Am I becoming a curmudgeon?
It seems to be a path followed by countless people of my age throughout time. Somewhere around the mid-fifties, we begin to lose reference points with dominant culture. We don’t get the jokes, the music begins to irritate rather than inspire. People’s behavior begin to appear...Read More »
Drummers have a series of practices called “rudiments”: the technical building blocks that comprise what the listener recognizes as a musical rhythm.
Some days, some circumstances bring out my true motives in stark contrast to the motives I wish drove me, the motives that should inspire me, motives that are holy, courageous, altruistic and beautiful.
Some days so clearly reveal my desire for approval and acceptance that it stands out against the backdrop...Read More »
Even as I type, I see my dad’s hands.
I like it. They are good hands.
They have seen work.
The scars have been earned.
They are hands that a boy who is worried about his masculinity can reflect on and feel a little less concerned. They don’t hide from future callouses inside gloves.
They...Read More »
It’s been so long. I have begun to feel the effects of not creating anything (music, story, even crafts or projects). A recent hike revealed the tightness that has overtaken my internal world; a knot that has gotten wet, seized tight and won’t easily let go. But I am determined...Read More »
Simple, little things can make such a difference. I have been struggling of late to feel connected to God. I have felt like straight-up, old school discipline (which has been in short supply itself!) has been the only thing holding my relationship with God together. But when things begin to feel...Read More »
Adams moves his narrative along to The Venerable Bede. Bede, a Northumbrian monk, is credited by all historians I know of, with recording the best and earliest history of the English people and their church. Nearly everything we know of saints like Aidan, Cuthbert, Hild, and others is owed to...Read More »
I would have to confess that these journey metaphors grow tiresome if they didn’t fit so damn nicely.
It’s hard to get your bearings, to understand your relative position on “the way” with only your own point of view. It’s not that you would necessarily be WRONG about it – but...Read More »
The Way is long and winding. It stretches out before us into the unseen. There is continuity and contentedness, but the one who is on the Way cannot perceive it. It is the nature of being on a Way.
The second chapter of Adam’s book is titled “On Firm...Read More »
This trip is comprised of many layers and so to find one cohesive way of interpreting, recording or analyzing it seemed (and still does seem) unlikely. There was the layer of family adventure, the layer of pilgrimage along a historic path, pilgrimage along a spiritual path and along a genealogical path....Read More »
Our backpacks are prepped.
Our feet and legs have been “toughened” as much as we can.
Tomorrow we depart for England, and on the the 5th (St. Oswald’s Day), we will begin walking St. Oswald’s Way.
The 5 of us (Wife, Daughters and Son-in-law) will cover a little over 50 miles...Read More »
“Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not...Read More »
It’s been two weeks since I received it, and I have not given this assignment the bandwidth it probably deserves.
I was listening to my Anam Cara (or Spiritual Director, hereafter referred to as SD) hold-forth about an oft-discussed topic in Evangelical circles which is Grace vs. Law. In the context...Read More »
Yup. It’s fear.
Fear of suffering.
In a wet and rainy land, the water is the cause of suffering. In the desert, it’s the sun. The vehicle may change, but the payload is always the same: suffering.
Physical, psychic or emotional pain. A lack. An unmet desire or dream. Un-fulfillment. Loneliness or busyness, boredom...Read More »
You might imagine that some days were particularly troublesome for the boy. Sometimes, on very rainy days when it seemed that the water was getting in everywhere and that nothing would ever be dry again, the boy wondered at the very arrangement of his life.
He thought, “Surely, there must be someone better...Read More »
I’ve heard creative types say over the years that sometimes you just have to engage in the creative process as a simple discipline, even at the times when you feel no inspiration; there is no melody driving you, no image burning in your mind, no narrative bursting to...Read More »
I had a blast this week because NC Companion Rod Cosgrove traveled the 300 miles to “my side” of the Cascade mountains from his home in Spokane, WA to stay with us. He was on an annual study break from his post as senior pastor of a church, and we...Read More »
Matthew 25:31–33: “But when the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then he will sit on the throne of his glory. Before him all the nations will be gathered, and he will separate them one from another, as...Read More »
Amongst the the obvious things that make this date so significant for almost everyone lies a personal significance for me: It would be my father’s 79th birthday.
He has been on my mind a lot lately in at least two ways. First in the way you might expect. I simply recall and miss...Read More »
“…if the church is supposed to be the vanguard of real solutions — the solutions that only The Child can offer — why isn’t it more effective in solving world problems?”
Thanks, Matthew for always asking questions that press people deeper into their own values. It’s a an...Read More »
Our Northumbria Community Group gathered last night to observe Advent. Compared to Advent events historically speaking – this was pretty informal. We shared a meal as usual and then took some time to (as slowly as we were able!) pray through a brief liturgy cobbled together from the Celtic Daily...Read More »
Walk into any American convenience store, select a pack of chewing gum, step up to the register and offer the clerk Mexican pesos to pay for it and you will mostly understand what I mean when I describe different “spiritual” economies.
Never mind the fact that most convenience store clerks in...Read More »
Paul told the church in Corinth that they should follow him as he follows Christ. (1 Corinthians 11:1) This is an explicit command to engage in mimicry: copying someone or something else, (here’s the key word) pretending to be something you are not…right?
