Saturday, October 06, 2012

Winnie and the Jesus dream

Pastor Cartwright's wife's name was Winnie. At least that is what I think her name was. No she wasn't "Winne the Pooh", but she was very friendly and kind. She had gray fluffy hair, a kind face, and a easy going way about her. All these characteristics were reasons I probably wasn't afraid to tell her about the dream I'd had.

I was no more than 5 years old and I was sitting in her Kindergarten Sunday school classroom. There was I picture on the wall of Jesus and a multicultural group of children crowding around him. I really liked that picture.

At some point, I'd had a dream about Jesus when I was in her class. In the dream, I was one of the children in the crowd huddled around him. In fact, at one point of the dream I was sitting on Jesus lap having a nice chat with him - probably about how much I loved my red patent leather Buster-brown dress shoes.

No matter what I actually talked to Jesus about in my dream, I was so excited to have been "choosen" to be so close to him.

I couldn't wait to tell Winnie.

We all said our hellos and got started talking about the lesson that day, but upon seeing the picture in that classroom I could wait no longer.

"Miss Winny, can I tell you about a dream I had? It's about Jesus!"

She smiled. She listened.
She did not chide me for wanting to be the child in the center of Jesus' attention.
She included the rest of the class in the discussion.
She affirmed me that it was a wonderful dream and brought this dream into the light of day.
We all talked about how it would be amazing to meet Jesus face to face.
What would we say to him?
Who would we tell about meeting him?
What do we think he would say to us?

In our discussion, we read Mark 10:13-16 and knew what Jesus would do.
Jesus would bless the little children, take time with the little children and love the little children.

Just like Miss Winne did.
Thanks Winnie.
You always let us know that God has plenty of space for " All the little children of the world."
People were bringing little children to Jesus to have him touch them, but the disciples rebuked them. When Jesus saw this, he was indignant. He said to them, "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it." And he took the children in his arms, put his hands on them and blessed them. Mark 10:13-16 (NIV)

Monday, October 01, 2012

SWB: Things to keep

There is a distinct difference in what I actually need and what I want. And if I'm honest, I know that all the seeking after the 'wants' can prevent me from digging into the needs I actually have.

The last week has been a whirlwind of want/needs. When I pause to look at what I'm most grateful and least grateful for - I'm pointed to the spaces of need and the thin residue of want that often gets in the way.

So, if you will bear with me - I'm going to do some thoughtful sorting this week in SWB. It may be a process that will take more than this one post. But the sorting has to start somewhere, right?

If you have ever watched those remodeling shows on TLC - you'll recall the keep, throw away, and donate piles that are necessary to come to a place of elbow room and change to whatever space is being reworked. If I were to remodel my interior life - what would I keep, throw or donate?

This metaphor has a great deal of possibility - so here's whats in my pile of "What to keep" for this week:

Patience with self and others: Transition has been a key word for me this fall. Seminary classes have started, re-working programs and work related roles is an ongoing process, and coming to terms with this is challenging. In this transition, some things have come to the surface that are needed more than ever. 

Thoughtful and life giving conversations: My husband, Ian, and I love to have deep conversations. We like to dream, to ponder, and puzzle with each other over so many things. It's been especially helpful for me to talk out some school-work questions, dream some vocational dreams and have his support and partnership in this process. This kind of conversation with Ian, makes me desire greater depth with my interactions with others as well. 

This week at work, there was a great deal of this activity as Paul Sparks from the Parish Collective came to discuss mission and 'weaving a fabric of love and care in our community." Over lunch, over dinner and walking around Jamestown - this quality conversation happened all week long with many members of the community. 

Openness: Over another meal with friends this weekend, a woman came up to our table and asked us - "Are you all on a team together?" The friends gathered were a mix of family, new acquaintances, old friends and mission workers. We all attend different churches, but the one thing we all have in common is our faith in God. So, we responded, "We are all friends, but I suppose you could say we are on God's team." 

The woman's eyes filled with tears and she said, " I want to be on God's team - I NEED GOD!"

Her honesty took me off guard, my friend got up and embraced her. We listened to her profess her needs. By the end of the meal, she had a glimmer of hope in her eyes. The next day, my friend took her to church with her and got her connected with a supportive faith community. 

This account may seem unreal, but it was very real. Thankfully, the group of friends assembled were open enough to welcome this unpredicted conversation.  What if this sense of openness invaded everyday life? What kinds of unexpected "Bread" would be born into the common?

"What to donate"

The "what to donate" is becoming a little clearer. What that revolves around is discerning what to say yes or no to, but also involves bringing some more partners in holy mischief alongside to help with what is to be. There are some cool things I have on hand, but they might be better used if I placed ownership in others hands. More to come on this.

"What to toss"

If I sort carefully, the 'what to toss' comes down to a central theme: self-imposed limitations that are kept in place by fear. 

I came across this quote earlier this week: "The key to change is to let go of fear." Rosanne Cash

There seems to be so much change that needs to come about. Sometimes I get in a hurry and other times I bog progress down by living into fear instead of living into the promise of hope. I need to uncurl my clenched fists to allow access to that key of change or ask God to help me become free of fear.

All the things I desire to hold on to are a part of that unclenching process: patience, caring conversations and openness. 

What do you need to keep, donate and toss this week?

Blessings on your bread baking and sorting - 

Sleeping with Bread: Getting Re-started

It's been a while since "Sleeping with Bread" was a regular practice for me. A while back, there was a sweet little community of bloggers that would share in this Monday practice but over time, pressing schedules, and life's movements  - it was a practice that sort of fell away.
One of our community posted this to his blog a while back to explain more of what Sleeping with Bread is - 
So here are some thoughts from Unfinished Person...
During the bombing raids of WWII, thousands of children were orphaned and left to starve. The fortunate ones were rescued and placed in refugee camps where they received food and good care. But many of these children who had lost so much could not sleep at night. They feared waking up to find themselves once again homeless and without food. Nothing seemed to reassure them. Finally, someone hit upon the idea of giving each child a piece of bread to hold at bedtime. Holding their bread, these children could finally sleep in peace. All through the night the bread reminded them, “Today I ate and I will eat again tomorrow.”
Linn, Dennis et. al, Sleeping with Bread

Sleeping with Bread is a Monday meme. You can participate in one of two ways: 1) Pick one of the above examen question sets and answer it in the comments section of my SWB post; or, 2) Create your own Sleeping with Bread post. You can also phrase the question in any of the following ways:For what am I most grateful? Least grateful?
When did I give and receive the most love? The least love?
When did I feel most alive? Most drained of life?
When did I have the greatest sense of belonging? Least sense of belonging?
When was I most free? Least free?
When was I most creative? Least creative?
When did I feel most connected? Least connected?
When did I feel most fully myself? Least myself?
When did I feel most whole? Most fragmented?

For  simplicity's sake, I will kick things off in a  separate  post above with the first question listed (most grateful/least grateful). If you would like to join in, please do so by responding in the comments at this weeks "Sleeping with Bread". 

It's good to be baking with you again.