Thursday, August 11, 2011

Construction Zones

Even if I didn’t give it a second look, the flash of passing a construction site slow moves an image of raw unfinished potential, it almost always spurns in me a momentary imagination high. Like most imagination rushes it’s tied to a memory tag. My electrical engineer dad built. I never discovered what he couldn’t build; maybe the pond he had some work friend come out and dig out with his huge bulldoze which turned out to be an epic failure, it could never keep much water. It turned into a glorified mosquito red-light district with a frog-chorus for a musical background; so much for the enchanting family pond for summer rows and swinging ropes. One of my dad’s home projects was an aluminum-sheeted barn, several of his work projects included radio and television stations. Incongruity he never finished the closets inside the house. Considering it part of our education, he regularly would take as along to help. I measured the earth-round, table-sawed carefully, mixed cement till I was a gritty-gray, wobbled on roofs (I’m a heights non-maverick) hammered my thumb into a purple puddles, sneezed and scratched on pink beds of insulation in hot lofts and jittery played with all kinds of electrical boxes and wires and yes, got unforgettably electrocuted. Basically, I was just a plain-gofer down-on dirt and high on ladders and jibs. My current place-of-the-pillow has had a junk yard of sorts across the road from me. Today they finished leveling of the soil after carrying away the last of the ‘junk’ who knows where. I found it sort of sad—though I had joked about the hood effect it created for our place, I still found it an intriguing place akin to the construction pull and wished it a whimsical goodbye by standing still for a moment of silence while walking by earlier. Out of nowhere, I suddenly wondered at my grace toward unfinished projects and eye-sore liter when compared to the frustration, way too often voiced aloud, with people. After all, aren’t we all just unfinished projects? My personality dictates that I pick up on potential within people and I do, but lately I’ve experienced more internal exasperation and downright anger toward certain people’s traits, habits, actions, personality—you name it. I’ve caught myself in moments of pure tirades and have felt unkindly toward myself though honestly not unmixed with a stinking self-righteousness. My memorial junk yard moment transitioned a spirit-call to extended graciousness toward all of us unfinished projects that we are—including me. My paints is still wet went the lyrics of a childhood song I vaguely recall. My paint is still wet…glaringly wet.
“And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.” Philippians 1:6

Sunday, June 20, 2010

No Regret

It’s about no regret,” Carolina emphasized “no regret; just about every day I am at the bedside of someone who is at death’s door and those with no regret are the most peaceful.” I’ve heard that line about living a life with no regret. It’s usually sandwich in a conversation on wither a certain decision NOT made will lead to regret.
But Carolina’s status as a Geriatrics Social Worker, which puts her in daily contact with people surveying their life at end of their life, gave weight to her words. I listened, I mean I really listened. No regret. For me, regret comes in the form of “I wished I would have.” I’m naturally overcautious and guarded about certain things, a side that is at odds with my free spirit outlook. No regret sounds incredibly intoxicating. I felt my cautious side let out of sigh envy as I intentionally flirted outside his reach.

Thursday, April 1, 2010


"Blessed are the meek: for they will inherit the earth."
Matthew 5:5
Blessed are the meek. Not by the ambitious, proud, self-serving, self-asserting throng.
Blessed in the now, present tense.
Will Inherit the earth. Notice the 'will', it is not a 'is' inheriting. But a "will" inherit. Not inheriting right now. Not this earth, with its current values but after whatever proceeds it.
If meekness is the selflessness, patience under wrong that was manifested by Jesus. Then I am in trouble.
I used to think I was pretty mild mannered. Not easily ruffled or provoked. And I was. I had a level-headed and wise mother whose consistent example and 'be like Jesus' mantra. Did much to foster a quiet spirit. But somewhere in my personality evolution, I began thinking that I should develop an opposite attitude. One that would set me apart. That would feign off the pain and put up those 'boundaries' everyone is talking about. What seemed vogue and apart was attitude highlights like, "no, she didn't!", "talk to the hand" or "he isn't going to get away with that!". I starting taking extra pains in my 'growth' to make sure my 'boundaries' where in place.
My girlfriends and one or two guys friends expressed surprise at my new vocal expression. I heard things like "you've changed!", and a "that's not like you!" or "is that Diana speaking?!".
But I was proud of my change. I was growing in knowing my own mind and was increasingly less afraid to express it. I was no longer at a loss for words or shy about saying expressing them. It seemed like the logical unfolding from personal knowledge and acceptance to protection of my sense of self. After all, isn't that what a strong woman is all about? I thought I was moving in a positive direction. I was become a liberated woman!
But the words of Jesus on the Sermon on the Mount told me the opposite. It proclaimed a blessing on the meek and the peacemakers. Both of which require self to be put aside and gentleness to reign supreme. I was torn.
On one hand I desired the blessing to be mine. I wanted to experience the happiness and peace that comes with fulfilling Jesus' governing principles. My journey has touched such joy and I want it always.
But on the other, what about being a strong woman? Your just supposed let people walk all over you? Disrespect you and say all kinds of things about you? And you are just supposed to be meek about it?! That cut me. Because it was then that I knew that it was because self was alive and well and on the throne that I wanted "me" to be protected by whatever words and actions were needed. That was not meekness!
With self dead, I realized, I wouldn't care who or what was said or done to me. I would care about the person, the dangerous path they were heading. I would care that my representation of my Jesus was right. Not that I was 'right'.
The picture was complete. And the sides where drawn. Meekness is a heavenly attribute that is not celebrated, let alone appreciated on this earth. While the blessing can be mine today and is not tide to circumstances. My 'earthly' inheritance is coming. And what a earth! Prestine, beautiful and perfect!
"Blessed are the meek, for the will inherit the earth."