Over the course of my life I have pretended...Read More »
“How much we do or do not know is unimportant but only that we keep the faith, and obey God.” – St. Anthony of Egypt
This is a dangerous idea.
I mean, REALLY dangerous. Like a tight-rope-walk-between-the-World-Trade-Centers dangerous.
Because like a tight rope walk, this idea is very narrow,...Read More »
While away last week at Orcas Island on a retreat with other church leaders, we were given a contemplative exercise based on the teaching of Mama Maggie, founder of Stephen’s Children in Cairo Egypt.
The exercise goes like this:
“Silence your body and listen to your words.
Silence your words and...Read More »
“I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!”
I took time off for a “Quarterly Get-Away with God” but instead of hitting the trail somewhere I stayed home and purposed to finish my Poustinia.
Cutting to the chase – I met my self-imposed goal of completing the exterior....Read More »
First things first…watch THIS
Every time I catch a glimpse of the mountains, either the Cascades or the Olympics or the most rare “Two-Mountain-Days” (when both Baker and Rainier are visible) I feel Ballagàrraidh.
I read a highly suspect comment under this video. Someone named “Harold” who, as a 16 year old,...Read More »
“They feast on the abundance of your house; you give them drink from your river of delights.” Psalm 36:8
When you boil it all down – I simply have a hard time trusting this. There’s too much suffering, too much injustice, hell, there’s too much boredom to make...Read More »
Artwork by Mary Fleeson
Gospel living produces a number of unique effects in and around a person’s life. Some of them create pleasurable experiences, others unpleasant. The clear teaching of Jesus on this could be summarized this way:
“Don’t judge the validity of your Gospel activity based on whether...Read More »
Since making an effort to eat better over the last 18 months, trips to the grocery store tend to leave me…perplexed; maybe even a little anxious. Putting all programs, book titles and elaborate philosophies aside, I’m trying to eat actual food these days. I can’t remember who to credit with...Read More »
It all seems to come back to this.
Maybe it’s just me. Especially after re-reading my last post, I see that most of my thoughts and experiences these days are drawing me back to this topic and it makes me wonder if there is something “wrong” with me…am I obsessed with...Read More »
- An open window AND the furnace is on.
- Spiders begin invading the house.
- Migrating geese trumpet their passing.
- Thoughts turn to “keeping seeds”.
- Stellar Jays’ and Crows’ nagging sounds anxious.
- Morning prayers are offered in the dark.
- Time to harvest the goatee and begin growing a full winter coat…
The longer I live the more I...Read More »
On a regular basis, my Spiritual Director asks me to research a word. Words matter to all of us – but they matter “differently” to different people. For some they are “just” words. For others (like me) they carry very real creative force. My SD knows this, and so leverages...Read More »
It’s been a while…again.
To be perfectly frank, this post serves only two simple purposes:
1. Get some photos I want to share on the web easily.
2. Get me in the groove of blogging more regularly.
Its hard to take time to write anything this time of year. Every moment not spent...Read More »
As I said in the last post, “Atlas Shrugged” served as a sort of literary backdrop for what turns out to be my exploration of anger.
Ayn Rand seems mad.
I sometimes get mad AT her while reading her ideas.
I sometimes get mad WITH her as she describes what makes her mad.
I get...Read More »
“Coming together at one central point.”
I’ve been anticipating some sort of confluence in my life for some time now. I think I first read the signs that a confluence was somewhere in the distance last Spring when, as I stared at the calendar that described my life through the early...Read More »
“…This night is the long night, when those who listen await His cry.”
Don’t get me wrong. I love Christmas. But Christmas Day itself is, in many ways, anti-climactic for me:
– Modern scholarship reveals that Jesus was likely born in the Spring. So while I have no...Read More »
The Team planting Mango seedlings
First, my apologies for delaying my final entry from the Africa adventure – but the truth is – not only was I distracted by all things “return”, but I was pretty sick for several days, then the MPHS shootings took place and a...Read More »
It was a bit surreal, looking at our team milling around the garden with the chickens, stirring up the red dust and wandering in and out of the composting toilets…each of us dressed in our Sunday best.
In Malawi, you dress up for church…even church under a tin...Read More »
We were exhausted after the first clinic day, but spirits were high as we sat around the dinner table last night. The EMP building it is equipped with solar panels and a battery storage system which means it’s the only building around for miles with electric light, and we sat...Read More »
The view from my terrifying little corner of the clinic…
Another hour of driving over very rough dirt roads takes us deeper in the the “Warm Heart of Africa”. As I look at the short caravan in front of us (a car carrying the clinical officers and a flat bed...Read More »
It’s going to be very hard to express the experience of being in Gusu Village. We turned off the main road an hour outside of Lilongwe, and followed a rutted dirt road for another 45 minutes. We passed hundreds of brick and thatch roof huts, dozens of...Read More »
Fascinating day of contrasts…
Our Malawian E3 host, Sam Kawale, also happens to be a brand new Member of the Malawian National Assembly: Parliament. He is the rough equivalent of a U.S. Junior Senator.
As such, Sam was in a position to provide a tour of the new Parliament...Read More »
We started to wade into to it today.
