From Torment of Memory to Silent Joy

“There is nothing that can replace the absence of someone dear to us, and one should not even attempt to do so. One must simply hold out and endure it. At first that sounds very hard, but at the same time it is also a great comfort. For to the extent the emptiness truly remains unfilled one remains connected to the other person through it. It is wrong to say that God fills the emptiness. God in no way fills it but much more leaves it precisely unfilled and thus helps us preserve -- even in pain -- the authentic relationship. Further more, the more beautiful and full the remembrances, the more difficult the separation. But gratitude transforms the torment of memory into silent joy. One bears what was lovely in the past not as a thorn but as a precious gift deep within, a hidden treasure of which one can always be certain."

― Dietrich Bonhoeffer
I'm sure those of you who knew her well can understand how even a decade later, her death leaves an emptiness that can't be replaced. It has been an endurance on many occasions without her counsel, but ultimately I'm grateful because I had the privilege of calling her mom. If you knew her, close your eyes and listen to her laugh and let that be your hidden treasure today.

Something to be learned

Sometimes I wonder if my children are picking up on the things I want them to learn.

I recall as a child sitting in music classes where the teacher would play various arrangements of classical music. We were asked to close our eyes and reflect on the piece. We were to describe the story that is being told with the music. Based on the rhythm and sounds of certain instruments we were suppose to describe how we felt. We were told to make a connection with the music.

As a child I didn't get it but, as an adult I've learned to use classical music as a release for hard days. The music very much describes how I might feel and where I want my emotions to rest. I allow the music to retell my story and eventually it leads to relaxation.

I didn't learn this as a child, but as a child I learned there was something to be learned by listening to classical music.

To teach our children that there is something to be learned, whether they learn it or not, is a gift.

Reflection on Frustration and Fear

My little girl is a monkey. She's currently 4 and loves climbing trees. Now that Spring is beginning to make an appearance she is always looking for the next tree to conquer. As she climbs 5 times her own height, you can tell she has no time for fear. She only entertains her frustration in not being able to go higher.  One evening as we were leaving to go visit with some friends, she said to me "When we get to their house, I'm going to climb their trees."

Even the few times she came close to falling, fear had an open door but frustration kept it out. Frustrations keep her looking ahead for other options, whether it's a different way up the tree or a whole new tree.

Both fear and frustration can be motivators, but which one we listen to can make the differences in the heights of our climbs. Listening to fear could save our life, but it could also keep us from really living. Fear can prevent us from trying the one solution that might work. Frustration on the other hand leads to doubt or even the fear of failure. It will go 12 rounds with us or until we throw in the towel.

Frustration wins when we quit. Fear wins when we don't try.

Home

Whether I have been gone for a day or a week, home is an anchor. It's where I naturally return physically and mentally. It is where I am most inclined to recenter my thoughts and actions so that I can establish my footing for the next climb.  Regardless of what true north is, home is always where the journey begins and where the journey longs to end.

Staying connected is smarter than Obamacare?

From Venture Beat, I just read the following. I've tried to hold my tongue on Obamacare, but I have to get this off my chest.
...the President tried to point out that many of the young people in attendance spend over $100 per month collectively on Internet service plans from telecom companies and broadband Internet subscriptions because staying connected is important and smart. He then reasoned that under the new Affordable Care Act (ACA) they could also get health insurance coverage for roughly the same cost as a modestly priced iPhone monthly service plan.
When the president invites "young people" to the white house and tells them this kind of stuff, it's insulting to me.  For a "young person" this has always been true even before ACA.

Since the day I graduated from college, I have paid for my own health insurance. I had a health plan BEFORE I had a smart phone, BEFORE I was married, BEFORE I had kids, and if it came down to deciding between health insurance or a phone, I would have gone with health insurance.  It was affordable then and it was affordable now (until ACA doubled my monthly rate).  It was affordable because I made it a priority.

Young people, the President thinks you are stupid and incompetent if you can't figure it out on your own. You could have gotten an affordable plan before Obama came along. He did not create ACA for you, so don't let him make you think he did. He wants you to sign up for it, so you can help pay for other people's healthcare, because in all seriousness, most of you will need healthcare about as much as you need your phone.  I'm not advocating you don't get health insurance, but as young and healthy as most of you are, most of you won't end up using it's full benefit anyway.

I'm not saying the system was perfect, but the current solution is a lazy one and it still won't be perfect either. I didn't excel in school and I figured out how to make it work. You can [could have] too!

So young people, when you get in a bind and need to call me from your iPhone to come get you out of the hospital, just remember that you can't, because I might have just dumped my cell phone coverage in order to pay for your health insurance.

You are welcome.

Reflection on Christian Music

Some may say the sound and rhythm of today's contemporary Christian music is relevant to today's culture, but I'll take George Matheson from 1882 any day.