Saturday, October 14, 2017

New song to me-- "Bleed the Same" by Mandisa

As I neared the high school for the football game last night, a song on Family Life Radio came on that was new to me, "Bleed the Same" by Mandisa.  The lyrics caught my attention.  I looked it up after it was finished, sitting in my car.  It came out last May (2017).

I find it hard to believe that here we are in 2017 struggling so hard to love one another in this world.  I thought we had worked through those things when I was a kid back in the 70s, yet it seems things have remained the same or worsened. 

I believe that love continues to be the answer.  As we open up hospitable space to listen to one another, to get to know one another, to carry one another's burdens, we will recognize that we bleed the same. 

In last week's sermon, I spoke about us coming to the table together, literally.  I spoke about us making space for those who aren't there so that we can have the conversations.  We need to have the conversations with those who are already at the table too. 

In order to move ahead, love and compassion need to come to the forefront.  One of the things that got written into my sermon was this: "As we listen, we learn.  As we learn, we connect.  As we connect, we can more faithfully be the body of Christ God is calling us to be in showing love to others." ("Looking Ahead", October 8, 2017)

Mandisa's song touched me.  Here are the lyrics:

[Intro: Mandisa]
We all bleed the same
We're more beautiful when we come together
We all bleed the same
So tell me why, tell me why
We're divided

[Verse 1: tobyMac]
Woke up today
Another headline
Another innocent life is taken
In the name of hatred
So hard to take (hey!)
And if we think that it's all good
Then we're mistaken
'Cause my heart is breaking
(Tell em' Dis)

[Pre-Chorus 1: tobyMac & Mandisa]
Are you left?
Are you right?
Pointing fingers, taking sides
When are we gonna realize?

[Chorus 1: Mandisa]
We all bleed the same
We're more beautiful when we come together
We all bleed the same
So tell me why, tell me why
We're divided
If we're gonna fight
Let's fight for each other
If we're gonna shout
Let love be the cry
We all bleed the same
So tell me why, tell me why
We're divided

Here is the song:

Seeking to take action steps that stop the violence, the needless deaths, and despair.  May love and compassion for others pave the way to wholeness, healing, reconciliation, life, and hope.

Blessings on your journey,


P.S.  Here is a link where Air1 shares the story behind Mandisa's song.

Friday, October 13, 2017

Falling Upward-- round 2

I first read Falling Upward: A Spirituality for the Two Halves of Life by Richard Rohr in 2012.  I thought maybe I had blogged about it, but I hadn't.  I only mentioned it in passing as I book I had finished in a June 2012 post.  I guess the time to write about it never came to fruition. 

Five years later I find myself re-reading this book for a book club. It has been good to re-read it.  I finished it this morning.  This time I will make some time to write out some thoughts, reflections, and share some quotes.

Where to start?  I think I will jump around.  Chapter 11 is entitled "The Shadowlands" and talks about the shadow self and doing shadow work as part of growth.  This is the work we must do to deal with our false selves so that we get back to our true selves.  Most often in life we put on masks for protection or identity and don't even realize they have become a part of us.  I started taking off masks a while back, learning to be in the out of comfort zone. But it wasn't until I attended the 2 Year Academy that  I  heard the term "false self" in comparison with "true self".  Bob Mulholland's book The Deeper Journey: The Spirituality of Discovering Your True Self helped put words to what I had lived out in experience in the years from 1998-2000.   Learning to live into our true selves, growing through the shadow shelf, and shadowboxing is a life-long process.  There always seems to be some work to be done.  Yet, I have found terms over the years and explanations for things.  I have also seen growth.

One of the biggest things in Rohr's book is the reminder that we don't mature automatically in the 2nd half of life.  Nor is the 2nd half of life necessarily a chronological half. 

Toward the end of the book, Rohr mentions having watched a documentary of Helen Keller and that she entered her second half of life early in her first half of life (154).  Rohr mentioned earlier in the book that pain, disease, or other difficult situations often were what helped people along into their second half of life. For Keller, Rohr noted that her focus was on serving others and not being limited by her limitations (154). 

Rohr notes that in the hero and heroine stories  the pattern is that there is some wounding on the journey. "There is always a wounding; and the great epiphany is that the wound becomes the secret key, even "sacred," a wound that changes them dramatically, which, by the way, is the precise meaning of the wounds of Jesus!" (18-19)

When we are wounded in life, be it physical, emotional or other wound, can we allow those wounds to become part of our healed and whole self?  That is the mark of the second half.  When life is opened up bigger and wider because of our wounds and experiences and we are able to use them for good, for wholeness, for reconciliation, for healing.

Toward the end of the book, Rohr writes, "Whole people see and create wholeness wherever they go; split people see and create splits in everything and everything and everybody.  By the second half of our lives, we are meant to see in wholes and no longer in parts.  Yet we get to the whole by falling down into the messy parts-- so many times, in fact, that we long and thirst for the wholeness and fullness of all things, including ourselves. I promise you this unified field is the only and lasting meaning of up." (151)  That first sentence reminded me of a phrase I've heard Mark Davis speak over the years and I've quoted it, as have others: "Hurt people hurt people and healed people heal people."

Besides what I've shared already, Rohr mentions solitude, silence, both-and thinking, "double belonging" (among many other things) that resonate with me. 

Rohr says this about both-and thinking or "nondualistic thinking": "It is almost the benchmark of our growth into the second half of life.  More calm and contemplative seeing does not appear suddenly, but grows almost unconsciously over many years of conflict, confusion, healing, broadening, loving, and forgiving reality.  It emerges gradually as we learn to "incorporate the negative," learn from what we used to exclude, or, as Jesus put it, "forgive the enemies" both within and without." (146)

How did my 2nd half of life begin?  When?  I think it likely started in 1993 with my brother's car accident and the traumatic situation surrounding that.  Then, with life's other situations of divorce, pregnancy, and trying to navigate all that, I think I hit the 2nd half of life in my mid 30s.  That was the beginning of the time of deconstruction and reconstruction for me.  SOULfeast, the 5 Day Academy,  the 2 Year Academy, and seminary have helped me grow in my faith journey.

God continues to work in me, teaching me, growing me, showing me the deeper faith journey. 

I hope to keep learning and growing because I have much to learn.

Rohr writes, "If you are on course at all, your world should grow much larger in the second half of life."  I hope and pray this to be true.

Blessings on your journey,