Monthly Archives: February 2012

Jillian

One thinks of candles at a time like this.

She had a go at both ends,

Grabbing life with both hands

Without wavering.

 

 

But it ends as it began:

With awe and wondering and tears,

Though this time prematurely.

(“Snuffed out”)

And this time the tears shine for what is lost,

Rather than for what is begun.

*     *     *

And here we were,

Arrogantly counting days

On widespread fingers,

Fretting about the wind;

When while what was cupped in our hands, is now

Immortalised in cyberspace.

Like a still-life painting on a gallery wall.

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Filed under death, poetry

Preach it, sister!

Sunday afternoon I was at a church service where a woman preached and kicked butt!

It was wonderful.  I think it might be the first time I’ve been in your ordinary ‘run-of-the-mill’ context (rather than a conference I mean) and have been not only engaged and impressed by a woman’s preaching but also touched and ministered to in a very real way.  No offence if any of you women reading think I’ve heard you preach by the way – sorry!  But I’m pretty sure this is the only time it has happened in a church service.

I think I’m probably always rooting for a woman speaker to be great, and I have heard others who are good and have definite potential to be great.  But I think the difference here was that this woman seemed experienced. She seemed to truly enjoy what she was doing, rather than it being under some kind of “I-grew-up-being-told-I-could-never-do-this-but-now-I’m-being-told-I-can-so-I’m-damn-well-giving-it-a-shot-(please-don’t-shoot-me)” pressure to try.

Roll on the days when more women are experienced in this field!  Roll on the days when more women are given the freedom to enjoy these kinds of gifts!  Roll on the day when…

Oh, no, wait… Let’s not ruin this with a sarcastic, ungracious comment about Certain People.

😉

Preach it, sister!

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Filed under change, church, freedom, women

Tears in the mirror

What is it about being made over that reduces women to tears at the shock of their beauty in the mirror?  So many cases where the woman has forgotten to take of herself, or has no time to take care of herself, or has too much fear to take care of herself, or feels herself is not worth taking care of.

What is it about the right clothes, haircut and make up magic formula that peels off the layers of forgetfulness, carelessness, fearfulness, worthlessness?

Is it just the harsh comments of passers by which shock and shame her to agree to the change?  Is it  just the relief then to see unveiled an image of herself in the mirror she knows will be approved by Joe Bloggs on the street and more so her nearest and dearest?

There’s always a story of the outer care birthing or unveiling the beauty that was always within but not seen, not believed in.  What is it about the beautifying treatment that touches a woman’s emotions in this way?  How far is it the Way Things Should Be?

 

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Filed under beauty, modern life, questions

On being not single.

Image

Ah, Valentine’s Day… The day on which we (I?) make jokes about how difficult it was to open our front door with all the cards and flowers in the way.  Otherwise could be known as “Marmite Day”… You either love it or hate it.

Facebook testifies to this fact.

From schmushy declarations of love, to boastful photographs of “oh-gosh-I’m-sooo-surprised-by-this-bouquet-of-flowers-aren’t-I-sooo-blessed?”, to bible verses about love and to downright “fnuh”, the 14 February has got people status-updating to the max.

*     *     *

One of my life’s most creative and romantic gestures (thus far, I hasten to add!) was to make a handmade story book of high school friends who became college sweethearts.  I poured my heart into it and it took weeks.  After the then-current-day page of our love story, I marked “To be continued…”.  When I gave the gift, my sweetheart thumbed through the pages after “To be continued…”, smiled and said “Oh good, there are lots of pages still to come.”  *Sigh*  Perfect!

Except two months later it was all over.

Love is a risk.

*     *     *

Not so long ago, I lived in a house with two other girls.  A little while after we moved in together, one housemate began a dating relationship.  What struck me about the dynamic of that this time round, was that while we two single housemates were feeling left out of the “couples”, my newly “dating-someone” housemate was feeling left out of being single.

Over the next months, she and her boyfriend went through millions of ups and downs and ins and outs on the journey of working out if they could build a life together.  They eventually tied the knot and are now facing the rest of life’s challenging adventures together as husband and wife.  We got to be part of that as the three of us housemates honestly walked the path of our changing circumstances together.

Love is a risk.

*     *     *

I never thought I’d be one to advocate for the American way of things, but if my friend and colleague is a good example of the American take on all this, then do it their way…

She made “Valentines” for the members of her choir : little red boxes containing lots of little items each related to some aspect of love.  I can’t remember exactly, but like “a poem, to read and share”, “a piece of ribbon to bring together the ones you love”, “a plaster, to remind you that broken hearts heal” things like that.  She’s determined to help them think differently about Valentine’s Day today.

