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When Denali Hides Her Face

 

 

 

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Long have I intended to post this poem from this past summer in Denali, inspired by the beauty I discovered in so many small ways, and by the desire for guests to experience wonder– even when “The Great One” was hidden from view. Here is another stab at what I like to call Visual Poetry. (Full text below).

 

When Denali Hides Her Face

I know a view that will steal your breath away
Four miles high in the mountains, do you think?
Snow-covered granite-a pristine white peak?
Hidden from view behind cumulous cloud, no summit is seen, the curtain is down
Rolling flatlands of tundra, braided rivers between where I stand and she starts on this lovely evening.
So in stopping I look, not at mountains, but feet, and observe all around me, an incredible feat.
Wind flowers and pasque flowers. Fireweed and tundra rose. Milk vetch and lousewort. 
Whether given lovely names or simply lovely in sight-all occur naturally in this land of bright night.
To those who live here under the midnight sun-
We the wild who come for photograph and fun.
To free ourselves of the cityscape and listen to the soundscape-
Of migratory birds, of open space with no words
Of wind whipping through willows, before our heads hit our pillows
To listen to the call of the sparrow and the lark, and the loon.
Listen deeply now, the end comes too soon.
So give yourself permission- once again-
To be fascinated
By the industriousness of the squirrel, and how the petals on a flower form a whorl,
By the formations of clouds in the sky, and the babbling of water running by.
By the sight of raindrops collecting on leaves,  and how sunshine gives warmth that reprieves
We come to escape and in escaping we find- childlike delight in the things “unrefined”.
We find beauty in subtlety as well as in striking majesty.
In the individual rhythms of all created things, we notice a delight each new discovery brings.
So breathe in- inhale deeply, put your nose to the earth.  Smell soil and silt and spruce tips and birch.
Look down and find wonder in tundra plants small. Looking up you’ll discover:

there is wonder in all.

 

 

 
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Posted by on April 10, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

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if He takes me Home tomorrow

if He takes me Home tomorrow

Last week in class, we discussed end-of-life care: supporting patients that are about to die and families that have just lost or are about to lose a loved one. I even helped care for two terminal patients on a hospital rotation. Our professor told story of her husband’s last few months of life, as he battled end-stage pancreatic cancer and her five daughters moved home to spend the last few weeks with him. We discussed Death Cafés, where folks meet up to openly discuss their thoughts on death.  For the class, I am reading Still Alice, a novel about a Harvard professor who develops early-onset Alzheimer’s and records her progression through the disease course of losing her mind, literally. Nursing school is a particular kind of beast. Incredible amounts of scientific information, infused at a rapid pace. Long days and short nights and LOTS of tests. Pair this with the encouragement to be compassionate, attentive to detail, expert in multi-tasking and time management, and good at asking questions. Oh, and we ought to expect death, be prepared for it, learn how to deal with it.

 I don’t know exactly what that means or how I’ll respond, but it did cause me to think about my own death, and what I would like to happen just before and just after I breathe my final breaths.

I am aware that death can come suddenly, without warning, and steal. Steal from you all that you wanted to say and do. Steal from your family and loved ones all they wanted to say to you, experience with you. 

That reality in mind, here is my formal, informal advance directive:

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 If He takes me Home tomorrow, I’m sorry.

I’m sorry that it will be abrupt, and without warning and without a chance to prepare for it. And it will hurt, deep down in a place you don’t know how to define.

I’m sorry it will disrupt everything in the lives of my family members, and cause hours of detail planning, weeks of well-intentioned but slightly off-mark condolences, months of stunned readjustment, perhaps even years of grief.

I’m sorry that I will not have had a chance to say to YOU, personally, how much you meant to me before I left. That I loved you. I only hope and pray that you know by the way I related to you.

But don’t be sorry for me.

You know that I am experiencing the best that is “yet to come” and my “yet” is now.  I’m home.

I’m free.

I’m with the so many who have gone before me that I can’t wait to see again.

I have a chance to have all of my “whys” answered now, but it doesn’t even matter anymore. Because I’m there.  I’m standing in the throne room, worshipping with the twenty-four elders who fall from their thrones to worship the One who lives forever and ever, crying out with the living beings, “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God, the Almighty- the one who always was, who is, and who is still to come.”

And all of the questions I thought I deserved answers to? I have them, but I now understand why He doesn’t answer, and how we couldn’t handle the answers if He gave them to us.

If I have a tragic accident from which I will not recover, please don’t leave me there, hooked up in a sterile room, surrounded by beeping monitors. Please take the moments you need to say goodbye, tell me what you want for me to hear, and then let me go. Don’t let the medical bills rise while my humanity fails.

This is my DNR.

No intubations and invasive, minimally helpful procedures and obscene amounts of opioid medications. Turn off the machines, instead, and save those extra dollars to go and LIVE.

Take the Alaskan cruise through Glacier Bay in August, or go ride a Bateau-Mouche down the Seine in September (at night). Stay in a Swiss auberge in the Alps, or go ride a boda-boda and play with some beautiful Ugandan children in Entebbe for me- but please don’t stay here, in this cold, unfeeling room where I no longer exist.

If I have a family of my own- a husband and perhaps some children- encourage me to fight, for their sake, and I will do my best. But even they will have to let me go if my time has come.

And when I go

Please don’t buy a $2,500 box to bury me in. I want a simple, hand hewn coffin made out of wood, by someone we know. I want to return to earth in something made from earth, and besides, that means so much more than a padded metallic thing sold to us by a (wo)man we’ve never met.

If that’s not legal-try anyway? I liked to think I was edgy, and this is my dying request, after all.

Bury me back on the East Coast, in a field, near the Atlantic, beneath a bunch of old, towering trees.  May be even plant some new trees? Please don’t stuff me into a cemetery surrounded by too many other headstones in a cold, dirty city.

Or better yet, cremate me and hike me to the top of the most beautiful peak in the Colorado Rockies, and let me go where the wind will take me. And still plant some new trees. I like Quaking Aspens and Japanese Maples and Balsam Poplars and Southern Magnolias, for a start.

But first—please give away all of me that will help someone else fully live. Give them my heart and my liver and my lungs. Give away my kidneys and even my freckled epidermis, if that will help another out.

Please don’t hold a viewing. I know what it is to stare down in the face of someone you love and see them lying there, stiff and powdered and folded in an unnatural way. I know what it is to look at a loved one and see their form without function, their substance without soul.

