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Some Thoughts on Elections September 3, 2014

Posted by Stephen Griffith in United Methodist.
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A couple of days ago, a friend wrote to ask, “What do we need to be doing now to get good people elected to the General Conference delegation?” (By “good” she meant people who agree with her perspective.) It got me to reflecting on who I think we should choose to represent us at General Conference in 2016. Even more important is how we choose them.

I’ve been a long-time clergy member of the Nebraska Conference, which has now joined with two Kansas conferences to form the Great Plains Conference. I’ve watched and participated in electing delegates since 1972. This process has always raised anxiety and even brought out some competiveness, even when we have known each other well in our separate conferences. Now in one new conference we are only just beginning to get acquainted and take one another’s measure. Next year’s elections will be very interesting, and will require care and caring to avoid hurting each other unintentionally.

Here are some thoughts. First, we can focus on learning to know each other. We clergy have some built-in opportunities for that. So do the United Methodist Women – an amazing organization with district networks and newsletters, and large gatherings at missionU and their annual meeting in October. Lay men, youth and young adults have fewer opportunities to know others outside their local church or district.

We can use whatever opportunities we have, or create new ones to connect with people we know or have met. Let’s talk with each other about qualities we think are important in delegates, and ask who fits that description. Get acquainted with these people. Encourage them to run, talk them up with other people. Speak out loud at meetings expressing what you hope for our church – in the local church and district, and on social media. Don’t stick only with friends – develop contacts beyond your usual circles and ask them what they’re thinking. I believe that out of these conversations we will start to identify people who will represent us well.

By the way, the election of lay delegates really begins this fall with local church nominations. The people the congregations send to annual conference will elect the lay delegates. I hope we pastors won’t just “fill in the blanks” with whoever happens to be available to attend, but seek God’s guidance to find the right people.

Over the years I’ve become convinced that we do better as a church when we don’t simply elect people who agree with us and will vote “our way.” I’m going to try to look at the kind of persons the candidates are, what qualities and skills they have that will help them be a good delegate.

For example, I’ve seen from a distance that being a delegate is hard work. The days of the session are long and tiring. We want people representing us who are willing and able to work and endure. This isn’t the time to visit Aunt Millie or go sight-seeing in Portland.  Save the Columbia Valley, Mt. Hood, and the coastal lighthouses for another time. And there is also a lot of preparation before the session. Delegates get several thousand pages of official material to read, and they meet multiple times to plan and discuss in advance. I hope we elect people who can devote most of a year to what amounts to a second job.

I hope we’ll look for delegates with a deeply sustaining spiritual life. This will take different forms, of course. Some people are best nurtured by a path of contemplation; others by outward devotion and praise; yet others by thinking and study, or prophetic action. There is no single spiritual expression that better qualifies one. In fact it will be good to have diversity here.

I think we should look for several kinds of delegates. We need some who can process large amounts of information, paying attention to how individual words and punctuation can affect the meaning of a sentence and so shape the life of the church. We need others who can look beyond the details to grasp the broad implications of one approach or another.

I hope there are delegates who know how to play, who can break the tension with a well-timed bit of humor that gets people connecting with one another. And we need people who can make contacts quickly, listen to varying viewpoints and articulate their own convincingly. I hope we don’t elect people who are so wedded to a specific agenda that they are unwilling to give a little in order to accomplish something. (Yes, I’m talking about compromise. Nothing works without it – in a marriage, in government, or in the church.)

Now don’t get me wrong: I’ll be working hard to elect people with viewpoints and beliefs and commitments similar to mine.  And I don’t think it works for us just to try to get along all the time.  Without some difficult conversations and even conflict we would never get anywhere meaningful. But I’m praying that I and all of us can do this important task of leading the church without being mean-spirited or self-righteous.

Now it’s your turn. What are you thinking and hoping?

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What Is Bisexuality? – An Overly Simple Introduction September 3, 2014

Posted by Stephen Griffith in GLBT.
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Recently I found myself in a conversation that puzzled me. “You advocate for gays and lesbians, and I’m willing to listen and learn and consider your position. But how can you accept bisexual persons without accepting polygamy?” I was speechless. For a moment I didn’t follow what the person was saying. Then it dawned on me: he was assuming that because bisexual persons have the capacity to be attracted to individuals of they must need to be with both in order to find fulfillment. That’s a false assumption, but I’m discovering it seems to be a common misunderstanding. So perhaps a short explanation would be helpful.