The medicine sort began. It was frenetic and fun, and a little sad to paw through piles of outdated, second hand supplies getting it ready for people who really need, have little access to it. Simple stuff like sterile bandages, malaria medication and...Read More »
Perhaps a bulleted summary of our travel is the best way to share the events of the last 36 hours or so…
– Seattle to San Francisco without a hitch. I said Evening Office in a secluded spot on the concourse, watching the sun set. Sweet.
– We had a relatively...Read More »
There is an “interfaith” chapel here in the airport concourse. It advertises Catholic, Protestant, Jewish and Islamic services. I stepped in on this Sunday morning at about 8:00 am. Except...Read More »
I have watched several You Tube videos of Lilongnwe and surrounding areas – just to get a sense of where we’re headed. With every single...Read More »
I had intended to retrace my 2003 trip in the summer of 2013, but I had knee trouble which prevented it. Looking back now, it just wasn’t “the time” to do it. So this trip is a numerically lop-sided, 11th anniversary pilgrimage of a “first-of-it’s-kind” trip I took...Read More »
Monday September 1, 2014 – Mary Falls, Elwah River
A teeny bit of rain last night. The tent fly is still wet from condensation, though beautiful morning weather.
Morning Office was “one of those times” : Deep and Wide. It struck at my center. It was an isolated, rarefied...Read More »
Tuesday September 2, 2014 – Hayes River Camp, Elwah River
While having coffee and wondering why I am so anxiously obsessing about rain or not-rain, I fantasized about the human scale experience of change. I say to myself aloud, “it WILL rain!” (‘cause it WILL) in...Read More »
Wednesday September 3, 2014 – Chicago Camp, Elwah River
Happy Birthday, Rick.
Woke up to clear, perfectly clear skies. As the sun came up, it drove mist from the trees still dripping from yesterday’s soaking. I’m so happy that I got what I wanted. I have such feelings of...Read More »
Thursday September 4, 2014 – 12 Mile Camp, Quinalt River
Author’s Note: The reader should be aware that the look of happiness and anticipation on the above subject’s face was misguided and did not last. I had decided to celebrate my last night out with a camp fire and desert: Back...Read More »
Friday September 5, 2014 – North Fork Ranger Station, Quinalt River
The trip wasn’t quite over when I walked into the trail-head parking lot. I had several hours to kill before Brenda was scheduled to arrive and take me home. I took a quick dip...Read More »
What is it with me and death? I mean, I get this much: It’s not like I’m a doctor, a fireman or a coroner. I’ve never been in the military, never mind combat…
…but today, death feels like a regular visitor. Like a distant relative who drops in every other year...Read More »
I am not in the habit of using ear buds.
Yes, I know they are everywhere. I am often amazed at the number of people I see with that iconic white “necktie” hanging in front of their torsos, little plastic speakers jammed in their ears…they’re everywhere; all ages; all shapes, colors...Read More »
Well, I said I’d be done by tonight . . .Seven years of Sundays have come and gone.
I’m still largely unsure as to what it all means in the end; what this was really all about . . . a mid-life crisis of some kind, a period of transition certainly.
I...Read More »
On Monday December 27th, Alan and Sarah Berry met with 16 of us from Washington State who have an interest in the NC.
We had a great time sharing stories and chicken curry. (Thanks, Erin)
Sarah shared portions of the information which comprise a “Community Weekend” with us, Alan played guitar and...Read More »
I will forgo the categories I’ve used during this last week, and try to focus on summary thoughts.
As a theme, this surprised me, because it’s so broad. It narrows down to a few categories (see below) but still I’m surprised. Maybe because it seems like this big philosophical /...Read More »
BIG PICTURE: I have chosen a stone called “Focus” for the next to last week. It’s not exactly the name I would like, but it’s the best I can do to capture what’s happening. As best as I can tell there are two things at work.
First is an inexplicable...Read More »
Had a week of vacation with family and friends. Did the Southern California thing (Disneyland, Huntington Beach, etc.) It was a lot of fun. I didn’t get a chance to write about my diner with Alick two Fridays ago. Apparently he was intrigued with my experiences so far with the...Read More »
BIG PICTURE: The reality is, I’ve allowed this sabbatical to degrade over the last week. I am not ashamed or particularly “broken” over it. I am disappointed. It feels like failure. I’m not working out at all. Even morning office has been eroded (something that was strong when I...Read More »
BIG PICTURE: Even in the midst of very cool stuff (like Kellie’s graduation) there is a flatness. The weather may contribute…but that’s not all of it. I am at my core unsettled – dissatisfied or perhaps just restless. The big difference is that it’s not toxic, I don’t see it...Read More »
READ/RITE/REFLECT; THE SILENCE OF THE HEART: “Faith is the perception of goodness in what appears to be evil.” Yikes. Alick said he struggled THROUGH the bull-shit doctrine and still came away “instructed”. I can respect that. But I am SO caught up in the BULL-SHIT DOCTRINE! Oh my Gosh!
“Faith is...Read More »
Wrote this today after a walk on the beach to find a stone for last week:
The trees reach up too high today,
they tear at the hem of a cloud
A bridal train in tatters,
ribbons of a heavenly shroud.
