Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Brave Thoughts.

Today I read something that hit me in the heart and I want to share it.  I find it brave to kindly and gently say what you believe, especially when it's about something that can easily become so hateful.  This is what I read today.  I found it to be brave.  I found it to be full of grace.  And, perhaps surprisingly, I found it to be very important to me.  If you comment, please read twice.

Abortion, by Frederick Buechner

Speaking against abortion, someone has said, "No one should be denied access to the great feast of life," to which the rebuttal, obviously enough, is that life isn't much of a feast for the child born to people who don't want it or can't afford it or are one way or another incapable of taking care of it and will one way or another probably end up abusing or abandoning it.

And yet, and yet.  Who knows what treasure life may hold for even such a child as that, or what a treasure even such a child as that may grow up to become?  To bear a child even under the best of circumstances, or to abort a child even under the worst--the risks are hair-raising either way and the results incalculable.

How would Jesus himself decide, he who is hailed as Lord of Life and yet who says that it is not the ones who, like an abortionist, can kill the body we should fear but the ones who can kill body and soul together the way only the world into which it is born can kill the unloved, unwanted child (Matthew 10:28)?

There is perhaps no better illustration of the truth that in an imperfect world there are no perfect solutions.  All we can do, as Luther said, is sin bravely, which is to say (a) know that neither to have the child nor not to have the child is without the possibility of tragic consequences for everybody yet (b) be brave in knowing also that not even that can put us beyond the forgiving love of God.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Community Brainstorm

Have you ever noticed that the "talks" in movies never last as long as they would in real life?  A break-up talk, something that might last all night and be horrible and mean and sad, is less than two minutes in Movie Time.  Pretty much every time I watch a movie or see a show in which they have a serious conversation I find myself thinking, "that would last SO MUCH longer in reality."  Really, your reconciliation talk after much distrust and bitterness is only going to be a few phrases?  And you feel satisfied with that?  I wanna see a movie where they break-up for a whole episode.  Give me the exhausting, gut-wrenching, trivial, hour-long conversation where people say everything they say.


That's not what this post is about.  We don't need a community brainstorm about Movie Talks.

I want to hear what you do that is good for you this time of year when it gets dark and sad.  I want to know what keeps you hopeful, what brings you peace, what makes you brave.  I'm going to write down some of the things that I know help me hold onto sanity, but I would love for everyone who reads this and struggles with darkness to share as well.  Here goes:

1.  Running in the rain and the cold.  I feel like I battle the elements and come out stronger and better afterwards.

2.  Hot tea with a blanket and a good book.  But really, it's about allowing myself to be and not need to accomplish anything.

3.  A movie that gives me a means of catharsis.  Bawling my eyes out to Moulin Rouge is surprisingly helpful.

4.  Regular time with friends.

5 - 10.  Going to the beach.

Your turn please.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Winter Run

I have to be surprised by good runs.  If I start out thinking, "I'm going to do three loops," I'm doomed before I even start.  But if I think about running two loops, I can surprise myself with three.

I ran tonight and I got wet; it was cold and dark; the air was frosty.  Perfect running conditions.  I breathed deep and thought about running depression into the ground.  I thought about how next to the difficulty of marriage or a job, running up a hill is cake.  I reminded myself that my legs recover soon after the running is over.  They can handle a little shin ache.  I did lots of lunges and sweated badness out of my body.  I breathed in purpose and motivation.  I ran for health.  I ran for clarity.  I ran to just fucking get whatever it is out of my system.

3.6 miles.  Surprise!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Sunset at 4.40pm

I can't remember a prettier fall.  or a drier one.  There have been such breathtakingly beautiful, crisp autumn-y days this year.  I hardly feel that I'm in Portland.  I normally associate yellow with fall in Oregon, but I've been blessed with some rich reds near my house.  I love to kick leaves.  There is such a soul-satisfying rustling and crunching under my boots.

Yesterday though, I was driving up Bethany and a few of the trees were completely bare.  The others seemed for the first time as though they were weighted down with detritus that they were anxious to shed.  The leaves looked dirty to me.  I ached for the clean lines of naked branches.  I was ready for the last of the leaves to fall and wash away.  

O Winter.

I can't quite go there yet.  After Daylight Savings Time it got so dark in the evenings.  or late afternoons, rather. I don't like it.  

I'm trying to run out of doors.  I know that will be good for me.  I like to think of running as a Winter sport.  I hate running in the heat.  Hate Hate.  I love running in the cold; it feels right and good.  And I believe that it helps hold off depression.  or rather, that it gives me a tighter grip on perspective and sanity during the long, dark months.

(I know I have a "Winter post" every year.  This isn't it.  But it's getting closer.  I'm one beach trip away from full acceptance of this season.)  

Deep breaths everyone.