Monday, May 30, 2011

Choices


It was gorgeous yesterday (in the high 80's and oh so windy) so I took it upon myself to clear my head for that day, dragging my poor geriatric dog along. We walked, she panted like the 12 year old dog she is, and I maniacally waved my arms around in frustrated mannerisms as I talked to her, myself and God about my current decision dilemma (I figured the weather would be more distracting than my crazy appearance to onlookers). 

My dilemma? 
I am seeking and craving this road that the picture produces for my life. I want a single interesting road leading into obvious adventure. Even though I can't see what lies over those mountains I'll at least know that following this singular road will take me into new and exciting places that were just waiting for me (as those monsoon clouds are telling the viewer). But ah!! Alas!! What a pickle I am in! For I am NOT looking at this road! I am looking at a fork in the road who's directions lead into areas that both require immense sacrifice. That would all be very well, I'd brave it like a good soldier (only God knows if that's accurate), if I only knew which one God's visible hand would be slipping in from my peripheral vision to point out. I keep waiting for, "This one, dear child. This is the road I will lead you down." 

But leave it to my God and our relationship for Him to place an underlying lesson for me to learn in the process. I just want to know which path. He just wants me to know Him. So there we are...sitting in our secret place facing each other... Him patiently showing me what He wants for me... me frustrated that He's not showing me what I want for me. 


Drive to Coon Creek

If you don't already know (I've vented to many), my road choices are either nursing school or ultrasound technician school. I won't get into the particulars of the choices to paint what a frustrating and tough predicament this is, for, as I have recently concluded, those particulars can't play a part in the decision making anymore.

I've weighed and debated...I've debated and weighed....I came to a conclusion, looked at that path and thought, "Yeah. This one looks good." But always there lingers the doubt of being wrong and keeping that other option in my back pocket just in case. Well then a new discovery in that other plan will lead me to abandon my first road and look at the back pocket one and say, "No wait. Yeah. THIS one looks better." And thus the two options are traded between the one in my view and the one in my back pocket. Needless to say I get so frustrated that they both go to a back pocket and the road I seem to have chosen is one of frustrating insecure choices...a never ending circle that is looking more and more painfully familiar.

So my slow learned/learning epiphany? ...
I can't leave this painful road on my own. My logic, though Lord knows I try, cannot see the future, cannot see what choice will better equip me for the unforseeable. So all I'm left to do is listen so intently for the leading of the Holy Spirit, which, I'm currently reading, can be as powerful and evident in my life today as it was for the disciples in the early church. What does His leading feel like in situations like these? I have no idea. My eyes stopped at the beginning of Acts when the disciples prayed and then cast lots to determine Judas' replacement. "Hmmm...,"I thought. "Casting lots. Well it's in the new testament so perhaps it will work." Well Millie and I had come to discover that this was BEFORE the Holy Spirit came. Rats. My desperate attempt went out the window before I could even assign Millie to "Ultrasound" and me to "Nursing" to cast our little lots. "No, Arica I don't think that idea will work."
Good thing the Holy Spirit's arrival is the next chapter after the lot casting, or else I would have put serious consideration into that desperate attempt.

*sigh*  I am no mountain mover. I am no pursuer. But I don't think any profession fits that resume except for the person who didn't get any degree and is being taken care of as a hospital patient (who's illness is putzy failure) by people who's professions are either nurse or ultrasound tech. As good as I would be at that there is no money making in the "hospital patient" business.

So I know that the picture that God is showing me includes me becoming a mountain mover and a committed pursuer. Which road will that new character take me down? I guess you'll have to wait till fall to find out. Because I'm also guessing it is going to take me that long to decide...
Lord, help me.



“The Road goes ever on and on down from the door where it began.

 Now far ahead the Road has gone, and I must follow, if I can, 

 Pursuing it with eager feet, until it joins some larger way 

 Where many paths and errands meet. And whither then? I cannot say.”


