13 March 2009

lessons learned

It goes without saying that it was NOT the reaction I hoped for. If I've relayed this story before, please forgive me.

Here is the scenario: it was a gym class day and I had forgotten my tennis shoes. You know the rule. Have a pair of shoes specifically kept to wear inside a gym, not worn in the street, in order to protect the gym floor's surface. I felt confident that it didn't matter that I had forgotten my shoes.
Although my situation appeared grave on the surface, I had an ace in the hole.

he he he.
I confidently dashed away from the elementary school area and ventured into the high school, boldly going where few students had gone before, and even fewer students live to talk about (ok, yes, mild exaggeration), I stepped into the teacher's lounge, scaled the crowd of mingling teachers and called out, "Mom?"
It was quite a disappointment, after all that, to retreat to my gym class, already in progress, and report that "yes, I had found my Mother," but, "No, she was not going to go home to retrieve my gym shoes and bring them to school for my use."
My forgetfulness demanded that I suffer the consequences. My mom did not bail me out.

Needless to say, I don't think I ever forgot my gym shoes again.
'Twas a good lesson, Mom. Thanks for your tough love!

11 March 2009


This was the prayer of "my" Lenten devotional for today. I hope it ministers to you and blesses God!

Father, you are all around and in me, walking in
my garden, shining in the sun, singing in the birds,
behind the face of every man and woman I meet,
and lying down with me at night.

Jesus, you are all around and in me, walking in my
garden, shining in the sun, singing in the birds,
behind the face of every man and woman I meet,
and lying down with me at night.

Holy Spirit, you are all around and in me, walking
in my garden, shining in the sun, singing in the
birds, behind the face of every man and woman I
meet, and lying down with me at night.

I will rejoice and walk with You by my tree of
temptations to reach the life You prepared for me
today. I will rejoice and walk with You today and
offer all my deeds as I try to care for your gifts and

I will rejoice and walk with You today until I rest in
Your peace tonight.

Credit: Szabolcs Kerekes serves with CRM-Hungary and works with church planters and pastors. He recently authored a book called Matrix Conversations about journeying toward Christ with those in the post-modern generation. Szabolcs, his wife, Erika, and their children, Anna, Julia, and David, live in Hungary.

07 March 2009

don't let it happen again

I remember watching Hotel Rwanda several years ago and then "meeting" the main character at a January series at Calvin College. The movie and the story, and particularly the Western world's seeming paralysis disturbs me still.
We have no excuse to stay uninformed about the travesties in this world.
There is a current crisis in Darfur.
A friend sent me the link to this website with a message urging me to send an urgent message to Secretary of State Clinton.

Please, browse the website, check sources, become informed about the issues, pray fervently, and take action. You can make a difference.

05 March 2009

raining down gently

One of my classmates (dear Suzy pictured below in blue on the right) posted this today. It seems appropriate that more people should be privy to this story. Let me know what you think.

This excerpt is from A Promise Kept: The Story of An Unforgettable Love, by Dr. Robertson McQuilkin, who stepped down as President of Columbia International University in order to care for his wife, who was suffering from Alzheimers Disease:

“Twenty-two years is a long time. But then again, it can be shorter than one anticipates. And how do you say good-bye to friends you do not wish to leave?

The decision to come to Columbia was the most difficult I have had to make; the decision to leave 22 years later, though painful, was one of the easiest. It was almost as if God engineered the circumstances so that I had no alternatives. Let me explain:

My dear wife, Muriel, has been in failing mental health for about 12 years. So far I have been able to carry both her ever-growing needs and my leadership responsibility at Columbia. But recently it has become apparent that Muriel is contented most of the time she is with me and almost none of the time I am away from her. It is not just ‘discontent.’ She is filled with fear – even terror – that she has lost me and always goes in search of me when I leave home. So it is clear to me that she needs me now, full-time.