Instead, throw up a slide show of some of my happiest moments, back-tracked by some of my favorite songs.  I want people to see me smiling and surrounded by the best of my memories. (Buddy the Elf and I agree- “Smiling’s my favorite”). Show pictures of me dancing with my momma, snuggling with my sister, laughing with my brother, being held by my father. Show pictures of me hiking, holding children, enjoying good community, traveling to faraway places, because THESE are the things that surrounded who I was.

Also-would you dance? Wear bright colors, have a feast (with real plates and cups), drink wine to gladden your hearts, and dance for me. I’m too much of a feeler to watch everyone wear black and cry. Especially because of me.

Don’t feel the need to recount all of my “accomplishments”- it isn’t a very long list anyway. I’d rather the gathering be a reflection of who I was and how I made people feel (I’m feeling hopeful they were good “feels”).

I want you to invite all sorts of people to my “Celebration of Life”. Don’t just invite my good “church” friends and colleagues—I love them to dearly, but my circles were far wider than that. Invite the refugees, the homeless friends, the “outcasts,” and those of all orientations and faiths. And maybe, hopefully, I will have offered a small bit of love to them that reflected the love that our Sovereign God has for all of his children. I pray that they will be encouraged, and that they will feel the whisper of the calling that each one of them is invited to accept: a place in His kingdom. LIFE after life.

Don’t do a cheesy, forced alter call, but please encourage the conversation. And for those of you who love Jesus, be brave and be willing to engage in that conversation. Life is short, don’t waste your chances.

Don’t waste them in whatever form they may take—those chances. Skip work and drive far into the mountains or up the coast on the days your “whys” become the most demanding and overwhelming.

STOP. Breathe deeply. Pull out a pen and pour out your soul, and let the Spirit make sense of it for you.

This is my advance directive, so I get to tell you to do these things.

Things. Money. I never really liked either of them, or at least I tried not to. They are a necessary evil, like politics.

But because dealing with the material vestiges of my life matters, too, I’ll make it simple:

If I have my own family, give the proceeds of my life insurance to my husband and/or my children. If I don’t have one, split them equally between my siblings and their families.

Any investments I have—give them away. To whoever needs them most. Give them to beautiful, smiling children full of potential and lacking in opportunity, and to the parents who so desperately want to give their children these opportunities.

If I have any debts, sell my things to pay them off. Keep my photographs and writings and music, if you’d like, maybe even some sketches and a few items that most remind you of me, and then give the rest of my possessions away, too.  I didn’t take anything with me when I left, and neither will it help you when your time comes-but I understand that it may take some time for you to be willing to part with some of my things. I, too, struggled to part with some of the things that most represented loved ones now gone.

Later on, when all of the formalities of saying goodbye are done, when the chaos of all that has happened has quieted down, open the most private folders on my computer and dare to read their contents.

Some of the information is very personal, some of it factual, some of them prayers, all of it encompasses different, small pieces of me. I loved words and thoughts and the expression therein. Sometimes, I really felt like I had something to say, and wanted other people to hear it. If there are reflections in there that can be encouraging, enlightening, life-changing to another, please share them!

If I don’t make it around to writing a book in my lifetime, I wouldn’t be upset if you published a post-mortem collection for me, granted there are enough thoughts worthy of being shared. Because I’m still alive as I write this, I’m still vain enough to hope I learned some things worthy of teaching.

I hope that you will find that I loved Jesus, loved my family, loved my friends, loved ideas and hoped for change (yes, you will probably find that I had a bit of an idealistic hope that both encouraged and discouraged my approach to life, we INFPs tend to be that way), that I tried to love all well, and was constantly fighting the worthy battle of trying figure out what that looked like.

Life is a worthy battle. Full of beauty and brokenness—and the shards are what make us shine.

I charge you to remember how short life is and how unexpected it’s changes- and to decide- henceforth, to embrace your life to its fullness. Embrace the very specific things about yourself that will only be said at YOUR funeral, and in so doing, encourage others to do the same.

What does your advance directive look like, and how will it direct your advances from here?

 

 

 

 

 
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Posted by on March 23, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

Lessons from Fly Fishing

Lessons from Fly Fishing

From various jobs and life experiences, this I have learned:

Say anything with confidence and most people will believe you.

Say something interesting with confidence and most people will listen to you.

Teach something interesting with passion and most people will themselves become enthused.

Dig in, get your nails dirty and ACT with confidence, and in so doing you change lives. Maybe even change a collective perspective and on a larger scale, policy.

A little bit of everything beautiful.

—–

I know just enough about a handful of things that I was teaching this summer to sound like I knew what I was talking about.

Take fly fishing, for example.

I know very little about fly fishing. But enough to be dangerous, as the saying goes. Enough to give a brief lesson and have guests practice casting into a large hula hoop on the lawn and inspire in them the confidence to head into the creek to give it a go, themselves.

“Yes, if you would like to try fly fishing, you can just come up to the front desk and ask them to radio a guide and we can get you suited up with some hip waders and a fly rod and give you a lesson and send you out into Moose Creek.”

“To cast, you want to keep a steady momentum on the line. Your line is weighted so try not to hold it upright or the tippet will fall back down and the fly with it. You want to pull out some lead line like this. Hold your right arm straight in the front and pull out the slack in your line as you pull the rod over your left shoulder. Keep your eye on the tippet and when it starts to make an “S” curve, cast forward again. Have you watched A River Runs Through It? Yeah, that’s a bit Hollywood-ized, you don’t want your line to make that snapping sound, you could lose your fly. Good. Now point the tip of your rod towards the hula hoop and keep it there to cast after you feel confident in your momentum and general direction. Don’t give it a last whack forward, nice and steady. There.”

(Actually, I have both seen the movie and read the book, A River Runs Through It. At the time I had a crush on a boy who was really into fly fishing, and would tie his own flies while he sipped whiskey and listened to Ray LaMontagne, I could get into that).

Abby and Cedar fly fishing- ready!

Abby and Cedar fly fishing- ready!

“We’re only catching Artic Grayling; they’re the only fish able to survive in these cold waters, though we have seen a few salmon that were able to spawn all the way up from the Bearpaw River.”

“Which flies do we use? Uh, we’re mostly using Humpy’s and Parachute Adams, but you can choose whichever fly you would like, the Graylings have really been biting lately.”

