Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Celebrating Maggie

I went to ATL this past weekend to celebrate the birth of my dear friend, Maggie.  Last year's trip was fairly epic.

While I haven't been putting my thoughts down on paper much lately, my traveling companion has been.  Weston's words are too good not to share:

Snippet Recap
1. Whitney Houston, I Wanna Dance With Somebody
2. Miley Cyrus, We Can't Stop
The cool midnight air meets the unwanted end to the evening, but as you exit the party you meet a promise of more fun- accompanied by a shaky promise of return. As you enter the unknown there's not a care in the world other than the smiles on everyone's faces and excitement for the mysteries ahead. The breeze hits your face as you step in and up three easy, but unfamiliar steps. 

Take a turn and the view you expected is thrown off by a rearranging of seats and added poles. There you are- seated, cocktail in hand, enveloped in darkness. You hear the roar of the engine and feel the cool late night breeze on your neck as the music starts. Everyone begins to get restless while seated and as the song builds you feel your legs start to move without your instruction, you begin to sway without inhibition, and suddenly, almost impulsively, you join everyone on their feet. As you speed through the city laughing and dancing the night away, you steel glances in slow motion of onlookers out the window- stares that follow, smiles that long to join. The beat and the high pulses through you. 

You realize these moments slow down as if to remind you to enjoy, to soak in, and to gainfully contribute- for spying from the outside and not contributing is strictly prohibited in this crowd. And, that is precisely what you love and appreciate about the people that surround you. They rub elbows with you in the dark, in the light, when you're up and when you're down. They share a time of life with you when you all grew into the you you are now. They stake claim in your successes and failures- and everything in between, including your dance moves. 

The night is not over, but this chapter is. You exit the reminder of slow motion and the importance of popping it like its hot with the best of them- you exit this reminder into the front door of not one, not two or three, but a four washboard band...and you contribute. 


The Rolling Stones, Honky Tonk Women

In you walk past the liveliest bouncer- high fives included. Clickin and clackin goes the washboard- mesmerizing as you walk to the bar…eyes never leaving the stage. A 7 and 7, two miller lights and a bud-heavy for the little one. Progress towards the stage where you recognize every face in the crowd.  But, it's as if the stage has extended and the front row of seated onlookers peer on in desire to join the dancing and antics. 
And then the washboard makes its way to the front of your birthday friend. She plays with the slightest of ease and the biggest of grins. Tonight you celebrate her friendship, her joy and her loud laugh.

You shift over to the door where you find your friends sitting on an abandoned booth bench with an unobstructed view of the night.  You peer into the crowd thinking that there isn't another way you'd rather end the evening, but then you remember waffle house. Unfortunately, you end with Krystal…and it almost ends you. 
As Fred the cabbie drives you home, you discuss the awkward dude at the party, the macaroni and cheese, and the mistake that is kyrstal burger…and again, the macaroni and cheese. 18 floors up to the penthouse you ride, and out onto the balcony you walk. Breeze on your face and city-scapes in your eyes. 
To the couch you saunter to dream of contributing tomorrow...


Easy like Sunday Morning

As the sun rises, so do you…but you lay on the couch in wait of others to stir as you listen to songs of comfort.
With the awakening of others comes the invitation of a shower to rid you of the cigarette smoke, sweat and beer- of which this reminder of the night before makes you grin with subtle mysteriousness. 
The walk to coffee with a buddy with whom you've cheated death and his girlfriend greets you with yet another cool breeze. 

All three around the table you sit- each with coffee and a different section of the newspaper. 
Charged with enjoying the company and sitting still, you watch the street and the passersby as the newspaper lays stretched across your lap. Quietly you see the irony in your liberal arts education as you embrace your ignorance for current events and wrap yourself in the bustling around you- but only as an onlooker. 
As that time comes to a close, you venture back to gather your belongings…strewn across the city.

It's time again. Time to drive home- Another reunion coming to a close. Your co-pilot: a long time friend of 12 years.  You've seen her laugh, you've seen her cry, and you've caused both.  Depart you must. Saying goodbye, you mustn't. Until next time. Or, next year as you always discuss. The yearly retreat does you well. 
But, one of the best parts await. The debrief and the therapy session on the drive home. 

