Monday, May 13, 2013

Why I run - Mile 3

I could tell you I run for health benefits, but that would be a lie.  I run because, in running, I am able to process, clean out my head and heart, and exhaust myself like I cannot do with anything else.

Mile 1 is just a warm-up. Music jams, I find my pace.
Mile 2 is a pace-setter, and discipline.

But mile 3 is gold. Somewhere as mile 2 morphs into mile 3, everything becomes crystal clear for me. If something is bothering me, I find my peace. If I am overwhelmed, I find strength. Somehow as I hit mile 3 everything I doubted becomes resolute faith. In mile 3, my soul remembers that God is faithful when I am not. In mile 3, nothing seems as big as it did when I was in mile 1.

I want to hear God in big, loud ways. I look for God in the the strong wind to knock me down, in the earthquake to shake me up, in the fire to light my soul. I want God on my terms. I want my life on my terms. But it is never that way, and it is never good that way.

I find Him still and small and in a quiet voice along mile 3. I'm not sure why I can hear this better between miles 2 and 3 and not at home, not sitting at a desk, not in my own time to think. Maybe it's the only way I can quiet down my inner voice, exhaust myself enough to listen, or maybe it's simple so free of distraction that I find it.

But there am I, running and hitting mile 3, and I hear God say, as he did to Elijah,

"...there came a voice to him and said, “What are you doing here, Elijah {Chrissy}?” " 1 Kings 19:11-13

Some times he is asking me why am I drowning in a problem. Some times he is asking me why am I in a place of sadness, joy, or bitterness. More often than not, He is reminding me of why I'm here to begin with - to find a way to worship.

He always meets me when I come to Him on his terms.

Oh, and for the record, anything after mile 3 is pure work. Just craziness.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

All about my mom

I have a very distinct memory of my mother, my sister, and me the first Christmas I viewed my mom as also a friend and as well my mother. We were in California, in our family's condo, for Christmas. I mumbled something to my sister about some boy asking me out, someone they all knew (the horror of dating someone they approved of). I told my sister how I had uncertain feelings and on that, I had turned him down.

Across the room my mom overheard just a snippet and called out to us, "Who asked you out?" 
"No one. I don't want to talk about." 18 year old Chrissy said. 
"You'll never guess!" My sister taunted. "It was X!"
"You said no?! Why? X is great!" My mom chimed in.

They continued to tease me and prod me about this for quite some time. I remember how casual it all was - my parents were no longer panicking at the thought of me dating. I was a grown-up, past those "dangerous teenage years", and my mom wasn't stressed talking about this. My sister felt it was low key enough to include my mother, to rat me out. Sisters have a strong bond, and part of this is that you never tell Mom and Dad ANYTHING. However, this wasn't something we had to keep secret.

In that moment, giggling and joking together, I got a look at the beginning of how great it was to be an adult with my mom. She still cared about me, she still supported me. She would many times after that moment still help me up on my feet, dust myself off, and move forward. She would hold me when I sick or had a broken heart. But now my mom is one of my greatest friends, a relationship I cherish. There were moments when I know she clung to me when I didn't deserve it, and to think through it all, at the end of it all, she lets me be her friend... it's pretty cool.

You hear that? Moms are pretty cool.

Happy mother's day, Mom! I love you!

Friday, May 10, 2013

Promote what is kind

Earlier this week, I walked into the clinic break room, ready to heat up my lunch. As always, the TV was tuned to the news, where they were discussing what to do with the Boston Marathon bomber's bodies. A conservative, Christian co-worker loudly remarked we shouldn't care. She said they deserved nothing, she spewed out hateful words towards them, their families, and the dealings with their now corpses.

Then, something amazing happened. Another co-worker looked right at her and said, "Honey, God may not have been in what they were doing, but he is not in what you are saying right now." My co-worker tried to argue her point, about how evil they were, about how they deserved to be treated like dogs, etc. etc. and my other colleague would not budge. "Coming back with hate is not accomplishing anything", she concluded.

I'm not debating calling that which is evil by it's name. I'm not debating the tragedy of what happened. But I will not debate that in that one moment, the Church did not stand for hate or unkindness within it's own Body.

 Peter struck out with a sword at Jesus' arrest, and in his mind, he was justified. But justice by our definition alone is always off. Jesus' response is simply summarized here in Luke 22:51: "But Jesus said, 'No more of this.' And he touched the man’s ear and healed him."

It is easy to cast hate, violence, evil thoughts towards things we find unfair, the things we find ugly, or things that hurt us. What an amazing reminder for me this week that promoting kindness should always be my first thought, even when it's unfair. Isn't this the harder path? To always respond in love? Isn't that the path Jesus showed us?

"Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things."
Philippians 4:8

"Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, 'Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.'"
Romans 12:19

Friday, May 3, 2013

and then Justin Timberlake wrote that song

{written on the 20th anniversary of the passing of my paternal grandfather}
Did you ever feel grateful our generation's Justin was Timberlake and not Bieber? Who would have ever thought JT was actually kind of ok, all things considered?

In the past couple of months, I've felt like our youth is sort of slipping. Not like Robert and I are getting old (though I will not comment on how I fall asleep at 9:30pm regularly), but how I can feel our 20s ending. Robert had his gallbladder out. We are making big life/career decisions. We aren't buying time like we used to. There are realities to this stage of life, good and hard ones. One of the hardest ones, for me, was the cancer diagnosis of my only living grandparent.

My days with her are ending.

I am no stranger to death, or even death before it's time. So even I am surprised by how hard this reality is for me, though my grandmother is in her 80s. This has all been swirling around in my head, emotions I couldn't quite pin down. Then I heard the new Justin song "Mirrors" for the first time with this introduction - he wrote it about dealing with the reality of losing his grandparents.

Boom. Crying in the car over a Justin Timberlake song. If you hear it, it sounds like any other "baby I don't want to lose you song"... unless you know that's what it's about. Then you'll cry in your car.

Every once in a while, when we meet success, when we do something big, when I hold my niece or nephew, when we sing a hymn, when I see the laughter in my sister's eyes... I feel my grandparents who have already passed. Not in a creepy ghost way, but I am aware that in no small way what I have is possible only because of their hard work and sacrifice. I want to call my Grandpa Young, have him be proud of the financial stability Robert and I have worked for, have him know we bought our first home together before 30. I want to take my Grandma Young shopping, and see how her taste and love for the expensive has come right out in us. When we sing in church, I want hear the booming voice of my Grandpa Milt, echoing the prayers and praises of saints for generations. I want them to know how grateful I am for what they gave us. I want to make them proud. And I don't want to let go. If I'm honest, it's a little intimidating to feel like I'm about to press on through this next stage.

'Cause I don't wanna lose you now
I'm lookin' right at the other half of me
The vacancy that sat in my heart
Is a space that now you hold
Show me how to fight for now
And I'll tell you, baby, it was easy
Comin' back into you once I figured it out
You were right here all along

It's like you're my mirror
My mirror staring back at me
I couldn't get any bigger
With anyone else beside of me
And now it's clear as this promise
That we're making
Two reflections into one
Cause it's like you're my mirror
My mirror staring back at me, staring back at me
"Mirrors", Justin Timberlake