Reaching for Hope

Depression is largely the experience of losing hope. It doesn’t mean we don’t think hope is real or that hope isn’t worth having. But it’s like I set it down and then accidentally bumped it off. It fell on the ground and rolled out of sight, and I don’t know where to look for it. Sometimes, I have the time to search methodically. Other times I need it urgently and not having it is painful.

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What Hope?

When I think about fear and shame and their connections with the compulsion to self-protection and harming ourselves and each other (perhaps a word to summarize that might be ‘sin’), in some ways it softens me. It helps me have compassion even on those who are harming others. In my best moments, it helps me have compassion even on those who are harming me.

At the same time, it reinforces the overwhelming sense of helplessness and hopelessness that anything in life can actually be healed or improved. I might be able to fix something in my own life, but can life for all people everywhere ever get better? It seems unlikely.

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Open to Seeing

In the last few weeks, I have had several all day classes. I discovered a lovely route to take a walk along a road with a lot of plants and trees, and I’ve been enjoying the restoration I experience walking mindfully through that beauty. This weekend, I did the same. I noticed after about 10 minutes, though, that I wasn’t paying attention to my surroundings like I had done before. They weren’t new anymore, and they didn’t automatically make me notice them.

I decided to be intentional about it. Last time, I was highly mindful of all the growing things, and they were lovely again, but what caught my attention once I encouraged myself to be curious were the things that were placed by human hands.

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Draw and Drive

Understanding approaches slowly, but it arrives all at once.

Since I was a kid, I have had an affinity for certain people who didn’t quite align. I remember helping out at vacation Bible school as a young teen, and I was drawn to the kid (maybe kindergarten age) who was already the “difficult child.” I immediately liked him, and I spent more time with him than with any of the others.

As an adult, I have found that same element in myself drawing me toward certain people.

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A Time to Break Down and a Time to Build Up

What does it do to a person to be told that the suffering they experience isn’t real because it isn’t as bad as all these other groups? What does it do to label a person as evil because he has other concerns than the ones we hold dear? What does it do to stifle a person’s needs because we think their resentment is misplaced?

I think it creates Trump supporters.

I think we, the champions of the downtrodden, are in part responsible for people turning to the only person who told them their concerns mattered, that their problems were worth talking about, that they weren’t the bad guys.

Now, don’t get me wrong. Trump himself is a cancer spreading through this country, spouting hate and spreading blame by feeding people’s misguided ideas about who causes the problems we face as a nation. The problem is that he sprinkles in some truth with his lies.

And—this is important—the people who voted for Donald Trump… are not Donald Trump.

They are the marginalized majority.

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With All Your Mind, Part 01: An Intolerable Experience

I experienced something akin to an emotional breaking point. Like all good crises, it seems to have forced the issue of change on me. Change is hard for me. I know it’s supposed to be hard for everyone, but still, it feels really hard for me.
I’ll tell you more about the crisis in a minute. It wasn’t an emergency, just more of an intolerable experience. It happened at the right time though, and for that, I am super grateful.

The results are the really important part. The intolerable experience that twisted my arm toward change pushed me to pursue nothing less than life transformation. I have started down a path with a dream. I dream of becoming a pioneer in my own soul, mind, and spirit. The point is to become healthy. I dream of finding mental, emotional, relational, spiritual, and even physical health in the frontier of my inner world.

I’m gathering my tools and equipment. I’m training. I’m gathering resources and making plans. All of this is for readiness to learn to be mindful, to pray, and to meditate.

Those are the means to my end. This is new territory for me, and I plan to document my journey. It may serve as both inspiration and map for those who come after me. Or it may only be a nostalgic record of that thing I tried one time. Either way, I believe it’s worth doing.

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Pro-Abundant-Life

I’ve been thinking about writing a post on abortion for some time. I mentioned it in my last post, and I received responses from people saying they were looking forward to it. But now that it comes down to it, I don’t wanna. Honestly, it’s kinda scary. I’m fairly confident everyone will hate me when […]

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