She also invited me around to share in their new family tradition of Valentine’s Chocolate Fondue complete with red napkins and heart-embellished fondue forks.  When its shared with family and friends, there’s no need to be single when you can be together.

*     *     *

Love is a risk and if Valentine’s Day can be a way to celebrate the fact that the risk is worth taking and that we are not alone in any part of that, then I’m up for that.

And chocolate fondue.

But perhaps there’s no need to boast about your PERFECT life on Facebook…??

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Filed under dating, friends, heart, love, perspective, relationships, singleness

The problem with being single 3: Shame

Its been just over four years since I last had the guts to write anything about this.  I’m still not married. I just turned 30, so, you know… tick tock, tick tock…

As you may have picked up or know, my small corner has gone from being in Norn Iron to being en France.  Maybe I should change it to my “slightly larger” corner.  Not quite the same ring.  But anyway.  I’m procrastinating.

Having been through the ravages of culture shock (she said, as if its all done and dusted), when a young homeland lady on a semester abroad here got in touch with my mission asking to meet someone here in France, I took pity and went to meet her for an hour for drinkypoos.  I was careful to order nothing alcoholic, especially since even having a coffee in this country requires that one enter a “den of iniquity”.

If you’re not from Northern Ireland, you’re not going to understand that.  But its funny, I swear.

So we chatted and I graciously bestowed every bit of my vast wisdom about all things surviving cross-culturally.  Then our drinks arrived.  Hmmm… what now? So we chatted more generally about life and family and all sorts of inane things that came to my feeling-slightly-awkward-trying-to-make-conversation brain.  Its was fine, we’re meeting again in a couple of weeks so I can introduce her to someone else at the Language Café.

But as I walked away from the meeting, one point of our conversation came back to my mind.  She had asked me about my family and I’d told her about my two sisters.  She asked if they were married and I said yes.  Normal, huh?  Except as I pottered back to my car I replayed my inner workings to that question… I was very careful to mention that my sisters were 4 and 6 years older than me and that they were only very recently married and that therefore means in the natural order of things I have at least 4-6 years before the world needs to start worrying about my naked fingers and half-empty bed.

As a single woman, I dread pity.  I dread comments like “Och sure, plenty of time yet” and “How come a lovely girl like you isn’t married yet?”  I have deep feelings of irritation (slash burningly sinful hatred) when my Uncle ticks my sisters off his fingers and then asks whether or not he should buy himself a hat any time soon.

If you didn’t spend Saturday Nights with our Cilla, you’re not going to understand that.  But its not funny anyway.

You see, the thing is, I want to be married and somehow connected with that desire and the fact it is unfulfilled I have a sense of shame.  How come a “lovely girl” like me isn’t married??  (That’s a rhetorical question.  Just so you know.  Try to answer and I may kill you.)

Through various internet linkage this morning (you know how it goes, you’re looking for the conversion of oz into gms for your pancake batter then suddenly you’re reading an article about the astrophysics of gophers in the Sahara), I ended up watching this 10 minute video about the definition of shame.  She says shame is “the intensely painful feeling or experience of believing we are flawed and therefore unworthy of acceptance or belonging.”

The reason I feel shame about being unmarried (still being unmarried? I’m not sure this is all that new…) even though I want to be is because there is a voice which tells me I am “flawed and therefore unworthy of acceptance or belonging”.

So why am I exposing my bits on my blog?  Because shame is a lie we all believe.  It may have nothing to do with your marital status or unfulfilled desires, but it might show up there for you too.  You know that voice, right?  The one that says “How come God doesn’t give me what I want and really desperately hope for or need?  What have I done wrong…?  What’s wrong with me…?”

Romans 8:1-2 “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus,  because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death.”

Romans 10:9-11 “If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.  As Scripture says, “Anyone who believes in him will never be put to shame.

The voice that tells us we are “unworthy of acceptance or belonging” is lying.  Part of breaking shame is naming shame, bringing it into the light.  So that’s why I’m exposing my bits on my blog, because I choose to walk into the light of God’s incredible love and acceptance of me and thought you might like to come with me.

I also found this sermon on shame worth a listen : click here

 

 

 

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Filed under dating, grace, hope, relationships, singleness

*sigh*

Reading about our lad John Piper’s latest faff here, reminded me of the post I wrote a while ago about the pressures on men to be something they’re not as anything BUT Jesus.  So, its not a response to the author’s encouragement so much as a little reminder of some of what we’ve thought through here in my small corner…

 

https://meinmysmallcorner.wordpress.com/2009/04/09/conveyor-belt-christianity/

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Filed under God, grace, grrrr..., men, women