Perhaps it would help you understand if I shared with you what I shared in chapel at the time of the announcement of my resignation. The decision was made, in a way, 42 years ago when I promised to care for Muriel ‘in sickness and in health . . . till death do us part.’ So, as I told the students and faculty, as a man of my word, integrity has something to do with it. But so does fairness. She has cared for me fully and sacrificially all these years; if I cared for her for the next 40 years I would not be out of her debt. Duty, however, can be grim and stoic. But there is more: I love Muriel. She is a delight to me – her childlike dependence and confidence in me, her warm love, occasional flashes of that wit I used to relish so, her happy spirit and tough resilience in the face of her continual distressing frustration. I don’t have to care for her. I get to! It is a high honor to care for so wonderful a person.” (21-22)

Here is what Dr. McQuilkin says about memories:

“Memories help too. Muriel stocked the cupboard of my mind with the best of them. I often live again a special moment of love she planned so creatively or laugh at some remembered outburst of her irrepressible approach to life. Sometimes the happy doesn’t bubble up with joy, but rains down gently with tears. When Joy Gresham reminded C. S. Lewis that their joy would soon end, that she would die, he replied that he didn’t want to think about that. Joy responded, ‘The pain is part of the happiness. That’s the deal.’ In the summer of ’95 Muriel’s right hand went limp – the first major decline since she lost the ability to stand to feed herself eighteen months before. A little loss, you would think, but I shed a few tears. It’s almost like part of me dies with each of her little deaths. That precious hand, so creative, so loving, so busy for me and everyone else. But it wasn’t just the old memories. That right hand was the last way she had to communicate. She would reach out to hold hands, pat me on the back when I hugged her, push me away when she didn’t like what I was doing. I missed her hand. Memories, sweet and bittersweet. (63-64)

04 March 2009

we belong

After college, I didn't really know "what I wanted to be when I grew up" but I wanted to form an identity outside of my family. My family is great. I love them and am increasingly grateful for the gift of where I "landed" and who I landed beside family-wise. But I was the youngest of four girls. That always defined part of my identity and I longed for something additional.

So, as ironies go, I moved in with two friends from college, who happened to be sisters, who were moving into a four bedroom house that their oldest sister rented. I didn't venture too far from the familiar it seems. It was a great experience though. I loved living at 25 Cherry Street with these women.

One of the beautiful things about Holland Michigan is that families settle there (take aforementioned roommates for instance). In my church home there, I kept discovering more people who were related to someone else. It truly amazed me. They were lovely friendly people.

But none of them needed me. Because they had their families.

Now, at the expense of sounding needy, I hope you know what I mean. They were friendly and kind and nice. But they did not need me for friendship or social activities, or even too much conversation, really, because of the blessing of their familial and extended family relationships.

My closest friends in that community were people who had moved away and returned to the area, or who were "transplants" like me. Through the years though, Western Michigan became home. The family I have experienced here is rich and full. I am really grateful.

I say all of that to say, one of my sisters came to town this weekend (see photo). And I loved that. For a few moments I had family here (oh to be like everyone else). I am still basking in the beauty of her presence and our conversations. I am glad we can "just be" and share our hearts. I am glad I belong to her and she to me!

03 March 2009


In conversation with some friends the other day, we were talking about high schoolers on the fringes. You know, the ones that have been rejected by others, or have chosen to stay "outside" of certain circles for various reasons. Sometimes it is those on the fringes that become friends with others on the fringes. Jesus certainly seemed to hang with "fringe" friends.

At the end of the day, we all want to belong.
We like to link ourselves to people, things, circumstances, events, positions, etc.
And it's not a bad thing. God calls us to community and invites us to belong to him.
That is our primary place to belong. We are God's beloved and we belong to him.
I like that.

These great folks "belonged to me" or I to them in a formal way when we worked together. I celebrate the gift of belonging to them and together belonging to God.

So I'm wondering, might there be anyone on the fringes around us that could use an invitation to belong?

Oh..and, Happy Birthday to Cathy and Kyle!