The waves reach not so high today
as to cover up the shore
They leave me...Read More »
BIG PICTURE: Met with Alick. When I read my journal entries about “The Silence of the Heart” where I described how pissed-off the book made me, he laughed really loud and slapped his knee. “That’s what it did for me too!” I read him all my journal entries regarding...Read More »
BIG PICTURE: Circumstances plus my continued flatness conspired to prevent me from journaling the last two days. So, no studies today, no READ/RITE/REFLECT, but I will offer a journal entry. I’m not worried about the flatness. Some of it is simple attention span. Some of it is simply due...Read More »
BIG PICTURE: Meh. That describes the weather and my feelings.
CLASS WORK: Meh.
READ/RITE/REFLECT; MBE: Meh. The author continues to beat the familiar church-leadership- motivational-drum: “This was so hard, but have FAITH! Count the cost, persevere! Here’s a perfectly compact and well orbed illustration:
“You will experience hardship, people will say you can’t...Read More »
CLASS WORK: I’m tired of looking for new ways to describe dry, so I won’t. The Life of Christ course is good. Challenging. I feel like I gained some insight while reading about the political/social context of 1st century Palestine. The different cultures of Galilee vs. Judea, etc. I feel...Read More »
BIG PICTURE: That “intense burning” that I wrote about last Friday continues. Bob and I said Morning Office together yesterday at the farm and his energy and passion and impatience reflect and contribute to mine. We are walking the same path in so many ways. The focus for both...Read More »
It’s Sunday and so I’m not studying, but a couple of thoughts have coalesced that I thought I better get down in writing.
I have become insecure in the last few weeks, and I’m not sure why or exactly how to recover from it. I’m not surprised by it; it makes...Read More »
BIG PICTURE: Alick asked me to consider a ritual to draw this sabbatical to a close. I was content to wait for the ritual to “come to me” and it did on the Tuesday before I left for the hike. The Men’s Group invited Brenda and I to their...Read More »
BIG PICTURE: I’m left with the same feelings I had yesterday, but they are less intense. I’m truly surprised by how 10 days of this sabbatical has really thrown me for a loop. I’ve lost my bearings. Ironically my relationship with God feels as dry as a Barton Payne...Read More »
BIG PICTURE: I am not a true contemplative. I am not an academic. I am not a very good student and I certainly am not self-motivated. I am “prone to wander”, I seek distraction and I’m easily bored. So where the hell does this mystic side of me fit...Read More »
BIG PICTURE: This is still hard. I’m feeling so compelled by the potential of SOMETHING which currently exists as a pile of puzzle pieces. I listed 5 of them in a post to the Northumbria Bulletin Board just yesterday:
1 Contemplative (life style)
2 Celtic Christianity
3 Simple Living
4 Social Action
5 Intentional Community
A...Read More »
BIG PICTURE: I did not expect this kind of darkness at all, never mind in this first week. There I go expecting again, or NOT expecting something which creates an anti-expectation; nearly as bad if not worse than proper expectation. I’m just so saddened by last night. As long...Read More »
BIG PICTURE: The real world started to creep in a bit more today. I heard from no less than 6 different people…nothing outside the box, but it just pushes inward a bit. It required “resistance”. I’m actually really trying to keep a low profile. If it doesn’t get better, I...Read More »
This post marks the beginning of my Sabbatical-Proper, and the last chapter of this blog. I journaled almost daily as I studied for my ordination, and as I read through (3) books I was given by three significant people. The journal is broken into (3) sections: BIG PICTURE;...Read More »
The following is a brief journal I kept during a solo back-packing trip through the Quilomene Wildlife Refuge in Eastern Washington State from May 1, 2010 to May 7, 2010. I was dropped off northeast of Ellensburg by a good friend, and picked up in Vantage by family...Read More »
In the Beatitudes, Jesus says the “pure will see God”. I always thought that meant those who behaved well. While good behavior would be a result of purity, it is not purity itself. How could I miss this for so long? Purity is a forsaking of junk that does not...Read More »
Something is beginning to change. Something significant. A “big” move:
Comets passing by
Not just seasonal changes.
I’m different than I used to be. It has something to do with being older, yes, but it has more to do with having lost and still being left here. I was supposed to...Read More »
The Discovery channel has “Shark Week”. There is actually a “Cholesterol Awareness Month” and a “Child Passenger Safety Week”. I have new one: March is Death Month. My brother died in March 1998, my mother died in March 2005, something died in me in March 2008 and now my father...Read More »
I imagine that most adults, upon losing their parents, experience grief. I imagine that most are somehow confronted with thoughts of their own mortality too; it only makes sense.
Now, having experienced it myself, I can even comprehend less predictable results…like a certain sense of freedom (more on that later). But...Read More »
Today – in one of the those great, romantic God-moments I heard this:
“My people pleasing and approval seeking is strongly connected to childhood experiences of “absorbing” the emotional state of those around me. There was a LOT of conflict in my house and I can remember soaking it up and...Read More »
Once again..it’s been a while…
From last Spring until now has been largely positive. I believe, in part, due to the attitude I adopted above. I don’t mean this to be an arrogant statement, and I don’t mean to rob anyone else of credit. In fact, I’m a little embarrassed to...Read More »
Everyone needs it.
Your deepest fear feeds it.
That’s why it works so well.
It’s sweet like honey.
Can’t buy it with money.
Though some have tried it before.
