Sunday, September 25, 2011

A momentary lapse of pain.

Today was awesome. I  was the swim portion of a relay team for a triathlon. We were raising awareness and funds for Baark! Bahamas, an organization that has become dear to my heart here in Nassau. If by the way you would like to contribute to our cause my fundraising site is accepting donations up until the end of the week. Please click here to find out how easy it is to donate. see Baark! swim, bike and run.  Being a part of a team was truly incredible and I will be sure to blog about that at some point soon but right now I want to reflect on something else I noticed today.

Pushing your body to the limit hurts, whether you are swimming, running or biking your body and quite often your mind tries to put an end to the pain and tells you to quit. It hurts to push hard but that is what is required in races like triathlons, they are build to test your limits and bring you to exhaustion. Most of the athletes in the triathlon had some serious "I hurt" faces going on.  You can see this on people's faces, in their grimaces, furrowed brows and their intense stare towards the finish line.

Here is the cool part, no hurting face was able to  remain the same as they rounded a corner where crowds were waiting to cheer them towards the finish line.  As the swimmer emerges from the ocean and runs to the transition, they cannot help put smile when they hear someone in the crowd sandwich their name between the two words of Go, Go! No biker could remain stoically serious while the hands of those cheering applauded louder and louder as they rode near. No runner could keep the grimace on their face as they saw the line up of spectators wildly waving them on towards towards the finish line.

Hurt, no matter how intense softens when met head on with encouragement, love and support of those around them. For a moment, the runners, swimmers and bikers experienced a lapse of pain, they momentarily did not let the pain dominate. For a moment they forgot the hurt. Athletes need a break in the pain to mentally get through the course, they need to stop focusing on the hurt and focus on the job at hand, the spectators can have a huge role in helping create this momentary lapse of pain.

In my real life, I work as a marriage and family therapist, where I am faced head on with many real hurting faces. These faces are real, as  is the the hurt but unlike a triathlon it is not something they entered into purposely or usually willingly.  My job is far more than a cheer-leading job but if I failed to bring encouragement, and hope I would fail as a therapist and even worse fail at supporting those who are hurting. Sometimes my job involves helping my client find that momentary lapse of pain, so they might breath more deeply and refocus on the task at hand.

In my daily life,when I am not running around posing as a super athlete, I am a wife, mother, friend, sister, daughter, and colleague I am also faced at times with hurting faces. This world is imperfect and people get hurt. I am not so superficial to believe that just encouraging people on will fix the hurt. But I am keenly aware that calling out to someone with kind words, and encouraging actions means a lot more to that hurting person than we could ever realize. I have been that hurting person before and it was through encouragement of the people around that I was able to breathe through the hurt and refocus on the task at hand.
Life hurts, we need momentary lapses of pain. People are often conduits for these moments and I want to thank all those who have ever cheered me on, encouraged me or allowed me to breathe.

A note for those who know I have even deeper beliefs than just in the human race. God, the one who created you, is the One who can truly give you that much needed lapse in pain. He does not always choose to fix it, but He will always choose (whether you are aware or not) to swim, bike or run beside you. He has you, He can and will encourage you  far more than any super-fan can. God is bigger than the pain you are experiencing, let Him speak into your life so you can continue the path He has created for you.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

The Purpose of Writers Block

I always said I would never force a blog.  I want my blog to be real, and to be written only when I get those internal urges to see words come together that were previously swirling in my brain. Well .. today it is different. I am forcing a blog. Why? I fear at present I have a bit of a writers block. Usually I just take a few days off of writing and the block clears but after a few days off I believe the only way for me to push through this is to actually push through this and struggle with sentences.

I have many different writing projects I am working on, I write for Baark!, I am writing a novel (yet to be disclosed) and I am working on a few projects like children's books and a talk that will hopefully be impacting the young girls in high school on this island. Rarely do I lack something to work on, but my blog is different it is far more personal and requires a certain attitude of vulnerability to approach and publish.

