Grace has called…

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Grace Has Called My Name
Kathryn Scott

Peace as elusive as a shadow dancing on the wall
Life swallowed by the pain of yesterday
Left broken by the shame of things that I had done
No freedom from the choices that I’d made
But with one touch, You made me clean
You met me in my deepest need

Grace has called my name
When all that I had left were just filthy stains
Grace has called my name
When hope had all but faded far away
Grace called my name

Wounded by words that left their mark upon my soul
Dreams overturned by empty promises
Well intentioned things
I’d heard a million times before
Just left my heart to grieve alone again
But with one touch
You set me free
You met me in my deepest need

Grace has called my name
When all that I had left were just filthy stains
Grace has called my name
When hope had all but faded far away
Grace called my name

Healing Rain

Healing rain is coming down
It’s coming nearer to this old town
Rich and poor, weak and strong
It’s bringing mercy, it won’t be long

Healing rain is coming down
It’s coming closer to the lost and found
Tears of joy, and tears of shame
Are washed forever in Jesus’ Name.

Lift your heads, let us return
To the mercy seat where time began
And in your eyes, I see the pain
Come soak this dry heart with healing rain

from Healing Rain by Michael W. Smith

I took off my shoes and carried a stool out to the back porch.

It was the first real rainstorm we’ve had in probably a month. The sound of the rain on the leaves and the patio was a soft, inviting hiss.

I soaked it in.

(null)I listened to the birds calling, watched a chipmunk scamper within inches of my toes. The rain dripped off the wisteria and ran down the trellis. Little by little, the stresses of the week washed away. The rain came down harder, and I realized I was soaked from the knees down.

It was time to retreat and get ready for the next part of my day. It was funny that ten minutes in a rain storm did so much to refresh me.

Remembering to stop, pray, breathe, and be thankful got me through the end of one week and prepared me for the beginning of the next. It refreshed my perspective. It released hope. It reminded me why I do the work I do.

My toes got a little wet. But my heart was refreshed.

Blessed be.

Sunday Night Meditation: Not Right Now

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As the Queen of “Open-My-Mouth-To-Change-Feet” I was encouraged and challenged by this song. Sung by Jason Gray, it is a simple reminder to “listen twice, talk once.”

You could see the smoke from a mile away
And trouble always draws a crowd
They want to tell me that it’ll be okay
But that’s not what I need right now
Not while my house is burning down

I know someday
I know somehow
I’ll be okay
But not right now

Tell me if the hope that you know is true
Ever feels like a lie even from a friend
When their words are salt in an open wound
And they just can’t seem to understand
That you haven’t even stopped the bleeding yet

I know someday
I know somehow
I’ll be okay
But not right now

Don’t tell me when I’m grieving
That this happened for a reason
Maybe one day we’ll talk about the dreams that had to die
For new ones to come alive
But not right now

I know someday
I know somehow
I’ll be okay
But not right now

While I wait for the smoke to clear
You don’t even have to speak
Just sit with me in the ashes here
And together we can pray for peace
To the one acquainted with our grief

I know someday
I know somehow
I’ll be okay
But not right now

 

When the Train Leaves the Station Without You

chaplaingearIt was a night where everyone had expectations. But the outcomes were not what they wanted.

There were lots of referrals, several emergencies, and some long conversations with families, patients and staff. But it was also the reason why I am a chaplain — to be present and a companion to those in a health crisis. I’m not there to pick buttercups and play with puppies (though I confess I like to see the therapy dogs as much as the patients do!)

I know when I start my shift that there will be questions, issues and frustrations. Sometimes it is the result of unrealistic expectations. Outcomes from surgery or from a procedure won’t yield the easy-fix results they were hoping to see. A routine visit to the doctor leads to an alarming lab test, and then a devastating diagnosis.

I mused about this as I handed off the pager and RF phone to the relieving chaplain. I headed home tired and pretty done in. On this particular morning, I decided to commute home from work via the Washington Metro system.

