People will always let you down.

(Not sure if I've written about this before. I almost think I have and was thinking I shouldn't at the risk of sounding too cynical. It's been sitting heavy again though, like I need to articulate it again for myself and set it back into the groove.)
PEOPLE will ALWAYS let you down!
What would you think about a mother asserting this to her daughter if you overheard them together?
Would you think this mother was being cruel, not giving her child any hope in humanity, not encouraging her to keep positive despite having difficulty with her friends. Then you hear the mother reminding her of the times they have let each other down, how she can't trust her daughter because there's a history of disobedience and anger that her daughter can't get control of. The mother confesses to not listening and caring enough. 'We've both let each other down...a LOT!'
I'm that mom. This is a conversation I have regularly with my daughter.
There IS a level of trust we share with our family but there are times when even they might come short of your expectations. I make sure that I tell her about how even though we let each other down we are still capable of loving each other because of God's example. We don't deserve God's love, often...and HE still loves us. We should find it easier to love each other than God does because we are both sinners. We just don't love as perfectly as He does.
The point I try to get to with her is that only GOD deserves that pedestal in our lives. The pedestal of trust. The only one we can truly trust to meet our needs, to understand our fears, to know the longings of our heart FULLY. No one else will ever do that for us completely.
In Fact...No One should have to. That is too much responsibility on any given person. Why would I expect that anyone should know me that much and care for me that much?
I hope to offer freedom with this way of thinking. Freedom from unnecessary pain and disappointment. In fact, truly embracing this way of thinking has made my relationships with others more pleasing and hopeful.
When I EXPECT the worst from people, when I believe they will always let me down, that leaves me open to be surprised by their kindness and care. I am free to be proud of my children's obedience and willingness to make good choices. I am thoroughly impressed and grateful when they surprise me with acts of kindness towards each other and extend it to others as well.
I know. I sound like such a CYNIC! Truly. I sometimes worry I'm going to scar them. Jaded mother I am.
I don't feel jaded. I feel liberated.
Liberated from selfishness.
Honestly, I sometimes get whiney. Wishing I was surrounded by friends and family who would just know when I needed some time out for coffee, or when I feel lonely, or when I am sad, stressed, lonely, frustrated. I really don't have anyone close. Whaa. Whaa. Whaa. and a Boo Hoo.
Selfish. The Lord knows. The Lord hears.
He will never let me down.

10 years

So my last post was a few months ago. During that time we've been busy with unpacking (that was pretty fast this time, think I'm getting good at it), had a few token coffee's with old friends, gone back to our old church a few times and tried to get on with the rest of life.
I remember this time from the last time we moved 'back ' to a community. The initial 'they're back' novelty has worn off. We have quickly melded back in...practically unnoticed. I can't say I'm surprised, this is how it goes. 10 years is a long time. Very much has happened in the lives of so many people, ours included. They have lived the last 10 without us in them, I can't expect to start anywhere else than at the beginning again. I just don't have any effort left though, not really.
I mourn those 10 years. 10 years where I could have been building some fun times. 10 years where I could have been there for hard times and tough issues. 10 years where they could have seen me raise my kids and I could have seen theirs change too, how did you deal with this issue, here's how I've done it. 10 years of coffee talk and bible studies and care groups to get to the heart of things together.
I haven't had this anywhere. It's a gift I missed out on. Time. Together. Building.
Starting over. That's the path I'm on again. Sitting on a bench at the start of that path, looking through my backpack...deciding if I have what it takes to take the journey again. Feeling like the sun is a little low in the sky to even head down the trail.
Fortunately (and there's ALWAYS a fortunately...that's how it works when you know you're in God's big picture) I have my family, my husband, and he is my best friend. Fortunately I don't base my self worth on how many friends I have. Fortunately, facebook came into the world. Fortunately I am pretty self sufficient. Fortunately I have other things to focus my attention on. Fortunately I don't let these things get me down for long...because I know He holds the future, and life is worth the living!
I just need a moment to indulge in my self-pity. I happened to see a picture today of four friends who have stood the test of time, embracing over a cup of coffee. That set me off. Jealousy.
It won't take long. Just even 'blogging' it out is helping (being fully aware of the fact that my mom is the only one that reads this is actually fine with me!). Having my pity party.
Now, off to go listen to some uplifting music, one that will make me cry and confess my ungratefulness.