“Fishing spots? If you head up the driveway and turn left and go downhill, use the footbridge to the right to cross Eureka Creek and head back to the left behind the gravel pile and head towards Moose Creek just past a big bend near our property. The creek widens there and there are some nice deeper pools to cast into. We’ve been having some pretty good success catching there. And you don’t have to worry about catching your fly in the trees (knowing chuckle).”

In these situations, 91 miles into the wilderness, people really put their confidence in you as a teacher and a guide.  It can be both really fun and really weighty. Leading hikes, whether or not I felt confident that I would be collected and capable of responding well to a bear encounter as we bushwhacked through heavy alders, I led the charge and needed confidence in myself for others to be confident in me. Whether or not I wanted to hike in cold rain with sideways wind on an exposed ridge (mostly never), I needed to inspire in my hikers the excitement to have their “Alaskan adventure” and a good story to tell. As we became cold and wet and borderline miserable, we would turn around and descend quickly, and I promised them the added perk of hot soup to their soggy lunch, and hot cocoa to warm their hands. I had to choose- and often I didn’t want to choose- to be positive, but it is amazing how your attitude often follows your actions, and I was bolstered by the adventurous cheer of my hikers on days when it was all I could do to pull on my rain pants and a fourth layer, yet again.

Dark foreboding skies on a chilly hike.

Dark foreboding skies on a chilly hike.

Frosty tundra plants

Frosty tundra plants

This entry is actually about nursing. You couldn’t tell?

I was accepted into a fairly competitive nursing program at the University of Colorado, Denver. A twelve month intensive BSN program. Nurse-in-a-year.

Info about the University of Colorado’s Accelerated Nursing (UCAN) Program

And though I am excited. Though I anticipate many good opportunities and open doors and even-shockingly- a steady income, I have found myself hesitating throughout the whole process. Needing to choose to be excited for my nursing adventure and the stories to follow.

I crammed my prerequisites into one semester just in time to be qualified for the program. I submitted my online application on the last day possible- slightly panicked that I couldn’t upload the documents I needed to on the one staff computer at my lodge in Alaska, which lacked even Microsoft Word access. Upon invitation to a group interview day, I waited until the day before the deadline to respond and accept the invitation.

And yet when I saw the email, the “We are pleased to inform you that you have been selected for admission…” email- in my spirit I knew I was going to go for it.

I remember having a conversation with Scott one day in November 2012 as I sat on the low concrete sidewalk outside his home in Kampala, Uganda. I wanted to use stories and words and my very hands to effect change. I didn’t know how to turn that into a job, didn’t know what to call it, or if it existed at all.

From that conversation we developed a position for me to work with the AFRICANCHILDREN’SCHOIR as a fundraiser. A development coordinator, as we called it.

So I spent nearly 2 years making phone calls, doing internet research, writing emails. And follow-up emails, and follow-ups to my follow-ups. Followed by another phone call. And I loved the organization, especially love the children they are serving, and the thousands of other children that the Choir represents and raises school funding for. But when 90+% of my time was spent solo in a studio apartment working from behind the numbing distance of a pixelated screen, I struggled, immensely.

I stressed working at home that I couldn’t sit still long enough to get my hours in. I stressed working in coffee shops that I was bothering others nearby. I never seemed to meet self-made goals. I couldn’t write or speak convincingly enough to encourage the majority of the churches to do follow-up projects to support African-based initiatives. I drank too much coffee and often had stomach pain. I left the house at 5:30pm and saying “hello” to my neighbor, would realize I was having my first human interaction of the day.

Though the heart of the intent of what I wanted to do was there, some major piece was missing during those times when I wasn’t on the road with the choir: direct connection.

And then the idea of nursing came about. And it made so much sense.

But I have hesitated pursuing nursing because it feels like by pursuing that path it also means I have to forgo pursuing the heartbeat that comes most naturally to me: being a creative. Being an “activist.” In my mind I separate the “fact-driven scientists” from the “inspiration-driven artists”. I can “do” science, but what I want to do is be a part of stories, and share them.

Perhaps you are seeing the obvious I have struggled to see all along: Hands on. Involved in stories. Helping, teaching, probably even traveling to the places where the stories are to be found. Serving in a hands-on way while also collecting stories worth hearing, worth sharing.

Overarching all these thoughts, I have come to realize that even those perspectives are not focused on the ultimate goal. I was putting a fitted sheet on my bed one afternoon-stretching the far corner of that sewn edge around my mattress when I was first able to articulate what I was feeling.

“Lord, you have given me the ability to do well in school. To learn and to understand and to apply. If this is what YOU have for me, let this be my best YES to you.

Not because nursing is a dream job, but because it is a way to fulfill a dream of helping and advocating and, ultimately, to bring you the glory by offering back to you the use of gifts you have given me.”

It was one of those moments that struck me as being so simply obvious and yet so consistently overlooked: What if I said ‘yes’ because my life is best lived when it is not about ME?

(And of course because nursing is an incredible opportunity and I will learn lots of amazing and applicable things along the way. And I think I could be good at it!)

Ultimately, I want to be remembered for loving well. For advocating for those who don’t know how to use their voices. For teaching others to use their voice. Whether that means providing dignity while I clean someone’s bottom for them, or writing books(?!) that stir action, or holding ESL classes that enable refugees to do more than survive in America. Whether that means sitting with stricken family members in a waiting room or traveling to notable places and sharing stories striking or stark, or simply sharing a cup of coffee with a dear friend and just being a good listener. Whether it means being a shoulder to cry on, or being vulnerable enough to be the one who cries, or being the one who cries out for the tears of those who need to know to cry.

Here’s to a next step in offering my “best yes” to life!

**I would love to talk all this through with you in person or over the phone. Just a note that I will not have cell phone access until September 25th, and then I will be playing catch-up for 4 months without service.

This undertaking comes with a few realities that I know will be major adjustments for me, and I would appreciate your prayers for the following:

  1. The program is January 2016-December 2016. I will be returning to Denver mid-October and will need to rent an apartment close to campus on the NE side of Denver. The Lord has provided each and every time I have moved, please pray for my confidence in Him as I return to town without a place to move into (yet) and for a good living situation that is cheap, a haven, and provides quiet space for lots of studying.
  2. As this will be an intensive program, I anticipate having to “check out” of a lot of availability as a friend and am already missing connection to consistent community. Please offer me grace in advance if I am not able to be very plugged in, and I would be grateful for your prayers that I find community within this new cohort of nursing students!
  3. Becoming a student means more student loans and more debt. I have almost paid off my first undergrad loans and to turn around and undertake another $40,000+ in student loans is a bit overwhelming. Please pray that I will trust the Lord to take care of this, and if possible, for financial aid to come through in a big way!
  4. For my overall well-being as I become a student and attend a program so rigorous that they tell you that you are not allowed to have a job, that I would approach this all in a healthy manner, and take care of myself and set boundaries where needed and find rest amidst all the chaos of class and clinical hours!
  5. That Jesus would be evident in and through me in the midst of it all.
IMG_0531

Elated and a bit scared. Jumping off into the unknown.

