Tag Archives: beauty

Color me eclectic

That’s a fun word to say. Ec-lec-tic.  There’s a little kind of punch from the vocal cords when I say it (probably from all of those hard c’s).  For those who would like a definition, eclectic means: deriving ideas, style, or taste from a broad and diverse range of sources.  That’s me all over.

I don’t have any particular style.  I don’t have any particular way of doing anything.  I am a mishmash (another fun word to say out loud) of experiences that color me eclectic.  I have always shunned the idea that I must conform to the standards of my society in how I conduct my life.  “How I conduct my life”, now there’s an interesting turn of phrase.  An orchestra is made up of an eclectic assortment of instruments following the conductors commands to slow down, go faster, be quieter.  Each instrument offering up their own unique sounds to make a well conducted song.  And how sweet that song can be.

Sorry. I saw something shiny.

Being the slightly crazy, out-of-sync-with-the-rest-of-the-world sort, I have collected together an otherwise unconnected assortment of philosophies and styles.  Bits and pieces from this, that, and the other thing.  Stuff that, within their collective of sameness are, in my opinion, somewhat boring.  By gathering together these tidbits in my eclectic basket of being, I am giving these tidbits new life, meaning, and purpose.  Put them all together like some crazy mosaic, and you have me.

I think God likes to do the same.  Only on a grander scale.  He seems to like to gather together people and churches that are individually unique with their own sound and style.  I think it is important to note here that I believe that God has presented Christians with core set of values to follow that should be the conducted same way by each person (1 Corinthians 13 anyone?).  Conformity to a certain way of behaving towards God and other people is very important to a fruitful faith (Mark 12:28).  But, how boring would it be if we all were the same in our expression of our faith?

Think about it for a minute.  What if the only music you ever heard was made up of one instrument?  Boredom would set fairly quickly.  How about if a mosaic was all one color and one kind of material?  Boring.

The unique collection of you  fits together nicely with the unique collections that are other people when the Holy Spirit is conducting the orchestra.  We have to stop trying to coloring other people’s pink blue, or stop trying to force another person’s instrument to sound like our own.  Sorry folks, no matter how hard you try, a trumpet will never, ever sound like a flute.  Instead we need to celebrate each person’s  contribution to the whole.  Let the Holy Spirit reign in your heart.  Let him conduct the orchestra the way it is meant to be conducted.

Then, we will be beautiful to behold.

Down in the valley so low. Up on the mountain so high. And tighten up that brain, why don’chya’?

Moments of clarity can be blindingly brilliant.  Bringing light into the dark places, reveals the what’s been hiding in the dark.  Which makes these moments of clarity something to fear.  When there is no light, no one can see the mayhem that the darkness brings.  Who wants to see the mess they have made of themselves, right?

I feel so low right now.  All I know right now is feelings of defeat, despair, self-loathing, and anger at my stupidity.  And, I really have no idea why.

Paradoxically, I feel like Noah’s dove bringing back the olive branch that I found on tree that is high up on a mountain top, free of the floodwaters.  Free to go off and do what I was meant to do in the places I am meant to do them.

Such a strange place to be, both high and low altogether.

As I was sitting and pondering all of this my brain was listening to the movie playing in the living room, Spy Kids.  This is not a deep or profound movie.  But the moment that I tuned into the dialogue the father spy, Gregorio, was explaining some research he had been involved in to his wife spy in a flashback.  The research was for developing artificial intelligence and was called the Third Brain.  While the various researchers are busily working on their versions of the “Third Brain”, the spy in charge of the project walks by one of the researchers, pats him on the back and says something like, “Why don’t you tighten up that brain.”

Hearing this gave me pause.  It’s as if God is challenging me to “tighten up” my brain.  God, in His grace and wisdom, teaches us in our infancy how to live our lives according to His rules.  The bible says that He doesn’t give us more than we can handle.  I take that to mean that God expects me to be able to stand on my own two feet and walk out this salvation of mine.  Especially since His strength is flowing through my veins.  Which means that I have the power to speak His light into the dark places in my soul.  When I get to the realization that I need to tighten up my brain I usually go here:

Psalm 42

As the deer pants for streams of water,
so my soul pants for you, my God.

My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.
When can I go and meet with God?

My tears have been my food
day and night, while people say to me all day long,
“Where is your God?”

These things I remember
as I pour out my soul:
how I used to go to the house of God
under the protection of the Mighty One
with shouts of joy and praise
among the festive throng.

Why, my soul, are you downcast?
Why so disturbed within me?
Put your hope in God,
for I will yet praise him,
my Savior and my God.

My soul is downcast within me;
therefore I will remember you
from the land of the Jordan,
the heights of Hermon—from Mount Mizar.

Deep calls to deep
in the roar of your waterfalls;
all your waves and breakers
have swept over me.

By day the LORD directs his love,
at night his song is with me—
a prayer to the God of my life.