The way I understand it, bisexuality is part of a sexual orientation continuum.  Many people are familiar with the idea that every person has an inherent sexual orientation. Most are attracted to individuals of a different sex or gender.  Some are oriented to the same gender. A few can feel attracted to either the same or a different gender or sex.

Actually, we are coming to understand that our assumption that sexuality is an “either-or” matter just doesn’t describe reality adequately. In truth, we are such complex beings that there is much more diversity in every aspect of who we are than we had imagined. This is obviously true in our physical characteristics and biological sex. Some males appear very masculine; some females appear very feminine. Most of us fall somewhere in between. Rather than being simply either male or female, masculine or feminine, real humans exhibit a range of sexual characteristics and gender expression.

Rather than being simply either male or female, masculine or feminine, real humans exhibit a range of sexual characteristics and gender expression.

So it makes sense that our physical, emotional and romantic attractions would be diverse as well. Many of us are primarily or exclusively oriented to a different ex, and some to the same sex – straight and gay or lesbian. And in between are a certain percentage often described as bisexual. They can experience attraction to and develop romantic attachments and affection with individuals of more than one sex. This isn’t a phase some people go through. It’s not that they can’t make up their minds. This is a genuine orientation. Or more accurately, “straight,” “gay,” “lesbian” and “bisexual” are not really separate orientations, but simply shorthand summaries of how individuals experience one aspect of their sexuality.

Yet none of this has anything to do with the question of monogamous and polygamous relationships. Society seems to have begun to realize that, given the opportunity, gays and lesbians want committed, exclusive, faithful relationships just as straight people do. Heterosexuals are not attracted to every person of a different sex – they are attracted to individuals romantically and emotionally. It is the same for bisexual individuals. They are not attracted to everyone. They get attracted to individuals. And like others, they make choices about who to get involved with, and are as able to make and keep commitments as other people.

This may seem puzzling to many of us. When a bisexual person marries a person of a different sex, no one notices – to others it seems they are a straight couple. And the same is true if he or she marries someone of the same sex; the assumption is that they are simply gay or lesbian. But remember: humans and life itself are more complex than our simple categories and labels.

As a Christian and a minister, I believe a person’s sexuality can be expressed most authentically within the context of a faithful, committed relationship with one other person. We are meant to love and find companionship with another person. We find much meaning and fulfillment in life by loving and being loved by another. This can happen only when we have the assurance of certain, unconditional love that lets one be honest and true and authentic, without fear of manipulation or judgment, ridicule or betrayal. It makes no difference one’s orientation – straight, gay or lesbian, or bisexual.

For more information on gender and continuums see Sam Killerman, A Guide to Gender. This link is to his original version of a helpful graphic. He has since published 2 revisions reflecting further scholarship, but this gives a good introduction. The page also includes a link to his book:  http://itspronouncedmetrosexual.com/2012/01/the-genderbread-person/

For more information on faith and bisexuality, I suggest a booklet published by The Religious Institute, Bisexuality: Making Visible the Invisible in Faith Communities:  http://www.religiousinstitute.org/bisexuality/

Review: Love in A Headscarf February 3, 2014

Posted by Stephen Griffith in Interfaith, Uncategorized.
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Shalina is 19, Oxford-educated, with a good job.  She is British, of south Asian descent, from a close-knit, affluent family, pretty, and marriageable.  And she’s Muslim.

The book is Love in a Headscarf, by Shalina Zahra Janmohamed, originally published in Great Britain, published in America by Beacon Press in 2010.

This memoir is the story of a modern young woman’s  search for a mate, aided by her parents and extended family (known affectionately as “The Aunties”).  Along with Shalina, we the readers meet and appraise a series of suitors; and there are plenty in the 10-year span of the book.  Some introductions are formal, and set up by The Aunties; others take place in coffee shops, arranged by the young people  themselves.  Some seem promising at first. Others are obviously, pathetically, doomed from the start.  In many ways this is a familiar story:

Girl meets Boy.
Boy is _______ (fill in the blank) boring, handsome but arrogant, an inconsiderate, self-absorbed jerk, too old, too young, too religious, not religious enough, too traditional, more interested in the parents and their social position than the daughter … you get the picture.
Girl (or sometimes Boy) says no.
Girl reviews, and eventually revises, her list of must-haves, and the cycle repeats.

