Gratitude 1/30

Yesterday I drove to Los Angeles and joined the protest at the airport. I’m planning to write about my experience in the next few days. Meanwhile I’ll share my favorite sign photo and my gratitude.

Today I’m personally thankful for: being able to go to my 360x class this morning at Mile 26; Sally Yates for refusing to defend the indefensible; and the LAPD for their work with big protest marches two weeks in a row…I sure they’ll be more.

Gratitude 1/29

I like this quote that is attributed to Martin Luther: “Even if I knew tomorrow the world would go to pieces I would still plant my apple tree.”

Today I am personally thankful for: a beautiful new day; my first amendment right to protest; the truth that God loves us unconditionally and calls us to love one another.

Lord God, in these trying times help me to oppose strongly that which is against my faith and our country, while also being intentional in loving my neighbor. 

Gratitude 1/28

On November 9 I like many people woke up in shock, disbelief, and grief. My feelings were not because a “Republican” won. Heck, I used to be a Republican. My intense feelings were because our country had elected a person who showed through word and deed that he was unfit to lead. I could not understand how his bullying and disrespect for women, people with disabilities, other Republicans, Muslims, immigrants and especially Mexicans was ok. That the majority of white Christians supported him, led me to question whether I could remain a Christian. I felt that morning as if I couldn’t move, as if a great dark cloud of despair descended above me.

But in this despair I felt God’s presence and I was reminded that the promises that I’ve received assure me that I will always experience God’s presence. I also remember the words I say often, “Jesus promises we will never be alone. He does not promise that life will be easy. In fact he pretty much tells us that it will not always be easy.”

As I remembered this lesson I was thankful. I then remembered other advice I’ve given through the years, “no matter how bleak a day looks, we can always find something to be thankful for, even if it’s just that sun has arisen.”

So I started my own daily list of gratitude. I confess that some days I read the news and have trouble making my list. Other days are so joyful that the gratitude gushes forth like a spring. Today is one of those harder days as I digest the news of the betrayal of our laws, our Constitution, and our values. But I will stand strong and I hope you will too my friends, because we must. And in the midst of the struggle we will experience God in wonderful ways unimaginable before. Not because God caused this travesty but because God is with us in our refusal to accept it.

Today I am personally thankful for: the lawyers who are hard at work opposing these lawless executive orders; the millions of people(including me) who are actively opposing these policies; and the opportunity for a short end of day, sunset run in Malibu as running is great for my mental health.

Gratitude 1/27

Yesterday was a very stressful day, starting with some ugly family drama from my childhood. Historically I would have dealt with this stress by eating and eating and eating some more. This was how I dealt with stress and how I came to weigh 80 pounds more than I do today. Last night I realized that it never occurred to me to eat in this way…progress!

Today I am personally thankful for: a long walk at the beach with a good friend (way better form of self care than food); the reminder that healthy boundaries are always a good thing; the absolutely beautiful weather yesterday.

Where’s God?

Matthew 25- Jesus speaking: 35for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, 36I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me.’ 37Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry and gave you food, or thirsty and gave you something to drink? 38And when was it that we saw you a stranger and welcomed you, or naked and gave you clothing? 39And when was it that we saw you sick or in prison and visited you?’ 40And the king will answer them, ‘Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.

For all those who kept posting the offensive meme, “put God back in the White House” while President Obama was in office, you should realize that your new president just signed orders to keep Jesus (who is God with us) out of our country. 

Today I am personally thankful for: our First Amendment and the ability to protest; the good news that my faith gives me clear direction in these trying times; and for mental health my ability to run and run hard.

Stay strong!

Gratitude 1/25

Yesterday I participated in the annual homeless count. It started early in the morning and thus I forgot to post my gratitude…

Today (and yesterday) I am personally thankful for: the “rogue” National Park Service employees who are refusing to be silenced; those who are planning a protest march in support of scientists and science (amazing that this is real!); and the great state of California (stay strong!)

Blessings?

Yesterday I help with the Ventura County Homeless Count. The geographical area for counting that was assigned to me didn’t have too many people in it yesterday…maybe because it was so cold that people weren’t yet out on the streets. Yes, it was cold and we were counting (interviewing) people who had no place to sleep the night before. It is a sad state of affairs. There are many reasons for homelessness and thus need to be many solutions. I know that many people dedicate their lives to helping in any way they can. Participating in the count (for 2nd year in a row) reminded me that we need to do more and that we need to actually “See” the people who seem to be invisible as we go about our daily lives.

14364767_10154005598513775_7633342390373738549_nOne of the people I spoke with was a young man who was sitting in front of a fast food restaurant with a sign. You are familiar with this as we are all familiar with this. This young man told me that he wanted a job, but that nobody would give him a job because he was homeless. “So here I am (pointing at sign), I don’t want to do this, I just want a f—n job!” I had no adequate words while I also fear that things will get worse.

Sunday I will be preaching on “The Beatitudes” or blessings that Jesus offered at the beginning of the Sermon on the Mount. According to these, this young man is blessed, as are those who advocate for him and all the homeless. May we all begin to live and act as if he truly were blessed so that he would then know it in this day.

3“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 4“Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. 5“Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth. 6“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. 7“Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy. 8“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God. 9“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. 10“Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 11“Blessed are you when people revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. 12Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” -Matthew 5:1-12

These “blessings” are radical because then, and now, to “be blessed” is often equated with having an easy life…having riches…having power. The blessings that Jesus pronounces here are for those who struggle in all kinds of ways.

In seeing the direction our country is heading I feel the “blessed are the poor in spirit” in ways I’ve never felt before. My faith tells me that we are to be advocates for the poor, the immigrant, the refugee, the orphan, the widow, the prisoner, the outcast. These groups are explicitly mentioned numerous times in scripture. Yet, we as a nation are about to officially turn our backs on these people and I am saddened.

As the words of Jesus tell me, I am also blessed and it is that blessing received that is leading me to speak up, to march, to protest, to call, to write…the join the resistance to what betrays my faith as well as the founding values of my country. It is this being blessed by Jesus that will help me (and others) to stand strong even when attacks come and guess what…we’ll just be more blessed…Jesus said so!