Tuesday, October 18, 2016

One main question?

When Jason and I first got married I had a very long list of things for him to work on. Yes, he had things about him that were not perfect as well, and I knew how to find those faults for sure. During one trip over Monarch Pass, I was laying out everything that I was unhappy with about him and how I was feeling unfulfilled in the relationship. Instead of getting defensive and giving up on me, because really, who can fix everything right away anyways. He asked me to point to the biggest thing that stood out to me. What was the number one thing that I needed from him? After quite a while of trying to narrow my biggest objections down to one I was able to see my biggest wounding from him. He then focused on this one issue and miraculously everything else faded away.

We do this in every situation we find ourselves in. We have a list of things that need worked on. When the list is long we can feel overwhelmed and that is when failure takes hold. "How can I accomplish everything?" But in everything it all boils down to not one, but two main topics. In these two things, if we really look at these two issues, we really can find all the answers to our everyday life healed.

“The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.” (Mark 12:29)

If we can wrap our mind around this, life is smoother. We can learn to truthfully do our best in our job, our home, with others we come in contact with. If we truly love God, then we won't be able to turn a blind eye on what we think others can't see, for we will always be aware that someone can always see. We won't keep our doors in life closed in order to hide our messiness. If we truly love others, we will be thinking of them in what they need in order for them to live more fully in their environment. If we love ourselves, then we will always be truthful to ourselves about what we do that is good and what we can do better. This one answer in life can help us live more fully and if we can grasp this then we may not be so overburdened by such a long list we think we must overcome. What is it about that long list that we think we must get it all done? There is always a simple issue at it core. Can we see it?


Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Jewels upon His Crown

There are certain key words, phrases, or ideas in the bible that have caught my attention for years. I've been struck by two this morning, but only have time for one. 
There are teachings out there that I definitely have a hard time with. What are jewels to God? What are His special treasures? Is it gold and precious stones? Does he admire pearls found in the ocean? Think about it. What is His most valuable treasure in all of creation that we will be blessed with for eternity?

"But, brothers and sisters, when we were orphaned by being separated from you for a short time (in person, not in thought), out of our intense longing we made every effort to see you.  For we wanted to come to you—certainly I, Paul, did, again and again—but Satan blocked our way. For what is our hope, our joy, or the crown in which we will glory in the presence of our Lord Jesus when he comes? Is it not you? Indeed, you are our glory and joy", 1 Thessalonians 2:17-20.

Yes, we will have crowns to lay at Jesus's feet, but have you ever thought outside the box of "our precious jewels" to His thought of what He sees as precious? If we change our vision to His love and desire, we can see that His precious stones are people. We are to live this life so in love for others that we can bring His treasures, given to us, to His feet and say to Him, "I loved them this much.  I laid down what I saw as precious to what You see as precious and gave up my life for relationship that showed them Your love." 

There is nothing in all of this world that is harder to cultivate than loving relationships. Our ideas, our wants, our treasures are to be set aside till we have His vision of what is most precious. 

"Thank you God that we are continually learning more about who You are. Thank you for Your grace and precious love. Help me this day Lord, to have Your vision for others. Help me to see what is truly important so that I get out of the way of my relationships with others. Help me so that they feel Your love through me. Help me to see others as the precious jewels upon Your crown. I love You Lord. In Jesus name, Amen"

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Intimacy in Tuth

My 41st birthday was just a couple of weeks ago. Jason took me to Ouray for a quiet get away, just the two of us. I had been feeling the need for more intimacy for quite a while. Just a couple of months before I had told him, "I don't feel very intimate with you." Looked at him and asked if he felt intimate with me? When he answered with "yes" I was baffled. How? We barely have time to talk. We talk about work. We talk about kids. We talk about facts, but for me as a woman, I need something more. I need talking about feelings. For him as a man, intimacy is doing. We work together. We "sleep" together. We are always together. So for him he feels connected.... I needed to talk! So on this drive for my birthday, I got out my little questions and began with question one. "We are going to have a great talk," I thought, "and start off this weekend trip to Ouray right so we can have some intimacy.

1. "How did you feel loved this week by me?"
His truthful, but much needed answer was not what I expected him to say... "I haven't."

