Sunday, January 21, 2018

My Middle Finger

My Middle Finger

No, no…I’m not giving it to anyone.

The middle finger on my right hand is part of what makes me unique.

When I was very young, my parents, together with an aunt and uncle, owned a general store. The kind of general store that you’d see on Little House on the Prairie perhaps. Our home was attached to the back of the store.

On the yard, we had a power generator. 

I’ve always been a curious person. I’ve always needed to try to figure things out.

It may not have been the smartest thing to do but remember that I was young. I was at an age where I had no ability yet for cause and effect thinking. I remember being taken to the doctor’s after but  I have no actual memory of what I did. 

It appears during the exploration of the generator  I stuck my fingers in the gears.

The tip of my middle finger partially detached and I lost the nail. The tip was reattached but that finger is about a quarter of an inch longer than that same finger on the other side.
When the nail grew back it was rough and it had split. Since then I have 2 nails growing on it. The top nail usually stays attached about half way down and then I have to cut it right back to the cuticle.

The way I learned to tell right and left was by my middle fingers. Rough nail, right side. Smooth nail, left side. To this day I subconsciously think of my middle finger when I’m thinking of directions.

Once for a wedding that I was in I had an acrylic nail put on it. It was a little disconcerting for me to not feel the ridges on that nail.

Why is that finger and nail on my mind? What’s the reason for me telling you about all this?  Well, for this first time in all the years since this event happened (and the years are many) the upper nail has not detached. It has almost reached the full length of the lower nail and although I can see a small air pocket underneath one area it is still fully attached.

Small detail to you perhaps….but there you have it. 

And now you know…one small part of my uniqueness.

And you?

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Paradigm Shifts: Uncomfortable! But Good!

Do you remember when you were writing term papers in college? Remember doing all that research and then sitting there wondering how all this information would become an actual paper that would get you a good grade? You may remember sitting there feeling the discomfort and frustration, not knowing what precisely would be your thesis or what your outline was.Then all of a sudden it would all fall into place…boom, boom, boom! In the end, you’d have a great paper to hand in.
Changing paradigms, changing your irrational beliefs to more rational ones, changing an outdated belief to a new one is the same. It feels uncomfortable for awhile. For a period of time it feels like you don’t know what direction you’re going in. You don’t know how it will all come together. You may feel tempted to abandon it. 

But wait. Sit with the discomfort for just a little while. It will all fall into place as you stay with it…as you try to absorb this new knowledge. 

Let’s say, for example, that you’ve bought into the world view that sex is harmless fun. You’ve always believed that as long as you enjoy it and the other person enjoys it, it’s all good! No harm. No foul. 

All of a sudden someone presents you with a different worldview.

They tell you that sex is sacred.

As they explain what they believe, and why they believe it, your thoughts begin to swirl. Something inside you resonates with what they’ve said. But it feels uncomfortable. It goes against what most of society tells you. 

You do some research. You study the Bible. You look at Scriptures. You ask the opinion of a few people that your respect. You may hear about someone who is attending the Valiant Man studies . You may look at books such as “Risking Intimacy.”  and "The Mystery of Marriage"

Wow, your head is spinning!!

This is all new. 

This is not the way you’ve thought about sex for most of your life. 

What to do! What to do? It feels uncomfortable. It feels like this belief that goes against the current won’t come together in your mind, in your heart.

You stay with the discomfort for a little while. You let this new information gel in your mind. 

It’s a paradigm change. 

It feels confusing. 
Then, BOOM! Similar to when you were doing a term paper, all of a sudden it all falls into place. Your mind is opened to a new way of thinking! You see it clearly and now you can’t see how you didn’t see it before!! 

That’s how it is with a paradigm shift. Be prepared to sit with the discomfort as the old belief is released and the new belief takes shape!

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Teapots and Broken Hearts

(not my photo)

She was in a meeting at a little white country church. It was the kind of meeting where people stood up to speak out a ‘word’ that they felt God was impressing on them for someone present. Usually someone in the group would accept it as being for them. They may share what they feel God is saying to them and why it relates to them. Or they may just receive it with thanks.

At one point someone said they got a picture of a broken heart. Considering the conversations that she’d been having with God as of late she knew it was a word for her but her pride wouldn’t allow her to speak up. She said nothing. And the group carried on. 

She needed to know though why God had shown this person her broken heart. So she emailed them. The return email said that not only had they been given a picture of a jagged broken heart, they’d received another picture along with it. 

This person had been shown a teapot.

 It had been broken a couple of times before and put back together. But this time the teapot shattered so badly that it couldn’t be put back together. 

(not my photo)
 This picture resonated with her immediately because that’s exactly how she felt. But she felt angry. ‘Why God?  Why did you show this person that for me? I already know that! I know that this time I’m so shattered that I feel like I can’t do much about it!! What kind of word is that for me? It tells me nothing! I still don’t know what to do!” 

