Observing


Here’s a Dreamer question for you this Monday morning: if you had one whole day — a solid twenty-four hours — to do whatever you wanted, what would you choose to do with it? Throw out your dreams and fanciful ideas in the comments below.

I wrote this poem earlier this year. The title comes from a faerie book I was reading at the time, for a cloaking spell they sometimes used. The theme of the poem, however, is very real. It is a theme that seems to recur with me and around me on a regular basis. I don’t pretend to have all the answers; in fact, I don’t really have any good answers for this that don’t sound trite or cliched. I’d love to hear insight you might have on this scenario — or even experiences you’ve had that seem to relate. Please share in the comments below.
.

Don’t Look Here
Looking desperately for attention —
Does anybody even see me?
Anyone at all?

Standing here
screaming his name, her name, your name,
all to no avail,
Watching the ebb and flow
of lives, of loves, of friendships and more,
Desirous to take part, be a part
In the grand scheme of things,
But no one seems to notice me.

Acting out, acting in,
waiting patiently, or not at all —
makes no difference for me.
The result is still the same —
nothing.

Is this a teaching point?
Or a cosmic joke?
Or some great gag at my expense?
I would know if I could get an answer,
But answer means someone’s listening,
Or can even hear me at all.

Can I blame the world
for shutting me out
if the world is simply incapable
of pulling me in?
Then whose fault is it —
yours? No? Mine? Please tell me.
I would gladly give up
This invisible forcefield
If only I knew how.

It seems instinctive now —
as if I have no choice
but to stand here and scream,
and you have no choice
but to turn away
ignorance from me.

Celebrities are real people, right? Most of us wouldn’t think of them that way. We recognize them from movies and tv, from magazines, from news media and paparazzi, all trying to give us intimate details of these strangers’ lives, without giving us any sense of common ground.

That’s why I enjoy moments when famous people have a chance to speak for themselves. Sure, their usually polite, if somewhat aloof — after all, they don’t really know the individuals in the crowds they might be addressing. But occasionally they prove themselves to be just as real as the rest of us.

You can tell a polite but rehearsed conversation most of the time. And when people are being genuine, that becomes pretty obvious as well. When Hugh Jackman appeared in Knoxville a couple of weeks ago to promote the premiere of latest movie, he gave a short speech to those who had gathered to see him. He didn’t just give a polite celebrity speech – though that certainly would have been enough.

Instead, he showed that he really could be himself in front of them he endeared himself to those who had made the effort to be a part of this event, and drew in many more people to his work just by virtue of his frank appreciation of their city and its popular themes. It turned out to be a good demonstration of caring about what people care about regardless of how well you know them.

Sometimes we forget just how insane God’s love toward us is. Or maybe we don’t forget; maybe we just don’t want to deal with the brain-exploding truth that we’d have to deal with if we thought about it. Jesus is fully God. And He is fully man.

That amazing dichotomy is at the heart of Chapter 5 of John Eldredge’s new book, Beautiful Outlaw. I know that when I think of human relationships, with all of their (and my) quirks and intricacies, my relationship with Jesus is not the one that comes to mind. That’s my relationship with Jesus, not my relationship with people. But I’m rediscovering that my relationship with Jesus is my ultimate human relationship.

If I want to learn how to relate to humans in spite of sin, anger and fear, then I need to start with my relationship with the One who is human without any of those issues. As John says, Jesus is more human than all of us — a true human untouched by sin. We are made in His image; our relationship with Him can reflect our own humanity freed from the effects of sin.

Please check out the rest of my review and thoughts on Beautiful Outlaw over at Tatter’d Pages, and let me know what you think.

I admit to being somewhat obsessed with names. As a youngster (did I really just use that word?) I spent hours going over our Who’s Who books looking at all the names of high school students across the nation. I found sone really cool names, ones that inspired my imagination. I also found some really bizarre ones, names that made me think, “How could you do that to your child?”

I don’t spend hours poring over names anymore, but I do pay attention to the ones that happen to jump out at me from time to time, good and bad. For instance, I recently came across the first name Garl. Really? Garl? I hope there’s an interesting story behind that name. And hopefully that interesting story does not involve alcohol.