Today, or the past few weeks to be more exact I fear I have avoided the attitude of vulnerability because I fear what you will think if I were more transparent. There as been a theme that has been circulating in my heart for about a month or so, it is something that came from my quiet times with God during my vacation at my cottage. Something that often bothers me and affects my ability to be in God presence. I am beginning to think that God wants me to blog about this but I am  hesitant .. I am still in process, I do not have completed thoughts about this theme with which I have been struggling. I do not even know if the process is something that anyone else goes through or if it would be of benefit to a blog community?  So I guess I am saying you may or may not get a glimpse into this process of mine.

 I think this writers blog as it has affected my blogging is more about forcing me in to a process of learning. I prefer insight that comes quickly and answers my queries in a sure manner. I prefer the  sound of that aha moment after a time of wondering. I prefer the feeling of knowing rather than questioning. But this process I think might take some time, might lack those aha moments right away but I do think this process has been God ordained and if I listen and sit still for a bit I might just be able to hear Him speak to this theme.

So I am about to sign off for the day, pleased to have pushed through this blog entry. I am glad to have sat in contemplation for the reasons of my writers block. I am I now excited about the process of better understanding this theme presented to me.

I do believe I will share at least part of my journey with you all, and I thank you in advance for reading and encouraging me in this. God has you all in my life for a reason. Thank you for shining so brightly my friends.


p.s for those of you inclined to worry, please do not.. this is not a worry type theme that has been presented to me,  it is a personal growth theme and one that I am now about to embark into with the willingness to be patient and wait upon the Lord.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Playing Church

The other day at work when I was talking with a 5 year old girl and  she mentioned she and her cousin had been playing church. She continued in the conversation to detail other games she played but my mind got stuck on the Playing church game.I had never heard of such a game and it caught my attention.  I had to diverge and take the 30 seconds to ask just what playing church meant. The little girl, so bright and sweet looked at me like I had asked the most ridiculous question. With her head tilted to inform me that I ought to know she said, "Playing church is when I hit my cousin in the forehead and he falls down." They she went on to describe another unrelated game like I should have just known what playing church meant. I chuckled at the answer and the image of these two children playing church. Later that day I started to wonder more about the meaning of this game. 

I started thinking, what would the game of playing church look like if the child was at another church? Perhaps the child would sit as still as she could, hands folded in her lap and not move a muscle. Maybe she would shush her playmate to be quiet. Possibly she would be waving her hands shouting  hallelujah. Perhaps she would stand up and sing slowly an old hymn.  Perhaps she would be rocking out to a contemporary chorus. Maybe she would be the methodical almost monotone preacher, talking eloquent words into a microphone. Quite possibly she would be the sweaty jumping around yelling at people preacher. I guess the point is that  each church will be differently acted dependent upon what catches her attention during the service.

 It is bad enough that we pigeonhole our denominations into actions and attitudes but What if the child's game was not "playing church" but "playing Christians"? I cringe of some of the ways that game would be played.  I need to be more aware that others are watching how I live and through that interpret what it is to be a Christian. Ideally people gain their knowledge of Christ through the Bible.  Realistically the Bible is not being read, and moreover our living example  is a  powerful tool exceedingly effective at helping others interpret what it means to be a Christian, good or bad.

 I am grateful for this darling little girl who in not so many words, reminded me that I was being watched by all who know I am a Christian. I try to live an honest and transparent life but I know that if someone played the game "Allie as a  Christian" I would be embarrassed and humbled by some of the scenes. If i were to write the script of that game I would choose to show Allie loving, caring, praying, and giving. Instead I need to realize that part of the script (perhaps one of the most important parts) is Allie in need of grace, Allie relying on God's strength and Allie the forgiven and I do not show those very much. Perhaps I ought to start.
This  is quite the challenge stemming from such an innocent game, but one that is so important if others are to see past the Allie and straight onto God. 

Shine on my friends, the good and the bad, God will shine through you!