And you thought this was about fly fishing!

 
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Posted by on September 20, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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Flashes

Flashes

Fall is arriving early in the 49th state.

Already, dwarf birch trees are turning myriad blends of yellow, brown, and orange. Patches of the thick leathery leaves of the bearberry plants are turning alternately a deep burnt sienna or a vivid bright red. Fuchsia flowers growing up the stalk of the fireweed plants have all but fallen off, and they say that when the plant turns dark red and the flowers go to seed, the first snowfall of winter- eight months of winter- is six weeks away. Morning comes later and the sun sets earlier. Although we still see the sun until 10:15pm, we have four and a half fewer hours of daylight than we did on summer solstice in June, when we gathered on the gravel landing of the airstrip at the end of the Park Road, chatted in groups, tossed Frisbees, drank the last dregs of beer from a single keg. Sunrise today was at 5:58am. One month from today the run will rise at 7:28am and set at 8:30pm. Nearly three hours less daylight in the course of 30 days. Thirty 24-hour revolutions around the sun and three less hours of light. Nearly 6.5 minutes less light in a day, each day.
In May, the light is nearly interminable. 11:00pm light here is as 4pm in Colorado and by the time the morning alarm sounds the sun has been up for hours and warmed the earth with it. In September, the sun goes dark before the last of our work finishes, and dawn hides her face from early morning work while frost begins to form on wooden porches.
This morning, neglecting to ignite my propane heater overnight, my first impression was of having a cold scalp. Of hitting the 4-minute snooze button on my alarm for the better part of an hour. That magic alarm that has used a single AA battery since 2005 and still runs. Inside the down covering of my unzipped sleeping bag was warm and cozy. Inside the canvas walls of my tent cabin, my breath showed thick and cold. The thermometer on the front porch of our lodge read 43 degrees at 8am, meaning the temperatures must have dropped to near-freezing in the earliest morning hours.

The light itself is more muted now. Still brilliant midday at these high latitudes, the undertone of crisp fall wind takes the summery heat out of the glare, and the suffused light of long mornings and long dusky evenings lingers. The quickly decreasing temperatures and quickly increasing fall foliage sing “Soon! Soon!” to the end of summer and arrival of winter. Fall but a brushstroke of vividly painted colors that fade on a two-week timer.

Some nights I lay in my tent cabin and listen to the rain falling around me, a peaceful sound of plings on a tin roof and taptaptap tap on alder leaves. At times I feel peaceful with it, embracing the stillness found in refuge sought from the soggy weather outdoors. Other times, when my position requires I guide others through the sodden tundra, I brace myself for the layers of rainproof gear that will need to be donned for a day on the trail and am less at ease. Hiking through this terrain means weaving through water-laden leaves before climbing above their shelter from the breeze into the land above the trees. Whipping wind chills wet skin and we quickly snap summit photos before descent, cold fingers fumbling numbly with zippers and gloves. On some of these days, we hike with the clouds, yea even into the clouds, and find ourselves in a fog that makes the journey feel like an undertaking of the Fellowship of the Ring. We fall into quicker steps downslope and warm ourselves with thoughts of dry clothing and hot chocolate.
Other days, the cold sky of clear nights allows for a rush of warming rays unimpeded by cloudy haze and the pristine beauty of the landscape inspires silence. Sitting on a mossy patch of tundra, 180° of mountain range in view defies apathetic glances towards majestic gleaming slopes. My “office” view shaming the most imposing of high-rise overlooks.
Like all of life, there is beauty mingled with the mud, beauty rising above it. Seasons of warmth often overlapping the bone-chilling froideur of fall. Abundance of daylight waning to lack thereof and back again. Here, where the ice melts to green and green flashes into fall, and fall fades to winter within the span of four months, the contrast is all the more striking. I think it a gift to be allowed to see this changing in such stark relief. There are seasons of weather and seasons of life and seasons of the soul. And we are given the opportunity to step back and ponder it all. And yet our souls, impossibly, extend beyond the here and now and catch foretastes of the eternal in the midst of the immediate. “You are an unceasing spiritual being with an eternal destiny in God’s great universe,” as Dallas Willard phrases it.
This summer job is will cease soon. The warmth here will cease soon. Contact with the many who come and go through the Roadhouse doors will cease soon. And yet we, living souls created in God’s image, are UNceasing. To quote Dallas more fully, “The most important thing in your life is not what you do, it’s who you become. That’s what you will take into eternity. You are an unceasing spiritual being with an eternal destiny in God’s great universe.”
Seeds become plants that bud into flowers and wilt soon thereafter, releasing new seeds for next years’ life.
So like we in our seasons of growing and dying and planting new seeds. But our purpose more eternal. Our growth more concentric. What are we becoming?
Most days my vision is small. I awake to a cold scalp and I layer in long johns and envision escape to longer seasons of summer in the lower 48 (states). I ache over broken or distanced relationships and write another email, envision hopes of mending old relationships and making new ones. I hunger for warm food after a long hike and calculate how soon I can sate my appetite, how I will feed myself in subsequent meals to come.
Few and farther between I glimpse that which is forever. I look at people and, for flashes at a time, see them as eternal spirits, sense elation at the possibility of sharing eternity with them. Somehow it is the most ephemeral flashes that strike with the deepest of eternal sensations. A look of knowing in a friend’s eye. The wave of unexpected warmth at an affectionate touch. The sound of voices in perfect melodic harmony. An uninhibited giggle from a word well spoken. A mutual sigh over longings unspoken. The first shared moment of satisfied rest after a long days’ work.
In nature, too, a reflection of eternal that arrives in flashes. The perfect flutter of aspen leaves in the afternoon breeze. A glint of sunshine on the surface of water. The effortless flight of a falcon riding the wave of a thermal. The convex magnifying beauty of simple raindrops on leaves. Wafts of upturned soil, cut grass, fallen foliage, new snow. The immaculate and yet deafening sound of true silence. Even the cacophonous and yet symphonic patterns of clouds that are both familiar and yet entirely new in each day’s sky.
Each new day seems a cacophonous symphony of what is to come. What is becoming. Each day closer. Each day an opportunity. Each day an invitation to see that which is deeper and truer. The flashes of eternity in finite things.
We avoid thoughts of eternity because the unknown can frighten, if not simply evade comprehension. For me, I want to dwell in the belief and ever-increasing awareness that I was made for more than here. To encourage you to consider what your forever looks like, and if it scares you, to confront it and respond accordingly.
For me, I want to live grateful for what is good here and now. I want to live ecstatic for the brokenness that will no longer be, the good that will continue to be, and all the glory I don’t yet know to be experienced in the untainted splendor of Heaven.
In the “place” where the bodies which here on earth sigh for in brokenness will be transformed into eternal likeness.
My friend, Melanie, expressed this fulfillment of the eternal as best as I have heard it. I met her while she was a volunteer chaperone for the African Children’s Choir, and now she works in Uganda ministering to street boys in a nonprofit called DOORS-Don’t Overlook One Redeemed Soul.
She is engaged to a Ugandan man named Bryan, who has the most beautiful Jesus-like smile I’ve ever seen. While she holds her Texan family dear to her heart, her physical body and her life are now in Uganda. She shared the other day,

