Friday, May 27, 2011

The Forest

"Sometimes the tree is too close to see the forest" I had someone tell me that once and it's stuck with me ever since. I think about all the different scenarios this can be applied. It popped in my head this morning as I was driving my two younger children and our gorgeous friend's baby that we will only be watching one more time. I thought about the sapling she has become and the sprout she was when we first started watching her over a year ago. I think about the tree she will become and the forest in which she'll be found.

Friday, May 20, 2011

an older post I never posted (not sure why)...

Painting has become one of my new found passions. There is something about taking a plain white canvas, pure in every sense, putting on color with simple strokes of a brush to create something breathtaking. Now I'll be the first to admit that I've put plenty of paint on canvas so far and though I've succeeded at getting the paint on it, there is no way that it can be described as breathtaking! But other paintings have stirred me in a way that I have never experienced before.

Art is wonderful! I can see how God got so carried away in creating Earth. It just took over him. Once he got the hang of making beautiful things he just kept going. Night and Day, Air and Sea, Land and animals and all the different variations and levels there are of each... it's absolutely overwhelming and well, breathtaking! And if you've never caught yourself out enjoying the beauty then stop reading this blog and go outside and find something, ANYTHING that you can see that's beautiful and take it in. Absorb the beauty of the moment. Memorize the emotions rising inside, the smells, the sounds, the colors, every tiny detail you can retain. Go ahead, this blog isn't going anywhere.

WOW, huh?!

Now moving on to my original thought for this post. The place I have discovered my new found passion is a place called G'Nosh! You pay your fee and go in, they supply the canvas, paint, brushes and an instructor that will take you through a painting step by step. You leave with a beautiful, original painting of your very own. It's empowering, inspiring, breathtaking and so many other words that I don't have in my vocabulary to describe. So naturally, I've introduced everyone around me that I can to G'Nosh! I've taken them to discover a new level of freedom, success, love, acceptance, and the list goes on. Almost all of them have greatly appreciated this experience, so much so that they have already or plan to go back in the very near future... and each of them have an individual in mind to take with them the next time they return. It's contagious!

I've encouraged a few of these individuals to go deeper with their painting practice and explore it on their own at home. I give them all the inside scoop I have about saving money buying supplies and even follow up with them on a regular basis so we are sharing with one another what we are painting in our living rooms. It's a very unique relationship.

Contagious & Unique. Two things that the organic movement participants desire for our churches. So now the question is how do we experience it? I've just shown that our goal is indeed attainable. Connect with people in a way they've never experienced, show them it's worth their time, effort and money and allow them to experience a reward so great that they must then take it home to share with others so they will also experience it. Something this awesome is too difficult to keep to yourself and to explain to others... they must simply do it.

departure or destination?

If you've read more than 2 of my blogs you're starting to pick up my theme of cliches. I'm not going for that but every time I turn around that's what I'm addressing. I think that's what's happening as I reroute my life through Prayer. I'm seeing and understanding these cliches and the truth or untruth that lies beneath.

For example.

I was driving to the gym the other morning, it was dark as it always is and I found myself intrigued as there was lots of traffic as I pulled out of my alley, even more traffic as I got down the street to the light. I thought, "Hmm... that's weird for 5:10am on Tuesday morning." Turns out there was an event at the high school that a group of students were preparing for and so there was an abnormally large amount of traffic and activity. But as I got further away from home, I noticed the opposite to be true. There were fewer and fewer vehicles on the road until I found myself on a 6 lane road with no other cars in sight. At first I thought, "wow, this is cool." Then I thought, "hmmm... this is weird." Then I started to have a mini panic attack in the back of my head, my heart started pounding and wondering does everyone else know something I don't?

Of course it only lasted about a about a mile before I finally saw a car here and there on the road, but the cars that I did see where traveling in the opposite direction. The weather was abnormally clear and crisp so I knew there shouldn't have been any reason to worry that I was going the wrong way. I was getting close to the gym when I drove down a strip of street with no street lights (I always get that creepy feeling of 'what if I run out of gas at this exact moment?' Luckily that's never happened!)

Well, with the last turn at hand it's like driving into the sun. The gym is a huge building, lit up like a Christmas Tree. There are parking lights every 5 spaces and it's bright as day. I think to myself for a second, "how could I have doubted I was headed in the wrong direction?"

That's when I heard the other little voice in my head say, "Because you do everyday"

Wow! I sat there for a minute both blown away and confused. I decided quickly I didn't want to be later than my usually lateness (I barely make the beginning of warm-up for most early morning classes, regardless of what time I get up) so I headed in to the gym. I worked out hard. All the while hearing that little voice, "Because you do everyday."

It's a silencing comment. One that makes all voices in your head stop for a second and then begin screaming in reaction, attacking the statement, questioning motives and denying any truth behind such a statement.

Finally, back in my car on the way home resting in the calm quiet that ensues after an awesome workout I had a chance to turn my voices off and listen for THE voice to explain.

I heard this.

"The road less traveled"

I recognized the phrase but couldn't put my finger on it so of course Googled it when I got home. I got two references:

The first was a poem by Robert Frost, The Road Not Taken.

The second was a bible verse, “Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it. ~Matthew 7:13-14

So on this morning I got to experience an awesome visual of my journey with Christ. I got to see how I was in a dark alley, completely blind with only one way out. When I finally worked up the courage to take the plunge I find myself in a position to see something. I see a little road ahead, full of other cars buzzing around. And when I get to the end of that stretch I see more cars and I am so excited and gain so much confidence. I got this! I'm on the right road, see all these other people. Then as I drive further to my destination, turn after turn, I grow weary, lonely, concerned, afraid, terrified. I question if I'm going the right direction, if I should be going at all?!
Maybe there is a better way.

And just when I doubt myself and God the most, I see the light, I made it! I have arrived. But once there I find a fair amount of work to do. After an awesome amount of energizing sweat it's time to move on. I haven't arrived, I've only made a necessary pit stop. So I get back on the road beginning again. The same amount of nervousness, excitement and confidence that I started and ended with from my first leg of the journey, realizing now that my destination is my departure.