Seriously, I get concerned sometimes when I hear names parents have given to their children. A child’s name should be chosen with… well sobriety. After all, these are the names that kids will be stuck with until their are at least 18. And really, at that point the emotional scars from bizarre names have pretty much set in. So here are a few reasons for parents to stay sober when deciding what name to bestow on their child:

• The names need to be somewhat easy to spell. If a child can’t get the spelling of their name right until they are almost out of elementary school, the name is too complicated.
• The names also need to be easy to pronounce. Let’s not make it difficult for the people who will be dealing with your child. If you’ve made up a name that no one else can say, then people will just make up nicknames for your child. Doesn’t that defeat the purpose?
• The name needs to make sense. “A Boy Named Sue” is a cute title, but an awful reality. And a boy named Garl isn’t any better. (No, I’m not making that up.)
• Alliteration, rhyming schemes, and other patterns often do not turn out to be as cool as they seem during that baby-naming high. I once read about a mother who named her children with slight variations on the same word. Chase, Chance, Case. It may have been easy to call them, but that’s probably not the naming boon that it seems to be.
• This one’s easy: Suri Cruise, Apple and Moses Martin, Sunday Rose Urban, and many, many more. Now, the parents of these children may not have been drunk when they named then, but they might have been drunk on their own baby-naming power. There is such a thing as over-thinking it. Don’t try to create the next celebrity by branding your child with a celebrity-worthy name.

So let’s put a little extra thought to avoid the obvious pitfalls when naming the generation. Because everyone deserves a name they can be proud of.

Do you remember biology class? All those awkward “back to nature” style explanations about how each of the species attract their mates? I vaguely recall explanations of why the male cardinals are such a bright red or why the peacock’s feathers are so colorful. However, by studying the natural scenes around me, I’ve discovered another species who uses color to match up their mates: human beings.

While looking around my church a couple of Sundays ago I noticed several different couples. I noticed them not just because I knew they were married or dating, but because my eye was easily drawn to their visual display. Yes, these couples were quite easy to pick out across the sanctuary because they wore matching outfits.

Now, you might be thinking, well sure, that’s old school. The older married couples do that all the time. Well, apparently matching outfits is not just for twins and married couples anymore. I picked out multiple matching couples this past Sunday who are established dating couples but who aren’t married.

I’ve know some couples who call each other to coordinate colors, and some in which the girl (or on a occasion the guy) will basically suggest an outfit for the significant other to where that day so they will be in sync. But I’ve never heard an official explanation for this particular phenomenon. It seems that the unspoken reality of this way of life is that when you see a couple in matching outfits, you know that that couple is not to trifled with. There is no since in flirting with that guy or going after that girl; he or she is clearly taken by the person beside them wearing the exact same shade of blue (or purple, or green, and on).

There also another unspoken rule to this truth; if you are not a couple, you should not wear matching outfits. I know the chagrin of showing up to an event or an outing in basically the same shade of color as a guy who was part the same event. It’s an uncomfortable experience when people see you dressed alike and assume that you two are “together”.

This may not be common knowledge, but singles don’t really enjoy having to explain that the person who looks like a coordinated partner “is just a friend.” And apparently coordinated outfits is an unconscious signal to ask just that question. The guys I know seem especially quick to point out any subtle differences in color, hoping to deter people from thinking that are potentially linked up with one of their female friends. (That’s okay guys; we’re strong women. We secure enough not to be insulted by your horror at inadvertently matching our outfit.)

Thankfully I’m now aware of this pattern of colors, so I can be better prepared to celebrate those couple have distinguished themselves from the masses, while avoiding any more misunderstandings of my own. Sometimes color can be used to both set people apart and link them together. I think I like this sweet cultural tradition that allows that to happen.

How do process the loss of a life? When someone is suddenly, unexpectedly pulled from this world to the next, how do you handle that reality?

A family in our church community (a close part of our church family, really) was launched into that process on Tuesday. A husband, a father, a son, an uncle, and a friend — and a car accident changed the lives of those in his world completely. My prayers go out for them, and my heart breaks with theirs.

When I first heard the news all I could think was that it couldn’t truly be possible. I kept hoping for news that he’d suddenly walked through the door, perfectly fine and ready to hug and hold his wife and his children. To not just watch them from afar, but to pull up to the dinner table and eat with them, to roughhouse and tease as if nothing’s happened.

I wanted it to turn out to be some sort of bizarre joke, but I knew it wasn’t. And it wouldn’t be funny if it was. Yet even now I can’t help but thinking it would be preferable. Sometimes reality is when you most wish that you were dreaming.

Next Page »