Saturday, May 22, 2010

Just Sharing....

Kind Readers,

I have been reading some books lately on the topics of listening and trust which are becoming more and more a concern of mine. One book that has been insightful is The Sacred Art of Listening, by Kay Lindahl. It is a good read on the importance of listening openly to others and God. I can't say enough about this simple book that I read in 2 evenings, which says something due to my eye strain! I loved it. (It is not of any particular denomination or group.) Today there seems to be a temptation to form most communication, not just by our young people, but adults as well through texting, twitter, etc. Not enough....

I thought I would also share this short but meaningful poem and queries that followed that were a good guide to me as I revisited Practicing Peace's trust chapter one evening in thought that might be of use to someone:

There is no going back.
We are a pilgrim people
who must take to the road again,
learning as we go to sing a new song
and to trust the God
who is always bringing new things to birth. Jo Farrow

Do I make understanding God a prerequisite for trusting God?

What helps me trust others, knowing that trust offers no guarantees or safety?

What criteria or process do I use to assess whether I am too trusting or not trusting enough?

In Friendship and Light,

Jan Lyn

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

The Knowing Place

It all began far back on a hill in a field about an acre from my first childhood home. Back then, it was an enchanted place for us kids and we called it 'Indian Hill', which would not be socially acceptable today. Back then life was simpler. I didn’t know it at the time, but I believe this special place to be the birthing of My Knowing Place.

I had to walk an acre or so and cross a crystal clear, bubbling brook. It was worth the walk in my creek sneakers, as mother called them back then. I’d walk the creek and all over the field and finally make my way up the hill. Up top of that hill was just out of earshot of the voices raging out of the open windows in the summer breeze. Even now if I sit still enough with my eyes shut, I can imagine being back there, watching an ant dancing on a blade of grass, crickets jumping and billowy white clouds slowly passing by. Tucked in amongst it all and the encircling trees was all that was good, safe and true. It was there, I really met with the God of church from Sunday morning and discovered that God could be the God of my every day.

Like a baby blue jay, I was just getting up the courage to fly. Before one does that they must be prepared, observe the world around them, determine the risk and decide where to place their trust. Pinching and sipping on honeysuckle there, I found that place in nature and deep inside of me. It was the place that I could turn off the voices, the noise, the expectations and my deep seeded need to make everything alright. There, I could be myself with abandon and confidence in Christ. Returning again and again, I had found the secret place of the Most High where I sensed God move and speak and a place where he was making me. Other times my sister and sister-cousin would just run and play there completely carefree.

Through the years, I realized that The Knowing Place could be taken with me anywhere I needed it, though beautiful, the priority there was not nature, but all Things Unseen. I found my abiding place with Christ to be true and when I wandered, it remained there for me whenever I needed it, in fact it came along with me. Through difficulties, rebellion and the winds of change and loss it held strong.

Some times we lose things and people before we are done needing them.

My Knowing Place was where I sensed Christ inviting me to spend more time in. Through the years, the Spirit was calling my spirit to know that the more I accepted this offer to abide, the more my cup gently overflowed with real Love and Peace. Some where along the way, I didn’t need that hill or a particular location, but rather the interior place that dwells with God, sanctified and where all is transformed into beauty there, even the ugly. This place-this relationship came along me everywhere I joyfully traveled, lived and grew so that I was never alone. I found this went beyond my relationships on earth, but at times am given circumstances that challenge me to live up to that.

One day, my world shrunk, which actually forced me to enlarge it again and found me in places that I could not normally let me go. Small places, in rooms with arguments, rooms with doors shut tight, elevators, hospitals and very entrapped medical test facilities. I often am reminded of the children’s story Country Mouse, City Mouse, as I frequently make my way to the city now for medical care. I still find comfort in out-stretched open land. Now I smile inside though, as any where I am or have to go or will ever be, I now find my source of living and trust to be in this God Space itself and these days I do not wish to wander from the holy of holies but abide daily, minute by minute in this place of assurance with solid ground. Most days, I can now go where he leads which is my heart’s desire-to fly like that baby bird.

Every so often my mind wanders back to that land and merciful hill. I hold those memories dear. The house and farmland are changed now and new towering homes that all look the same stretch out far behind. I hear there are no children stomping that land and I assume they are all in daycare and organized camps instead of our lusciously long, imaginative days. I have not passed that way again, since I last walked it with my own little family and a lump in my throat, before my father sold it 6 years ago. I said my final goodbyes. My younger sister of strength and courage has walked along the land that remains to the side of our old home, past the brook and sat once again on that hill. Father mentions driving by it and how it has changed and I nod and ah ha. I make my way far around it when in the area, as to never look back. I find it easier to keep my well chosen memories and put my faith and trust now in Christ alone. I have my own house that comes undone at times now. So my aim is to be more like Jesus, and less like me now and to spend every day in My Knowing Place, trusting and living every breath and heartbeat there as best I can.

He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. Psalm 91:1

Monday, May 10, 2010

Oh Right, I Have a Blog

I thought I’d have a short ramble about my blog. Honestly, what it has become is far off from my initial intent. I simply wanted a place to write about life a bit-topics near to my heart like all things Quaker, home school, nature and good old honest transparency about chronic illness and faith. I wanted to share peaceful photos for my family. I even thought eventually that I’d offer some speech articulation downloads for free to home schoolers and then push myself to write that Charlotte Mason style Speech and Language book I’ve thought about for years. Sounded reasonable, but life keeps getting in the way.

I remind myself that the internet world is secondary to real life and that some months I may post once and other months more frequently and I need to be ok with that. For a while there, I felt I’d write more Quaker posts as I was feeling the need to respond to other conversations else where and explore my own. But I am not totally taken in by this Quaker blog-o-sphere thing. It gets very heavy and a day or so will go by where I actually miss my own experience of connecting with God due to reading and thinking about Quaker issues. Not good..... So, I don’t think I am a Quaker blogger, but a blogger who happens to consider herself Quaker and not an intellectual one at that! The truth is some days when I am feeling up to it, I want to be a big kid, lay on the floor and play with my kids and get giddy or go outdoors and get good and dirty in nature rather than all that. Then when night falls I want to enjoy watching the stars and moon out my window here and listen to music.

Regardless, I may keep writing as it is a good outlet now that I can’t talk as much as I’d like. So, the rough draft to volume one I attempted of my book is scattered across my bedroom floor. I just got done using it with my youngest daughter. It is seasonal, so if I had a fire lit under me, I’d now be on volume two which would focus its story around the next season. Needless to say, I’m lethargic. The thought of it makes me weak. Really. God just may intend that I leave that chapter of my life (my career) behind for good. I think I am ok with that now.

I’ve felt a strong leading for a few months now to spend more time on our home school and family life and not so much being plugged into the computer, but I do not want to totally give up blogging and I’ll tell you why. I had no idea how it would widen my world. I had no clue that I’d actually have even one reader. I enjoy the friendships that I’ve made and they’ve come as a surprise to me. I look forward to reading each of your blogs when I see a new one displayed on my page here. I love hearing about your lives. So, if you will bear with me, I will continue writing when I can and my range of topics will be unpredictable, like my life here these days. I will try to remember, however, that I still have a blog.