Though Shalina is a Muslim woman, the story is not really about Islam.  Her parents and The Aunties arrange introductions, but the book is not simply about arranged marriage.  It is a story of relationships, of the longing for love and romance — or at least for affection and companionship — that transcends religious, ethnic and national boundaries;  and coming of age in the complex and often terrifying world of the 21st century.

Now, I said the book is not about Islam.  At the same time, we experience Shalina’s understanding of her religion and its importance to her.  Nor is it about arranged marriage, but we witness the process of a family identifying and vetting potential suitors, and the daughter struggling to find her way amid the competing claims of tradition and modernity, the ideal and the practical.

It’s a heart-warming tale, a thoroughly engaging story — you will forgive the pun — told with humor, honesty and compassion, and informed by considerable insight into the tensions between religion and secular society.

The author is a commentator on British Islam, a columnist and regular contributor to The Guardian and the BBC, and author of the award-winning blog, Spirit21.

This review aired on All about Books, on NETNebraska, January 26, 2014

 

Shipping Out January 3, 2014

Posted by Stephen Griffith in Uncategorized.
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October 16, 2013

In my head, in my heart,
I am wishing him well,
saying silently, “Go with God.”
I don’t phrase it that way aloud with him:
we use other words.

He called, upset.
His friend was injured
falling overboard from the boat.
He called Dad and wanted to talk.
His word bring images and memories to mind:
destroyer, deployment, distance and the djembe he smuggled aboard.

I remember being on board with him once.
I saw the RHIBs*
heard the guns – no, felt them,
smelled the fuel,
sweltered in the engines’ heat,
swayed with the sea –
miles and miles of horizon
and endless waves.
I recall the photo of the two of us that prompted his friend to comment,
“Oh, old man Griff.”

Now I look each day for photos, news,
checking Facebook incessantly
filled with pride,
praying for my philosopher-sailor-warrior-artist son,
picturing him on the flight deck
in the dark night
drumming,
accompanied by the thrumming engines.

*rigid hulled inflatable boats

Consoling Rachel December 30, 2013

Posted by Stephen Griffith in GLBT, Interfaith, Sermons, Spirituality and Prayer, Uncategorized, United Methodist.
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Sermon at Saint Paul UMC, Lincoln NE
December 29, 2013
Matthew 12:13-23

All through Advent and Christmas Eve we talk about hope, joy, peace & love.  We tell stories of the spirit of giving and compassion, and celebrate the miraculous transformation of Scrooge and the Grinch.  We light candles and sing “Silent Night,” the shepherds go to Bethlehem, Mary treasures all these things in her heart, the Wise Men bring gifts … and then reality strikes.  Herod sends out his soldiers to slaughter all the infants and toddlers.  After we’re all built up to expect peace and love … the story hits us with brutality, power and hatred.

So David says – Steve, you preach this week!

Truth is, this is part of the story we’d rather forget, or at least skip over.  It’s a lot nicer to hold on to the peace, hope, joy & love.  All this brutality and violence is contrary to Christmas, and no one would fault us for asking “How did this get in the Bible?”

Maybe we should review the story up to this point: Matthew tells us that after Jesus was born the Wise Men see an astrological sign that announced the birth of a king.  They journey from Persia to Jerusalem to pay homage, which takes a couple of years.  They stop in to see King Herod, and ask where they can find this newborn king.

This is news to Herod – and he doesn’t like it!  He asks his palace scholars and advisors to fill him in, and after digging through the old prophecies they conclude that it must be in Bethlehem.  Herod instructs the Wise Men to find the child, then come back and let him know so he can go pay homage, too.  The Wise Men follow the star to Bethlehem, give gifts, then, ”being warned in dream,” they return home by another route.

Herod is panicked – and enraged.  He will not put up with a rival to the throne.  He’s determined to hold on to his power, so he gives the order that all children up to two years are to be killed.  Meanwhile, Joseph is also warned in a dream, and flees with Mary and the baby to Egypt.

Songwriter, poet and priest, Malcolm Guite posted a poem about the Holy Family on the run.  It’s titled “Refugee.”

We think of him as safe beneath the steeple,
Or cosy in a crib beside the font,
But he is with a million displaced people
On the long road of weariness and want.
For even as we sing our final carol
His family is up and on that road,
Fleeing the wrath of someone else’s quarrel,
Glancing behind and shouldering their load.
Whilst Herod rages still from his dark tower
Christ clings to Mary, fingers tightly curled,
The lambs are slaughtered by the men of power,
And death squads spread their curse across the world.