I say to God my Rock,
“Why have you forgotten me?
Why must I go about mourning,
oppressed by the enemy?”

My bones suffer mortal agony
as my foes taunt me,
saying to me all day long,
“Where is your God?”

Why, my soul, are you downcast?
Why so disturbed within me?
Put your hope in God,
for I will yet praise him,
my Savior and my God.

Which generally leads me to repentance of my attitude.

Repentance is a funny thing.  Imagine that you are standing in the darkest of caves.  The master of the  light has given you a torch and a match, of which you light.  And there you are, crouching amongst the bones and debris of your sin, filthy and in tattered rags, hair matted against your head.  You are both crouching in fear of the light, and the light-bearer.  You need to coax yourself out of the corner and gently reveal the need to say to the source of the light, “I am sorry I fled from your light.  I don’t want this cave of darkness anymore.”  Repentance seems so simple, but it is so hard to do.  Yet, the reward is worth the price.  As soon as you turn to the light-giver, He breathes life into the dark place and blows away the filth and yuck from every corner and every crevice so that the cave has no remnant of the sin it bore.  And you look as if you have been undergoing the year-long beauty treatments that Esther underwent so she would look her best when she met the king.

Lord, please forgive my unbelieving attitude.

It is now time to tighten up my brain and say to myself “Why are you downcast, oh  my soul?  Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.”  Amen.

Do you have anything to repent of today?

The Garden of You

This post
is dedicated to a precious person, Jessica who has a beautiful blog.
Reading her blog is a delight, like visiting a garden.

Dear Precious Friend, I came by your garden today for a visit. I
saw you in the distance with the wind playfully attempting to
displace the little straw hat (You know, the yellow one. With the
polka dots) sitting prettily upon your head. You seemed engrossed
in your work as you hummed gently to yourself. Knowing you, you
were probably composing a song. Then you saw me. You turned and
laughed, then waved at me to come on over for a spell. On my way
over, I noticed a little pond you had put in. There were flashes of
red, gold and white making ripples in the water as if to welcome me
here, to your garden. In another little nook I noticed that some
fairies had been busy building a little home for themselves,
knowing in their hearts that you wouldn’t mind. You looked warm and
a little tired from your work, but happy. There may have been a
little stick or two in your hair, it was hard to tell amongst that
deep brown hair. Little clods of dirt had stuck themselves to your
legs. Honestly, the dried mud didn’t look very comfortable, causing
your skin to wrinkle and pucker. However, you barely seemed to
noticed the dirt clods because you knew they would meet with their
ultimate demise; to be washed away. You squatted down by some
recently disturbed earth. I noticed a multitude of hardworking
earthworms busily making their way back into the soft, moist earth.
Those little guys are a definite sign of good soil. They are always
working to soften the hard ground, just below the surface where you
can’t see them. You asked me to come closer and take a look at what
you had been doing. You explained to me that this little plot of
land had almost been swept away by a flood recently. But, you had
managed to keep it safe. You said your gardening teacher had been
by and helped you protect this area from the swift, unforgiving
waters. You told me he had said that this was a special little
place, destined for greatness and beauty. “And see,” you said,
“I’ve already planted the seeds.” Having come to visit your garden
a few times recently, I feel I understand that making this place
special has not been easy. Blights seem to pop up out of nowhere
ravaging your precious plants. Or, crazy weather comes screaming
into this place bringing darkness and flooding that attempts to
desecrate and destroy the life here. By no small miracle, every
little petal, blade of grass, and leaf survives, and, in spite of
the storms, thrives. Whenever I come to visit, you take me on a
tour of delights. The sweet, soft scent of those perky red roses
reach up and tickle my nose, daring me to smile. The gentle sway of
the weeping willow by the water allows me, for a moment, to safely
feel some sadness, which is a balm to my soul. Sometimes the little
rabbits come out to peek at us and twitch their noses as if they
know something we do not. We stopped at your new pond. You showed
me the little fish that you put there. “My friends” you said, with a slight tilt to your head.
They come to visit when you arrive, even when you have nothing to
give. Sometimes you sing them a song, sad or otherwise. Sometimes
you tell them a story. They absorb every morsel you give them then
radiate back love to you for your gentle gifts. Eventually, we
arrive at the heart of your garden, that most sacred place. Here is
where you sit, hours upon hours, with your gardening teacher.
Listening, learning, asking tons of questions. Sometimes, I come in
to visit, sometimes I don’t. And, that’s ok. Because that is your
special place. On the way out, we always pass the little patch of
earth that you intentionally leave untended. It serves as a
reminder of what this garden used to look like. You have
worked so hard ,my friend, to put your land back together. And it is
amazing. Even more amazing than before the hurricane that nearly
wiped this place of rest and beauty from existence. Thank you,
Precious Friend, for allowing me to visit your garden from time to
time. Stephanie