Thursday, August 18, 2011

Stronger in the Broken Places

Its late, I should be sleeping, but I keep thinking about what a delicate and beautiful thing a heart is.  So fragile, yet strong...when someone breaks it, or gauges out a big ragged piece of it, somehow it keeps on beating.  When a beloved friend or grandparent dies, a lover breaks their sacred vow, or a dear friend blindsides you with malice, we wonder why we ever let ourselves love them so much.

You take such a risk when you let someone inside your heart.  You are exposing parts of yourself that are precious and delicate.  Its a wonder we ever do it again once someone scars it badly.

That fresh wound, that raw and bleeding place, it hurts.  Whether blindsided by a shocking disappointment, or crushed by a devastating loss, it cuts through that soft and sensitive tissue, leaving a slash, or a hole awash with first it is dripping with sorrow and pain, with tears.  It's all you can think about and must be dealt with immediately.  Everyone hugs you, helping you to put slight pressure on your wound, as pressure helps staunch the flow....a fragile scab eventually seals in your tears.  The tissue slowly starts to knit together, ever so slowly and softly, healing with time and with care.  You treat it tenderly and gently, but it might get bumped with a memory or a might even break open a few times, awash with fresh blood...only to have to knit together again...

As the wound begins to heal, the swelling goes down, the bruises fade...and the hurt isn't the focal point of your heart as much anymore.  The scar will remain, the hole might not fill in.  You kind of make a little box to keep your heart in for a want to protect it from such pain in the future, you don't want to risk such a crushing, debilitating wound again!  You might even have to nail the box shut for a bit...self preservation and fear drive the nails in.

But as time goes on, as the scar makes that broken place stronger than it was before, hope and renewal will come along with a pliers and slowly take those nails out of your heart by one, perhaps you might get scared and replace one or two in the process, but eventually the nails come out, and you get brave enough to lift that lid off the box.  Perhaps someone helps you to lift that lid off...You might leave some of the sides on the box, you aren't that brave anymore, it hurts too much.  BUT you let someone inside your heart again.  Perhaps they reach in and fill that hole, maybe that hole never gets filled.  Perhaps they decorate a new corner of your heart and make it shine and bounce and glow with happiness.  This bright love and shine of hope outshines the darker spots, it radiates more powerfully than the bleakness of the scar did.  Perhaps a new friendship, or a place for forgiveness.

The point is, we all get wrecked.  We all get slashed to pieces sometimes, but then we are stronger in the broken spots, it will heal as we let others shine their light in to overshadow that disappointment, that scar, that sorrow.  If you keep your heart in the box too long, it will shrivel up and no light gets in at all.  It's hard to believe in that light when your heart is crying fresh blood, your pain is so raw.

Its been 6 months since someone slashed a wretched crevice into my heart.  I was completely devestated by the blow, shocked by someone who I thought was a dear friend and then she revealed her true self and I am still trying to let that wound heal.  It bled for a long time...I think it might be scaring over now, and I'm hoping for a big strong spot to melt that hole back together.  I'm struggling to make the choice every day to forgive and let it go.  Learn from it but not let it scare me into not letting other dear ones inside my heart.  That is hard as I don't want to take my heart out of my box - I want it armored so I can't bleed, but yet I want that connection that only can come from an open heart from me to my dear sweet friends.  And there is no room in there for hate or resentment, so as I choose every day to forgive and let that scar become stronger, I try to fill up with the joy and love borne of true friends and genuine relationships built on trust and faith.

Monday, August 15, 2011

We cant all be roses

Our Ladies Ministries group at church recently were discussing renaming our "serving groups" to something more inviting, or something that sounds more like something fun.  I thought about it a bit and sent the following to the president of the group.  Everyone wants to read it I guess, so by popular demand, I thought I would just post it on my blog.

I humbly submit for your perusal...consideration if I may. I recognize your authority in such matters but would like to propose an idea for your Majesty's approval...
I know you are busy, so in the interest of trying to help out, I was thinking about the dilemma you are facing with naming the 3 groups of "servers". Some people say I think too much, but then again I often hear that I should think more, usually before I speak, my bad. I don't really see how thinking too much should be a problem, as we are equipt with brains - they are muscles, and must be exercised to make them strong...but I digress...Anyway, I was thinking, ok so we have 3 groups.
We should call them "Stink weed" - I could be the mascot really, I have tons of natural ability in this area (if you get my drift, no pun intended).
The next one should be "Venus Fly Traps". See the reference with they eat, and we are serving food...get it...I think that is very essential for the literal picture there. Plus its fun to say.
The third one should be the "Onion smelling one" (sorry I don't recall the name). Also has to do with food, we do eat onions...
Then I propose (you can even sell this as your very own idea, I wont mind) that we have a 4th group. Call it the "Poison Ivy's". If you chronically don't show up, or give your leaders grief, you get demoted to being a Poison Ivy. Nobody wants to be poison ivy....give everyone a little bit of an incentive to show up and be good. (we could even make them wear a poison ivy button or something to cause shame and regret).
Then going with the whole flower idea, the "chair" sounds kinda dumb, so we should call her something else. I think she should be the Gardener. (I personally like the idea of the Fertilizer, but that might not go over so well, especially with the idea of food again). Plants need a gardener to flourish and grow strong and beauteous. Or even the Blossom - she would be the head of the plant....reminds me of a show in the 80's tho...of the girl named Blossom who was kinda weird and now she's gay...but I digress....
Then we can break down the group into seeds, roots, stems, petals, thorns, oops - whatever if we want like different job assignments like cleaners or setter uppers or servers or sit in the dark and be quiet (those would be the seeds). We could even have ppl who don't show up or who need some discipline be the
It does take all kinds to make a beautiful garden. We can't all be roses...amen.
Respectfully submitted,
Kathryn Riehle

