Finally

Today, after a long time of feeling like words were coming, they finally came. Thankful to have gotten them on paper, and out to be shared. The invitation stands to all- let’s connect, let’s learn about each other, and let’s find more of what makes us similar….love and peace. pjp

To my Christian brothers and sisters who are in favor of walls, bans, registries, and generally keeping “others” out- you are also saying “stay out Jesus, we don’t want your kind”. Jesus is on the other side of whatever boundary is drawn at the expense of anyone in need, anyone with less power, anyone unwelcome. 
If you want to follow Christ, you must be willing to stand on the “other side” with those who are being cast out. Faith doesn’t call us to the easy or comfortable road- faith calls us to the road where we continually have to struggle for the space where we can do justice, love kindness, and walk humbly with Christ. Walking the road of faith is in direct opposition with bans, walls, and registries.

I invite anyone who wants to know more about my faith, and the God I believe loves all, please- let’s talk. Let’s have coffee, or a beer, or a meal. The more we can realize our similarities, the more bridges will be built…and maybe, the fear that drives the need for bans, walls and registries will be replaced with love, compassion, and hope.

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Saturday grace

These past few weeks have been hard.

Over Christmas, I went “home” to California to visit family and friends. It was a hard visit, with hard truths realized and new understandings reached. I am still processing those, and what they will mean for my life going forward. But regardless, they have left me with a sense of grief, and have changed the perspective on things I thought I saw clearly.

Following that visit, 2017 was ushered in, a new job was offered, the painful chapter of my last job officially ended, and a it felt as though a new page could turn. The truth is, the page did turn, I guess I had just been a bit optimistic in my expectations of what would be on that page.

I started my new job 2 weeks ago, and to say the transition has been difficult is putting it lightly. I didn’t quite realize the hope for healing I carried into this new chapter until the transition felt like I had been dropped into a den of wolves. I don’t hesitate writing that because the staff I oversee have used those words exactly.

As we have worked together to move things forward, and come out of the hard transition, my body and my spirit have taken more hits when they both needed time to just rest. Anxiety, hurtful actions and words, misplaced anger and resentment, and the weight of a new leadership role- possibly the biggest one of my career- all sat on my shoulders.

Then, this past Friday came. The day I had been dreading, and frankly denying, arrived whether I wanted it to or not.

My alarm went off on Friday morning at I awoke to a pit in my stomach and a feeling of nausea that I could not shake. As the day went on, and we confirmed our new president, my body continued to feel “off.” This coupled with the issues of the past two weeks coming to a head, the pain in my stomach gave way to headache and being cold. I am NEVER cold.

I got home, and crawled into bed. Freezing. My body had reached its limit. Plans to go to Austin, to march with my partner, our friends and my colleagues were cancelled, and I resigned myself to the fact that my body was crying “Uncle”. I slept, and slept.

When I woke up Saturday, the pit in my stomach was gone, but the exhaustion was VERY much present. My partner took me to breakfast, and then, back to bed I went. Then, something amazing happened.

Grace broke in. Grace broke through.

As Saturday passed, more and more news of the amazing marches going on around the world came through. And bit by bit, I realized that I am part of something bigger- something bigger than my job, my struggles, my needs, my fears. I am part of something bigger than the petty rantings of the man seated in the oval office.

I am part of something that calls us ever forward, that unites us, even when the temptation of division calls. I am part of something that allows me to see and hear you, even if we don’t look the same, or believe the same things. I am part of something, not created by me, but the something that is IN me, and IN you. I am part of Grace, of Love, of Truth, of HOPE.

I had to laugh that my body felt like it was shutting down, like something died, on Friday. It is a fitting day in my faith tradition- for it is on a Friday that we remember the death of Christ. And Sunday is the day we celebrate His rising again.

But Saturday. Saturday is where Grace breaks in- in the inbetween, the now and not yet. Saturday is where Grace found me and took hold, breathing new life, and new focus , back into me. Saturday is where Grace lives.

