Sunday, September 07, 2008

A day on the San Jacinto

He drew a circle that shut me out--
Heretic, a rebel, a thing to flout.
But Love and I had the wit to win:
We drew a circle that took him in!
- Edwin Markham

Yesterday I was feeling a bit blue. It's been loss upon loss lately, minor losses but losses nonetheless. I am learning to sit in my discomfort, and to turn my thoughts to God, and His love for me. He is all I need. It's so easy to put some object as an idol - "love," or my blackberry or food or anything that we look to for gratification above simply knowing God loves us. When I am in the state of discomfort I am trying to pray, to meditate, to tell myself God loves me unconditionally (and loves me too much to keep me this way, whatever "issues" I am dealing with). What a glorious time this is, a reawakening, a rebirth, learning a new lesson that is going to transform my life. But it does not make the day to day feelings disappear. The questions, the confusion, the frustration. Why can't people come to the table and just talk? I don't know, and probably never will. But I'm ok with it. I can choose to love a person for who they are, and take the high road even when the other person doesn't.

So Amy and I went to get a pedicure and then went out on the San Jacinto River in the afternoon with some friends which was just an awesome time. I felt a bit mellow but just enjoyed every minute, with Glenn driving like a maniac and feeling the wind in my face and the sun on my shoulders. And I got to drive the boat too, and try out wakeboarding for the first time. What beauty in this world exists! The joy of being alive!

Amy and I - self portrait! :)

This is Glenn, he and his daughter Madeline love water sports and they also do kiteboarding which looks so amazing!

This is me trying out wakeboarding for the first time. This one is very fuzzy but you can see the San Jacinto River which is really quite beautiful! I was able to barely get up on the wakeboard, but then immediately fell (My God, isn't that the story of my life?! LOL). Anyway it's tricky but I'm going to get it down one of these days! It seems like a lot of fun. But my forearms are soooooo sore that I can not even squeeze out a sponge without some difficulty!
Another shot of me in the water about to attempt to get up on the wakeboard. You have your feet in the straps, and then when the boat takes off you push your board down in the water and then turn it sideways. Or that's the way it's supposed to work...

This is a closeup from the previous image so you can actually see me, a little! That's Madeline behind me. The sun was going down, so the light wasn't great for photos. Amy took this.

Amy on the wakeboard. Like me, she was able to get up and then would fall down. It was also her first time.
On the way back to Glenn's house, I got to drive the boat which was great fun! I've never driven a boat before... And I only ran over two boards and a mud pile :) hee hee. It was a jet boat. I felt so peaceful and in the moment riding back, the sun was out, the wind was whipping over my face and I just felt really alive. The sunset was gorgeous, and the water looked like slippery blue quicksilver. The water and the horizon together just blew my mind. The photo doesn't quite capture it.

The poem at the top of the page is in a column by United Methodist Minister Donald Haynes, "Methodism has deep roots in evangelical Christianity" which is about his story, going from more of a fundamentalist as a young man to a much broader perspective as he got older. He said those lines of Markham's rescued him from the trappings of fundamentalism when he was 20. He writes, "If an evangelical is the herald of good tidings, the venom must go and the judgmental spirit must be taken to the foot of the cross of Him who demonstrated that God is love." and "I parted company long ago with anything that builds a barrier around God's love." and "Though our culture's lifestyles may have changed, our loneliness, frustration, the lack of meaning and the longing for God have not changed. Evangelical Christianity, of which Methodism is a historic part, fails if we cannot help people come to an experiential knowledge of God."

In other words, those who want to spread the message of God in Christ must experience the way that Christ changes lives from the inside out. That also means stopping judgment and starting love, radical love of everyone, which is not at all an easy task. As Haynes writes, that includes everyone from people of other faiths to the most incorrigible criminal to hypocritical modern-day Pharisaical religious leaders. God loves everyone. And so should we.

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