“My heart physically aches at times missing my family. Seeing them together and knowing that in this life I may only ever experience weeks at a time with them. It is literally painful.
But there is not a day that I ache for them that God does not quickly and sweetly remind me of His precious truth. ‘This is not your home. Whether here or there, the ache will continue because you will not be fully satisfied by the presence of people. The day you come Home to Me, that is when you will ache no more and the pains of the world will look so small in comparison to the Sacred Place you will forever find in me. Press on my pilgrim.’

Through the years. Through the seasons. In each day that arrives. Press on towards the eternity He has set in your heart, and look for the flashes along the way.

Griz!

 
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Posted by on August 19, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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The Return to Denali

I write to you this morning from inside the green house of the Kantishna Roadhouse in Denali National Park, Alaska, four time zones behind Eastern Standard Time. I am seated at a handmade picnic table beside rows of flower baskets containing violet Johnny Jump-Ups, deep red Geraniums, hybrid varieties of Marigold, hanging baskets of white, pink, and purple Petunias and every shade in-between. Spicy edible Nasturtium plants potted last week are already several inches taller and will soon sprout red, orange and yellow flowers that make salads a beauty almost too artistic to be eaten. Larger vegetable beds are trellised for tomato vines and the curling tendrils of sweet peas. Large amounts of rich deep soil have been turned with compost and potting soil in preparation for the rapid growth of additional kale, squash, cabbage, and herb plants. Un-planted perennials await their chance to dig their roots deep into Alaskan soil, while the guide the staff awaits the approaching warmer days of summer to avoid a lingering frost or unanticipated hail storms in the exposed outdoor beds on the Roadhouse property.

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I’m sipping on a mason jar of strong coffee with perhaps a bit too much cream in it-to mask the taste of cheap coffee- but happily enjoying the caffeine while I type to the sounds of blended bluegrass and classical artists in a new favorite compilation formed by Yo-Yo Ma, Chris Thile, Edgar Meyer, and Stuart Duncan (Known as the “Goat Rodeo Sessions”). The smell of petunias frequently wafts my way and the greenhouse fan intermittently kicks on as the rear window slats open to prevent overheating in our sun-absorbing green house (which has vastly improved since last I worked here in 2009).

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Right now, there are many things I “should” be doing. I should be working on gathering information and stories, developing a PowerPoint presentation for an evening program for our guests. I should finish my nursing application –though that would be difficult considering that our one internet-linked computer is not connecting to our very small bandwidth of satellite connection. I should be handwriting the snail mail I have great expectations of completing to maintain correspondence with the outside world this summer.
But on this, the first unplanned morning I have off since my arrival in Alaska on May 24th, all I want to do is attend to the many thoughts and reflections and stories of my own that have accumulated in these ever-active summer days.
After the first two attempts at catching a standby flight to Alaska, weighing the cost/benefit of a much cheaper flight against potentially arriving a day late to meet the crew, with tension rising, I awaited a third flight that would take me to Phoenix. Third try proved to be the charm and I made it into and out of Phoenix and from there on to Seattle. After 12 hours already spent in airports, my final, five hour leg into Fairbanks was met with the blessed good fortune. Delta Airlines has a standby policy that they will not bump up paying passengers to first class, rather, if seats remain, they will offer them to standby passengers. When I was offered a boarding pass that read seat “1A” I thought it a misprint, and was delightfully surprised to find that I was, in fact, to receive the royal treatment of a full meal, a glass of wine and a free movie as well as a spacious seat into Alaska.