I am still tired. But I am no longer weary. There is still MUCH work to be done, but I know I don’t face it alone. There is a lot of anger, but more than that, there is an upswell of LOVE all around.  I don’t know what is next, but I am no longer full of dread. There is much to celebrate, much to hope in, and much to be grateful for. May you find grace today, tomorrow, and every day. But when you are in need, may you find yourself renewed one quiet Saturday by the Grace that pursues us endlessly, even when we are too stubborn to give up the chase.

pjp

 

 

 

 

The tides that bind. 

“Bless be the ties that bind, our hearts in Christian love, the fellowship of kindred kinds is like from that above.”

This trip back to my hometown was different than most- while normally the trip is marked by friends, family, laughter and memories made- this trip was bittersweet. 

On this trip, I confronted and lived on the edge of what is the boundary of a parents love.

One of the joys of being in California is the inevitable time I get to spend at the coast. As I ride out toward the sea, and see the water break into view, life feels a bit more simple and the possibilities seem endless. 

This time, as I ate with my friend and we planned to head down to the sand, I was aware that tide was going out. And sure enough, when our toes touched the coarse sand, the waters and subsided out leaving pools of small sea life visible and teeming amongst the rocks. The creatures that inhabit the tidepool areas are designed to survive both in and out of water. When out of water, they are hardened, closed off, designed to survive. Mostly, I was aware of the anemone- They are vulnerable, and almost easy to miss as they live on the rocks. They make themselves smaller to survive the elements and reduce the threat. But in making themselves smaller, they do not sacrifice their inherent beauty. When the waters inevitably come backin with  the tide, these creatures open up to the ebb and flow of the waves and flourish in beauty. They’re in their fullness within the safety of the waves that come and go each day. These creatures know boundaries- they know what it is to live both with and without, and they know how to function in order to survive and thrive. 

And what is incredible, is that they live in the inbetween. In between tides, in between both the calm and the tumult that the ocean can bring. They live in this liminal  space and adjust accordingly. The trust the sea will be the sea, and the sea trusts that the anemone will be the anemone. They have a relationship where they are each benefited by the other, but do not depend on the other for their existence. The anemone is no less the anemone without water, and the water is the same.

This is how it should be with parents and their children- ebbs and flows, living in relationship aimed at enhancing but not dependence. Parents are who they are, children are who they are. It isn’t always easy, but it is healthy. 

As I stood on the shore- amazed by the defiant fragility of the tidepools and the incredible power of the waves crashing in the distance- I wondered can such balance exist amidst expectations, hopes, dreams, and when parents and children cannot define themselves as individuals apart from their role to the other? Or is balance something only workable in nature- unburdened by human emotion and dynamics? 

Either way- as I lived in liminal space much of this visit, closing myself off as to survive the elements- I look forward to the reality that soon enough, the familiar ebbs and flows of my home will give me the space to flourish, and I will find myself once again back in the comforts of the ordinary day to day. For it is among the ordinary, quiet moments where one is able to be fully themselves that extraordinary things happen. Things like reconciliation, and the restoration of the ties, or tides, that bind us together. 

pjp

Awake again…

For the last week or so I have been struggling to sleep. For those of you who know me, this is highly unusual. I usually fall asleep with ease, and have no trouble sleeping through the night. However, recently- sleep has illuded me. 

I think the lack of routine that comes with “fun-employment” has finally caught up with me, and honestly- I’ve been in a funk. 

The end of 2016 came with a sense of relief, a sense of “phew, glad thats over”…but the first weeks of 2017 have been filled with a different set of emotions. The joy and excitement that I had for a new year have been replaced with a sense of anxiety- but not wring my hands anxiety- more a low level unsettledness. Something in me simply cannot rest.

Normally I wouldn’t worry about it, I would trust that my body would find its way back into a normal rhythm, but I start a new job on Tuesday. A job that will require a lot of things I am unaware of, but as of now, I know it will require early mornings and a hefty commute. So, sleep would be helpful.

I don’t know why I am restless- maybe it’s excitement, maybe it’s concern over what is to come with our soon to be POTUS, maybe it’s unresolved emotions…who knows. But as Tuesday approaches, I wish the familiar settled sleep would find its way back into my life- both for my body, and my spirit. 

Here’s to full nights sleep, and a more settled 2017.

pjp