May 2005 Archives
Daniel in his black mandarin style silk suit complete with hair in bun and black eyeliner.
Melissa wearing black as well-very pretty. Exchanging flowers.
You ever have something effect you with such intensity that you can't express it with words? When the combination of education and life experience that lead up to it magnify the event to a point that trying to explain it to someone else would be impossible without days and days of dialog? And why bother because even then the explanation would not be understood anyway because the listener would have had to go through the same experience in the same way in order to really understand. What do you do?
You go on sabatical.
This is where my dear hubby and I have been for the last year. To the chagrin of a few of our more evangelical friends and family who have a hard time fitting the notion into the perfect structure of their "just go to church" world, we have taken a break. Not out of some selfish whim of wanting more sleep time on sunday morning (although that has been real nice) or some other seemingly lame reason but from a deep seated instinct that it was what we must do. Being on the "inside" through Bryan's full time ministry brought us to this point and perspective. Just to clarify, we are not talking about one church experience, but many with many similarities from several cities and two countries.
It is a tricky thing to follow God when he is clearly leading you away from the church. And there were a great many conversations with God that included phrases like,"are you sure?" and "this feels weird so it must be wrong", only to be given a jolt of confirmation in some form or fashion that God's intention was our best interest and that meant no church. So weird and surreal.
Like that commercial: "You have come to the end of the internet. Go back."
So yesterday my sweet hubby comes home with his one year evaluation of the "secular" job that seemed less like a God-send a year ago and more like a survival tactic at the time. It is amazing how much perspective one can gain in a year. Of course his eval recorded a stellar performance because he is just that kind of guy. And looking back we marvel at God's provision and direction, to the point where sometimes we feel like someone needs to pinch us.
So what have we found in the secular world of work that was often missing in a pro-ministy setting?
• more days off vacation, sick, personal, etc. (we can't get over how much time there is)
• family comes first (yes this has been much more evident in the world vs church experience)
• overwork and burnout is discouraged (no really, it's not just lip service)
• strengths and giftedness is rewarded and respected (not expected and exploited-ok that sounds harsh but there is no other way to say it)
• there is ministry here
Ok these are the main ones. If I go on and on with some of the other smaller things it will sound like I am trying to build a case which I am not. Don't need to. (Which in itself shows that there is something wrong with the institutional trends) At this point, a year out, I simply marvel at what we have found outside the fishbowl. I mean I used to think that the verse Mt 11:30 "For my yoke is easy and my burden is light" was somehow miswritten, or at the very least not meant for those in ministry for Jesus.
So what is broken? rachelle says it much better than I ever could in the church, as an institution tends to eat its young. The title sounds a little harsh but after living almost twenty years in the ebb and flow of ministy structures I found her words to be pretty bang-on. And maybe this is why we are seeing a few of our peers also washing their hands from what has become a sometimes program and finance driven institution. A lifelong friend called us just last week to tell us he was out. I was sad and happy for him at the same time. He didn't have to dialog for days because Bryan and he have traveled the same path for years. We understood.
I do believe that God directs and that there are seasons that are meant to be just that. It has been great to be given a new season and some new perspective. I do mourn for those that are caught in an intitutional cycle that doesn't reflect well on the church and which I believe God never required. Especially when this cycle breaks down families. What seems like virtue is simply the building of empires. Today's example of the fallen man.
Night before last Bryan, Daniel and I checked off one more thing from my enormous pre-euro-trip to-do list. We bought luggage. (Understand that this is a family whose last set of luggage was bought at the grocery store for fifty bucks five years ago.) Actually what we bought is something that the travel industry is now calling luggage. Far from mom's sturdy samsonite that couldn't be closed without sitting on it first what passes for luggage now is something that looks like it belongs on the space shuttle.
and I am totally into it.
But I have always been a containter freak (comes from being an INTJ) and although I don't get euphoric in the container store I do like the idea of being organized. "Idea" meaning that I aspire but don't always get there.
However, trekking in europe requires a little bit of organizing and luggage is part of it especially in terms of packing light. So we got these cool ergonomic wheeled thingys that double as a backpack, have a daypack attached, are classified as carry-on luggage and weigh only 7 pounds. They are made by the same people that designed the swiss army knife, so that should tell you something.
Packing light has taken on new meaning. It isn't just about taking less. While shopping for practical travel gear (like a nice rain jacket) I discovered that places like REI actually label their clothing with its weight. So now when you compare shop it is less about color and style and more about finding something that weighs less than 12 ounces. And most of the fabrics now are so space age that they have features that I never even considered. Did you know you can buy insect repellant pants? I guess spending the last few years wearing nothing but t-shirts and jeans has left me a little behind the times. What can I say, I make it into a mall maybe once a year and the moment I enter all I want to do is leave, so I am not what one would call a seasoned shopper. But for this trip of a lifetime I want to be prepared.
43 days and counting til we leave!
One year ago today I started blogging. When I began it was with the attitude of what the heck is blogging, maybe I should try it. Although I am not one of those daily bloggers, I was still hooked enough to continue and it is an amazing virtual universe to discover. What I thought would be something akin to messages in a bottle has turned out to be...
What is really fun is when your blog world connects with your real world in unexpected ways, like yesterday.
Someone saw my new painting on Jen's blog and followed the link to my blog about this new work and was blessed. That's great. But what was even better was this person walked into her church on mothersday and saw this painting on the screens because her church uses avisualplanet.com as one of theire visual ministry resources and I had uploaded my new painting for all our churches to use for mothersday. I guess it sort of blew her away. And now I hear the story through an email and I was sort of blown away. A blessing boomarang.
god uses blog.
Thanks Jennie and Tammy Jo for sharing the story and so letting me see god's hand in my work.
Croissant french toast with fresh blueberry compote. Fresh squeezed orange juice. Bacon. Cappucino. My wonderful husband made it all. And he and Daniel and I ate.
the most beautiful card from my husband.
a long soak in my antique bathtub at noon.
what a great way to celebrate mothersday.
thanks to wonderful weather friday's artist date was gardening oriented with time focused on sun on my face and reading a great book (the war of art). Friday slid into saturday and with it came time to pour the next section of concrete for our kitchen. The continuing(and probably never-ending) remodeling project of our beloved maryland shack has included some wild experiments and this one has been a really fun one.
this is a shot of the curing concrete that once freed from it's mold will be flipped over to create a section of countertop for a kitchen island. The process is totally messy but tons of fun with an unpredictable outcome. In a few days I will flip them and reveal the embedded leaves and fossils (hopefully). Then it gets stained and sealed.