First Class Meal on Delta
It must be intentional that the flight pulls out of the tarmac at 8:30pm as the colors of the Seattle sunset are just beginning to fade into hazy orange and pink. While the airplane lifted above the low-lying clouds and nosed toward the farther northwest, we flew into the early sunset for what proved to be an interminable crepuscule -the early orange and pink sky colors paralleling our flight path in a magical unsetting sunset for the duration of the trip.
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I don’t remember having such difficulty sleeping at night, when the sun sets later and later in the evening (now, almost the early morning), but to return to my white canvas-sided wall tent at 10:00pm and have the sideways sunlight light the room as though it were midafternoon, my mind tells me I ought not be sleeping when there is daylight to seize. So I go fly-fishing with other staff until 11pm-standing in the swift waters of Moose “Creek” with hip waders on, knowing I am woefully inexperienced at casting a fly rod and hooking the Artic Grayling that thrive in these cold waters, but enjoying the sounds of the water lap over and around my boots, and appreciating, even more, the conversations about God and faith and struggles therein that happen so naturally when the only other distractions are the zipping of lines being cast and that of the mosquitos circling around my exposed face.
There are times that I want to Instagram so many a profound moment of beauty or fun or excitement that has been experienced already here in Denali. I want you to understand how tremendous it is. How healing to be away from text messages and hoping for “likes” on a photo posted, or from trying to converse with another person who is constantly checking their phone. The tradeoff, however, is that it renders the ability to share the experiences I am living a bit more difficult and at times few and far between.
Here, therefore, is an attempt to compress a novel’s worth of experiences into a few pages.
The guide staff drove into Denali National Park together on May 26th, after a few days sleeping at a hostel in Fairbanks, completing paperwork and drug testing, getting to know one another, laughing at the variety of absurd accents we could make, and wondering whether we might, in fact, convince guests that we were from France, Australia, England, and Liberia.
We got a late start out of Fairbanks, and didn’t arrive at the entrance of Denali until about 6pm in our 15 passenger vans laden with large backpacks and suitcases hosting all the clothing and equipment we would need for three and a half months in the wilderness. Our late start couldn’t have been better. You see, it was still early season and few guests had yet to arrive in Denali. Bus drivers, who need at least 3 years of driving experience and the ability to provide naturalist interpretation for 6 hours of bus driving, were still doing training runs, and the guests were only being shuttled in up to the Teklanika River rest stop at approximately mile 30. We stopped our vans at Teklanika and descended to look at the braided, glacially fed river, observe the river bed for wolves who den near the flat, easily traversed areas of the park, and briefly thereafter jumped back into the vans for another 60 miles along (an often single-track) dirt road into the heart of the Denali wilderness.
For nearly four more hours we drove, not passing a single other vehicle on the Park Road. I was delighted at the silence in the park, having never experienced it so quiet. We had nationally protected land larger than the state of New Hampshire, all to ourselves. Breathtaking is an inadequate word to describe this pristine wilderness.
Rolling hillsides of dwarf birch trees, thick spongy tundra covered in edible berries, moss, lichens, and wildflowers, a roadside lined with Alder trees and Balsam Poplars that gives way, at variable turns, to glacially carved river beds, and beyond them, the imposing sights of Cathedral Mountain, Sable Pass and, among my favorites, Polychrome. Named for the many different colors of rock- granite, sandstone, igneous, and other that would require a geologist more informed than me to describe-the sheer variance of color alone is enough to make one stop in pure wonder. Except that we were blessed, right before reaching Polychrome, to encounter a sight few experience.
A sow grizzly bear chewing on the tall grasses inches away from the roadside gravel. Behind her, a young cub that looked every bit as cuddly as a teddy bear, and all the more beautiful as a living animal, stepping down on the grasses with its front paw to bring the grasses down to chewing height, unhurriedly following his grazing mother. We stopped and watched in our vans from feet away, snapping photos and brief videos and generally trying to contain excitement that would startle the bears and cause them to wander away into the bushy growth beside the road.

Sow Grizzly near Polychrome
Just miles later, rounding a bend before the Polychrome rest stop, a group of Dall sheep ewes and their newborn lambs were standing on a rocky hillside, grazing and ever-alert for danger. Excellent climbers, they are normally spotted as distant white dots on craggy outcroppings where they can easily scramble over rocks to escape predators. The little lambs were practicing jumps from a small dirt ledge and we would barely suppress squeals of delight at their cuteness.
We once again exited the vans (rest stops are the only admissible places to leave your vehicle, and few have permits to drive personal vehicles into the park. The vast majority of visitors may only enter the park via bus, but this has served great purpose in preserving the wildness of the landscape and its inhabitants.) and took photographs of the scenery. I snapped a candid shot of Abby, a guide new to Alaska this summer, cupping her mouth in awestruck excitement.
Practically floating from the experience so far, we climbed back into our vans. Forty-five miles of dirt road still lay between us and the Roadhouse. We drove on another 15 or so miles, crossing the Toklat River and ascending up a steep curve in the road beside a rain cloud while patches of light broke through cumulous clouds nearby. No less more than two moments after I mentioned that we were likely to see a rainbow did we curve to the top of the bend and see a vibrant, massive rainbow out the left windows of the van.
Overtaken, we pulled the van over. Don’t tell, but we broke National Park Service (NPS) rules and plowed out of the vans to take jumping and excited pictures under a rainbow, as there was no one around to tell us not to, and when else do you get to revel in experiences such as this?

Rainbow near Eielson (2)
Driving past the last rest stop at Eielson, mile 66 on the Park Road, we passed through my favorite part of the park. The road lies higher above the tundra, and taiga (a Russian word meaning “land of little sticks” for the many dwarf trees that grow in this harsh permafrost environment), and the road parallels the foothills of the Alaska Range for a dozen or so miles. The light danced on 8,000-10,000 foot peaks below the ever snow-covered range as clouds shrouded Denali- “The Tall One” from our view. This scenery of epic proportions is reminiscent of the sweeping camera angles in the Lord of the Rings trilogy. When the clouds lift and Denali shows her face, this mountain nearly 4 miles high is confounding to one’s sight. As best as I can describe it, it is as though someone has lifted the curtain on an exquisitely painted backdrop, and the 20,320ft of the South summit of Denali is barely to be believed when seen. It is visible even from Anchorage some 300+ miles away in the 30% of the time the range is visible, and 10% of the time that the entire range with its lesser (12,000-17,000 foot) peaks are completely free of cloud coverage.
The rest of the drive proved uneventful, save the lingering incredulity and recurring thought that “We are being paid to work here this summer!” We did not see Denali on our drive in-that incredible experience was preserved for the following day, and the day after, and the day following to the delight of our astonished eyes. Those of us who have worked here in years previous could only attempt to express how rare and special the continuous sunshine and open mountain views were to the staff new to Alaska. On the fourth day, Denali showed more of her true colors, and cold winds, rain, and even a flash hailstorm have visited us this week. I have seen the weather change as much as 8 times in one day, and we can never promise guests a hike free of rain or cool winds that blow across the exposed ridges of our more challenging hikes, but we can always promise an experience unlike any other found in the Lower 48.

That about covers my first day in Denali.

If you sensed a bit of rose-colored description and childlike exuberance at my return to Alaska, you would be correct. It is, in fact, the way I felt and often feel at being here in the Last Frontier. No experience is without its challenges and pitfalls, but we shall save that for a later post.
I am exceedingly grateful to be here.

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Additionally I am grateful for the following:
-The rapid bonding and strength of friendship in our guide staff. They have all proven to be fun, hardworking, and eager to learn with a team player mentality.-The friendliness and positive attitudes of the rest of the staff, as well as the delight found working with 4 return employees that I have known since I first came to work in Kantishna in 2006.
Mary and Abby, two other guides who are also believers, and with whom I have read scriptures, prayed, and processed life on several occasions.
-Mental space to reflect and be away from the noise. The natural inclination to draw, create, write, and generally steep in richness of life
Reconnection with Kevin. I called to tell him I would be working in Alaska this summer, and we have been speaking ever since. He was a big help and encouragement to me as I finished the madness of work and school and moving out of my apartment in Denver before coming to Alaska. He continues to be an important person in my life, and we would be very grateful for prayers concerning the future of our relationship.

