Thursday, March 31, 2011

expressing need

i'm a pauper in this area. often i don't say what i need because i'm afraid of what the hearer may think of me. i then choose asceticism and i get chained up in rules about things i don't have and on some level i believe i don't deserve. i think of the man that i am in light of expectation of what my parents pushed at me.
let me be honest about that ... Mom and Dad ... i am not the man that you expected i would be. i'm not a tea-todler (not sure how you spell that), although i do enjoy tea ... but i also enjoy beer, much more than tea actually. i swear when i'm angry and i've been angry a lot over the last year. i'm spiritually weak sometimes but i'm also completely ok with concepts like doubt in that area too. there are some basic spiritual tenets that i no longer hold to, and i'm fine with the idea that the cut and dry pat answer does absolutely nothing for me anymore.
i'm tired of behaving a certain way because i don't want someone to think less of me. i won't keep up masks the same way, in fact i don't want to keep up masks at all. i will believe, but i will decide what and how i believe. if it stings that i don't follow the rules of what a good Christian lad should be doing then i guess i won't be a good Christian lad. those are rules that i don't want part of anymore.
i will choose how i will be. i will try to express what i need more and i will try not to worry about what other's think of that need. i do deserve to have my needs met ... and i deserve the chance to meet needs too. it should be an expectation shouldn't it?

i deserve love. i deserve happiness. i deserve to choose my path. the Spirit helps me decide what the rules are, just like she helps you decide these things too. the field is wide open, i am not an amoral man and i can determine what i need.

i deserve to have my needs met. so do you.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Coming Home

i've had the Skylar portion of Diddy's song "Coming Home" (that would be the chorus) going through my head for about 24 hours now. the Diddy portion of the tune is actually decent if you ask me, he gets introspective and there are definite portions when he spoke to me but still ... Skylar speaks to me most here.

I'm Coming Home, Coming Home
Tell the World I'm Coming Home
Let the Rain wash away, all the pain of yesterday
I know my Kingdom awaits, and they've forgiven my mistakes.
I'm Coming Home, Coming Home
Tell the World I'm Coming Home

it's fine for me to be thinking on this thought during Lent when i'm supposed to be considering my own introspection, my own return home ... to God ... to my life ... to my world. i woke at 445 this morning and laid in bed til 530 and thought. i've been thinking too much lately actually. it's mostly about worry about what is ahead and where things are going and how to adjust to change or even if i can.
so i got up. i had to go to the S's place this morning to check in on their pup while they're away for a couple days, i'll be back there after work too. the pup's a thrill because she acts like i'm her guy and in many ways ... i am ... she's my pup too.

sometimes i just find that life is so hard


I'm Coming Home, Coming Home
Tell the World I'm Coming Home
Let the Rain wash away, all the pain of yesterday
I know my Kingdom awaits, and they've forgiven my mistakes.
I'm Coming Home, Coming Home
Tell the World I'm Coming Home

Friday, March 25, 2011

the meaning is in the struggle

i sat down for coffee with a friend who has been down similar paths as me, and we discussed our struggles as they have related to one another. we both have had spouses who have fought hard against physical, mental and emotional ailments and we talked about how that affected each of our own physical, mental and emotional makeup. i didn't know why God had led me to talk to G but it was an overwhelming feeling that i needed to talk to him. we barely knew each other so it wasn't an easy thing for me to approach him about it. we sat in a coffee house drinking decaf Americano's while i tried to express what was on my heart.

G is a songwriter and he has the heart of a poet. i am a dreamer who longs to be poetic but finds it hard to find words to the emotion that flows easily from me of late.

he said "I've given up worrying about happiness" and it floored me a little. he was saying that the meaning of it all is found in the struggle together. life is hard and it'll kick you in teeth sometimes but the meaning, the fulfillment, the joy and most of all the hope of life can be found as we struggle to find God in our relationships.

i have most definitely struggled of late but i have also seen some small rays of hope. to be honest even the arrival of hope scared me this week because i've been sitting in the dark so long now that the presence of light caused me to ask what this would mean for my life. i couldn't believe that i was seeing sights of things that i have longed for, prayed for and screamed at God for but i feared that i might actually get what i was looking for. the anxiety from this week was been pretty bad but in a weird way because i had an indication that things may go in a GOOD direction for my life.

i've doubted if my faith was strong enough to carry me. i've doubted if i wanted to be in this place or if i wanted to go the direction i have been saying i want to go. i've feared, even mourned those paths that i could've gone on and if hope blossoms then i can't believe that i've actually feared and mourned that i won't be able to go the directions that i didn't want to go.

i still don't know how to cross the mountains ahead. i still don't know how to address those things that must be addressed. i'm trying to address my own stuff and work on that.

and i'm finding meaning in the struggle.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Monday, March 21, 2011

what Henri is saying to me

i continue to read "The Inner Voice of Love" by Henri Nouwen. here's the latest excerpt that reached me.