It was true. Situations in her past had caused brokenness before. But she was outgoing, she was gregarious, she made friends easily, she was gifted in ways that allowed her to easily reestablish herself. She could shake it off pretty easily and start again elsewhere. She put herself and her life back together. 

But this time, this time she didn’t feel that she had anything left. She just couldn’t do it anymore. She was too shattered. Empty. There was nothing she could do... 

Now she couldn’t shake the visual of the teapot. As she battled with God about why He’d shown this person that picture for her with no answer as to what she should do, she began to realize that this was exactly the point. There was nothing SHE could do. 

She had to surrender. 

Finally she came to see that this was a good place to be, this place of complete surrender. She had to rely completely on God to do the work. It may be impossible for her but He could work miracles. Nothing was impossible for Him. 

(not my photo)
Over the next few weeks, months, 

as the various shattered areas of her life came to mind, 

she picked them up in her hands and 

she held them up to God. 

She gave the pieces to Him. 

She didn’t have a clue about how He was going to fix the teapot. 

Was He going to restore it to its original state? 

Would He aggrandize the broken and cracked areas? 

When the Japanese mend broken objects, they aggrandize the damage by filling the cracks with gold. They believe that when something's suffered damage and has a history it becomes more beautiful.”    Barbara Bloom

Or might He make a mosaic of the broken pieces perhaps in the form of a stepping stone? 

She had no idea. 

But she was beginning to feel her heart restored with each piece that she lifted  up to Him…one by one…trusting that He knew best what to do with them. She became willing to wait to see what He would do. 

She started to feel some excitement and curiosity. She began to sing again. She began to feel alive.  
Today she still doesn’t know exactly what He will do with those pieces but she knows that this is where they should have been all along. Had they been in His hands the first few times of being broken they wouldn’t have shattered so easily again this time. 

It has taken a long time for her to get to this place but she can finally relax. She doesn’t have to work so hard to put the pieces back together. She knows now in her heart of hearts what she’s always believed in her head. 

It’s in His hands.  He knows what He wants to make of her. He knows how she can best be used for His glory. 

Still in awe of how God used one visual of a teapot to bring all this about, she now can rest and wait as the pieces are restored 

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Blogging Friendships

About ten years ago a friend of mine who met her husband via a Christian dating site kept encouraging me to join one as well. Eventually I joined a couple of Christian sites. Unlike her, I didn’t end up walking down the aisle. I did have some great experiences on one of the sites though. 

Before I tell you about those good times, let me tell you about a couple of the men I met.

One was a sociology professor with whom I had many things in common. Although he didn't say it outright, in his follow up email after our date it became apparent that this was all a sociological experiment for him. Ouch! 

Another had put on his profile that he was divorced but as we were walking along the river trail I realize from something he said that he was still married.  When I called him on it his explanation was that spiritually he ‘feels’ divorced. Uh huh! 

A third man I had a nice evening with when I went over to Vancouver Island for a weekend to visit a friend. After a dinner that he cooked in his home we went to a theatre production where he promptly fell asleep.. To his credit he was raising his sons on his own so his schedule was full. 

So the dating part of it didn’t work out for me the way it did for my friend. But one of the sites that I joined had a free blog. This blog and the people in it became my source of entertainment and support while I was living in Mexico from 2005 to 2007. 

We had hilarious fun at points. 

As anyone who has been on a dating site knows there are scammers and bogus profiles. There are also those that post pictures of themselves that are from younger years. 

One day we arbitrarily decided that everyone needed to prove they were real and current by posting a photo of themselves holding a banana and a toothbrush. I didn’t have a banana on hand. Being in Mexico at the time I did have a tortilla…and a toothbrush.  

We had virtual parties. One person would invite us to their blog for perhaps a BBQ and the thread that followed would be filled with what everyone was bringing, what we were going to do, and so on. Telling you about it doesn’t sound nearly as fun as it actually was but believe me, hilarity ensued.
 I really think we should all have collaborated on a work of fiction because we did so well in helping each other build on these stories. 

 Many of us also posted our testimonies, sharing what God has done in our lives. We were there for each other in prayer support. When others in my life were not so accessible my blog friends were there daily when I needed them. 

There was the usual conflict and some who wouldn’t play nice.  But by and large it was a group of fun supportive people.

I’ve met a number of my blogging friends in person. Some in Arizona, a few in Michigan, a woman in Toronto, another person in Winnipeg. Then last year in New Jersey when another blogging friend from Seattle and I went on a trip to NYC.  In each case my online perception from observing them in the blogging world was accurate. We truly felt like friends.

It’s been a long time since I was at this blog. Most of the people I knew there have moved on as well. But the connections made with many of them are lasting. Without that community I don't think I would have survived the loneliness of adjusting to a new country.  I will be forever grateful for those online friends.