people now, “There is not much that will rock my boat”. 

My painful and most feared situation has occurred. I am forever free of the bondage of fear. I love that my pain has taught me that there is always a solution to life’s daily problems.  I love that I can listen to the worries of my friends and share it will be ok and BELIEVE it, no hesitation.  I love that my thoughts have no relationship with fear. I’m still standing, even more firmly, still loving, only with more transparency, still growing even if it’s a lesson I didn’t choose.  This is God’s beautiful gift of peace, fresh out of the ashes of fear. Miraculous peace.

Our losses, our pain, our struggles in life, no matter what they are, have created an opportunity for us to face fear.  If you are still standing, you did it.  Remember a moment where you have overcome and listen and heed God’s lesson, fear has no place to live in you.

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Men, Tears and Moms

This week I had been wondering what it was that God would have me share that would encourage and lift the spirits of anyone who is not confident in their worth.  One evening, I hauled my overweight computer bag and left over coffee cups from my car.  They landed with a thump on the table as I entered my home.  I spied the couch and grabbed my favorite purple blanket, wiggled my head into the pillow and let each muscle in my body begin to relax.  I love this blanket because I had given it to my mom just a year before she passed away.  I had bought it because it was just right, it wasn’t too hot, yet when you laid it on your lap it carries just the right amount of weight to calm and warm you. “You can do anything”, the words of my mom settled in with me.

So cozy. The sky darkened a bit……more cozy.  A basketball game on TV in the background was the perfect sound to inspire me or put me to sleep.  This, however, was a different game; there was a buzz between commentators about Kevin Durant’s MVP speech.  I watched.  There he stood, dressed in a suit, all 6’ 1l”, tears dripping from his eyes while he spoke of the “good” each player brought to his life.  He found something in every man there. Men crying, it gets me every time.  I was right there sniffing, dripping at his words. His words, his life, but the kindness, encouragement, the humility, the acceptance, and the honesty with which he spoke belong to us all.  

His words were simple not practiced, he thanked a teammate for his smile, another for a note he had written, another for making him better, another for being a friend…. But it was this that really got me-take 15 seconds to watch you will be glad you did.

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Notice the good, share it, and help someone to believe! Take a short period of time today to make a lasting difference in someone’s life.

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Inked

Last night the Bnote family (many of them) spent their evening doing something audacious (at least for some of us), we got a tattoo!  While permanently writing on our feet, Derek, the artist, likened the act of getting a tattoo to a right of passage and as a way of telling a story.  Each of us took our “seat” at the table one at a time while he drew on our feet with such care.  Gathered in the room together we spoke of Beau and others who struggle, sharing even our own personal stories.  If anyone had been nervous they were no longer.  We were there, healing together.  In a place we would have never planned to meet years ago, yet a place where we needed to be on this journey of life. 

This winter at a conference I had shared my story with a man from Canada.  There was a moment where I had finally arrived at being ready to speak my story, to let it out down to the details that I had been allowing to slice away at my heart.  Afterwards I breathed a sigh, letting out the stale drippy air and bringing in the fresh, comforted that I made it through the share.  He then said to me, in Canada we look at the mountains, the trees, the skyline, and we say C’est beau!  It means, it is beautiful or all is well, you can be reminded of Beau in anything.  How cool was that.  God had placed me here listening to French, healing with someone I just met.

So, C’est beau it is.  It is beautiful.  Beau loved to walk with bare feet, so the words lie on our feet.  He would walk fearlessly (or so it appeared) and we will do the same.  It reminds us to walk next to others in great suffering rather than around them, to suspend judgment and offer in it’s place a touch of healing. Beau will now walk with us for our lives here on earth until we receive that bear hug in heaven.

Healing comes in the most unlikely places. 

C’est beau!

{Derek Youngberg comes with our highest recommendation. You can contact him at Upright Industrires at 800-901-7080 }

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