See Yourself Truthfully

You continue struggling to see your own truth. When people who know your heart well and love you dearly say that you are a child of God, that God has entered deeply into your being, and that you are offering much of God to others, you hear these statements as pep talks. You don't believe that these people are really seeing what they are saying.
You have to start seeing yourself as your truthful friends see you. As long as you remain blind to your own truth, you keep putting yourself down and referring to everyone else as better, holier, and more loved than you are. You look up to everyone in whom you see goodness, beauty, and love because you do not see any of those qualities in yourself. As a result, you begin leaning on others without realizing that you have everything you need to stand on your own feet.
You cannot force things, however. You cannot make yourself see what others see. You cannot fully claim yourself when parts of you are still wayward. You have to acknowledge where you are and affirm that place. You have to be willing to live your loneliness, your incompleteness, your lack of total incarnation fearlessly, and trust that God will give you the people to keep showing you the truth of who are.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

March 17th

it's St. Patty's day ... but that's not what is on mind today.

it would've been my pup's 11th birthday today. i miss her.

Wendy officially finishes with her program at the hospital today although she'll have ongoing meetings with folks there still i guess. it's still an unnerving time for her and consequently for me too.

Lord have mercy

in those moments when i haven't felt like i could pray, this is all that could occupy my mind. when i would concentrate on some sort of centering prayer this would be my focus. it's one of a few disciplines that i'm trying to work on personally ... to try and be more self-aware as i realize my own failings within my struggles and my successes.

as i consider how resentments that i have contributed to, caused or harboured in my life and marriage ...
Lord have mercy.

as i ponder the possible pains and troubles ahead from medical and marital difficulties ...
Lord have mercy.

as i try to deal with my own stresses, my own health and those things that i can't get out of my head ...
Lord have mercy.

as i search for light everywhere and question those few moments where i think i've heard from God ...
Lord have mercy.

as i try to be merciful and fair in my dealings with people ...
Lord have mercy.

as i dream and consider what has been, what is, and what will be ...
Lord have mercy.

help me not to let stress, emotion, worry, or circumstance work on my will like it seems to work on my changing emotion ...
Lord have mercy.

Lord have mercy on me, a sinner.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Ash Wednesday

We Come Into the Presence of God

Joel 2:12-15

12"Yet even now," declares the LORD,
"(A)Return to Me with all your heart,
And with (B)fasting, weeping and mourning;
13And (C)rend your heart and not (D)your garments "
Now return to the LORD your God,
For He is (E)gracious and compassionate,
Slow to anger, abounding in lovingkindness
And (F)relenting of evil.
14Who knows (G)whether He will not turn and relent
And leave a (H)blessing behind Him,
Even (I)a grain offering and a drink offering
For the LORD your God?
15(J)Blow a trumpet in Zion,
(K)Consecrate a fast, proclaim a solemn assembly,

Oh Lord, rend my heart.

We Accept the Call to Repent

Matthew 6:1-6, 16-18

1"Beware of practicing your righteousness before men (A)to be noticed by them; otherwise you have no reward with your Father who is in heaven.
2"So when you give to the poor, do not sound a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, so that they (B)may be honored by men (C)Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full.

3"But when you give to the poor, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing,

4so that your giving will be in secret; and (D)your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you.

5"When you pray, you are not to be like the hypocrites; for they love to (E)stand and pray in the synagogues and on the street corners (F)so that they may be seen by men (G)Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full.

6"But you, when you pray, (H)go into your inner room, close your door and pray to your Father who is in secret, and (I)your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you.

16"(A)Whenever you fast, do not put on a gloomy face as the hypocrites do, for they neglect their appearance so that they will be noticed by men when they are fasting (B)Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full.
17"But you, when you fast, (C)anoint your head and wash your face

18so that your fasting will not be noticed by men, but by your Father who is in secret; and your (D)Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you.