It’s horrible to imagine.  It must have been even more horrible to experience.
After telling the story, Matthew adds a comment – a bit of poetry from Jeremiah 31:

A voice was heard in Ramah,
wailing and loud lamentation,
Rachel weeping for her children;
she refused to be consoled, because they are no more.

Jeremiah was commenting on the anguish of the Israelite people being carried away into Exile by the Babylonians in 586 BCE.  He had journeyed with the deportees, but had to turn back at Ramah – a few miles north of Jerusalem.  One tradition was that Rachel, wife of Jacob and matriarch of two of the twelve tribes, was buried in Ramah. So that town was rich in historical and emotional meaning.  Rachel’s weeping was a metaphor for the overwhelming grief Jeremiah and the whole nation felt.

Another tradition holds that Rachel in buried in Bethlehem, which connects all that history with Jesus.  Matthew uses the metaphor to say it’s like Ramah all over again – another national tragedy as big as the Exile!  Rachel is weeping and refuses to be consoled.

It’s a powerful story, even if it does seems out of place in our contemporary American celebration of Christmas.  But I’m really captivated by this image of Rachel weeping.

None of us is a stranger to weeping.  I know I’ve more than a few tears this year, and even this week.  Many of you have had occasions for weeping, too. So we’re aware that Christmas isn’t all peace and joy and love for everyone.  For many people it’s a time of loneliness, or fear, or even resentment.

But the image of Rachel weeping inconsolably goes beyond our personal griefs.  Our friends in the Catholic and Episcopal churches recognize a special day in the church year to commemorate this event: December 28 is the Feast of the Holy Innocents.  Diana Butler Bass posted a comment on Facebook:  “The Feast of the Holy Innocents is always so disturbing.  The powers of this world want to destroy the Light; those who deny the justice and love of God seek to end the dawn, even in its infancy.”

Just as in our own lives, in our world there are many occasions for weeping.

  • When children are slain at a school in Newtown and too many other places, Rachel weeps.
    When the mentally ill are stigmatized and cannot get the care they need,
  • When children go home from school hungry, and Congress still cuts Food Stamps,
  • When commentators minimize the scandal of income inequality and call the Pope a Communist for speaking out for the poor, Rachel weeps.
    When people are fired, or kicked out of home, or verbally abused, 
  • or even beaten and killed because of their sexual orientation or gender identity, Rachel weeps.
  • When world is still at war, in Syria, and South Sudan, and too many other places,
  • When people have no place to sleep except the streets of Lincoln, Rachel still weeps.

We could complain about a society that gives a nod to compassion and generosity, but after Christmas goes back to everyday life and business as usual.  Or we could let ourselves get overwhelmed by all the problems and crawl under the covers in despair.  But weeping isn’t the last word.  The whole message of Christmas is that the child whose birth we celebrate grew up to bring life – and the hope, peace, joy & love we’ve been hoping for.

I can imagine Jesus as a child, asking his parents questions:  “Papa, tell me again how you met Mama.”  “Mama, tell me again about the day I was born.”  “Papa, why did we have to move to Egypt?”  And Joseph and Mary, like all parents, would hold him in their laps, and tell stories of Nazareth and Bethlehem, of angels and dreams, and confusion and wonder and awe — and maybe even suffering and betrayal.

And as Jesus grew up he would come to know the kind of people his parents were.  Mary said Yes to God, in spite of the fear and the risk and the unthinkableness of it all.  And Jesus would teach people that same openness to God.

Joseph refused to have Mary put to death for infidelity – the law allowed for that, even required it.  But this “righteous man” chose not to follow the law.  He ignored the religious rules and restrictions, and stayed with Mary because the law is made for people, not people for the law.  Jesus would learn that, and teach it.

Joseph and Mary became refugees with a price on their heads – even as other children died and other families grieved.  Jesus would remember his family’s hardship and reach to the outcast and alone, heal and comfort them, and take on himself the suffering and grief of others.

We learn what we live, and I think Jesus became the man he was because of the life he lived, because of his family experience, because of the examples Mary and Joseph gave.

Out of all that, hope and peace and joy and love arise.  And in the midst of the world’s weeping, we can find consolation.  In fact, it’s because of the weeping that consolation becomes possible.