I would ask your prayers about the following:
Pray for Julia. She is an employee working on the East End (entrance) of the park who came to visit our Roadhouse with some other staff members from a nearby lodge two days ago. They had a few drinks in our bar and were en route back to the Denali Backcountry Lodge just 1.5 miles away when Julia had a terrible accident. The staff members were racing downhill on bikes on a gravelly dirt road without helmets and Julia hit a rock, went over her handlebars, and hit her head. She fractured her skull and has cerebral hemorrhaging as well as a broken hip. They had to med-evac her out to a hospital and she is in severe condition.
-Pray for healing in my foot, knee, and hip. I have had leg pain since an injury in 2008 and it is exacerbated by the long distance and downhill compression of hikes. I love what I am doing, and am grateful that leg pain has not stopped me yet, but I am in pain daily and always aware that one misstep could affect the rest of my summer.
-Pray for continued healthy relationships among staff. I’m honestly amazed at the relationships so far, and I know the season is very early and frustrations and misunderstandings can quickly become a painful situation when in such close proximity to others for 3 months. Ideal community does not exist this side of heaven and I know the evil one will come to attack, so please pray that we will be armored for spiritual warfare.
-Pray for the believers out here. Abby and Mary and I desire to be lights that draw people to Jesus, and we have already seen others express curiosity about our faith and an openness to discussion.

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Whether or not you’ve made it this far, thank you for your interest in this new journey, and may the Lord shine His face upon you in new and soul-reviving ways, as He as to me in this time.

Guides and Wonder Lake (3)

 
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Posted by on June 9, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

Why Friday has to come before Sunday

I noticed him yesterday, a trim man in his early fifties slowly pacing the hallway of the intensive care unit, before I put the story together. It was a busy morning. Cohorts of doctors consulting and discussing patients outside of their rooms. A patient needing intubation whose jaw and trachea were difficult to maneuver a breathing tube into, so an anesthesiologist was called to the floor. The typical stocking of medical supplies and turning of patients to prevent bed sores, but with it, an additional sense of urgency. When I had arrived to volunteer at the hospital that morning, one of the certified nurse assistants (CNAs) had mentioned to me that I didn’t need to take patient temperatures in a particular room because a patient had “expired.” I thought I understood but didn’t press.

In the ICU, given the severity of patient situations, there are a greater number of fatalities than one might see on any given floor. It wasn’t until a nurse came by and subtly mentioned that they were “ready” for the help of the CNA describing to us how to stock a central line cart that I understood that the expired patient was still in her room. The CNA gently looked at me and a fellow volunteer said they were going to clean up the room and bag the body. We were allowed to join if we would like, but not required to.

The fifty-something man with a sense of lost-ness wandering in the hallway that morning had just lost his wife, and her body still lay motionless in her hospital bed. I don’t know much about the patient and couldn’t share if I did, but I know she overcame one type of cancer only to succumb to Leukemia, and ultimately to pass away from sepsis and multiple organ failure.

I didn’t know they actually put tags on the toes of the deceased to make sure they were correctly identified. Didn’t expect it to be so obvious how the body shut down when life left, first from the limbs-leaving them cold and stiff- and next into the torso, blood pooling purple from deoxygenation as the body attempts to maintain core heat around the most vital organs.

It didn’t bother me as much as it might, watching the bag zip around the patient and then lifting her body onto a metal rolling table to be taken off the unit. I have experienced the shock of peering at the face of one I love, their body nearly the same and yet their essence absent, their hands folded in an unnatural way.

I was grateful for an end to her suffering. I was heavy for those she left behind. For the kindly man being offered counsel by hospital staff, and knowing that his solo journey had just begun.

Death of relationship. Loss of relationship. I think this to be the most painful of things that we, as humans, experience. Whether through breakups, divorce, division, drifting apart, or death, the loss of relationship is a type of death. We were created for communion. With one another, and ultimately, with God.

As Matthew records it, Jesus cried out “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachtani?” and then shouted one more time, with that releasing his spirit on the cross. As Jesus finished what he came to do, his last cry was over loss of relationship. Separation from God. Asking why his father had abandoned him. Utter loneliness. (Matthew 27: 46-50)

I’m so glad the story doesn’t end there. You and I both know what’s next.

It may be Friday. But Sunday is coming.

(Repeat that over and over in a church service with increasing volume and you can’t help but be excited.)

Guess what we often skip over in between? What I don’t know that I have ever heard preached? What I maybe never have even realized before?

When Jesus shouted his last and released his spirit, when the earth shook and the rocks split apart and the curtain of the temple was torn asunder- tombs opened. Right then.  “The bodies of many godly men and women who had died were raised from the dead. They left the cemetery after Jesus’ resurrection, went into the holy city of Jerusalem, and appeared to many people.” (Matthew 27:51-53)

When Jesus died, He wasn’t the only one resurrected. Other dead people came back to witness of new life!!!!

Forgive me for what will be a poor parallel here.

It is a weak comparison.

But let me draw a line here to my own life. To our lives.

As we live through the death of relationships, whether through loss of life or loss of communication, we have the opportunity to speak of how Jesus brings US back to life. After we go through our own periods of feeling buried alive. When we understand what living death feels like. When Jesus returns and offers us new life-he rolls back OUR stones, and sends us forth.

We are gutted that what is impure may be removed and what remains may filled with Him.

It sounds nice.

It hurts like hell.

But our scars heal tougher than our unscathed skin, and our empathy grows exponentially for those in their own seasons of death, and we are called to “comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ.” (2 Cor 2:4-5).

More directly, more vulnerably, I have placed my hopes in someone for several months. Envisioned why we would be good together, the ways our gifts would complement one another, the adventures and calling we could share. I wanted to reach out, but felt the Lord tell me to wait.

I have experienced much confusion and frustration as a result. Felt foolish hoping in someone who likely hasn’t given second thought to me.  Unrequited love is real, and it really -how to say this delicately? – sucks.

