Skip to main content

beautiful moments

Me on the climb up Salisbury Crags in Edinburgh. 
Basking in the beautiful sunshine.
I did not post anything here last week, despite all my good intentions, because it was one of those times in the semester when everything piled up and it was all I could do to get my readings done, my assignments completed, my funding application sent in, a tutorial planned, host several social events in our home (Dean kept inviting people over!!!), put together a talk for our Sunday gathering, and get some sleep.  In the midst of all the craziness, there were several beautiful moments.  Let me share a few of them here.

1. I was on the metro one day and it was standing room only.  I was a bit annoyed not to get a seat because I like to sit and read, especially in the seats at the end of the car.  I was just getting over my wee bitterness when an elderly Chinese man hobbled onto the car.  A young guy immediately got out of his seat and offered it to the man, however, the old man kept peering out the subway car doors which were still open, not paying any attention to the empty seat.  Then we all saw why.  An elderly Chinese woman, hunched over and limping, slowly made her way into the car and the old man reached for her when she came through the doors.  Immediately someone else gave up their seat and now there were two empty places for the old couple to sit.  However, their joy at having made the trek into the metro car together made them oblivious to the waiting seats.  And it captured the attention of a good many of us in the car as well.  After a moment, they became aware of the offered seats and I watched them navigate their way to the blue bench, the man making sure that the woman was safely settled before he let himself sink down into his own seat.  I clearly remember the smile on the old man's face when he saw his wife enter the metro car, their grasping for each other in that moment, both a bit tottery. It was one of the most beautiful things I have witnessed in a long time.  After they sat down, I kept watching them and soon had a lump in my throat and tears in my eyes. I can't even tell you why.  Maybe it was their utter dependence on each other.  Maybe it was their excitement at managing something simple yet challenging.  Maybe it was the way they interacted with each other.  Maybe it was the difference between what I was seeing and our culture's emphasis on self-confidence, individualization and independence.  I don't know, but I really didn't care about getting a seat or reading after that.

2.  Once every two weeks I attend a bible study/prayer group.  I was really tired this week and considered not going, but I went because I knew it was probably the best thing I could do after a trying week, and I knew I would come away refreshed.  I always do.  Sometimes we do a lot of discussing and reading, but over half of this week's meeting was spent in prayer, first silently and then with words.  It invoked a very peaceful atmosphere, a place of rest and invitation, a place where the Spirit was welcome and present.  Near the end of the evening, we were directed to pray for a particular person in the group.  I had no words, so I just went to sit beside her, close up, touching.  And it became a special prayer of getting beyond alone-ness for both of us.  I hadn't realized how much of my life I do alone and how solitary that sometimes gets.  It was a moment of being present to God and to each other.  We all need that.  That beautiful moment was better than a good night's sleep or a night off.

3.  For those of you who remember my last post, I described a meeting with someone who was to write part of my funding application and that meeting didn't go as well as I hoped it would.  Well, I received word last week that my supervisor had also initiated a conversation with this person and they responded very favourably, saying this sort of interaction (which myself and my supervisor were doing with them) was exactly what they wanted others in the program to do.  The person in question is new to the position and there is no doubt that it is a very challenging one.  There are many different students, each with an individualized program of study, and the diversity and size of the group, combined with this person being mostly in an administrative role and not a pedagogical one (meaning we don't encounter them in any teaching situations) makes it extra difficult for them to engage with us.  It was like a drink of fresh, cool water to hear that our efforts at interaction were helpful.

4.  Dean got new glasses this week and he looks absolutely brilliant, handsome, and beautiful.  I would marry him all over again if he asked.   Even if he didn't ask, I would marry him.  He's that pretty.  And smart.  And generous.  And good looking.  Like I have said before, everyone needs a Dean in their life.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

the songs we sing

NOTE: I am going to make some pretty strong statements below, but understand that it is my way of taking an honest, hard look at my own worship experience and practice. My desire is not to be overly critical, but to open up dialogue by questioning things I have assumed were totally fine and appropriate. In other words, I am preaching to myself. Feel free to listen in.

---------------------

When I am in a church meeting during the singing time, I sometimes find myself silent, unable to get the words past my lips. At times I just need a moment of stillness, time to listen, but other times, the words make me pause because I don't know that I can sing them honestly or with integrity. This is a good thing. We should never mindlessly or heartlessly sing songs just because everyone else is. We should care deeply about what we say in our sung, communal worship.

At their best, songs sung by the gathered body of Christ call to life what is already in us: the hope, the truth, the longing, t…

theology from the margins: God of Hagar

Our contexts have major implications for how we live our lives and engage with our world, that much is obvious. However, we sometimes overlook how much they inform our concepts of God. For those of us occupying the central or dominant demographic in society, we often associate God with power and truth. As a result, our theology is characterized by confidence, certainty, and an expectation that others should be accommodating. For those of us living on the margins of society, our sense of belonging stranded in ambiguity, God is seen as an advocate for the powerless. Our theology leans more toward inclusivity, and we talk less about divine holiness and righteousness and more about a God who suffers. On the margins, the priority is merciful and just action, not correct beliefs. 
There are significant theological incongruences between Christians who occupy the mainstream segment of society and those who exist on the margins. The world of theology has been dominated by Western male thought…

the movement of humility

We live in a context of stratification where much of society is ordered into separate layers or castes. We are identified as upper class, middle class, or lower class. Our language reflects this up/down (superior/inferior) paradigm. We want to be at the top of the heap, climb the ladder of success, break through the glass ceiling, be king of the hill. This same kind of thinking seeps into our theology. When we talk about humility, we think mostly think in terms of lowering ourselves, willfully participating in downward mobility. This type of up/down language is certainly present in biblical texts (James 4:10 is one example), but I believe that the kind of humility we see in Jesus requires that we step outside of a strictly up/down paradigm. Instead of viewing humility as getting down low or stepping down a notch on the ladder of society, perhaps it is more helpful to think in terms of proximity and movement.

Jesuit theologian, James Keenan, notes that virtues and vices are not really…