How can you blame?
Who would feel shame,
for wanting that thing that brings life?
Ah, but that’s how he gets you,
that hunter he bets you
won’t learn to stop at...Read More »
I wrote this to Brenda but I can’t remember if I actually sent it to her or not. If I didn’t: Brenda, you need to know that the spirit behind this (even though it sounds quite melancholy) is really more peaceful resignation, like finally surrendering to sleep in...Read More »
Small practices support large principles.
Choices create ideals.
Long term change is built upon a series of moments.
Bridges of great span are held up by narrow pillars.
A life of following Jesus is constructed of moments.
After 8 days of fasting I find that I have a greater capacity for love. I am more...Read More »
It’s been a while. I’m un-sure why I have felt no compulsion or desire to write lately. There is an after-taste of apathy in my soul. There have been some real high times (my new job, vision, music, dreams of co-housing, etc) and some seemingly normal times with Brenda.
But recent...Read More »
These few bits serve as very lonely sign posts stretched out across the valley between a Pilgrim’s mind and his heart…
This journal is now truly the only place left to me.
I sneaked a look into her e-mail after telling her I would not. I can’t...Read More »
Well, if the increased level of enemy resistance is any indication that one is headed in the right direction…I am apparently navigating quite well as of yesterday.
Angry, insecure and peevish thoughts fill my mind like they have not for some time. A brand new “offense” from years ago occured to...Read More »
This entry must serve as a summary-marker for one-side of a very deep valley I was about to cross. My journal from this “season within a season” contains many words, the airing of which will edify no one (including even myself). But this entry marks the left- hand...Read More »
I imagined opening the sliding glass door and sitting on the rain soaked deck…letting the wind and rain chill me. Mourning. Crying out. Asking the universe to pity me. Pity. My favorite flavor of approval. Yes, approval comes in many flavors. Applause, encouragement, lust, envy, and even pity gives validation…it...Read More »
So a couple of weeks ago we had another low-grade argument, or if you want to be optimistic, “a vigorous discussion”. The up-shot was, “Dan…you need to just let things go. Just stop trying to make things happen, don’t take offense…etc. etc.” So I turned a corner. I forced myself...Read More »
I was asked to write answers to the following 4 questions by my Counselor/Spiritual Director.
How does my profession distract me from my Journey?
1) To succeed in the profession requires high levels of activity, whereas success in the journey requires stillness.
The higher activity level required for professional success...Read More »
– A jacked-up video game system I scrounged from some else’s burned-out house.
– A broken dishwasher that’s never worked right.
– A second hand car.
– A gift car.
– 10 year old, stained carpet.
– Begging 3,000 dollars to take my family to the cheapest fucking motel I can find near Disneyland while...Read More »
The four houses across the street squat in silent judgment. Their window-eyes focus on something beyond me, something over my head. I can never seem to catch their gaze. No matter how hard I try, how elaborate the dance or gleeful the song, they simply stare right past me. This...Read More »
It snowed over 6” yesterday. It looks exactly like every child’s dream of Christmas morning…it’s just 3 months too late.
Spring was swelling; filling with blood. The New Year was slowly becoming engorged with life. Throbbing again after a long winter of stillness.
As is always the case, there was pain behind...Read More »
I’m tired, and lonely. I want my wife back. I haven’t had her (except for a few brief moments here and there) since August…well it’s been since August that I became aware that I didn’t have her….the truth is I’ve never had her.
Am I man enough to live like that...Read More »
The 2006 Holiday season was hell. My life was broken to a degree I did not think survivable. I didn’t journal much at all simply because I couldn’t. However, it’s evident that the theme of self-examination and plumbing the depths of my need for approval continued, even through...Read More »
I’m beginning to feel like I’m strictly representative of something else for Brenda. The thought occurred to me that I may not fully exist as a “person” in her world. I may be emblematic of certain things, some good and some bad – but I’m unsure whether I exist in...Read More »
Maybe I’m a little less petulant today. But how am I really feeling? There was a little bit of lightness yesterday. Working on the art project was good. I woke up in the usual place I do this morning. Everything is so dark.
Can I let go of the rest of...Read More »
The word betrayal came up again in my meeting with Alick last night, and again this morning when I had breakfast with Darren. My wound is being poked at. Hit hard. I’m being bullied again.
Well, it’s been a little over a month now. Nothing has changed. I’m no longer a...Read More »
I saved a dragonfly today.
Walking, head down. Warm sun on the back of my neck, long autumn shadows spilling out in front of me.
Long autumn shadows spill over a fragile web, spun amidst the branches of a shrub.
Frantic motion caught my eye.
Quietly, deliberately, I changed course and approached, head cocked,...Read More »
I’m feeling so insecure these days. A few bright spots here and there, but all of them have been thoughts that are exclusive to Brenda – thoughts about music, getting the painting done, etc.
When I consider my wife these days – I’m afraid. I don’t think I have her heart.
Now...Read More »
My selfishness appears to boundless. It may not truly be, but looking back on the Fall of ’06, I cannot see the edges of it. The basic currency of my existence is what others think of me. Even in the midst of disaster. Apparently, I would still be concerned with...Read More »
The late Summer and early Fall of 2006 marked a turning point in these 7 Years of Sundays. I will let this (and perhaps a few other) summary entries span those months for a couple of reasons.