Regular Gypsies

I must admit, I have come to not even mind moving. It has become somewhat of a comfort already to pack up all my belongings in a box and relocate. I think I used to hate change and was maybe not open to TRULY letting God take me wherever He wanted. Well God. Lesson learned...I hope (meek insertion). I guess by even admitting that I hope I've learned the lesson is an admission that I haven't. I truly want to be able to stand at any fork in the road and proclaim 'Bring it on!' Whatever you have for me...wherever you want us to go.
I think some of my hesitation comes from wanting something more consistent for my kids now. They don't really even know what it's like to have 'friends for life' yet. I want that for them. I also know, though, that their caravans are ready for excitement. They have an awesome adaptability that will help THEM in the gypsy adventures God will send them on in their lives. Who knows though, they may be SO good at it already that God will have to teach them something else, they may be stuck here now FOREVER...mwahaha!!! Be content where you are.
For my own recollection and for your amusement, here is a list of all the places Tim and I have lived since being married:
1993- Caroline, AB
1994- Edmonton 1, Edmonton 2
1995- Edmonton 3, Edmonton 4
1996- High Level, AB 1, High Level 2, High Level 3
2002- Mennville, MB
2004- Edmonton 5
2006- Vauxhall, AB 1
2007- Lowe Farm, MB
2008- Edmonton 6
2009- Drayton Valley, AB
2010- Vauxhall 2, Vauxhall 3
2011- High Level 4
For a Grand Total of 17 moves, and for me an addendum:
1972- New York, NY
1973- Sherwood Park, AB
1975- Edmonton 1
1978- Louisville, KY
1980- Edmonton 2
1990- Edmonton 3
For a personal Grand Total of 23.
Buy me a hoop ring and call me Esmerelda!
(mom...feel free to correct my dates, I may be off a bit)

Fare thee well?

Have you ever noticed how the passages in Corinthians regarding LOVE have a real tilt to them?

Try not to think about that answer right now...check the passage later...for now, what is the first thing that comes to your mind when you think about how to love, how you love your spouse...your kids...your neighbours even?
Do you think of the passage 'Do unto others' right away? Maybe you think of respect? Maybe your mind goes directly to a more swooning 'LOVE'...the kind that twinkles and shimmers in the! (obviously you need to get a sitter for the kids if you're a SAHM and that's the first thing that comes to mind...most mom's REALLY know that LOVE is tilted)
Anyhow...back to the tilt...
These passages ALL seem to refer to things that are inately difficult to do. Love is NOT easy. Loving does not seem to assume that you'll be loved only hopes. It assumes that wrong will be done with the foreplanning of not remembering the wrong. Plan not to bring it up again.
Love requires that there is probably plenty reason to be patient and to 'suck it back' and be kind instead.
How am I measuring up to that kind of love when it comes to my kids especially?
I fare thee not so well.

Nothing new.

That's my answer lately, to a lot of life things.
How do we get that 'new' feeling again? There seems to be a thirst out there for this feeling, feeling new, feeling young, feeling the same thing we felt when things were new. The thoughts that may spring to your mind may be of first loves, faith-altering moments, new babies...that sort of thing. I am not THAT romantic. God's been really good to me that way. I have been dealt an usually uncommon amount of realism and contentment. I have been told, in fact, that I must not have enough estrogen.
I think it is because God has blessed me with a keen sense that when I experience monetary pain I had better learn a lesson from it because I doubt that He would ever put us through that crap without having a greater purpose. I TRUST that and have been well prepared for tougher grief because of it. I hope more than ANYTHING that I'll always see the beauty in the rain.
Here's my monetery examples:
-I just got a new windshield. It wasn't THAT bad, but bad enough that I thought maybe if another rock hit it that the whole thing would land on our laps mid-trip. So we got a new one...and were promptly blessed with two beautifully placed cracks one vertical across the whole and a horizontal one breaking out into a sprint daily.
-I just got a new massage table for the course I have FINALLY decided to take. The cat climbed on it sometime last night (knows better than to try this when we are looking) and scratched the brand new smooth, lovely vinyl on top! ARG!

So, then, I posted my frustration over these issues on facebook.

Minutes later, an old, dear friend came on to let me know how much she misses me and our bible studies with another few old friends.
Lesson learned.
Quit mourning things that you can't take with you. Mourn the real things. The friends you've developed, the ones that inspired you to new facets of your faith. Friends that miss you. Friends that you may never see again. satisfied.
We can't always expect new to stay new. Be satisfied with what you have.
This is actually the 'BIGGER' lesson I need to digest. I have not been able to build the same kind of friendships I had in High Level and in Manitoba. I have been longing for NEW ones to replace the ones I've lost.
I don't know how to fully grasp the parallel for this one. Somehow God's been telling I can't have new things right now.
Is that because He wants me to just be content with what I've got right here at home. My husband, my kids? Should I be trying harder to stay in touch with the old friends I've left behind?
My attraction to parallels falls short, all the time. I love to try though. To always seek the mystery of what God is doing in my life. Seek and you shall find He promised.