Luck was not with me that morning. I missed the first train at MetroCenter, and then the second train had to be off-loaded because of door issues. Then there was the “next train” sign which stayed looking like this for 20 minutes:

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YUCK!! It was NOT the commute I had anticipated. Instead of a 90 minute train and bus ride, it inflated to 2 1/2 hours.

The train left the station without me.  And the anticipated easy commute was not what it was supposed to be.

I thought of my patients…

The train left the station…

The patient that came in after ignoring her symptoms… It was too late and the cancer that had metastasized.

The chest pain that was not exertional asthma, but a serious heart attack.

The “being in the wrong place at the wrong time” bystander with a gunshot wound.

The stupidly-drunk “let’s surf the escalator” patient. (Google it. It’s dumb to try sober. Let alone highly intoxicated.)

These moments of unexpected illness and injury all resulted in questions of “WHY ME?” and “WHY NOW?” (The ultimate in rhetorical questions, and yet, incredibly existential at the same time.)

Sometimes life goes off without a hitch. Many times it does not. How we cope and move through these moments is frequently determined by our faith and our ability to see “big picture.”

The key word here is MOVE. The train doesn’t stay stuck in the tunnel all night. The bus will arrive. The interruptions to “life as we know it” will come, but it means that we have to walk through them (sometimes be carried through them.)

The train left the station…

I could wish for one of those cool MiB cars that fly upside down through tunnels (with Elvis playing!) and help my patients overcome every obstacle. It doesn’t work that way.

So wherever you are when you read this, and whatever you are experiencing… My prayer is that you will find that place of centered hope and peace and strength to get through your present dilemma. God knows… and hears… and walks it with us.

Worn by Tenth Avenue North

Rest Upon Us

A prayer for your evening…

May the Spirit's Wind blow fresh fire into your heart and mind...
May the Spirit’s Wind blow fresh fire into your heart and mind…

Rest Upon Us
by Laura Story and Andrew Osenga

My soul is weary, and my cup is dry,
And I am so in need of you,
Though my righteousness is rags,
Your mercies are new.
So Lord, come down to me,
So my heart can see,
How encompassing your grace can be

Holy Spirit, rest upon us,
Breath of God, touch my soul,
Come unfailing love of Jesus,
Rest upon us, rest upon us

My mind is heavy and my days are long,
I lift my eyes up in the night,
My heart it weighs me down,
But your burden is light,
So Lord, come walk with me
Until my heart believes
All the bounties that your grace can bring

Holy Spirit, rest upon us,
Breath of God, touch my soul,
Come unfailing love of Jesus,
Rest upon us, rest upon us

I will wait for you
I will wait for you
You rest upon us
Come rest upon us

Life in the Now… and Not Yet.

Today I read a couple of passages as part of my daily reading, and kept going back to them. How divinely perfect that I would read them this morning…

In the midst of Peter’s second letter, there is quite a bit of fire, brimstone and ending judgment. But there is also this snippet of hope and encouragement:

But according to his promise we are waiting for a new heaven and a new earth, where righteousness is at home. (2 Peter 3:13)

A place where righteousness is at home… so vastly different from a world where the front page is full of self-entitlement, war, racism and misogynist ravings.

There are days that I struggle to accept this balancing act of living in a world that is ripped apart by selfish ambition and sin… where people who choose to “do good” are vilified. And where the gentle promises of God, brought on the wings of the Spirit are all but ignored by most of us.

There are moments where I do not want to wait any longer to see how life plays out in the final chapters. Like an impatient reader, I want to skip to the last chapter and read it, and then go back and see how the plot develops. But in a way, I already know the ending. It’s waiting for the next move, the next twist in the plot that keeps me wondering and questioning.

I live in “the now and the not yet” — both streams in a confluence in my journey of faith and in my boldness to take the next leap of faith.

Thanks be to God.

—- oOo —-

P.S. I came across this video… a heart-warming rendition of an old Amy Grant fave ‘The Now and the Not Yet’ – enjoy these young women from Papua New Guinea… and expand your world a little. 🙂