The 3 Traditions are alms-giving, prayer, and fasting. You don't do this to be important and seen, you do this in secret so that God rewards you and you don't get your reward from those who see you.

We Confess

oh Lord, i see my own weakness and brokenness. i confess my lack of faith and wandering faithfulness.

We Receive the Ashes

God remembers you are dust and calls you to a new life.

We Journey into Lent with Assurance

4I will (A)heal their apostasy,
I will (B)love them freely,
For My anger has (C)turned away from them.
5I will be like the (D)dew to Israel;
He will blossom like the (E)lily,
And he will take root like the cedars of (F)Lebanon.
6His shoots will sprout,
And his beauty will be like the (G)olive tree
And his fragrance like the cedars of (H)Lebanon.
7Those who (I)live in his shadow
Will again raise (J)grain,
And they will blossom like the vine.
His renown will be like the wine of Lebanon.
8O Ephraim, what more have I to do with (K)idols?
It is I who answer and look after you
I am like a luxuriant (L)cypress;
From (M)Me comes your fruit.

when i think of the story of Hosea being about Hosea redeeming an unfaithful spouse then i know very well of how God waits for me in my unfaithfulness toward Him. may i again raise grain and blossom like the vine.

as i think of the next 40 days of Lent i know i'll need to realize that God calls me back to Him. may i realize more and more my own need for redeeming as i try to come back on my journey toward God.

waiting for a miracle

naked pastor posted a cartoon and some really good editorial thoughts on this very topic. there's something very real and human in the statements he puts out there but some of the comments talk about "God helping those who help themselves" which just plain is not a biblical thought, it's Ben Franklin actually.

i've grown perilously tired of waiting for a miracle, waiting for God to reach down and heal our lives. i've almost come to the point of giving up on God sometimes but that in itself would change my life drastically more than i suspect that healing, redemption and rebirth would change it.

so i sit on my knees and i wait.

how long oh Lord?

how long.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

if you love love, then love loves you too

Some people get to make the news
Some people get to say what's true
Everybody's got to find their own way through
But if you love love, then love loves you too
Some people get to fly by night
Some people get to shine a light
Everybody's got to find their own way through
But if you love love, then love loves you too
But if you love love, then love loves you too
Some of us hunger for the finer things
Some lust for power like the ancient kings
Some have to leave behind everything they thought they knew
Some people don't know how much trouble they can brew
Some take the burden of another's pain
Some spend forever for a moment's gain
Everybody's got to find their own way through
But if you love love, then love loves you too
But if you love love, then love loves you too

- Bruce Cockburn

on a personal side note i'd love to find a chord progression for this tune and i can't find anything online. i wonder if one of my many musically brilliant friends can help me set up a progression that i can play and also be able to sing. in case you're wondering, i play best in D and i think my voice is best suited to sing in about an F (so i just use a capo and play it in D).

Monday, March 7, 2011

redemption needed

i was sitting in church yesterday and was hit by how our lives and relationships get starved for redemption sometimes. my relationships need to be redeemed, my marriage needs to be redeemed and i need to be redeemed. i couldn't hold it in. i was sitting in the back of the room doing sound but i had to express it. i did what i rarely do in my community. i shared it. we have a sharing time every week and i don't recall ever standing to share with our community in the decade plus i've sat in that circle.

i said, "i just want to speak to the need for redemption ... in our lives ... in our relationships. i need redeeming. my marriage needs redeeming." and i sat down to weep within my own lostness.

many showed their support for me with loving words of encouragement and hugs while i tried to contain myself.

Alicia, thank you for the hug. Nathan, thank you for the prayer. Ed thank you for encouragement. Lloyd, thank you for your concern. Tim, you inspire me.

Lord have mercy.

what Henri is saying to me

ok, so i've continued to read "The Inner Voice of Love" by Henri Nouwen and again this morning he reassured me with words that tell me to hold fast on my path. it's amazing to me that such depth comes out from a guy lost in so much depression and turmoil. i was able to pray again after i read these words this morning.

Come Home

There are two realities to which you must cling. First, God has promised that you will receive the love you have been searching for. And second, God is faithful to that promise.
So stop wandering around. Instead, come home and trust that God will bring you what you need. Your whole life you have been running about, seeking the love you desire. Now it is time to end that search. Trust that God will give you that all-fulfilling love and will give it in a human way. Before you die God will offer you the deepest satisfaction you can desire. Just stop running and start trusting and receiving.
Home is where you are truly safe. It is where you can receive what you desire. You need human hands to hold you there so you don't run away again. But when you come home and stay home, you will find the love that will bring rest to your heart.

