Friday, October 09, 2009

Intentional Boldness to Care

I just shared with a friend that in my current life stage, I am taking small steps to invest boldly in the lives of people available to me, time permiting. For instance, in response to a friend's openness to share a little life along the way with me, I am taking time to take a longer look at what is meaningful to her, as well as practicing good listening in pursuit of understanding. Then when a friend talks about what is meaningful, I'll have a better perspective and perhaps a brighter on-ramp to true community.

I noticed a short while ago how I was chasing people who were not really available to me at this time, though wonderful people. It felt frustrating. Tiring. The thought finally hit me, "Why? Take another look around and see who is near you, and find the value in them. Be intentional and see what God has in store. That's all. It's simple." So, I'm investigating that. It's fun. And freeing. No strings. No promises. Just seeing what's up ahead with others on my path.

I think when Jesus went to Zack's house, he modeled that. The simplicity of being together. Powerful, really. I'll see what God brings to mind as far as how this will look. Jesus invited all the time. Invited people to follow. To be together with him. Not tricky, but in our busy lives without enough margin, it can be missed. I don't want to miss being with others or being with Jesus in others.

Obama Nobel Peace Sur-prize

Included in the crowd of people who are surprised that Obama got a Nobel Peace Prize is President Obama himself. In his comments, he noted that he feels he does not deserve the award, so again, many are together on that -- including Mr. President. In his own words:

"This morning, Michelle and I awoke to some surprising and humbling news. At 6 a.m., we received word that I'd been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for 2009.

To be honest, I do not feel that I deserve to be in the company of so many of the transformative figures who've been honored by this prize -- men and women who've inspired me and inspired the entire world through their courageous pursuit of peace.

But I also know that throughout history the Nobel Peace Prize has not just been used to honor specific achievement; it's also been used as a means to give momentum to a set of causes."

I appreciate his candor and perspective. I learned more about the Nobel Peace Prize, as I thought it was just for achievement. I have been thinking deeply lately about how our culture values doing more than being and how that impacts my life, so this seemed another timely lesson for me. I am also learning in new ways how to think deeply about issues and care authentically for people. I am listening to opinions from great people -- friends -- who see things differently from me. I am learning the broader lessons of living in community and loving unconditionally.

I live in the tension between expectations, obligations, and traditions and in the transforming light of grace, mercy, kindness, love, and healthy boundaries. Now there is a delicate dance! And I've never been a very good dancer. I am discovering a bunch of friends who don't mind disagreement because we grant one another dignity. How blessed to be amidst those kind of folks! We pause to take the time to understand the view of one another, and then walk forward on the common ground side by side.

"We can't allow the differences between peoples to define the way that we see one another, and that's why we must pursue a new beginning among people of different faiths and races and religions; one based upon mutual interest and mutual respect." - B. Obama

Mutual interest. Mutual respect.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Life & Career Paths

Today, I was reflecting on my varied vocational experiences and perspective, having worked in the business world until I was 35, then doing a career shift to education. I have taught in private Christian school (gr. 4 & 5), public school (middle school), served a long year as an assistant principal, worked on a district project as a consultant, served as a district liaison supporting homeless children, and now serve public charter homeschool families in Los Angeles county (gr.K-12). I headed into education to teach high school social studies, and student-taught Sociology and Econ at a high school in rural Indiana. Some people recommend a point A to point B career path. I prefer the scenic route.