This painting by Jack Baumgartner portrays Jacob Wrestling the Angel from the book of Genesis. It’s a central metaphor for this blog – wrestling with life, health, urban issues, and even with God.
So this past week was my third of four week-long intensives for my training to become a certified spiritual director. One of the main tangential things I have learned is that when they call it an 'intensive', they're not screwing around.
In 2010 I traveled to Costa Rica with Erinn and Cate for surgery. It was rumored that this procedure could do a lot to alleviate some of the significant symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis that I was experiencing.
I’m now in my 4th year of not going to church in the summer. It's too hot and humid. My tolerance for humidity gets worse each year due to MS related complications. Humidity simply sucks the life outta me. It's hard enough as it is. So back when I told my doctor about how I feel when I go to my wonderful, yet old and non-air conditioned church, she told me I'd be wise to not go in the summer.
It seems as though I am in a struggle for at least a part of every day of my life; a wrestling match. I often feel like I'm wrestling with things like life, my health, poverty/justice issues, and most certainly, with God.
So I've been working out lately. I've been going to the gym. I've even been swimming again. And to take it up a notch from things I've done previously, I've hired a personal trainer. I go to this high intensity gym where all these people are crazy strong and do unbelievable things, and then there's me and my scooter.
There is an outdoor kind of lounge/garden area that I grew to love when I would come and visit her. It seems that almost no one knows about this place. It's beautiful and barely anyone ever visits it. I view it now as my own personal Secret Garden. This is the first time I've come here on my own since she has passed. I feel close to her in this place.
Life truly does have a funny way about it. There is so much joy, love, beauty, and wonder. And there is also so much pain, suffering, confusion, fear and doubt. There are many days where I wish the downside of life just didn't have to happen. But I know that it does. For everyone.
This Carmelite monk dude that lives in the monastery told me about a secret pathway down over the hill to the edge of the river. All I had to do was go down the road a little and look for the sign that says 'do not enter' and then, well, enter. That of course is my kind of path!
The thing about this drug is that it is the first ever medication that addresses issues related to progressive MS; the kind that I have. Apparently it can significantly slow down the progress of the disease. That’s a very big deal if it’s true.
In our churches, we often hear sermons with complex theological perspectives on the crucifixion and resurrection. But our community isn’t looking for sophisticated theology. Precise understandings of “crucifixion” and “resurrection” make for good debate and discussion in the hallways of seminaries, but they provide cold comfort on the street.
Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth Lord, it’s on this Holy Saturday that we are meant to remember the day that you were dead and buried in a tomb On this day we try and imagine what it must be like to not have access to the Father through you …
how on earth did you manage to forgive them? How did you find the strength while you were hanging there to ask your Father to ‘forgive them for they know not what they do’? How do you not keep a record of those wrongs?
On this day when you could have violently demonstrated that you were in fact the King of kings, On this day when you had every right to boast about who you were/are, Lord of lords, Almighty God, Creator and Preserver of all things, Remind me again and again that I truly have nothing to boast about.
Lord, this whole love thing is starting to hurt now. Do you mean that if I envy someone else that I must have some more growing to do in the love department? If that’s the case, I have a lot of work to do.
The religious elite are ramping up their conspiracies to trap Jesus. They are bloodthirsty and out to murder Him. Jesus condemns those in power while simultaneously affirming his identity as The Saviour of the world.
yesterday I rolled out my yoga mat, got on the floor and did my daily routine. It's not pretty to look at but it really does improve my life in so many ways. I turn on my yoga music, lay on my mat, stretch, focus on my breathing, pray/meditate, and even do some strength exercises. It's incredibly healthy on every level.
So maybe it's because we're in the Lenten season which is a time of lament, or possibly it's because I truly am struggling with my own health these days, but I feel a bit of a rant coming on.