Thursday, November 28, 2013

Just down the hill

Irene with her tools for living.
Among the things I am grateful for, and the list is a long and colorful one, is the ability to discern.  Today I am reflecting on those who serve as role models for me; children, women and men who, through their steady living, show me a path.  

Meet Irene, a pioneer with a knack for self-sufficiency.  Widowed since 2008, she can be found most days tending to her acreage or taking brisk walks through our neighborhood sporting the most eclectic ensembles.  Some days she'll make eye contact or return my greeting, but she seems most at home in her own skin and in her own company.

The day before Thanksgiving as I drove past her home, she was working in the yard, festooned in a shocking pink bonnet paired with knee-high work boots.  I pulled over and got out to greet her.  It took very little to get her going about her plans for the holiday.  I was updated on her travels, the goings on of her grandchildren and great-grands, and the ways in which she self-identifies the many blessings of her life. 

Before we parted ways, I confessed my admiration for her and how she inspires me.  There was no need to elaborate; she simply smiled and said thank you. 

There are things we get to choose.  I choose my role models, not so much for what they might offer me, but moreso, for how they navigate their lives.  Through my own discernment, the gift emerges.

Now to get my hands on one of those bonnets!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

A call to an authentic life

The natural world, like art, is a sacred space, a place where connections are made, epiphanies emerge, and sparks ignite.  Who among us finds inspiration in a lecture hall while seated in a rigid chair?  They are out there, but I can't count myself among them.  

What are we to do with new ideas and inspirations?  How does change, that elusive yet inevitable thing, rise up in us and cause us to alter behaviors, lifelong patterns, long-embraced beliefs?

A long-time friend invited me to a screening of the documentary Trans which I attended last night at a community center on Seattle's Capitol Hill.  Get your hands on it; share it with others.  As I drove to meet up with friends to carpool to the event, I pondered many things: the power of art to provoke, the safe space I live my life in, and too, how it might be to reunite with my friend, Mac, formerly Sherry, after nearly 8 years.  

Over soup and cornbread at the kitchen table beforehand, Josh and I shared what was on our hearts.  He mentioned a friend who is in jail and what he might be able to do to support him at this critical time. We explored roles, responsibilities, commitments, loyalty.  Then I said I wondered what it was going to be like to meet Mac for the first time, having known him since 2000 as a woman.  To Josh, it was a simple thing, really.  He said I was seeing Mac for the first time, but not meeting him.  I already knew the person, their character, what makes them them.  And he was right.

Some learnings that I'm holding up for a closer look-see: sacred space is any place; the key is to open your heart.  Identity is a highly personal matter.  How we self identify and what we do to live out that understanding are separate issues.  And what we do to foster compassion toward ourselves and others matters. 

 I'm going to start by tipping my cup and letting go of old notions.  What stays, what goes; I can intellectualize it, sure, but I choose to let it be what it is; to see what is left in that cup and go from there.  And tonight I will gather in community at Ravenna United Methodist Church for a service commemorating TDOR and bear witness to hundreds of lives I did not know, cut short by fear and hate-driven violence.  

What matters is this: we can effect change through witness, outreach, and action; it's our individual and collective work; it's what we are called to do.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

The trustworthy balm of cooking

Trust.  It's a whooper, and a concept I've been pondering in recent weeks.  
In Santa I trust.
How is trust established?  What can tip it on its head?  Is it easier to trust a stranger
than a loved one?  What does trust look like?  What influences or colors how we perceive it?

I'm gonna go for trusting in my ability to cook up a storm of delicious proportions, beginning right now!  Give me a blustery Sunday and a free calendar and watch me go!