1. This part of the journey was defined by an un-folding drama I referred...Read More »
How can we be authentic if we don’t know who we are? My hand writing even changes; without knowledge, without exerting my will and certainly without my consent!
Is “who I am” summarized by what I’m feeling at any given moment? In the truest sense of the word “feelings” we do...Read More »
While editing these entries I realized that in the few years since writing them, this “create-your-own-reality” approach to life has been spreading further into pop-culture. One example would be the movie “Be Kind Re-wind” (which I highly recommend, by the way). What I cannot endorse, however, is the...Read More »
On Tuesday the Jones family is crowded into my office sitting in a semi-circle on chairs hastily borrowed from the auditorium. Nancy died last week. The matriarch. They are in various stages of emotional turmoil – the kind of thing one would expect. The kind of thing I’ve experienced before.
...Read More »
There’s a sense of….contentment? No. Peace…maybe. It’s not clean and pure. It’s tainted with the remains of idolatry….oooo! What I wrote in my long hand journal yesterday: At some point in time, every aspect of creation raises itself up, or is propped up by another aspect of creation in an...Read More »
Alick asked me to write about the idea of “otherness” that I said made me miss Brazil. The words I jotted down as we spoke were: “otherness” “flow” “celebrity”. These were things that stood out to me about the Brazil experience.
I felt drawn to sit on the landing outside the...Read More »
Passover. Listening?! I don’t listen well. I don’t really know how to listen. Even when I get away for one of my retreats – I do a lot of thinking – and a minimum of listening.
I’m going to try again. Just going to get on the couch and try not...Read More »
This from February 2004:
“I keep forcing the little boy in me to compromise who he is so as not to disappoint.
So many choices made based on what others will think. Then the little boy finds dysfunctional ways to express himself. He has tantrums, like “binge” eating, pornography...Read More »
More hand-written scraps from late Winter / Early Spring 2006
God – I’m going to have to be changed at a very deep level (big surprise) regarding motivation. I realized that I was thrilled when an item got checked off my prayer list, not because you did something cool...Read More »
These Entries from a hand-written journal I kept during a trip to New York City and the days surrounding the trip. The word Oysara is a reference to a C.S. Lewis novel called “Out of the Silent Planet” in which Lewis imagines that individual locations (even entire planets)...Read More »
…and AGAIN with the timing! While I recognize references to stillness, solitude and silence in earlier entries (Alick frequently brought-up these ideas in our meetings) this is the first entry that presents a fully rounded idea, connects it to a traditional practice (even though a MOVIE serves as...Read More »
Once again, reviewing these entries (that I haven’t read for literally YEARS) and seeing them now in their “historical” context gets a little spooky. This entry was made in the midst of feelings of loss, betrayal and pain. I could not have known that at almost this exact...Read More »
This from the book The Wisdom of the Enneagram (a book about personality types. I am a type 2 with a 3 wing for those of you keeping score): “journal about your people-pleasing.”
O.K. I’ve done some of this already…”mining” people for their approval etc.
But the questions in the book were...Read More »
So it seems like X’s treatment of me equate to a re-wounding, another betrayal….My first wounding was my Mom. I look back over my entry from March:
- Person A explodes all over me after receiving criticism. Threatens to leave the band, Project Va’ and the small...Read More »
So much life. I feel it straining against the seams of my….personality? What is it trying to escape from? What is chafing against all the life coming out? What is it that leaves little red impressions in my skin like a belt-too-tight, or an ill-fitting pair of pants?
Where life DOES...Read More »
Found this hand-written scrap from a 2 day solitude retreat in Sumas, Washington and thought it worth including:
I construct strange little compartments, deadlines, points of references, meridians, lines of longitude in myself. I divide myself into manageable pieces, segmenting my identity, my time, my love, all so that...Read More »
Just prior to, during and immediately after a short-term mission trip to Brazil in August 2005, I simply didn’t write. I began a home improvement project that Autumn: leveling out a place in our back yard and building a storage shed. Our yard is quite sloped, and so...Read More »
Stillness this morning. Sitting in a chair on the landing, hidden from human sight, but able to see. A truly lovely, July morning.
I become very aware of two things:
1. The birds.
2. Missed potential.
I notice that there are two kinds of sounds. Those made by creatures (mostly birds in this case)...Read More »
This entry concerns a conflict with a church member who was creating serious relational turmoil in many different places around the church and for whom (to some extent) I was responsible for.
After processing my motives (see the last entry) I engaged him and I got...Read More »
Paul’s words in 2 Corinthians 6 and 7 taunt me. I can’t seem to be free of this overwhelming urge to need people’s approval more than the truth. Time and time again, it’s expressed in my “two speed” life: either I’m fawning and drooling and compromising to maintain my status...Read More »
This is the hardest thing I’ve ever been through. I miss Mom so much. I’m so sad for Dad. I’m still flat. I only have one “real” feeling.
I’m so flat. I feel a minor degree of excitement at the prospect of change and progress at work…but it’s not much.
I’m here....Read More »
This was my daughters 13th birthday. We asked a dozen or so people to write down their thoughts and advice about life and how they see her. We then bound those brief letters into a book and gave it to her as a gift; her own personal “book...Read More »
This is the introduction to a song that my brother, Brian and I sang at our mother’s memorial service.