I came to a place where I felt it time to ask the Lord for an answer. Wrote on a piece of printer paper, “…I want to know whether you are working in _’s heart to draw our lives together for shared purpose. And I want for him to be removed from my hopes and thoughts, Lord, if this is not the work of your hand. I want for my heart to be free and open and in undeniable communication with your Holy Spirit and the tangible “hand” of your leading in my life. I want to say “YES” to what you ask me to say and “YES” to where you ask me to go. Only be clear with me, Lord, let me know it is of you and not of my own divining…Fill my heart with “greater joy than those who have abundant harvests of grain and new wine” regardless of how my story is written. Take from me hopes that are not placed by you. Place within me hopes from you.

I don’t often ask the Lord directly for what I want. Haven’t mastered praying powerful prayers.  Struggle to know what it looks like to pray direct prayers with faith and not out of unfaith in hopes of requiring God to prove himself.

But God answered.

And less than 48 hours later I learned that this man had chosen someone else.

It stings. But I also feel free.

And I believe that God has new hopes and stories and adventures awaiting me. I feel gutted, but I also believe that He has created a lot of room to fill with His good.

And while it is a Friday season of the soul, Sunday is coming.

 
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Posted by on April 4, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

What “ok” Means

“I’m ok”

Those are the words that you say when you really aren’t ok, aren’t they? At least that’s what it means to me. At least that is what I hear in the words of others when pretext and pretending are too heavy to feign being “good.”

Because “ok” is the briefest response that says, “Some things, maybe a lot of things, are not ok right now, but I am breathing, and I’m taking it day by day—maybe even hour-by-hour or minute-by-minute, so the fact that I am able to answer means that some things must be ok.  And I know I’m supposed to find reasons to be grateful, even though I struggle to see those things right now. Therefore, I guess I am ok.”

“Ok” implies that I’m really not feeling ok, but I don’t have the emotional energy to explain to you how I truly feel. And I am not sure I want you to ask what “ok” means, because my terse response is about as much as I can allow without breaking down. If you prod—which I may want you to do, while fearing the dissolution into tears- my wall won’t hold up very long. But maybe my wall has already fallen down too many times lately. In the check-out line at the grocery store. At a few notes of a song on the radio. At a memory that strikes me while I walk to my car. In which case, NO, I cannot tell you what “ok” means, because I am not ok enough to explain. So please, leave me alone.

Except don’t.

Because when I most desperately want to be alone is oftentimes the very place I find myself most desperately needing to be reminded that I am not alone, and the pride that breaks when you see my brokenness is the best thing you can do for me. Most days.

But some days my pride is too strong and I need for my walls to stand up just long enough for me to figure out how to make it through the day. Because I’m already overwhelmed at the number of things I need to accomplish without having to fight down another flood of tears.

Jesus.

Oh Jesus.

Hold me. Oh Jesus hear me when I don’t know what I need, and when I don’t know whether what I want is the same as what I need. Because there are things I want so badly. Things I want you to give to me, fix for me, stop taking away from me. I see it in the tears of a toddler, how he screams and throws a fit and believes un-love because I will not give to him things that will hurt him, or have to deny his desires to teach him. And I know you do this to me, Lord, For me—but I don’t understand, either. And so I dissolve into tears, and believe un-love, and want to throw and break things and push you away.

But I don’t really want you to go away. Not at all.

Because I need you. And because life is a process of learning from you what is good for me, and what is not, and having less tantrums when I think something is good and you know better. Because you know best, and you always do what is for our best. Even when we don’t trust, even despite our un-trust in your faithfulness to choose best.

So when I decided to begin volunteering at a hospital. And begin a new job. And take on a full course load of evening science classes. And had to choose to end a relationship with a man I care dearly for.  And then I caught Streptococcus pyogenes (strep throat) that same week. ALL IN ONE MONTH—My spirit wilted within me.

I knew the adjustment would be difficult. In honesty, I dreaded it, but knew that I could handle it.

Except now that it’s a reality and I can’t handle it. And the newness, and the needing to be brave, and the separation from relationship are very, very lonely. And I have to reach out for help. And I really, really want someone to cuddle with me, and hold me when nothing feels ok. To take me down from my high chair and wipe off the messy crumbs of life and read me nap time stories and sing to me that Jesus loves me.

Isn’t that why Jesus calls all of us His family?  So we can do that for one another? So I swallow my pride and I reach out to friends who tell me they have been praying for me, and pick up antibiotics and soup for me, and keep calling me until I answer my phone. Because I, alone, am not ok.  But I, with you, and with your reminders of Jesus’s love, will be ok.

And when we are sick and have to be still and our spirits cry out –isn’t that exactly the right space for the Holy Spirit to speak?

In Jesus’s own words, “Healthy people don’t need a doctor—sick people do. I have come to call not those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners.” (Mark 2:17)

And He came for the broken and sick and sinful. And He comes for me, broken and sick and sinful. And He’s coming for you, in your brokenness and sickness and sinfulness.

Praise the Lord! We have a Jesus who does not walk by as we call out in our brokenness.(There are 5+ examples in Matthew 9 alone. ending with the following:)

35 Jesus traveled through all the towns and villages of that area, teaching in the synagogues and announcing the Good News about the Kingdom. And he healed every kind of disease and illness. 36 When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them because they were confused and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. 37 He said to his disciples, The harvest is great, but the workers are few. 38 So pray to the Lord who is in charge of the harvest; ask him to send more workers into his fields.”

As You train us to send us out Lord, give us the tenacity to receive your training, the wisdom to understand it, and the gratitude to go forth in JOY.

I’ll leave you with this gem of a song by Ginny Owens:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aaXxwFpavj4

If You Want Me To

The pathway is broken and the signs are unclear
And I don’t know the reason why You brought me here
But just because You love me the way that You do
I’m gonna walk through the valley if You want me to

‘Cause I’m not who I was when I took my first step
And I’m clinging to the promise You’re not through with me yet
So if all of these trials bring me closer to You
Then I will go through the fire if You want me to

It may not be the way I would have chosen
When You lead me through a world that’s not my home
But You never said it would be easy
You only said I’d never go alone

So when the whole world turns against me and I’m all by myself
And I can’t hear You answer my cries for help
I’ll remember the suffering Your love put You through
And I will go through the darkness if You want me to

When I cross over Jordan, I’m gonna sing, gonna shout
I’m gonna look into Your eyes and see, You never let me down
So take me on the pathway that will lead me home to You
And I will walk through the valley if You want me to
Yes, I will walk through the valley if You want me to

Girls. Guys. Ginny Owens is blind. She lost her eyesight to a degenerative eye disease at 3 years  of age.

Just maybe, in times like these, He is teaching me to see like Ginny does.

 
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Posted by on February 12, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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