The other day I was talking about this with a friend who suggested I read one of Rumi’s poems, titled, “Cry Out in Your Weakness.”  Part of it reads:

Give your weakness
to One Who Helps.
Crying out loud and weeping are great resources.
A nursing mother, all she does
is wait to hear her child.
Just a little beginning-whimper,
and she’s there.
God created the child, that is, your wanting,
so that it might cry out, so that milk might come.
Cry out! Don’t be stolid and silent
with your pain. Lament! And let the milk
of Loving flow into you.

Wow! What a powerful image – God nursing us in our hunger and pain, and wanting us to cry out for help.

As I thought about this, I remembered the work of Walter Brueggemann.  He says it accomplishes nothing just to be angry about they way things are.  It’s important to voice the lament, even the anger.  To express our personal grief and outrage, and give voice to society’s anguish.  When we name the hurt, the injustice, the wrongness then we can begin to imagine the possibility of a new way, and begin to find ways to correct the wrong.

It doesn’t matter who we are, or where we’ve been, or even what we believe, all of us are given a job to do.  Our responsibility is to console Rachel, – to hear the weeping of the world and join in with it, and then to set right the wrongs and heal the hurts.  That’s the way to welcome the Holy Child.

Howard Thurman called this “The Work of Christmas.”

When the song of the angels is stilled,
When the star in the sky is gone,
When the kings and princes are home
When the shepherds are back with their flock,
The work of Christmas begins:
     To find the lost,
     To heal the broken,
     To feed the hungry,
     To release the prisoner,
     To rebuild the nations,
     To bring peace among people,
     To make music in the heart.

——–

[By the way, Bruce Gillette of the UM Worship Office posted the following related to Holy Innocents:  “Today is Holy Innocents’ Day in the Church Year. Carolyn Winfrey Gillette has written six hymns lifting up the themes from Matthew 2:12-23 (lectionary gospel for this coming Sunday) of violence, war, injustice, refugees and immigrants that can be found on her web site:http://www.carolynshymns.com/ The most popular hymn is “A Voice Was Heard in Ramah” that is in the United Church of Canada’s “More Voices” book, on Church World Service web site and also is available as a free download with music on the United Methodist Church Worship Office web site:   http://www.gbod.org/lead-your-church/music-downloads/detail/a-voice-was-heard-in-ramah ” ]

Christmas Greetings December 26, 2013

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I’m finally at the point where I’m Here’s a brief note with just a few bits of information. I’m enjoying the apartment immensely. Living downtown is great fun, and lets me walk nearly everywhere I need to go — church, theatre, concerts, restaurants. Of course, when I do need to use the car, chances are it’s parked wherever I’m not, so I get to walk to the other garage.

My mother died suddenly in March. We had been more prepared when Dad died last year, but Mom’s passing hit me harder. So there have been big adjustments, and business decisions, and good camaraderie with brothers.

I was able to join in on a second interfaith dialogue trip to Turkey in May (see some of my posts from then). Made some wonderful friends that have enriched my life immensely, and I enjoyed seeing some familiar sights again and explore a couple of new places.

I keep up with Jonathan by email while he is on deployment. His ship is on assignment somewhere around
the Persian Gulf. They’ll be back home at Mayport, Florida sometime next May.

In all, it’s been a wonderful year with much good fortune amid the challenges. Thank you all for being part of my life. I offer you a blessing that has become a theme for me:

From life’s first cry to final breath,
may all we do and say be blessing, and compassion, and peace.

Much love, Steve

That Glorious Song of Old December 26, 2013

Posted by Stephen Griffith in Sermons, Spirituality and Prayer, Uncategorized, United Methodist.
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Homily for Christmas Eve 2013

I have a dear friend whose emails come filled with words in all caps and exclamation points. She adds extra vowels for emphasis:
“I’m soooooo glad to hear from you!  I can’t wait to SEE you!!!”
I really enjoy reading these messages because they’re so full of joy and life. They exude energy and enthusiasm. They express who she is.

Now, have you noticed? Christmas is like that: decorations, lights, parties, food, gifts. And the carols:
Lo! How a rose e’er blooming
Hark! The herald angels sing
Noel! Noel!
Alleluia!
Joy to the world!
O little town of Bethlehem
O come, O come, Emmanuel!
O come, let us adore him!
O! Oh!

