Tag Archives: doubt

what’s with “under 33″

I’ve met some new friends, people who sometimes see the world a little like I do.  I read their blogs: see much of their minds and hearts exposed, purposefully. They are pretty dang brave. I have read the friend of a friend’s blog all weekend, seeing well why all these far separated souls so love, like really do love one another. But, other than Papa Bear himself, Brother Brian – McLaren, who I just plain love and will defend with all my person whether he is absolutely on point on every jot and tittle or not – because he is so damn brave and beautiful and big-hearted – which is more than I can say for most everybody else weighing in to nay-say. I digress… all my newfound soul mates are under 33.

Why is that I ask. Is it the technology? I am no techie. Just a mom and wife and high school teacher. Why is that? And why do all I come upon of late tell me somewhere soon as I am reading that they too are, have just crossed over or will soon be 33. My generation screams in me – is this a SIGN? Maybe so, maybe not. But I must at least offer a glance toward such.

33 means born in 1977, right? I was in Mrs. Furr’s (God rest her dear, dear soul- you can read about her and you should) fifth grade class. I started babysitting a munchin in the summer of 1977. I guess he is thirty three now, too. Maybe there is no magic behind the number save Jesus’ own apparent decision to spend no more life here human after it either.

Is life really over for those of us who are over 33? Did we die out of ourselves? Did our generation so sell out questioning anything save that which might effect our comfort or  convenience?  Do we question and strain and struggle with anything… or do we so focus our energies on soccer schedules, and seemingly meaningless discussions of our rounds and routine days and of our ever constant desire to protect our children from everything…especially ideas.

I don’t think all have died out, and I so understand the ridiculousness of my sweeping assertion that we have. But in my life, my very specific life, it seems so, it feels so.

I can’t seem to communicate with people over 33. Like we just can’t find the language. We can’t compute with our numerics. We can’t communicate. We miss each other over and over.

It’s so frustrating.

It’s why I call many of those ten years my junior my “friends.” They aren’t the ones I spend most of my time with. They aren’t the people I talk to the most. The aren’t the ones that I love most.

But they are my friends, my comrades and compatriots. They get me, I get them, we see some things together and that’s a kind of friend I don’t long do well without.


To my Friends,

Thank you, thank you for letting this old lady tag along.




Filed under observation

safe spaces

(I don’t usually write so personally in this blog, by that I mean I don’t start out to share my heart, what I am feeling. I have a venue for that kind of journaling stuff. But, I’m going to break with that tradition and do otherwise. Maybe it is time I showed a little more of myself.)

I have read some great posts and had some very insulating interaction in the last few days.


Things (holy) are swirling all inside of me. I feel the need to work through them here, to unload them and unwrap some of them, if I might.

I just learned that most of my family is going to sight the guns. Gun season (this is Alabama) starts next weekend, their trip gives me a few precious hours before Edge tonight, sweet uninterrupted hours. So I ‘m taking time to ask “What’s at the center of all this swirling mass?”

As I stepped out of the bathroom, to the laundry room, too much information? safe spaces popped into my head.

Now that is a kettle of fish….Remember, Jesus said the Kingdom nets up all kinds. I haven’t always dwelled in the safest of spaces, Kingdom wise. But then again, I’ve known some incredibly safe spaces, too.

Right now, there are  few hidey holes in my life. There are so few spaces to let my breath and real words out fully, truthfully. There are so few spaces that it is okay to ask questions, good ones, truth seeking, God seeking questions. It scares me a little, okay a lot, my not having those spaces. I can crack up, I’ve done it before.

Not that there aren’t safe spaces for me. There are, if I am willing to drive a few 5 or 10 hours, there are some safe couches and guest rooms where I and the real me are always welcome to drop by and stay long as I will. But that is pretty hard to pull off now a days, with this job and family and all.

Don’t get me wrong, there are enough pockets of such oxygen for me here, enough to survive, but honestly, not to flourish. My closest, as in I can be honest and real and scared –  friends are few and younger than I, numerically. Too many of them are boys/men, so little to no emotional help for me there. I KNOW not to go anywhere near there. And the safest places that I know are full of 16 -17 year olds, incredible, so far ahead of my sixteen year old self kids, but kids nonetheless. So not a real safe space for me…them, yes, but not really for me.

Oh, I did the women’s ministry thing for a while. The things I want/need to talk about don’t   interest or freak the heck out of even the most mature of these women. Trust me I’ve tried with all manner of strategies. Cutting edge theological ramblings and geopolitical shifts, culture war and post modern context and focus are not big topics in suburban Alabama.         (They were normal in my neck of the woods, back in Athens.) I need/want people to talk to who give a rip about some of the things I care passionately about as well. I want, am I a so very  unsatisfied child? I sound so. I want people who will read things with me and talk to me about what they read. I want challenge and a place to say, “I don’t get this” or  “Why?” And I want relationships who will answer when appropriate, “Honey, I don’t know either.”

And I miss couch time, to talk or listen or just be – together with a friend(s), laughing or its close cousin, crying. I so miss a space to cry with somebody, who won’t get bent out of shape or who won’t try to pray my grappling, struggling away…but who will just be there with me in it.

