Adventures AWAKE

A pithy little blog encouraging creative adventures of the Christian spirit

Expressing Inexpressible India February 25, 2010

India in a word:

Joyful                          Tragic

Colorful                      Dark

Beautiful                    Dirty

Bold                             Invisible

Healing                       Painful

Hopeful                      Hopeless

Crowded                    Alone

Spiritual                     Spirit-less

Organized                   Chaos

Progressive               Archaic

Lifecycle                     Survival

Simple                         Complex

Surrender                   Fight

Dependence               Isolation

Hot                                 Frozen

Memories and Lessons:

  • Wrong versus Different
  • The varied countryside
  • Insane organized chaos of traffic (HA!)
  • People EVERYWHERE
  • Color!
  • Smoke
  • Circumstance of women, widows and orphans
  • Un-common “common-sense” health care
  • The price of Hindu “enlightenment”
  • Never-ending naan
  • Feeling conspicuous
  • Tasting oppression
  • Illustrations of loving the culture’s unlovable/AIDs and transgendered
  • The plight of the Dalit and Devadasis
  • Washing muddy clothes back home
  • The brainless balance of Bananagram at the end of the day
  • Tata trucks, trash-eating cows, wild barking dogs

 

Blessings:

  • Indian children
  • Joyful people
  • Unmatched time with my own beautiful, growing daughter
  • Generosity of heart, prayer and wallet
  • Enduring thankfulness for the entire experience
  • New friends from an untiring and fun team
  • Operation Mobilization Staff
  • Witnessing commitment and new meaning of sacrifice
  • New meaning of unconditional love
  • That “what to do now” feeling…

 

James 1:22-27

22Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. 23Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror 24and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. 25But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it—he will be blessed in what he does. 26If anyone considers himself religious and yet does not keep a tight rein on his tongue, he deceives himself and his religion is worthless. 27Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.

Matthew 25:42-45

42For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’ 44“They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’ 45“He will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’

How should we then live?

~ Francis Schaeffer

 

Not to decide is to decide.

~ Harvey Cox

Want an adventure? Don’t ignore the question. Serve someone, somewhere. Whether it’s half way around the world or next door, commit to go out of your way to make the most out of your life for “the least of these.” Look for where your talents and giftings intersect need. (Note: You’ll know you’ve hit the spot when the anticipation of serving becomes energized – not burdensome). We’re built for it.

 

The dogbite of love July 9, 2009

Yesterday, we had to put our dog to sleep. It was all very sudden. Rascal wasn’t old…just sick. Without warning, she woke up Tuesday with no appetite, unable to walk and by Wednesday morning we were told she wouldn’t recover. It sucks.

If you’ve ever had to go through the experience of losing a pet, you know. I find myself wanting to run back and get her — to take back the whole episode and re-work the scenario…as if it were an option. So now as my family and I walk through the house, every little thing seems to be tied to a sweet, funny tear-provoking memory. For instance, every time I head up stairs I expect to have to step over her basking like a lioness mid-staircase. At this point it makes me tear up every time. (Thankfully, her sister from the same litter seems to be handling it much better than the rest of us.) I hate it, but I wouldn’t trade it. That’s what the risk of love does to my heart; it makes the sweet more substantive than the bitter.

Everyone knows that most dogs don’t live past fifteen. Our beautiful, yellow lab was nine. So why set myself up for the heartache? I think because rarely have I felt so loved. Pets really do love unconditionally. And, we received enough of our sweet puppy’s furry cuddles, unsolicited kisses, spontaneous romps and silly antics to warm our hearts through to heaven.

Though in a previous post I equated her to Satan, it was merely for the analogy. Rascal was a saint in dog clothing. When I was at my most ornery, this dog would just look at me in a lovingly puzzled way (OK, maybe it was pity but I prefer loving puzzlement) and wait for it to pass. When I was sad, instead of walking away from the discomfort like some people do, she would move in, nuzzle-up and share my pain. When she would see any of us, without fail the “thump, thump” of her tail wagging would reflexively begin. When she heard the garage door go up, she’d meet me at the doorway wiggling all over with her pink rubber bone in her mouth as if to say, “I’m so excited you are here! You’re my favorite! Let’s play!” Who wouldn’t feel loved?!

Like the bumper sticker says, “I want to be the person my dog thinks I am.” This nails it. Rascal made me better, less harsh, more compassionate. She taught me patience and the grace of love. If we are called to “be Jesus with skin on,”  Rascal was Jesus with fur on. She loved first and without question.

The dogbite of love hurts..but love heals all things.

 

RascalHawaii50

Hula dog

 

Rascal in the chairSneaking a snooze on the furniture    

  

 

 

Rascal 06

 Happy Rascal

 

puppy 002

Cuddly Rascal, last Sunday

 

 

 

 

 

 

Want an adventure?  Spend a day paying attention to how the animal(s) in your life — or in your path — reflect the nature of Christ. What can you learn from them?

 

If you have men who will exclude any of God’s creatures from the shelter of compassion and pity, you will have men who will deal likewise with their fellow men. ~ St. Francis of Assisi