Think about it: It all expresses God’s cosmic exclamation point! “Christ is God’s never-changing Yes!” to the world.

I know, there’s a lot in the world that’s not supposed to be that way, and doesn’t really deserve a Yes.  And too often it seems like everywhere we turn in life we hear a No!
“You’re no good.”
“You should have tried harder.”
“You’re a failure.”
“That’s a dumb idea.”
“It’s your fault.”
“Nobody cares.”
“You can’t do that, it’s against the rules.”
“You better not pout, you better not cry, you better not shout, I’m telling you why.”

But imagine this: in the face of all the No that surrounds us, all the negative comments and put-downs, all the religious rules and restrictions, the bickering and blaming – in answer to everything in our lives that says No, Christmas reminds us that God says Yes!
“You are forgiven.”
“I have called you by name; you are mine.”
“You are my beloved.”

It doesn’t matter who you are, or where you’ve been, or even what you believe, when we say “Christ the Savior is born,” we’re saying that the ultimate reality of the universe is a great, never-ending, divine Yes!

So we decorate and bake, have parties and give gifts. And we sing that glorious song of old. And even when we sing it gently and quietly,
Silent night! Holy night!
we add lots and lots of exclamation points!!!!

Merry Christmas, everyone!

The Dining Room Table November 28, 2013

Posted by Stephen Griffith in Family, Spirituality and Prayer.
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I’m remembering family gatherings this Thanksgiving Day. My family sat around the same dining room table all my life. It’s an antique, golden oak, square, heavy. It has massive round legs with fluting around the trunks and ball feet the size of flattened grapefruits.

We ate every meal at that table, of course, but it served in so many other ways, besides: a desk for homework; a workbench for building model cars; a game table for solitaire or Clue; a lab bench for science fair projects. Over the years it sustained hammer dings and soldering iron burns. It has been sanded and refinished repeatedly. It has “character.”

In a household with four boys the table was always full. But it seemed there was always room for another. Often it was friends, or a visiting missionary or evangelist. Occasionally it was a transient Dad had put to work doing some odd job. Several times it was a trouble teenager that Dad and Mom took in, adding a fifth “child” to our 3-bedroom household.

Now that Mom and Dad are gone, The Table is stored in a brother’s house. We’re not sitting around it these days, but it’s still part of the family. It not only has “character,” it holds memories galore. And it embodies the way I believe we all are called to live: “Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by doing that some have entertained angels without knowing it.” (Hebrews 13:2)

Adaptivity June 17, 2013

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There’s a tree that grows in the Sonoran Desert of Arizona called the palo verde, which translates into English as “green stick.” It earned this name because it has smooth, pale green bark. The tree possesses very tiny leaves, and often has very few leaves or even, seemingly, none at all.

This helps to limit water loss in the desert’s extreme heat and save it from being completely wilted by the first blistering wind that blows. The down side, of course, is that the few tiny leaves have limited capacity for photosynthesis. What good is conserving moisture if you can’t produce food?

Not to worry. In a fit of evolutionary innovation, Nature has added chlorophyll to the bark of this tree, imparting a startling, even alien, patina. So even without leaves, every branch, every twig can still manufacture food. Ingenious! What an excellent adaptation to a harsh environment.

It got me to thinking. When we operate at our best, we humans have extraordinary abilities to adapt. When a loved one dies, we grieve and carry memories forward with us as treasures. When a relationship breaks, we sob and yell and grieve and, given enough time, heal, grow stronger and wiser, and become a better person. When we lose one ability, we can develop others to help us cope.

This doesn’t happen automatically. It takes effort to cultivate hope, and faith, and love. It requires that we remain open to possibilities and opportunities that come our way. We need friends who will help us break out of self-pity, narrow frames of thinking and resentment. The good news is that such friends are all around, full of understanding and compassion and willing to walk the way with us!

Waking Up June 17, 2013

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I woke up with a start, caught in that liminal space between sleep and wakefulness. What time is it? Where am I? I’m sure I’m supposed to catch a tour bus, or a plane, or dash to the next workshop session. 

But  wait! This looks like my apartment.  That can’t be right. I must be still asleep, dreaming.  Come on, Steve. You’ve got to wake up. You’ll be late. Hey! Move!  C’mon!

But I’m not waking up. And there’s the painting over my fireplace. And this is my chair. And that’s the view out my window. It’s Sunday afternoon and I have nowhere to be. And I really am … home!