Oh,  I still cry, often… over all kinds of things: the good, the bad and oh so ugly. But, it’s been so long since I have been in a space safe enough- to just cry about what and for however long necessary with somebody who gets me.

I know what a luxury I am describing. I know it is not my right or reward. I know what I seek costs and how costly all that is. I know.

But every year, though I keep it secret as my wish, it’s all I want, all I ever really ask for.

When I was twenty, I was the richest person on the planet.

This sounds pretty needy. I pride myself on not ever appearing so, though I am as needy as the next person.

Something has stirred this up. It’s finding people in Blogland who care about the things I do, who are asking similar questions, coming to similar conclusions and who sometimes just feel the need to share with somebody who cares enough to read, what is going on inside of them.

That’s why I love Blogland. It has become in a way, a safe space for me.

Sometimes it even is like being twenty again.


Filed under observation

The long wall

I ran into it first in college. I found it substantial and high, no small thing to just vault with a running start, though many times I backed away, gained perspective and leapt.

When it came clear that this static structure, not my desire, was the impediment, I did what we all did. I poured my life into new construction. We pretty much borrowed the old blueprints, adjusted ever so slightly. But we figured some new energy and technology and the fact that God’s very breath seemed so viable at our ear and all…that somehow that would change what came into being. But only close cousins came to be. It was not new and neither was it ancient in ways noble. It was the same old twisted sister.

I have run at the thing too many times to be less than embarrassed. I have tried to leap, or scale or find the edge …the Chinese have nothing on the length of this sucker. I can’t get around…

The only way to more, more God in me, more life and love and good is through. Deconstruction. I have but my hands for the work. They are getting bloody and sore…suffering seems the way of this work.

My eyes are being turned toward suffering: the world’s doing and our’s.

But God is not far from suffering.  He is here with me, so very near, at times uncomfortably near, scraping away the sand and stone that walls us all off.

Some of the most beautiful, God breathed words in the  letter of Paul to the church at Ephesus claim that Christ came to break down the wall ( between Jew and Gentile.) To the Galatians, Paul pasionately declared- obviously euphorically inspired – that Jesus has actually broken down every wall: male/female, greek/jew, slave/free. I imagine Paul later worried over those words that his captained hand wrote. I feel likewise writing this.

I am comforted that Jesus breaks down walls –  that it’s Who he is, what He does. So please pardon my deconstruction, as we take this down together.

Leave a comment

Filed under observation

Every whisper…

...every waking hour, I’m choosing my confession.

A native Athenian, REM sort of speaks to me, for me.

I have so many of the lyrics of this classic running through my head. The tender frustration and self doubt Michael so powerfully relays, feels mine as well.

Sometimes you just have to re-stack your shelves. Sometimes you just have to reorganize your understanding and all the things in your head, move them around to a new place, maybe even make some new shelves. I’ve already left many things that I have been carrying around, in my hand or in my apron pocket, in some other locale than they once knew. And then there are those things that are just appearing on the floor, on the tables, by the doorways like the socks and flip flops that just mushroom about my house. From time to time though, I think that one must do one’s best to put things where they more rightly belong, best one can.

I know I could keep quietly changing, keep the places of my mind  “long changed,” silently held so. I could and in many ways will do just that. I will go on being who I am as well as who I may be becoming, best I know how, and try to live at peace with all, best I can.

But, alas, I am a teacher, by trade and more importantly, by calling. And so, there are things that are escaping me, things I cannot seem to rope down, they are coming free, flowing upon the waters of my call. I can clearly, easily not pick fights with ignorant and parroting parishioners. I can walk away from the bragidocious and insensitive. I can chalk up corporate delusion to a century of conference with only ourselves.

But when I teach the young, the  hungry, the not nearly so easily satisfied, I cannot offer less than as many viewpoints as I can grasp, as much generosity as I can fathom, as much mystery as I can imagine.

I can live a life in the corner…but when I teach in the spotlight (Oh No! I’ve said too much)….

I haven’t said enough.

Leave a comment

Filed under observation



I’m changing out the old, pretty gross caulk in the bathroom today. It’s not my favorite job, but there is some satisfaction in getting it done. It’s tough to pry that old stuff out, you cut and pry and pull and then do it some more. It’s incredible how well that stuff stays put.

Many a builder has told me that the main thing holding most new homes together is caulk. It fills in all the mistakes, the gaps, the mis-measurements and bad cuts, etc. Caulk is what we use to make up for what is not there, but should be. Hmm. Got me thinking a bit. My ceramic, stainless steel, and marble does not mildew, it wipes clean easily, doesn’t let those infectious spores have much chance. But that caulk, that “bacteria resistant, walter repellent ” caulk, let’s lots by in time. It looks like it’s airtight and water tight, but we all know given time, it’s not.

So, what’s the caulk in our lives, our belief systems , our theologies and our doctrinal understandings; what are the answers we routinely offer for the gaps, that mask well, but aren’t really going to hold, aren’t really immune to growing scum and spore alike. I can think of many offered daily that I have long realized are blooming and well, are perhaps the undiagnosed repository of my sickness about some things.

It’s paradigm tipping, re-caulkng, time again in my life. I try to do it often enough to keep down on the mold: the smell, that though it signals death, just gets familiar, and after a while smells like home. (Jer 48:11)

1 Comment

Filed under observation