Always something new.

For Polly, who said I should blog:
It is very hard to be reprimanded and torn down a notch from someone who has no idea what your intentions were in the first place...particularly when you thought that what you were doing was a good thing.
I think I am safe to say that, generally speaking, I and most other people don't wake up in the morning asking themselves who we can hurt today. Yet, even with the best of intentions, sometimes people get hurt. I have had that happen to me. I have done it to others. Recently.
I think beauty can rise from these situations though, as in all bad situations. I think that beauty can come in the reaction to the pain.
We give people too much responsibility. Nobody, and I mean NOBODY, on the face of the planet can rise to the expectations others place on them. I don't believe we were ever supposed to place people on a pedestal like that. If you don't place expectations like that on others they won't let you down. Only God deserves that kind of pedestal.
I'd hate for you to think though that I don't have any hope that people will do the right thing though. I do HOPE for that. I hope that for all my relationships...I just don't 'EXPECT' it.
Clarifying this in my life has gifted me with more reactions of gratitude for times when they succeed AND more reactions of grace when they don't because I didn't expect it of them in the first place. I can just hope for better things.
Now, when the tables are turned and I didn't live up to the unstated expectations someone else had placed on me I HOPE that they can take me down from that pedestal and only hope that I don't hurt them again.
In the meantime, I can only hope they will gift me with some grace and understanding. Sadly I don't expect they will. For that, I am sorry.
It is not always healthy to change just because you have let someone down. I have done that too often in my life...changed who I was at my core because someone else wasn't happy with something I said or did. I lost track of who I was. I've learned that it's not always beneficial to rise to the expectations others place on you unless, of course you have sinned against them. They might not be able to see what path YOU are on, what purpose God is accomplishing through your life. Their current view of things might only involve themselves.
Live with integrity. Extend grace to ALL.

rogue sunflower

Warning: A long and boring read...just had to get it out of my head and work it out in writing.

I love this time of year, seeing the field abuzz with the action of machinery, harvesting crops of abundance after the greens have turned to shades of gold and yellow. Among others, the sunflowers stay out longer than the rest.
I drive past a field of sunflowers every day and observe their turning, and you know me...every day I tend to think through the parallels of life in the nature I observe.
Every summer it is beautiful to watch the fields of sunflowers, once they have their flower heads, follow the sun. Row upon even row (extremely even since the arrival of GPS in the farming world) all rising and facing east in the morning and slowly turning west throughout the day. True worship of the sun. Like a big church. Together with proper moisture and I'm sure some fertilizer that worship produces growth of abundance of seed in each flower head. So efficient.

But what then...?

The contrast between a sunflowers natural existence and the impressive sown rows upon rows has inspired a lot of thought in me.
These farmed sunflowers need desperate help at this stage. They are finishing their journey and are not even able to turn their heads to the sun any longer...their heads are too full. They have done their job well, rising, praising and growing like clock-work. Now, it is necessary for them to be harvested drastically. With big machines.
If they were to continue on their natural path they would eventually drop their seeds where they stand. What would this look like...? I imagine a big old mess for the farmer. Too many seeds in one place, they could never properly germinate the next year like this either.
In nature, their population is much more dispersed, their natural seed harvest is conducive to efficient volunteer germination the following spring. If proper soil conditions were available, natural sunflowers could fill a field too and on their own, with proper spacing to continue the trend for years to come, I am sure, without any help from a farmer. They might not make the farmer as much money...and the seeds might not have amount of calories and fat as their commercial siblings but they would probably be self sustaining and beautifully random and individually unique.
I have noticed that some of the farmers' sunflowers seeds do escape into the fringes. When the farmer grows potatoes in the same field next year you MAY see the stark contrast of a few lonely sunflowers growing in the corners because they survived from the year before.
I have read that farmers worry about these rouge sunflowers at this stage because given a year or so in the fringe they sometimes start to build up a resistance to different chemicals and then if sunflowers are planted in that field again they may blend with these rogues and also become resistant. Good, genetically altered seed trying to be more 'natural'...not a good thing if you want to make money and get fat off your crop.

OH...parallels that trap me. They all fall short eventually but I am drawn to them.

My thoughts were directed into a deeper understanding of what God wants for his people and his church.

I am currently reading a book called 'Pagan Christianity' (by Frank Viola and George Barna) that, for the first time, offers me hope that I am not the only one that thinks something is not right with the current way we are doing things. I know I eventually need to temper my thoughts and continue on with their next book 'Reimagining Church' but for now...I'm a rogue.

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