Sunday, September 11, 2011

I love you more than baseball...

... "More than baseball?" I said.

"Yes. More than baseball" he said.

"Wow- you must really love me."


What did we know? We were just babies. Fifteen and seventeen years old. What could we possibly know about love, and life, and all that comes with it?

How could we know?

How could we know about responsibility and commitment and bills and schedules?

What could we know about dreams and passions, and nurturing careers, and pursuing education?

What could we know about raising a family, and pushing past exhaustion, and feeling as though there is no more left to give?

How could we know?


And yet- nearly twenty years later- when we fall into bed at night- I look into those eyes and think, "I love you more than children, and theology books, and yoga, and running, and puppies, and deep conversations, and all that brings me joy-- of all of those things- I still love you most."

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Do you have time to talk?

How easy is it to go through a day without really talking to anyone?
I mean really talking.
Not the usual, "Hi, how are you?"... "Good. You?"
Facebook doesn't count.

I mean a real conversation of mutual listening and sharing.
Real interest in what the other has to say.
Genuine vulnerability to the words of another- which might perhaps shift or change locked in perspectives.
When was the last time you talked to someone who may challenge what you know about the world?


Honestly, life is so full that most often it is easier to just put down my head- to keep walking, looking at my phone, rattling off my to-do list in my head.

My days are full- just as each of yours are. There is just so dang much to do. It is easy to wake up, get to yoga, say a few quick hellos... share niceties... come home... hurry the kids along... drive up to the school... pass by all of the other parents with a quick head nod- a small wave. Off to work or school or the grocery store... moving through the day without ever truly stopping to listen.. or to share.


Over the past week I happen to have had multiple deep conversations at random times and places... these conversations left me wondering, "What am I missing on all of these days when I rush around with out stopping to talk?"


With my massage therapist I heard stories of his past, of his struggle to find love, of his children and his dreams.

With a fellow parent at the kids school we talked about the struggle to raise kids in an environment with ethnic diversity in a culture that self segregates. We discussed school politics and the longing to provide the best opportunities for our kids while also being aware of the social and political problems in our education systems.

With a man from India, who I talked to for an hour at Starbucks, I heard about his struggle to find community in Fort Worth, his dreams to write a movie script, and his perspective on possibilities for creative freedom that he witnesses in the US.

With my sweet daughter Faith, while sitting in a public restroom, We talked through her questions after reading the book Because of Winn Dixie... She wanted to know, "what's it like to be a Mom, is it hard?" (btw-the Mom in this book leaves the family- thanks author Katie DiCamillo for planting that in my kids head)...


What would I have missed if I hurried out from my massage appointment, if I'd dropped the kids off for a play date and silently ran errands on my own, if I'd not shared my table at Starbucks, if I'd sent Faith into the bathroom without staying to talk?


Each of these encounters left me thinking. Each of these conversations shifted my perspective of the world- even if only for a few minutes.

There is some part of me - deep inside- that can't help but think that these little conversations- that sharing with our fellow travelers on this convoluted path- is a big part of what life is all about.

So may you, and may I,
put down the phone,
close the book, or the computer,
let the to-do list sit unfinished--

may we each stop to talk.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Dysfunction Junction: What does your body mean to you?

My days are filled with caring for little bodies....
Hugging bodies,
bathing bodies,
feeding bodies,
lifting bodies,
tucking bodies into bed.

I spend lots of time teaching the care of these bodies...
Did you brush your teeth?
Don't pick your nose.
Eat your dinner.
Did you wipe?

I love these little bodies that are in my care more than I can speak of.
Nothing compares to a snuggle on the couch when we all get home,
or that big hug at first sight,
or the kiss before bed.


And yet- in our culture, and in our religious traditions we have this schizophrenic relationship with these bodies of ours.

Today in class (Sexuality and Ministerial Practice) we watched a presentation called Killing Us Softly 4 (

We were bombarded with images that we are all familiar with- images that objectify, sexualize, and dehumanize women.

We saw advertisements for things such as deodorant, jeans, beer, cars, hair gel, and fast-food- that time after time that represent women as purely sexual objects, or as meant to be submissive and voiceless (while still being sexy of course). Violence against women was repeatedly used to sell products. The images told us we need to slim down to a size 00 or less-- but if we can't, then surely cookies or a Carl's Junior burger will comfort us.

We seem to have two choices: Run from this world- escape these bodies of ours and dream of the sweet by and by...

Or whore our bodies out to the highest bidder.

There is no in-between.

How have our religious teachings not only been complicit, but been an accessory to this atrocious way of seeing our bodies?

Perhaps too often women are seen as either the 'Virgin Mary' or the 'trouble-maker Eve'?

Or, maybe our bodies are seen as something of no value. Something that will be left behind?


I wonder- how can we embrace our own physical 'created-ness'? We were after all created in the image of God- as good- right?

How can we reclaim healthy physical relationships- enjoy and appreciate our own sexuality (and the sexuality of others) as a gift from God- not something to be objectified and used a a marketing scam- but something to be embraced and enjoyed?

How can we develop a healthy self-image and relationship with our body? Perhaps one that inspires us to care for this physical gift from God through feeding it healthy foods, exercise, sleep- while also letting go of cultural ideas of 'perfection'?


Honestly, most important for me today-
as I snuggle my sweet children on the comfy couch,
as I feel my skin next to their skin,

I long to protect these bodies. I long for them to love their own bodies. I hope that they will see their body as a gift from God- I hope they will respect their body- and the bodies of others. I hope they will one day experience the full joy that living in a body brings...

But really- my gut inclination is to build a giant bubble in the back yard and keep them in it until they are 30 or so... That would work. Don't you think?....

ps- props to Anderson Cooper on CNN who tonight while I was writing this ran a bit about a ridiculous t-shirt JCPenny just pulled after the outrage it generated- check out the story...