Category Archives: stuff about RVA

Open Space

“To keep the heart space open, we need several things.  First, we almost all need some healing in regard to our carried hurts from the past…  And to be fully honest, I think your heart needs to be broken, and broken open, at least once to have a heart at all or to have a heart for others.” (Richard Rohr, Breathing Under Water, p. 11, 12)

These quotes pretty much explain my spiritual journey since college.  I probably came to the second part first.  Rohr talks about the importance of re-aligning the head, heart and body. In my head-centered religion, I realized during college that my heart was not open.  I remember singing the praise song, “break my heart for what breaks yours,” and realizing that my heart didn’t break for much of anything.  And then my friend Nicole died (14 years ago yesterday), and my heart broke.  I began to FEEL instead of just THINK.  A little bit to avoid feeling, and a little bit to get better at feeling, I went back to Kenya and worked in a children’s home, where I met a young girl named Wamaitha who broke my heart a bit more.  Sitting on the bench in the children’s dorm, a crowd of kids tugging at my hair to braid it, and Wamaitha sitting next to me–holding my hand and rocking back and forth singing sounds and words that only she understood–my heart broke open just a little bit more.  When I came back to the States and got involved in a community that didn’t need me to think my way to spiritual maturity, I sensed my heart opening to those around me, and more deeply to a Spirit that is mysterious and beyond comprehension.

At times along the way, I have also realized the need for healing in regard to past hurts.  This has meant counseling and spiritual direction, where I have been able to sit with that inner 8-yr. old who was dropped off at boarding school and give her some space to name her fears and tears in new ways.

I can see the difference it makes as my heart space becomes more and more comfortable being open.  It’s overwhelming and scary–because an open heart space inevitably means the possibility of pain.  Not just pain others might cause me, but I find myself feeling the pain of others…of our culture…of the world more deeply.  Maybe that’s what Rohr means when he talks about a broken heart leading to a heart for others…

Is it time for furlough?

Being a missionary kid comes with its own set of advantages and disadvantages.  Advantages include an ability to walk between worlds and validate people’s perspectives and diversity.  Advantages include a broader view of the world and a certain amount of self-sufficiency that contributes to success and independence.  Advantages include an appreciation for chai, chapatis, and dhal.

Continue reading Is it time for furlough?

Reflections on a trip to South Sudan

It’s about time to try to summarize my trip to South Sudan using a few key pictures of some favorite moments.  For a sermon I preached recently with more details about the processing of that trip, go here for the audio version or here for the manuscript.

Continue reading Reflections on a trip to South Sudan

God is not a genie

“So you have pain now; but I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy from you.  On that day you will ask nothing of me.  Very truly, I tell you, if you ask anything of the Father in my name, he will give it to you.” (John 16:22-23)

This is one of those verses where part of it gets taken out of context and thrown around as a way of manipulating others and God.  I am guilty of it in this case. “If you ask anything of the Father in my name, he will give it to you.”  I used that against God in a mighty way when my dorm mom, Miz, died during my senior year of high school. Continue reading God is not a genie