If this past year — and if I’m being honest this past several years — have taught me anything it’s this:
There is always something new to be afraid of
And afraid takes you down the drain. Yep, spins you with the sludge until the current pulls you under. And, if you manage to hold on with your fingernails and hoist yourself out of that drain, tomorrow’s news will do the same all over again. If you let it.
Confession: I have done too much letting it.
In trying to find a way to matter in the world, indeed to love those who matter (all of us) in the world, I have let myself be pulled in, pulled under and nearly drowned.
Now, before those of you who know me personally start to worry, no cause for that. I’m good. In fact today I am better than good. I’m ready. Ready to get back to business. Back to the bread and butter of Kinesthetic Christian-ing. Which isn’t commenting on the days’ events and offering my take, but rather, taking what God gives me in each day and bringing it to life. Because in that, perhaps I can do my part to bring God to life in my midst and perchance in yours.
To do this I need to re-fix my gaze and adjust my footing. But not in a try-harder kind of way. In more of a go-about-your-business-and-I’ll-be-there kind of way. The way some of you out there have done so well. The some of you who have continued creating, teaching, inventing, investing and dedicating yourself to your work in the world. The work you do so well.
You know who you are. I am smiling at you RIGHT NOW.
Our world in our day seems regularly to take us to the brink. To dangle us over the edge and say, “See what you deserve? Look at that and be afraid.” And we are. Because it’s frightening.
But what if, right about then, when all is lost and we start to flail and panic and teeter into the abyss, we feel a gentle tug on the back of our t-shirt? Then, we inhale deeply and realize it’s the hand of our pickleball partner preventing us from stepping into “the kitchen” and losing the point. That hand pulls us back from the brink and back into the game. More ready than ever for whatever shot comes our way. After all, that guy just saved me.
As it is written, “in God we live and move and have our being.” (Acts 17:28), but speaking Kinesthetically, we might say, In God, we move and live and have our being.
Because God has my back, I play better than ever. Better than I ever thought I could.
If you like what you read here at the Kinesthetic Christian, you may enjoy taking a look at my book, Made to Move: Knowing and Loving God Through Our Bodies. Contact Wendy here for more information.
Father, sometimes it feels like I am army-crawling through life. Under barbwire, through the mud, dodging bullets and ducking enemy fire through the searing onslaught. Even when I see no way out, you have provided one. Show me the way through. Help me learn to trust you in life’s toughest places. Amen
This is the prayer I wrote weeks ago that God knew I would need to read today. As I begin again to write Chapter 3, entitled Broken, it is time to face this truth. We, his beloved children, are so very broken, but the Lord of Life has signed our hearts and our souls.
Let the cardiac surgery commence.
A dear friend has died.
She gave her life to her family, her friends, her church, her God. She had given everything but the last of herself, and now she has given that.
In his book, Life of the Beloved, Henri Nouwen says, “In the giving we are chosen, blessed and broken not simply for our own sakes, but so that all we live finds its final significance in its being lived for others.” We are given. Given as bread for the world. Who can we be for each other? How can we out-do each other at serving, helping, supplying a need, lending an ear, loving?
In life, Mary Anne was for me, my certain reader. On any given day, she was the one I knew was reading this blog. If I posted, I knew Mary Anne was reading. Sometimes she would comment or respond or share something in reply. Always, she was listening to what I wrote, and that was life-giving to me.
When I sat down to craft some words, I could picture my sure-reader. I knew exactly what she looked like, where she was, how she might respond. This is gold to a writer, to be able to picture their audience. In fact, it is essential, to write to the one and let others listen in. It’s what draws life out of lifeless words and animates ideas, otherwise dormant.
Today’s is the first post Mary Anne is not here to read. How then do I write? To whom?
Nouwen offers, “If love is indeed stronger than death, then death has the potential to deepen and strengthen the bonds of love…. and holds the potential to … multiply itself to fulfill the needs of countless people.”
Somehow, by freely handing over life to death, it takes on greater life to all who would receive it. A sumptuous meal will be served around the table, with enough for guests, newcomers and the wayfarer happening by, and still there will be leftovers. It multiplies itself in the giving.
I remember a conversation from years ago when Mary Anne shared the difficulty her aged mother was having, physically ailing as well as confused and forgetful. Having no experience with this, I wondered about correcting the poor disoriented woman to help her remember. Mary Anne advised patiently, “Even if they don’t remember what you said or even who you are, they’ll remember how you made them feel.”
Even in grief, we carry goodness when we touch the heart of the other with our presence which speaks the love for us. When the hearing is gone and the words no longer make sense, Something else speaks.
Sunday morning last, I woke up to the roar of a rushing wind. Pentecost Sunday had arrived and with it the Spirit of God who swooped close to claim and collect His own.
When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. And suddenly from heaven there came a sound like the rush of a violent wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. Divided tongues, as of fire, appeared among them, and a tongue rested on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages, as the Spirit gave them ability. ~ Acts 2: 1-4
Funny, I think Mary Anne read the Kinesthetic Christian because she seemed to marvel at the way I could speak a language she understood but couldn’t write and thought she didn’t have the words for. Now, she has expression for everything she desires. Thanks be to God.
“The spirit of love, once freed from our mortal bodies, will blow where it will, even when few will hear its coming and going,” Nouwen supposes.
Mary Anne, I can still hear your voice clearly: your clipped phrasing for what was not acceptable to you, your sense of humor, your honesty, your fierce loyalty, forthrightness and clarity. Oh, you knew what you were in for and what was coming just around the bend. I know you held on for as long as you could and then let go gracefully. Probably with a “To heck with this body. Bring on the new one!!”
How quintessentially you is the opening to your obituary: “Faced with the prospect of voting for either Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton, Mary Anne Noland of Richmond chose, instead, to pass into the eternal love of God on Sunday, May 15, 2016, at the age of 68.”
Yep. Mary Anne to the core, to the end, and to the everlasting. How you embraced dancing in the rain. Sleep in heavenly peace, dear lady. One day, we will see each other again. There will be dancing and not a chance of rain.