This song bears significance today for many reasons, not the least of which is that Mom asked us to sing it.
It’s significant because she sang it to me and...Read More »
My mother was a classic “ex-Catholic”. I often joked that she had begun regularly attending my church mostly because this was as close as she would EVER get to being able to say, “My son, the Priest!” But over time, it became clear that she was a very...Read More »
Oh my God…what a month February was. Mom’s kidney condition being and then a series of events…no a series of relational convulsions that still have me a reeling a little bit. Without much elaboration let me try to list these convulsions (perhaps not in order of occurrence…can’t remember that part...Read More »
Cedar Springs, Sumas Washington, January 11, 2005
What is it about being the first to tread on recently fallen snow? It’s an arbitrary honor. Serendipity for sure. It’s like winning a door prize: SOMEBODY is going to win it…it’s inevitable…but when it turns out to be YOU…you feel special. But that’s...Read More »
It’s like we’re little more than drifting along on still and cold waters. The kind of scene one imagines after the Titanic has gone to the bottom. It’s now mostly still, only muffled cries and groans can be heard from the dying all around us.
As we survivors in lifeboat 14...Read More »
I want to climb out of my skin! I’m realizing that I’m such a HUGE sinner! My heart is so corrupt. I think of myself and myself and myself and myself…I sit in judgment on others. I’m lazy. I’m not a very good husband or father. I’m a worse friend...Read More »
After struggling with this vocal cord thing for months, I’m finally surrendering and I’m going to remain completely silent for 10 days which was the doctor’s only helpful suggestion.
After much prayer about this issue, I felt God leading me to consider this a time of “fasting” from speech. Like fasting...Read More »
As powerfully as I have ever felt isolated, alone and misunderstood, imprisoned by my need to belong somehow – I feel just as powerfully free of all that in this moment. I feel an equal and opposite amount of FREEDOM right now.
I belong to no man. No program or philosophy...Read More »
I’m trapped behind my own eyes. This low level… anxiety, feeling of failure(?) of incompleteness (?), of something left un-done (?)…burns somewhere near the center of who I am. It’s stuck in there. It’s a persistent infection; a thin but immovable scum on the otherwise clean surface of who I...Read More »
Everything DOES belong. There is something about home. I was made for this place, and it was made for me.
I hear the distant sound of a jet flying over head and think of world travel again. God, I will go where you send me. But that obedience is propped-up by...Read More »
Sea-Tac Airport; 6:00AM. The awkward moments before “something” begins – prior to the beginning of the journey.
I can’t help but compare and contrast this trip to last summer’s wilderness adventure. Is this the trip to the trail head? Is this the trail head itself? When will the fear and anxiety...Read More »
Man – I do have a crappy memory. As I’ve said once before, my memory often seems to be the cause of my spiritual life slowing or stagnating! God help my memory, please. Help me hang on to the essence of the things you show me – like the desire...Read More »
Fort Worden State Park
She came striding along the road on what appeared to be her morning constitutional. Her attention split between the path she walked, and the beautiful scene of a summer morning on Puget Sound. She noticed me – sitting quiet and still, cross legged in the grass...Read More »
“Absolom, my son, my son!” It had never occurred to me that my olderst child could have been a boy. I mean, the thought that I never knew the gender had crossed my mind– but it never struck me in the context of “destiny” because I am the father of...Read More »
I still feel “edgy” like I’m on the verge of something – like I’m about to sin…no, more like I’m about to be made aware of a sin…maybe it’s more of a feeling that I’m about to discover something shameful…that a truth about myself, that I am un-aware...Read More »
May 21st, 2004; Arlington Washington
You can never prepare for an epiphany. If you were prepared for it – then it wasn’t an epiphany. It was a lesson, or perhaps some kind of self-generated romantic experience – but certainly not an epiphany.
The gravel crunched and popped beneath the tires, as my...Read More »
The thought: “The truth is its own reward” struck me potently this morning. I’m sure it’s a quote. I hit a couple of web sites and didn’t find it, but I’m sure I heard somewhere else. God help me to hold onto that thought.
I’m thinking of all the little “programs”...Read More »
Birch Bay: Just re-read the journal from August. I swear, ½ of my spiritual/emotional and relational challenges are due to a crappy memory! Here are the concepts that God showed me on that trip that I have already forgotten about (with some additional processing included):
- I AM afraid of being ...Read More »
After reading [the preceding posts], Mitch wants to save me. He’s concerned about my well-being. God, I love him so much for that! After I re-read the journal entries I sent the Drips, I want to be saved too. I thank you for doing just that. Oh God, please let...Read More »
January 20, 2004
The other day, I stood beside the pond I built in our yard, listening to the waterfall and wondering about the truth, wondering about life without Jesus.
