The English word “friend” covers a much wider range of acquaintance levels than German Freund. In English, the distinction between “friend” and “acquaintance” is often blurred. Sometimes the words are used interchangeably.
The term Freund in German implies a long, deep friendship, not a casual acquaintance. German-speakers make a clear distinction between Freund (friend) and Bekannter (acquaintance). The words are never used interchangeably.
To know me is to understand that I have assimilated enough to the US culture that I do use the English term friend the way that it is customary here. The difference is in looking someone into the eyes and calling them friend.
Is this what I am to do?
To give back the gift
You gave me?
Is it time?
From here on out
Just You and I?
I want to let go
But my tears betray me
Often during the past 2 1/2 years (has it been that long? Has it been that short? It feels both…) I have wondered if I will ever be able to allow anybody to break down those emotional walls that I had put up. Wondered if I will ever be able to allow myself to dismantle those walls. And even though it often seems they are still there, I know they are not the same walls. Those thick, cold brick barriers have been replaced with something much thinner, permeable…warmer…feeling…
I feel so ill prepared to deal with these feelings/emotions. I feel so incredibly helpless as I try to feel, sit with, live with, learn from…but on the other hand try not to allow those feelings to own me. Where does one end and the other begin? How can I feel and yet not let it overwhelm me? Some days, like today, it feels like being tossed into a hurricane and I am trying hard to find the center somehow..the eye of the storm..that place where I can stand safely even if all around me the wind is spiraling. That place where I am aware of what is going on but I am safe where I am.
I do not feel emotionally safe. I am perplexed and confused by the immense amount of tears, the homesickness, and the loneliness that seemed to be so easy to deal with as a part of my life because it always was and somehow belonged….I had made that ‘loneliness’ mine..me..but it no longer feels like that. I can’t make sense of that homesickness that silently screams inside of me but knows that, even though now there is a place I miss, it’s still not really home..no place ever is. I was able to live with the “this world is not my home” feeling…but I don’t know how to deal with the feeling that wants to be where my partner is, where my church is, where my pets are, where my people are….
I have people?
There are moments where I want that wall back to keep the hurt at bay but the moment that thought crosses my mind, my prayers say otherwise. Prayers of thanks for bringing me to this place in my life…no matter how hard. Prayers of thanks for all that God has been and is doing in my life. Prayers of hope for a life that is full of feelings and emotions of all kind..Prayers to feel…because He felt…and feels. And because I know that I won’t be of any use to the Lord unless I can feel too…
Still. The last 44 years have left me very ill prepared for this rollercoaster ride.
But I keep holding on…even if I don’t know how.
Most of the time it feels as if HE is holding on to me more than I hold on to him.
“To you I give the gifts
Your love has given me
How can I hoard the treasure
that you’ve designed for free?”
“Don’t keep it inside”
And so I did
Just to find that
With speaking up
All that seems to be left
What happens if
For one reason or another
Can no longer
And the irrigation system
Is not yet complete?
O Living Water
Help me thirst not for things
Of this world
But only for You
What is it about that smell
that keeps following me
today like many days.
That smell of incense
that fills my nostril
with every breath I take…
What is it about?
What are You trying to tell me?
Thought to ponder: As a spiritual discipline, confession is, to me, incredibly important. It is my ritual of ‘asking to be made clean’. But I do wonder where that came from, why I need that, and why it is so powerful. It isn’t that I mind, but that I think there is a danger of idolatry in it…who do I worship? God…who has forgiven me, redeemed me, loves me….or the feeling of being forgiven, redeemed, and loved? Maybe a little of both? *
*what if one causes the other or helps the other to be? Maybe they are connected? Maybe the love of the feeling comes before the love off? Maybe one feeds the other? Maybe loving God causes the want to be cleansed by Him? Maybe feeling cleansed opens us up to His love?
Sometimes the silence
On the other end of the writings
I was asked to
Why do you ask me
How I am
When you don’t really want me
To share the true answer?
If you know that
My answer is outside
Don’t you know that it hurts to
Hold it in
To lie by
If you want the truth
The real answer
You will need to be clear
I am anything but.
It’s time to learn how to
Fly without wings
Ride without training wheels
Climb without a safety net
O Lord may you be
My wings, my wheels, my net
This is the first time
that You have put a challenge before me
that I might need to walk away from
even if I don’t want to
Crumbs of grace O Lord…please…
Crumbs of grace on the floor
because right now
I can’t even see the table.
Do you even care? Think?
Truly sit with?
Loving with His love?
