Tuesday, June 21, 2005

What Defines Us?

Like it or not, right or wrong, I have come to believe that most of us are defined by the tragedies in our lives. Last night this came back to me in a flood.

Eight years ago my wife and I lost our first baby. At about 11 weeks Deb had a miscarriage. The child we had wanted, hoped for, prayed for and already loved was taken from us. She was ripped from our lives and our hearts and while we have other children there is still a hole where Hanna Marie should be.

Last night Deb had some bleeding and immediately both out hearts jumped back eight years. Right now we don't know for sure if everything is OK or not but things look fine initially - only time will tell. What has struck me is how is how much my reactions continue to be defined by the pain of eight years ago. We are each a walking history. We respond to our daily triumphs and tragedies through the filter of our experience. As much as I intellectually know this time is different and this doesn't mean we are losing this baby, my heart is preparing itself for that.

There must be a balance between living bound by my past and living informed by them. I think it is only in community that this balance is found. Last summer I taught a class on the "one another" statements found in Hebrews. There are twenty-some statements that show us how to live in community. I think the culminate in Hebrews chapter 11 when we're given this great list of heroes of the faith and realize that there lives were filled with hardship and tragedy. It was there perseverance in spite of tragedy that got them listed in that "who's who" of faith - not the absence of hardship in their lives. I believe we need to share our stories of triumph and tragedy with each other right along side of those folks listed in Hebrews. Remind each other of the perfect hope we have that lies on the other side of our current darkness.

God, help me to rest on your strength and you eternal perspective not just my earthly one today. Help me to triumph over my tragedies and not be bound by them. Help me connect with others for my support and for theirs.

Thanks for reading,

Practice His Presence

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Life Notes

Well it's been a bit since I've posted. Life is busy as always at the Wilson’s. I've been on the road since we last talked - to Austin TX for a principal’s conference.
Right now what is really taking our time and energy at home is preparation for Vacation Bible School. This year ours will have a African safari theme. This has consumed out house because my wife (and by extension our whole family) is responsible for the decorations. We've been making paper mache rocks and outlines of wild animals.
The biggest project has tuned out to be painting the flats for the backdrop of the stage. We are painting a sunset scene on them with a dark horizon and silhouettes of trees and animals etc. IMPORTANT TIP - if you think using permanent marker to outline something you might want to paint over in the future is a good thing - IT'S NOT!
The flats were painted to look like a bookshelf at some time and the books were outlined with marker. Even with two coats of primer and three coats of regular paint the books are still coming through -this is not fun. Well we'll get though and the kids won't ask too many questions about why there are books in the sky in Africa I hope.

Until next time

Practice His Presence


Thursday, June 02, 2005

Family Reunion

This past weekend our family got together on the farm my Dad grew up on for a reunion. This was primarily my aunts and uncles (there are 7 of them) and many of my cousins (there are 26 of us) and their families.

Growing up we got together at the farm with this side of the family at least twice a year - in August for a family reuinion and at Thanksgiving (deer hunting don't ya know). I have such great memories of spending time with my cousins playing in the woods and the barns. It was awesome to see my kids playing with my cousins kids the same way we used to.

The farm has always had spiritual overtones for me as well. I count myself lucky to have a family who have modeled a life of faith for me. The bible says the Christ is preparing a place in a mansion for those who know him and one day will call us home to be with Him. I've always felt that that masion would look a little bit like that old farmhouse in Michigan. That one day I'll drive up the road and see Grandpa and Jesus wave at me from the driveway and say "Good to see ya. Your room's ready and dinner's on the table. Come on in." I'll walk into the dining room and see my family sitting down for one great big eternal Thanksgiving weekend. We'll play in the woods and sing on the porch. My uncle will be telling stories and grandma will be cooking bread in the kitchen and all will be right.

Thanks for permitting me a bit of sentimentality. God bless.


Just a Bloggin'!?

I've been considering doing a blog for quite a while and thought that now was the time to start. I'm planning on using this space for a public thinking forum as much as anything else. I hope you find what I write entertaining if nothing else. Some postings will be personal, some will be spiritual, some will be a mixture. Here's a window into my life - take a peek and let me know what you think.