Wednesday, July 25, 2012

House of God, Forever

Normally I avoid Psalm 23 – it’s overused, the cliché, God is with me so everything’s peachy psalm. I’m much more a Psalm 22 girl – you know “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” and all that. (Though really you can’t have one without the other.)

But Psalm 23 has been speaking to me more recently. Especially the way Jon Foreman wrote it in his song “House of God, Forever
God is my shepherd
I won’t be wanting
I won’t be wanting
He makes me rest
In fields of green
With quiet streams

Even though I walk
Through the valley
Of death and dying
I will not fear
‘Cause you are with me
You’re always with me.

The shepherd staff
Comforts me
You are my feast
In the presence of enemy
Surely goodness
Will follow me
Follow me
In the house of God, forever.

“Even though I walk through the valley of death and dying” feels so real now, it makes the rest of the psalm feel real too.

Saturday, July 7, 2012


Some days I feel like doing something really stupid. Really destructive. Something that will dull the anguish my soul feels.

I mean, really, if I’m going to do something stupid, isn’t this the time to do it? Isn’t this kind of grief the kind where people get really drunk, or really high, or hurt themselves? Isn’t this the time people try to anesthetize the pain with stuff like that?

But I haven’t done any of those things. Even though sometimes I’ve really, really wanted to.

What’s kept me from being destructive? What’s kept me from turning to what most people turn to in times like this? Trust me, its not inherent goodness (because I’m not inherently good), or a desire to be perfect (because I don’t to be perfect, its too hard to be). And if you told me it was the grace of Jesus I would probably laugh in your face (my heart hears that more like a pep talk than truth, even though my head knows its part of the answer).

But today the reason I don’t do something destructive is Josh Garrel’s new remix of his song "Processional". Maybe tomorrow it will be the flowers I bought myself at the Farmers Market today. Maybe Monday it will be the sunlight coming in through the big window in my kitchen.

I don’t do something destructive because of one thing: beauty. I don’t want my destruction to cancel out the beauty I see or hear or taste or touch. I want beauty to reign, not the fake beauty we’ve been sold for so long, but true, creative beauty. And though my destructive desires might not be directly aimed at Josh Garrels, or my flowers, or the sun, acts of destruction do something to the fabric of the world, and hurt the beautiful things.

So no destruction for me. No matter how much my inner demons are calling out for something ugly, something stupid. I need to keep going back to beauty, reminding myself what my destruction would really destroy.

Monday, July 2, 2012


Today I was reading the blog of Phileena Heuertz, and her entry titled “What do you most need right now?” struck me.

The question stuck in my head. What do I most need right now? What, out of everything I could name, do I need most?

The first answer that popped in my head: rest.

I mulled on that for awhile. Was that my answer just because I had a long weekend? A long month? Was it because I was in the middle of my work day, and I was running low on steam (yes, I was reading her blog during work, but luckily its relevant*)? Are there other things that will come to me more slowly that I actually need more?

But no, I’m sticking with my first answer. The thing I need most is rest. Above all the other things I want (my mom to get better, my dad to not be in pain), the thing I need most, and the thing that is the most practical, is rest.

I don’t really know how to rest right now. I tried to rest tonight, but instead I finished Catching Fire for the second time (way too intense to be restful) and painted my nails while watching “Mean Girls” (yah, it also wasn’t restful). I’ve rested recently, when I was in beautiful places like Yosemite, or a hermitage in Big Sur. But that rest was fleeting, and followed by such stress (like my mom going into the ER) that it feels canceled out. 

So how do I rest? How do I rest when I’m always on edge, knowing that things could go south for my mom at any moment? How do I rest when I can’t unplug completely, in case something goes wrong? How do I rest when all I want to do is spend time with my mom?

I really am asking. If you have any ideas, please send them my way.

*Phileena Heuertz, co-director of Word Made Flesh and author of Pilgrimage of a Soul is one of my favorite authors. When I read her book it was a mirror and a comfort to my soul. And she’s going to be the speaker at the InterVarsity Urban Project Consultation this fall, which I’m planning, so I’m going to get to meet her! And that’s how it connects to work, and I why I get to read her blog at my job ;)