And with this answer we had intimacy, just not in the direction I had envisioned. I had been so focused on me and what I wasn't getting out of Jason, out of our relationship, that I forgot to give. In my own selfishness I had forgotten that the route to true intimacy involves me stepping outside myself into his feelings and needs. As a mom, wife, coworker... I often look at all that I am doing, "Don't you see all that I give? Don't you see all of my struggling to try and give us a happy home? And in spite of my MS... Don't you see my strength, my pain, and all that I do for you?" But this question was not about me, I had asked it, and he gave me his truthful answer... about him and how he felt.

As I look back on the days leading to Easter, I must pause and ask God the truthful questions as well, and I must be willing to accept His answer...

They come to the Temple every day and seem delighted to learn all about Me. They act like a righteous nation that would never abandon the laws of its God. They ask Me to take action on their behalf, pretending they want to be near Me. ‘We have fasted before You!’ they say. ‘Why aren’t You impressed? We have been very hard on ourselves, and You don’t even notice it!’ “I will tell you why!” I respond. “It’s because you are fasting to please yourselves," Isaiah 58.

I am not so sure I am ready to hear this answer either. But I want intimacy, so I have to be able to accept the truth and sometimes that truth is not what I am expecting to hear.

There are a five questions that I asked Jason that day. Five questions that I had to be a safe place for him to give me his truth. Five questions that were going to make me get out of me and truly connect with him and what he needed. It was my birthday weekend, but this time was not about me, for true intimacy involves being able to hear Truth from them.

2. "What does your upcoming week look like?"
3. "How can I pray for you this week?"
4. "How would you feel loved and encouraged this week by me?"
5. "How would you feel pursued in sex and love this week?"

Never once did I turn the questions around and expect him to ask me these questions so I could be heard, for honestly, it wasn't about me. I needed him to feel safe in sharing truth with me. Yes, it hurt, but truth is the only way to intimacy. I wanted to focus on intimacy, not me. I need my husband to know how much I appreciate him. I need myself to see how much he does do for me, without me focusing on what I get out of it, but what we are together. What do we give together, that we could never accomplish alone? We are to help build one another up, but if we cannot take the truth, then how are we to know how to truthfully respond.

What good is fasting when you keep on fighting and quarreling? This kind of fasting will never get you anywhere with Me. You humble yourselves by going through the motions of penance, bowing your heads like reeds bending in the wind. You dress in burlap and cover yourselves with ashes. Is this what you call fasting? Do you really think this will please the Lord? “A fast for Me involves sharing your food with people who have none, giving those who are homeless a space in your home, giving clothes to those who need them, and not neglecting your own family, Isaiah 58.

Maybe fasting is to teach us how to act during real trials. Are we short? Do we only think of how we are suffering? Am I able to see past myself and what I deal with every day in order to still be intimate with my Lord by getting out and connecting with His loved ones in helping them live this life better? My husband's heart has good will toward me, my God's heart has good will toward me, but can I see past myself to see their heart's for me? It is in learning not to focus on myself and what I want out of relationships that I can find true freedom, true intimacy. Am I a safe place to hear truth? Am I willing to step out and ready to find true love?

“Then your salvation will come like the dawn, and your wounds will quickly heal. Your godliness will lead you forward, and the glory of the Lord will protect you from behind. Then when you call, the Lord will answer.‘Yes, I am here,’ He will quickly reply..." Isaiah 58.

Monday, January 18, 2016

Cussing, Cursing, Etiquette Lessons

I grew up in a home where I do not remember ever hearing a cuss word come from either of my parents mouths. I was always surrounded by "very upstanding" adults who never cussed in front of any of us. This doesn't mean that I never heard a cuss word. One set of grandparents, who didn't go to church, were never short on words. While the other set, who never missed church, would never utter a profane word. With this I was taught that some words were wrong, just because those words were "bad." No other explanation do I remember. Now that I am an adult and as I raise my own children, I do not want to have cussing in my home, but I would be lying if I said they never heard any. In my adult years I have actually spent a lot of time watching for this exact topic and asking many different people what they thought.