Saturday, March 5, 2011


this is a personality test that i've taken several times and have come out the same most of the time. i am a INFP under that system which they call The Dreamer. i can't tell you how accurate that is as a description of me. i read a full breakdown of the dreamer and i was finding that i only questioned bits and pieces of their outline.

here, take a read at a chunk of who i am.

INFP - The Dreamer

Profile by Sandra Krebs Hirsch and Jean Kummerow

INFPs focus deeply on their values, and they devote their lives to pursuing the ideal. They often draw people together around a common purpose and work to find a place for each person within the group. They are creative, and they seek new ideas and possibilities. They quietly push for what is important to them, and they rarely give up. While they have a gentleness about them and a delightful sense of humor, they may be somewhat difficult to get to know and may be overlooked by others. They are at their best making their world more in line with their internal vision of perfection.


INFP children often create their own fantasy world and live very much within it. They may daydream about what is important to them, and sometimes others wonder if they are in touch with reality. They often get lost in their thoughts and books, and may develop a special ability in communicating, such as writing. They are somewhat reserved, especially in new situations.

INFPs decide early on what is important for them, what is of value. They tend to rely on themselves for direction and are reticent to ask others for help. They would rather do things themselves, to make sure they are done properly. INFPs have found this to be both a strength and a curse. Depending only on themselves and being careful not to show mistakes to others is important. As teens, INFPs may have a bit of a rebellious streak. They may argue with those who hold different values than they do. They are also likely to have a small, close set of friends with whom they share good times. In the comfort of those close relationships, they can relax and are often quite entertaining, since they see the world in a different and special way. Their sense of humour is readily apparent. However, unless an INFP finds an appreciation for his or her uniqueness and personal values, he or she may feel like an odd person out.

When they set their minds on things, INFPs are not likely to give up easily, yet because of their outward gentleness, they do not show their determination. They may not take a direct path, but somehow they reach their dreams.

As young adults, INFPs may have some difficulty finding the ideal career and the ideal mate, in part because of that very word 'ideal'. They have a vision in mind of what they want, yet reality may not follow suit. They may make several starts and stops in their career until they find a comfortable place for themselves.

INFPs have a need for perfection in connection with their personal values. They become frustrated with those who dwell on trivialities.

INFPs need a purpose beyond the paycheck. They become burned out easily if their job does not fit their value system; they may not feel good enough about what they have achieved and, as a result, may undervalue themselves and their contributions.

In retirement, INFPs need to look back and feel that they have led a worthwhile life that has made a difference. They want time for a variety of activities, including travel. They may also be very attached to their family and enjoy special visits with them.


INFPs learn best in flexible situations where they know the teacher takes a personal interest in them. They like to be able to interact with their peers, but not too much so. They want to feel free to dig into subjects that are of interest to them. Having both flexibility and creativity rewarded is encouraging to them. While they may not enjoy deadlines, if they value the assignment, they will meet those deadlines. Deadlines may force INFPs to decide that their work is 'good enough' to turn in.

Subjects that hold a great deal of interest for them are learned readily. They will often do extra work in their attempt to learn as much as possible about something of interest. And they often read assignments carefully and them work their creativity into the given framework of the assignment. Thus it may appear that they did not pay careful attention to the details of the assignment in their reinterpretation. It is best if they have teachers who appreciate their unique approach and who do not hold them to the letter of the law.


At work, INFPs contribute their creativity, their value system, and their ability to work with others. They are able to see the larger picture and how specific programs fit in. They do not dwell on the trivialities or the details. Their job must be fun, although not racous, and it must be meaningful to them. They need a strong purpose in their work. They want to be recognized and valued, without undue attention given to them. They may become embarrassed when make the center of attention. As a result, they may undersell their strengths in order to avoid being singled out and made to feel conspicuous. They would rather have their worth be noticed gradually over time.

INFPs like to work with cooperative people committed to the same values that they are. They can become bothered when they see others working at cross purposes, especially when conflict is overt. They do not like competition or bureaucracy. They need privacy. Calm and quiet appeal to them, as does time and space for reflection. People usually like working with INFPs even though they may not know them well.