This year it is improved upon with the shaker and another year's wisdom.You discuss life. You discuss the funny moments. You discuss the hard moments. And, then you shake it off with a good song and two egg shakers…both off beat… both violently rattling to the tunes that remind you of growing up, of dancing in frat houses, and of times you've forgotten until the song takes you back…

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

ways of royalty

i don't reread books often.  there are just a handful i ever have.  but i'm re-reading kris valloton's supernatural ways of royalty, and this stopped me in my tracks:

Notice the contrast between "master and slave" and "Father and
friend." Jesus strikes a great balance here when He reminds us that
although slaves obey out of fear, friends obey the Father out of love. A
willing heart is a prerequisite to moving out of slavery into friendship. He
also highlights the fact that slaves do not know what their master is doing
but friends know all about the Father's business. Jesus set the example for
us by doing what He saw the Father doing. If we are to do the same, we
must realize that we have been invited to have the same kind of friendship
with the Father that Jesus Himself had.

as i was verbally wrestling through something with a friend back in June, she told me "Elizabeth Ann...I think you've gone from a servant to a friend of Jesus."  it struck me in a way few things have.

i have found myself saying over and over again this past year, i have no idea what god is up to.  but is that really true?

i know god's character.  i know what He's all about.  and i know the outcome of things even if i don't understand the 1,001 steps it takes to get there.  so, today, i will trust what i know about my god, my friend, my king.  as a friend of the lord jesus, i know in part what he's doing.  i can ask what he's doing.  i can trust that he will reveal things to me.

also reminded of proverbs 25:2,

It is the glory of God to conceal things,
    but the glory of kings is to search things out.
as royalty, we get to search things out...the more i know the lord, the more i know about this privilege and gift.  the more i love it and am thankful for it.

Thursday, August 1, 2013


what does it mean to bear?

several times in this season (of heartache and darkness and moving forward, yet not really knowing where to)  i have heard the Lord say to me, "this is preparing you to bear more."

as i say to him, "no, lord.  no more.  i cannot take it."  i am reminded of his words to me.  they wash over me reminding me that all things are purposeful and i don't want to be a lightweight anyway.  (ok, sometimes that seems super appealing.)

but what does bearing mean?

i immediately think of what bonhoeffer; he said, "Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ” (Gal. 6:2). Thus the law of Christ is a law of bearing. Bearing means forbearing and sustaining...The Christian must suffer and endure the brother. It is only when he is a burden that another person is really a brother and not merely an object to be manipulated...It is, first of all, the freedom of the other person that is a burden to the Christian... The freedom of the other person includes all that we mean by a person’s nature, individuality, endowment. It also includes his weaknesses and oddities, which are such a trial to our patience, everything that produces frictions, conflicts, and collisions among us...Then, there is the abuse of that freedom that becomes a burden for the Christian. In sin, fellowship with God and with his brother are broken... To cherish no contempt for the sinner but rather to prize the privilege of bearing him means not to have to give him up as lost, to be able to accept him, to preserve fellowship with him through forgiveness...The service of forgiveness is rendered by one to the others daily. It occurs, without words, in the intercessions for one another,,. He who is bearing others knows that he himself is being borne."

it is one of my favorite quotes of all time.  favorite, but rarely used.  i've held on to it like a treasure and shared it only a few times.  for few people are worthy of receiving it.  

so bearing.  we are to bear one another.  community.  the church.  that's what it is all about.  rather, it should be.  we read it in the book of acts, but many times we don't live it out like we are created and instructed to do.

yesterday i was spending time in the presence of the lord and was yet again reminded of a favorite passage.

matthew 11:28-30
Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

and it occurred to me, perhaps it always should have: bearing more isn't about taking more on.  it isn't going through more.  it isn't enduring more hardship.  

bearing more is about handing more over to jesus.  

hard circumstances, hard seasons, hard whatever often times draws us nearer to jesus.  while we lament the hard, we are grateful there is one getting us through it.  bearing more is taking the yoke of jesus more and emptying myself of the notions that i have to do it on my own.  i think the lord is essentially saying to me, "this is preparing you to know me more, entrust me more, and watch me take over the things you used to think you had to handle on your on."

and that is a better thought to bear.