I recently put a post on Face Book that read, "Got a question for you.... Where does it say that cussing is bad? Someone show me this please."

Here are a few of the replies:

First response, "Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving. Ephesians 5:4
That is good question! I always wonder the same what is consider cussing there seems to be a slang for every word out there. It's very easy cross that line I think we all do at times even when it doesn't seem like it."

Second response, "But above all, my brothers, do not swear, either by heaven or by earth or by any other oath, but let your “yes” be yes and your “no” be no, so that you may not fall under condemnation. James 5:12
But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth. Colossians 3:8
It is not what goes into the mouth that defiles a person, but what comes out of the mouth; this defiles a person. Matthew 15:11
For “Whoever desires to love life and see good days, let him keep his tongue from evil and his lips from speaking deceit; 1 Peters 3:10
And the best.... Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. Romans 12:14. 

All of these apply to your question of cussing... In the bible it is cussing, cursing and swearing are synonymous. Now there are verses that deal with cursing as in "I curse you to hell" cursing but these talk of foul language"

Third response, "I always felt like the "obscene talk" made most cuss words fall into the immoral category."

Now I love all of these responses, but I'm not exactly sure this covers "cuss words" and why "they" are bad. In all of these scriptures that I was given, it is addressing our hearts. "For out of the heart the mouth speaks..."

This makes me think of my favorite joke...

There were these three Southern ladies sitting out on one of their front proches drinking tea and sharing what their husbands had gotten them for Christmas.

The first Southern woman, "My husband got me this luxurious mink coat that flows all the way to the ground. It's truly to die for."

"That's nice," replied one woman.

The second Southern woman, "Well my husband got me that fully loaded pink Cadillac. It's sittin out in the driveway."

"That's nice, real nice," again was one reply.

Finally the two turned to the third and asked, "Well honey what did your husband get you for Christmas?"

"Etiquette lessons," she replied.

"Etiquette lessons," they exclaimed. "What in heavens name for?"

After sitting and fidgeting for a moment, she answered. "Well, instead of saying 'F' you. I say, 'That's nice, real nice.'"

Now tell me, have we learned etiquette lesson's from the bible, or are we supposed to be ever allowing Christ to change our own hearts? "Christ did not come into this world to make bad people good. He came so that the dead shall live," Michael Ramsden.

I have a sweet friend, whom I have written about before in "The Mountains in the Distance," who often lets a cuss word slip. Then he politely says to me, "I am so sorry Jenny. I'm not meaning to offend you." I always tell him that I take no offense. His heart is not cursing me. He is simply using words that he knows to carry on a conversation, but there is something here that strikes me. He asks pardon for "my offense." Why does my friend feel he needs to ask me to pardon his speech? Is it because "as Christians" many have been easily offended? Do we see the heart of the conversation? Are we looking inwardly, into the heart of the one speaking? Or are we waiting in quick offense if a "bad" word is used?

We can so easily "curse" our children with never a "cuss" word leaving our mouth. Why is this? Do we see our resentment, our foul hearts towards others? Do we only focus on the topical with never venturing into the heart?

I try my best to see the heart, but on this one topic, I do consider my God's name is Holy. Using His name as a swear word is very hard for me to take, but even then, I cannot hold others to my same standards if they do not see Him as Holy. It is through my love, my abstaining from cussing, and my relationship with them that I can tell them of His Holiness. It is never in judgement toward them, but love shown to them from me.

With many, they have heard me cuss, especially if I am retelling a story from my past, not in a malicious way, but really in the best words I feel I can use. Some have heard me cuss when I have dropped something. Others, have felt the wrath of my cursing upon them, and with this I must always check my own heart no matter the cause or the situation.... and with this I ask forgiveness. Still others have never heard a "foul" word leave my mouth. In this instance, why? With some a cuss word is never relevant. With others, I do not want to offend them. It is our own hearts that we must always be putting on the line. Why do we? Why don't we? Who are we speaking to and who is speaking to us? I'm really not justifying cussing. Honestly. I am really only wanting the heart to be revealed in everything we say and do. Are we seeking the heart?  All so often, we never have to speak a word, but the poison harbors within our hearts. Are we able to see others through our God's eyes, so that we do not hold onto the resentment we may have toward them? Do we look within often enough to see our self truthfully?

