Wednesday, April 22, 2009

The question

I started reading a new book this morning, The Dance, by Oriah Mountain Dreamer. I read another of her books a few years ago, The Invitation. I loved that book and it's one that I go back to often. After just a few pages this morning of the new book, I have to stop and let the poignancy of these few words settle in me. She begins chapter one by asking the question,

"I want to know why I am so infrequently the person I really want to be?"

A fair question, I think. One that I often ask of myself. I ask myself the questions of why I find it difficult to be more patient, more compassionate, more aware, more loving with myself and others, more generous. I think all of these qualities are worthy of improving upon. I write about it, I pray, or look for ways to remind myself how to practice these things that I want to grow in me.

In a dream, she hears this:

"Wrong question, Oriah. The question is not why you are so infrequently the person you really want to be. The question is why do you so infrequently want to be there person you
really are?"

This resonates with me as the truer question. I've got to ponder on this awhile.

Saturday, April 11, 2009


I can’t believe it’s been so long since I’ve done any writing. This last month…well, it’s been interesting. And all that life brings from day to day takes away from my creativity. I don’t especially feel creative today, but I’m drawn to write about Easter. Easter is becoming my favorite holiday; perhaps even more than Christmas! Much of my life I’ve experienced Easter as a very celebratory, exuberant day. I suppose the church tradition I’ve grown up in creates this. Church was always an extra special event, especially the Easter Pageant…for all of you Baptist folks. And yes, I have played (and sung )the role of the mourning mother of Jesus. Over the last several years, I have felt a mellowing for this holiday. There is nothing wrong with the rejoicing; I believe there is much to celebrate. Easter, and the weeks of Lent leading up to it, though have become more of a time of reflection for me. A time to reflect on my own faults, wrongs…the things in me that I would have die. A time to reflect on the things in life I am slave to, as Jewish followers do as they remember the Exodus. And it’s a time for gratitude for the many, many things God has done and is doing in my life.

I’m especially mindful this year of those parts of my life that need new life. Last year, some of you will remember, I took a 4 day silent retreat. While I was there I walked the Stations of the Cross. There is a Station near the end that marks the burial of Jesus. I took some of my writings from that week and burned them; burying the ashes as this station. It was an act for me of saying there are things I wish to surrender to God. Asking for God to bury them just as Jesus’s close friends buried him. It was also asking God to resurrect something new in me. A miracle. Something only God could do. I’m asking the same thing this Easter.

I host a Passover Seder with the teenagers at my church each year. It’s such a great time of sharing and remembering. It’s one of my favorite things I do with them. A part of the Seder is the remembering how the Hebrews were slaves in Egypt . On the night of the 10th plague, the Angel of Death passed over their doors at midnight killing all the 1st born of those who had not placed the blood of a lamb of their door. In retelling this story, they remember that for the 1st half of the night they were slaves, and the 2nd half of the night they were free.

Tonight at midnight I will take my turn in our faith community’s Easter Prayer vigil. I didn’t specifically pick this time, it was one of the few times left open. I grateful, though. As the hour passes form Lent to Easter, I will be praying. Praying for the courage to surrender. Praying for miracles. Praying for new life and offering many, many thanks.