I imagined my atheist friend Doug contemplating the pond and all it’s surroundings. Taking in the beauty, considering all the components...Read More »
“The Drips” is the name that several friends and I applied to an informal e-mail dialogue we had begun on spiritual matters, politics, social issues and any other heady stuff. It’s a self-deprecating reference to the fact that that our ideas and opinions don’t collectively amount to more...Read More »
It’s significant to note that I had never read the Lord of the Rings Trilogy. Everything I knew of the story I knew through the movies (only two of which had been released just prior to this point in 2003). While I was grappling with the idea that...Read More »
During an exercise last Wednesday, in which we asked you, God, who we really are, I wrote the following:
I’m defensive. I’m unsure. I’m tired. I’m bored. I’m shallow. I’m broken. I’m frightened by this un-familiar land. It is the farthest I have ever been from home; and the sun is...Read More »
I am falling into an economy in which my desire is to have God add enough love to my life to compensate for the indifference and selfishness, rather than asking him to CHANGE me – to ELIMINATE the indifference and selfishness. Perhaps as Eldredge writes, it’s more like acknowledging that...Read More »
November 26, 2003
Mazatlan, Sinaloa, Mexico
…and so I lie there on my back, feeling that familiar and mildly uncomfortable, yet compelling sensation of being burned by the sun. Oh, it’s a “controlled burn”, though. I have applied the proper lotion: designed to amplify those rays which will force my skin to...Read More »
Well the adventure, it would seem, begins today. As usual, not even close to the adventure I imagined… and boy, can I imagine a lot.
I’m thinking, “foreign missions”, and God, you’re planning un-ending obscure labor.
I’m expecting a surge of new ministry and relationships, but God, you bring me the same...Read More »
It seems that the deepest moments of communion with God always include an image of me living out these deep moments in front of others – packaging them into some kind of art form and then performing them.
This morning I was so...Read More »
Geez..is that last entry really my life? Yes, I guess it is. I may not have acted out in willful sin in the last 10 days, but I don’t think it’s changed much. There is a slow leak of anxiety into my consciousness. I saw the stack of bills on...Read More »
This morning I feel like nothing has really changed since last summer. All of it seems to be wiped out by the stupid choice I made last night…and equally stupid but less profound (?) choices being made on a DAILY basis!
The truth is, things HAVE changed. But in the sin...Read More »
As I sat in this chair and tried to get comfortable in my skin, I began to touch my face, my cheeks, ears and my hair. I began to think of myself as a little boy…with new skin, pliable and resilient. No blemishes, skin that was caressed.
I’m weeping thinking about...Read More »
I’m so distracted today…the last few days. It’s just that today the results of being distracted are more easily seen. I feel like the only way I will be able to maintain any touch with God today is on a moment to moment basis…Like that’s bad or something?
I miss you...Read More »
I’ve lighted my candles. I came in early today to get some quiet time. I can feel the pressure of busyness building – a pressure that pushes against who I am somehow. I can feel within it the normal “healthy” pressure of having much to do – being mission oriented,...Read More »
Some splendid insights came from my time with Allen today. My disappointment in others is really just a reflection, a ricochet, of disappointment in myself. I’m holding the gun to my own head but the bullet glances off this hardened old gourd and veers into the soft flesh of another....Read More »
Well God, something has certainly transpired since that last entry. I don’t even remember making it. But I’m feeling some continuing form of…disappointment. OH my God. I hear you.
Disappointment. There’s that word again – only this time I am the one who is disappointed. I’m disappointed a lot, aren’t I...Read More »
Here I sit again, just a few days after my 5.5 day wilderness retreat where God and I met in a new and powerful way – and again I am under siege. I listen to the song…”And when I am alone, and when I am alone, give me Jesus.”
I am...Read More »
Began the day with the prayer from “Waking the Dead” again. Wow.
A bald eagle soared up-stream and now sits in the top of a dead-head, surveying his domain.
Looks like another beautiful day.
Did I mention that I miss Brenda and the girls? It’s a little different now, though. It doesn’t ...Read More »
Read the prayer aloud again this morning. Very powerful. It’s another beautiful day. No rain. No bears.
God. I pray that you would guide my prayers today. Spirit, direct my heart to whom and what I should be praying for.
Jesus is Lord.
So as I’m walking,...Read More »
It rained a little this morning. I can feel the anxiety trying to get at me when I think of two more days and nights.
I’m a little afraid again. It’s this fear of being “uncomfortable”. I don’t really have a handle on that. Jesus?
I claim my true heart, though....Read More »
As I’m lying in the dark last night, a couple of thoughts connected.
My Dad is ashamed of my Mom. He has been for as long as I can remember. On the way to drop me off – I’m in the back seat, they’re in the front. (paging Dr. Freud…Dr....Read More »
Really didn’t sleep well at all. Un-comfortable all night. No moon. A very thick darkness. Got up at 6:30 and had things ready to go in very short order. My back is threatening me, but not an issue yet. Gotta keep stretching.
I’m watching some species of duck that lands...Read More »
El Camino De Quinault
The following are journal entries I made during a solo back-packing trip through the Olympic National Park.
The trip was inspired by the El Camino De Santiago Compostela, a 500 mile pilgrimage from...Read More »
The words I attribute to my wife in this post are MY words; words I chose which summarize how I felt about what she said; they are not quotes. It would also be wise of the reader to remember that you are getting only one side of the...Read More »
All of this recent thinking/talk about being a man, the conversations with Allen (my spiritual director), the letters written to people in my past, re-reading “Wild at Heart”, etc. has me thinking a lot about my true identity, Lord. I feel like I’m getting a grip on the edges of...Read More »