Monday, August 8, 2011

separation of church and state?

One of the main reasons our ancestors broke away and started this wonderful country was to be able to start a country based on freedom.  Freedom of speech, freedom of religion.  We hold dear the right to be able to make our own choices and voice our own opinions in any way we choose.  Men died to earn that right for you as an American.

We have the freedom to believe in and worship whatever Deity we choose.  We can worship God, Allah, Buddha, or even Satan.  We have the right to do that.  We can even choose to reject them all and become an atheist.  We are proud to be able to say we can freely worship our god in any way we choose.

I can be a Christian and you can be a Muslim and Joe down the street can be a Satanist.  That is our right as Americans.

Ok, with me so far?

My husband and I CHOSE to get married in a church.  We CHOSE to believe in God, we CHOSE to invite God into our lives and our marriage.  We CHOSE to be married by a pastor and we CHOSE to read scripture and pray during the ceremony.

We could have just as easily CHOSEN to get married by a judge in city hall, never utter a single prayer and we would still be just as married as we are today.  LEGALLY both options get you the same LEGAL rights in the eyes of the law.  All you have to do is get the licence, get someone legal to sign it and boom - you are married.  You are afforded all of the LEGAL choices and options that any married couple has, REGARDLESS of your religious views or beliefs.  You can be an atheist and still get married.  God does not have to be involved at all. 

Ok, so I CHOOSE to believe in Jesus and that the Bible is a guideline for which we are to look toward to live our lives.  This is MY belief, but I cannot force you to believe it.  You may believe just as strongly in satanism as I do in Christianity.  That is our rights as Americans.

I may believe that the Bible is true, but you might think it is just a book.  You might believe in the Koran or another book I may not have even heard of.  Take Bob down the street, he is a member of a group that worships the sun, moon and the stars as his gods.  He is free to do so.  He has a book that he calls the book of X.  He believes that the rules and the set of guidelines in it are holy and meant for him to live his life by.  In this book of X, it says that it is a sin to eat beef.  It is in fact an ABOMINATION to eat beef.  Bob truly believes this in his heart because that is what he has been taught, that is what his life is built around.

Bob's group gains a lot of notoriety and press.  They want to enact a new law that says nobody in the whole country can ever again eat beef because it is wrong.  They are telling all of us that their belief is the right one, and that it should be outlawed to eat beef because it is an ABOMINATION.  Most of us would think this is unfair.  I don't believe that, I think it is totally ok to eat beef, my set of beliefs and guidelines that I have chosen to live by say it is perfectly fine to eat meat, so you shouldn't make me subscribe to your ways of thinking just because your chosen set of beliefs are different than mine.

Bob's group's only reason for this new law is that it is based on the book of X. I don't believe in the book of X, but Bob does.  He doesn't believe in the Bible but I do.  Who should say whether we eat beef or not?  Shouldn't each of us get to decide on that issue as we see fit?  Based on the book of X it is wrong, but based on the Bible it is ok. making a law to say that gay people cannot wed based on what you have chosen to believe in the Bible is ok?  You don't have to be a Christian to get married, so why should you have to believe in the Bible to regulate it?  Isn't this the ultimate separation of church and state issue?  Don't we leave religion out of the argument?  You are free to worship and believe in whatever you want, but isn't outlawing gay marriage infringing upon their right to believe or reject whatever they want as well?

I can believe whatever I want based on whatever I want.  I can personally believe it is right or wrong but LEGALLY it shouldn't matter what my personal beliefs are when it comes to the law.  I don't want Bob's group to force all of their beliefs on me anymore than he wants me to force mine upon him!  What if they wanted to enact a law that would forbid me to take communion or to sing hymns?  Those are intrinsic to my worship and my religion.  Perhaps they want to make everyone bow down to the statue of Buddha in the town square....once you let religion govern legislation you are getting into some dangerous territory.  I want to have the right to always practice whatever religion I want.  But don't others have that same right as well?