Monday, March 29, 2010

Bonhoeffer on Peace

His was an evolution from that of a proud German nationalist to that of one consumed with the supremacy, totality, radicalness of Jesus' message of peace. His became an avowed pacifist, even when he choose to intricate himself in the conspiracy to kill Hitler. It is Dietrich Bonhoeffer's writings on this subject of peace and peacemaking that have called me higher to my role as a peacemaker.
Listen to their challenge:

"Jesus is their peace. Now they are not only to have peace but they are to make peace. To do this they renounce violence and strife...Jesus' disciples maintain peace by choosing to suffer instead of causing others to suffer. They preserve community when others destroy it. The renounce imperious self-assertion and are silent in the face of the hatred and injustice done to them. That is how they overcome evil with good. That is how they are makers of divine peace in a world of hatred and war. But their peace will never be greater than when they encounter evil people in peace and are willing to suffer from them. Peacemakers will bear the cross with their Lord, for peace was made at the cross. "
~Discipleship, 108

"God gave God's life, God's all, for your enemies; now you, too, give them what you have: bread if they are hungary, water if they are thirsty, aid if they are weak, blessing, compassion, and love for your enemy. Are they worth it? Who, indeed, could be more worth our love, who could stand in greater need of our love than those who hate? Who is poorer than those? Who is in more need of help, who is in more need of love than your enemy? Have you looked upon your enemies as those, in effect, stand destitute before you and who without being able to voice it themselves, beseech you: 'Help me, give me the one thing that can still help me out in my hate; give me love, God's love, the love of the crucified Savior'?...When you reject your enemy, you turn the poorest of the poor from your door."
~Discipleship, 469

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Why did I say yes...

In between the pausing, weaving California traffic of a thoughtful afternoon. I pondered my own decision. Why did I say yes? Why didn't I say No. While the honor is great. Its impact huge. The significance of my choice lies not in my acceptance but in my denial.
I did not accept the 'honor because I wanted to. I affirm that this 'honor' does not represents my fondest hopes and dreams.
Though it does represent a bounce-forward in my journey for significant contribution. But still, that is not why I said yes.
I accept because of 'them.'
This idea came as a surprise to independent me. Its truth slowly dawning away the crusted self and revealing a much more connected-awareness of 'them'.
'Them' are all the ones who never got the chance, 'Them' are the ones who are waiting for a change, 'Them' are the ones who made it happen just for me. For 'Them' and not for me. It's not a completely alturistic statement. But more an acknowledgment that 'self' is part and parcel of 'them'.
A tough year of learning and growing in the intellectual halls of business hold some attractions but not enough to enthrall my imagination. If it was up to me. I would choose a wonder-lust significance for a few years. Mellow in the meadows and fields of yesterday and frolic with fraudulent folks of Frankfort. I would simmer in front of legends and strive with common laborers.
I would wish to feel the pulse of the world.
And that is why I said yes. For them. To choose to 'feel' is no doubt a noble goal, a priceless one that add the silver lining, the heartful meaning to all worthy endeavor. But to choose to exercise the mental 'feelers' that will add the hands and feet, the practical side of heart. That requires more backbone, more determination now than it ever did before.
The line of Yesterdays is growing long, the assembly of Tomorrows couched in vague uncertainty. But to Now belongs the power of yes. To do the deed that will bring the hinges to the window, that became the door, that first intrigued me.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Simplfy: the how to

My childhood friend, MJ, affectionately called 'little Mo' back in the day, recently shared that he was working on simplifying his life. I asked his definition of simplify. He in turn asked for mine. This is what I've come far.

Simplicity is the art of choosing wisely between the good and the better and pressing on to the best.

An art often comes first as gift...given not sought. The catch of course is that an 'art' is never easy. It builds on a Authentic and Integrated self and it requires focus, determination and hardwork.

Its begs to be asked: What is my gift? So I can turn it into my art...simply that.