INFPs are quite disorganized. But when tasks at hand are important and best done in an organized way, INFPs strive to do so. Practicality is not a driving force for INFPs. Things that traditionally belong together may not be placed together because the INFP does not see it as necessary. They have trouble finishing what they start because of their perfectionistic nature. When they do finish a project, they may not consider it done 'for good.' Projects can always be improved upon, revised, and reworked, and therefore INFPs find it hard to bring tasks to closure. Because they are able to visualize the finished product long before it is done, the actual completion is of less importance.

INFPs prefer occupations in which they can be involved in making the world better. Having their heart in their work is important to them. These occupations also allow for an element of creativity and flexibility. INFPs are particularly interested to be counselor, editor, education consultant, English teacher, fine arts teacher, journalist, psychologist, religious educator, social scientist, social worker, teacher, writer, and other occupations that engage their values.


The INFP leadership style is subtle, gentle, indirect, and inclusive of others. INFPs do not confront people head-on, but rather work with them and through them to get the job done. Their style is not an aggressive one but is highly persistent; only reluctantly do INFPs assume leadership roles.

They lead with their values in mind, and these guide them. They prefer not to take a hands-on approach with others but to allow them to achieve in independent ways. They are facilitative rather than directive. They encourage others by appreciation and praise. Critiquing others does not come easily to them.

INFPs seldom confront situations directly, in part because they do not like conflict. Whenever possible, they would rather wait for a situation to work itself out, since they trust that people will work things through. They do not like following all the rules and regulations, but they are not overtly rebellious. They seek to get things done in their own style.


Leisure activities are very important to INFPs, but at times it is difficult for them to separate work from play. When a new leisure pursuit is found, INFPs typically do a great deal of research. They may read many books and make several phone calls to dig for information.

Many of the INFPs' leisure activities are done alone --- reading, listening to music, and gardening are some activities likely to appeal to them. Reflection time and the opportunity to make sure things are right are important. INFPs often enjoy leisure pursuits with loved ones as well. When they want to be sociable, they can be exceedingly charming and outgoing. Their flexibility, gentleness, and sense of humour can make them quite popular in social situations.


For the INFP, love is a very deep commitment, and one that is not easily attained. They have ideals, and therefore reality may be carefully scrutinized.

With their ideal firmly envisioned, the first date with that special person is carefully planned and prepared for, and often every aesthetic thing is taken care of. The flowers are in place, the right wine is ordered, and the proper meal is prepared.

INFPs may have difficulty sharing their feelings about others. They keep so many of those feelings inside that they may forget to tell their partner how much they love and appreciate them. They also need reminders of their partner's love.

When things go wrong in a relationship, the INFP takes it to heart but does not readily discuss it with others. They may not be willing to communicate to let others know how they are feeling. When scorned, they are very hurt and may overreact in an almost maudlin way.

Friday, March 4, 2011

what Henri is saying to me

it was suggested to me by a counselor that i read "The Inner Voice of Love" by Henri Nouwen so i promptly found it in my church community's library and i started into it yesterday. i read the intro and he was suggesting that you should look through the Table of Contents for those things that you think might speak to you. i read through the titles and saw several things that i thought might speak strongly to me and then i gravitated to a one page piece that i thought spoke right to where i was at.
it rocked my world.

Avoid All Forms of Self-Rejection

You must avoid not only blaming others but also blaming yourself. You are inclined to blame yourself for the difficulties you experience in relationships. But self-blame is not a form of humility. It is a form of self-rejection in which you ignore or deny your own goodness and beauty.
When a friendship does not blossom,when a word is not received, when a gesture of love is not appreciated, do not blame it on yourself. This is both untrue and hurtful. Every time you reject yourself, you idealize others. You want to be with those whom you consider better, stronger, more intelligent, more gifted than yourself. Thus you make yourself emotionally dependent, leading others to feel unable to fulfill your expectations and causing them to withdraw from you. This makes you blame yourself even more, and you enter a dangerous spiral of self-rejection and neediness.
Avoid all forms of self-rejection. Acknowledge your limitations, but claim your unique gifts and thereby live as an equal among equals. That will set you free from your obsessive and possessive needs and enable you to give and receive true affection and friendship.

OH ... MY ... GOD. did Henri just lay out my struggle for me in 100 words? i've often wondered and hated how needy i get in my hardest times. it's my own spiral of self-rejection and it all stems from my own self-blame from my own difficult relationships.

Lord have Mercy.