This is a long one, I know, but I have been doing lots of soul searching/scripture reading on the topic.  My last example... My grandmother who taught me about true love of our Lord through her life, also taught me about harboring things within our hearts. She had 44 surgeries. A life lived well through her suffering. But a doctor once told her that she needed to start letting out her resentment she held within, before she continued to harm herself. She couldn't believe he said this. Not a malice word had she ever spoken, but held within her heart was much poison that was slowly killing her. I'm not saying that all her illness was due to her pain within, but I am saying that what is within our hearts makes all the difference. So whether it comes out of our mouths or not, it does come from within our hearts in some way.

Oswald, It is the Lord

Monday, January 11, 2016


I just love learning new things. It thrills me to see things new, when I have seen them a thousand times.  I have recently been reading and listening to a lot of N.T. Wright.  One of the analogies he uses is "surround sound." In my most recent book that I am reading from him, How God Became King, he addresses how we have possibly been listening/reading the bible through a certain teaching method that may not be entirely correct. It doesn't mean that it is wrong, but there may be more. I'll try and explain...

When my husband sets up the different speakers for our home he can hear when one of the speakers is not properly attuned with the rest, for it tends to drown out the others. If the treble coming from one of the speakers is off, he instantly hears it. He listens to and wants to feel the subwoofer deliver its impact at just the right time.  His ears are tuned to listen to and detect when something is too loud from the left/right/front/back. He listens to them carefully and adjusts them till they are all in sink and coming in at the right time from the appropriate direction. I, on the other hand, will accept whatever quality of sound I hear, just as long as I can understand what is going on. In my experience I didn't grow up with different speakers, but one coming directly from the TV in front of me.

As I have been reading/learning I am suddenly aware that many things that I thought I knew didn't come from what I have read, but how they have been taught to me. Within this topic, there seems to be one speaker that has been over powering the rest. I have been in this relationship long enough now, that I am slowly becoming more accustom to hearing differently. I want to hear the surround sound. So when I hear the effects of the rumblings within my heart I pause and take note. Yesterday my heart leaped when I heard something new.

Who are the "chosen of God"? Last night I thought about this question a lot and started to remember Abraham and Moses. God chose to show them who He was. He chose them. Picked them out from among a nation (made a nation through Abraham) to lead His people. But it wasn't just for them or to save a few. It was so that the whole world would see who He is. God revealed Himself to everyone through them. He chose them to lead others, because He knew they would follow Him. Through them and their obedience the whole world can see His faithfulness. 

To answer this question more, I must take a look at who were the chosen of Jesus? If I really take pause and think about this question for a moment I come to the number 12. There were 12 that He went out and chose to be His disciples. This make me want to rethink the "elect". Yes, I know the scriptures that look like there are only a few chosen to go to heaven. But what if we read scripture through different interpreting ears, what will we hear? Ephesians 1:4-5John 15:162 Thessalonians 2:132 Timothy 1:9Romans 8:28, "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to His purpose."  For the first time today I saw something different. I saw "called according to His purpose." This to me is huge!

Does this mean that the rest of the world was at a loss and may as well give up? Or that there really is no point in going out and sharing with others about God? No, this means that "some are called according to His purpose." James 3:1, not everyone should teach... Jesus was a teacher and some He is calling for His purpose. He is asking some to be disciples, to go out as He went out and walk in His path. Does this make the others "left out" not as meaningful? 
Okay, think of it like this. Does every person need to be your leader on this spiritual journey with God? No, of course not. Does this mean that those people are "unsaved"? No. It may simply mean that they are part of the sheep, but only some are "chosen" to be the shepherds. And the different times and places that we find ourselves in during this journey may change our roles amidst the flock. In some circles, I am part of those being taught. In other circumstances, I find I am the teacher. Then at other times, at the same time, I am both.

I feel like...it seems that... the "elect" has changed to the "elite" of God. We have gone from being a people who have been chosen for a job in the service industry, to the people wearing the nice suits and being served. The ones chosen by God were never the elite, they were the chosen to show the world who the One True God really is. That is all! That is the whole point of this life. We are to become one with our Lord so that others can see Him through us.