-J.R.R Tolkien





Thursday, May 26, 2011

Wherever you are...be all there

video



You Are Here: The Wailin' Jennys


You wonder why you wonder when
You wonder how now and then
How you became who you've become
You are here and yet you dream of being there
Of being where you think the good life has begun


Every darkened hallway, every fallen dream
Every battle lost and every shadow in between
Will bring you to your knees and closer to the reason


And there's no making cases 
For getting out or trading places
And there's no turning back, no you are here


Who can say who made the choice 
In the matter of your birth
Who brought about that fateful day
Well you are here and born with fire and desire
You're the only one can stand in your own way


And every broken arrow, every hardened smile
Every foolish gamble and every lonely mile
Will bring you to your knees and closer to the reason


And there's no making cases
For getting out or trading places
And there's no turning back, no you are here


And every sign of love, every seed that's growing
Every sweet surrender, to that silent knowing
Will bring you to your knees and closer to the reason


And there's no making cases
For getting out or trading places
And there's no turning back, no you are here





Friday, May 13, 2011

The Call

Lake Bodensee

The Call From The West
: E.A. Brininstool

Where the grass-lands roll in stretches like an endless, tossing sea,
To the mountains white and hoary, over ranges wide and free,
Where the country lies unbroken, and soft prairie breezes blow,
It is there my heart turns fondly and the siren bids me go.

It is far from cares and worries and the sordid haunts of man,
And the ceaseless rush and turmoil of the money-making clan;
Only peace and gladness linger 'round its quiet solitudes,
For the grasping hand of Progress on its border ne'er intrudes.

My country fair and shining, lies where sunset's glory gleams,
Over mountain-tops and mesas and along smooth, winding streams.
Where the greasewood and the sagebrush fling their sweet perfume afar,
And the cow-men watch their trail-herds by the blazing evening star.

I see it every evening in the dreams which come to me--
My glorious Western homeland across the sagebrush sea!
It lures my thoughts off yonder, where soft the twilights fall,
Where hearts are true and tender, and prairie breezes call.

And I must rise and answer, for the lure is ever strong;
It calls and beckons to me and breathes the West's own song.
It sings of wide horizons and sunny skies and fair,
Which seem to smile upon me and turn my footsteps there.


"My glorious Western homeland across the sagebrush sea!"


Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Peace





 I think that life has a close tie to its setting. Imagery is key in telling a story or in giving inspiration to it. It's a character in and of itself in a prominent way. A visual theme and musical drive for the character's development.
Against my young will, Arizona became my own story's setting. At first, much like my current spiritual life, I couldn't stand the setting. I wanted green, rain and ease; rolling hills and cooling winds (I watched too much of "The Secret Garden"). But as I grew older and the setting wouldn't change I think God really taught me to appreciate and later fall head over heals in love with the desert. The hardest lessons I have so far learned, and some of the greatest adventures I have so far had, have been in this beautiful, rugged and exotic setting. God had drawn out truths with its imagery, much like He did for the Israelites, and I love Him for it. It can be such a picture of the human spirit and the vast sky and what it brings being one of God's own Spirit. A stretch perhaps, but it's one that my little human mind can grasp well enough to know that my God is always good and more than enough.

Not my picture. I wish.

I love westerns. It could be my bias from my living location but I feel the west (and especially the desert) to be such a direct allegory to life. My life at least. Either life has ironically become like the desert or the desert has painted my reality of life. I can't quite tell. But whatever it is the westerns seem to emcompass all that the human heart struggles with in a wild, free and raw environment. There is something in a heart that wants to breathe so deep that the act of taking in, instead of exhaling, will be its last breath. For this heart, the desert and the west is called home. I've heard it from numerous people I love and feel akin to. Feeling almost like out there is reality and living in the city or away from Arizona is the dream you are waiting to wake up from. And when you are out in Arizona's rocky stretches or hidden between its canyon walls you feel awake, and that a deep breath in that awakening alone could carry you to heaven. True, it isn't Home. It's imperfect, flawed and harsh. But that is why it feels like you are on the brink of eternity and your true Home.  Being on honest ground that points you to a better eternity is heaven on earth. Better to see heaven from a place that pushes you towards it then a place beckoning you to stay for second best. 
I understand that Arizona can't always be there, that there will come a day that I will leave it, but it is the setting of the story I post.
So here is my western. Whether my location is in Arizona or not it doesn't matter. My heart will be there, waiting for the ultimate monsoon to roll in over its rocky painted stretches, bringing in eternity on a chariot of fire. And on that day, we can fully experience being absorbed into an awesome storm and into complete safety above the clouds. God will make it new, and we'll return to the canyon and enjoy such moments of peace as this picture provides and what I have tasted. So join me here in the desert as we wait in expectancy on the brink of eternity.





The Future