A love that forgives…and starts anew each day
And wipes away the past
Gives second chances…
Seventy times seven…
Who do you see
When you look at me?
There is every reason
…Sometimes I feel as if I am waiting for a message that tells me that this was only a test and that my life will now be returned to the original programming (in progress or not?)
“For I have opened my mouth to The Lord, and I cannot take back my vow” (Judges 11:35c) ***
I remember the day that my pastor and I drove to see the Committee on Church and Ministry. I was nervous. In my pocket I had a copy of an email that I had written to her. In that email I was wrestling with the mystery of God’s call to Ministry and how to tell the COM. One of the things that I had written was that I was going for broke, that I was putting my entire life into God’s hand. I struggled with feeling so “new” to the faith and so ill prepared and yet deep down convinced that this is what The Lord is calling me to do. I still am convinced. I knew there was no other way to answer to that fire in my heart but to quit my job and enter Seminary and see where The Lord leads me.
I read that email to the committee.
Going for broke…not only money wise but in many ways. Going broke meant to be separated from all my supports, from my family, from my friends, from all those sources that had helped me make it through the last two years because I knew that I would need to be in PA much of the time for Seminary. Going for broke because I would need to let go of all the safeties and securities that I had. Going for broke because I was leaving behind life as I knew it. And going for broke because it meant to give up my job as child abuse investigator and instead step into being a full time student with no income at all.
I went all in for The Lord. I went for broke.
I am reminded of these words right now as I sit here. I feel as if my words are being tested…but I am not taking them back. My partner lost her job. We are entirely without income. I don’t know what will happened, do not know how we will make ends meet over the next months. I am more employable than she is and yet…I can’t. The fall semester starts in August and I will once again be in PA. I will go back to Seminary. I have to. My faith in The Lord has to be stronger than the fear. Some people may think it crazy, wonder how I could do this. How could I put my walk with The Lord ahead of all else. But I say now the same as I did then: I am willing to go for broke for The Lord. I will face any test. I am willing to follow Him wherever He leads me. I am willing to walk toward that uncertain future. I am willing to walk the walk that I talked about…in The Lord…with The Lord. I will walk this road until that still, small voice tells me otherwise. Because I love Him more than I can put into words.
O Lord, I pray for faith that is stronger than fears, roots deep enough to withstand any storm, hands that will cling to nothing but You, eyes that always see the blessings in the difficulties of life, and a heart that remains on fire with love for You.
* **In the account of Jephthah’s vow, an unnecessary vow with tragic consequences was made. In no way do I want to take back my vow. I fully stand behind it, meant it, and still mean it. Nevertheless, it is a good reminder that any vow should be entered in carefully…vows are not empty words but binding covenants.
Letting go, O Lord
of the voice of the past
the one that calls me
fat and ugly
worthless and stupid
Letting go, O Lord
of that voice that
Letting go, O Lord
of the person
You never created
me to be
Not because I
do not love her
but because I
need to love me
to move on
Letting go, O Lord
of the voice of the past
and giving it to You
Psalm 51, The Message (Edited)
Generous in love—God, give grace!
Huge in mercy—wipe out my bad record.
Scrub away my guilt,
soak out my sins in your laundry.
I know how bad I’ve been;
my sins are staring me down.
You’re the One I’ve violated, and you’ve seen
it all, seen the full extent of my evil.
You have all the facts before you;
whatever you decide about me is fair.
What you’re after is truth from the inside out.
Enter me, then; conceive a new, true life.
Soak me in your laundry and I’ll come out clean,
scrub me and I’ll have a snow-white life.
Tune me in to foot-tapping songs,
set these once-broken bones to dancing.
Don’t look too close for blemishes,
give me a clean bill of health.
God, make a fresh start in me,
shape a Genesis week from the chaos of my life.
Don’t throw me out with the trash,
or fail to breathe holiness in me.
Bring me back from gray exile,
put a fresh wind in my sails!
Commute my death sentence, God, my salvation God,
and I’ll sing anthems to your life-giving ways.
Unbutton my lips, dear God;
I’ll let loose with your praise.
After 20 years back to just visit
After 14 years back at all
seeing him after all these years
my father – so familiar
and yet..almost a stranger
No longer looking like the father I knew
and yet everything about him so well known
what did he feel as he saw me?
was he as nervous as I was?
what does he think and feel when he looks at me?
does he understand how strange it feels to see him
and not with my mother?
to be here without my mother?
to be here at all and
to feel torn between the woman and child
i look at the pictures in the hallway
they all look like pictures from another life
will we be able to find a way to be
he and I – simply each other?