It is within every person to have a desire to worship. Why do we find in Exodus 34:17 God instructing His people to Not worship images like we find in chapter 32? Because He knows that we must worship, but we also must see that which we worship. God is calling us to be beings made in His own image so that other people can see Him as they look at us. We are not to be worshiped, for we are not the elite. We are to be seeking Him so much that His love for others is felt through our lives. And we are to be set apart from others who are living that same way. Many atheist, Buddhist, Hindu's, ect... show love, but we are to be different by the name we bear. We are called according to His purpose and this is to show the world the True King. He paid our ransom to the one who held us captive. He conquered our enemy by conquering death, our ultimate fear.

Now, my final question is where do we see ourselves in this walk with our Lord? We can look at our life and see our call. Are we in this walk as a new believer who isn't yet in a position to teach?  Have we lived our lives as part of the flock, but never felt the courage to step out and become more? Are we feeling the intense reverberation booming within to share with others who He is, not because we are the elite, but because we are part of the elect? Oh how exciting it is for me to hear differently something I've heard a thousand times! Are you part of His flock? Are you part of His called? Can you hear the difference? I think I finally can.

Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest, "Called By God"

Saturday, December 12, 2015

One Ruler, God at War

What a time of learning and trying to discover my way in this new life. The past 6 months have been a whirlwind for us all..... Here is a list of some things that have happened.

*sold and bought our home
*packed our home of 12 years
*finally passed my real estate exam!

*boys private school closed 2 weeks before school was to start-- the scramble for their education began

*California for another Adult Stem Cell therapy for MS
*start homeschooling the boys, with help of a tutor
*stop leading the college/young adult ministry at church
*start going to real estate office 3 x week

With many more things in daily life (ie... flight for life my father-in-law to Denver again, still going to Crested Butte, 30 minutes away for care taking second homes at least once a week) and trying to adjust to my new roles, I haven't felt like I've had much time to myself in order to acclimate to life. Learning to breathe again as I walk out this new pathway, trying to keep relationships that I had previously built, figuring out my new work expectations, having my children home all day with/without me, and feeling heavy burdens about leaving the ministry (but trying to help my young adults know that I still love them). So, so many changes! But with changes, there were many things that did not change, I just had to reconfigure my time and fit them into my daily life.

During this very hectic time I also read a new book, God at War by Gregory A. Boyd. This book was a hard start for me, but a few chapters/months in I started learning to look at God and spiritual warfare more perceptively. My time, my circumstances, my responsibilities, my health, and my relationships they are all parts of my life that can drive me into chaos and despair. There is another aspect of our lives that we often overlook or casually pass by without giving it the proper understanding, for we are focused on the moment. We are in a constant battle in the spiritual realm. There are oppressors wanting our allegiance. I battle with this daily. The gods at war within my home, my sanctuary, asking me to bow down before them, to give them my peace.  They are forever following me, trying to take control.

It has now been 6 months of trying to breathe as I run. As I look outside at the freshly falling snow with the deer walking by my window I listen to my son breathe, with legs swaying as he does his school work. I can hear the other activities of my home coming from the floor above me and I settle on the issue at hand, there is a battle for my peace, for my allegiance. I can either tell myself that it is God constantly testing me (which may be true) or I can see that there are many adversaries who come against us all in the battle for our obedience.

Our salvation is a function of Christ's exalted lordship, and His lordship is a function of His victory over, and now enthronement above, all "rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named" (Eph 1:21). We are allowed by God's grace to share in the cosmic victory Christ has accomplished through the cross. There is quite literally a new King on the throne. And all who will simply acknowledge this kingship have a share in His gracious kingdom, and even in His powerful authority over opposing forces...

Have you ever thought of the different kingdoms of the medieval times. I can see in my minds eye one ruler over an entire area, but within that area are different smaller kingdoms with lords and dukes that seemed to rule. If you lived within the walls of a keep and never ventured outside, you may think that the lord who ruled over you was the true King. However, in reality, he was not. He was only a small ruler within a larger kingdom. This is how it is with Christ. He is the true King, but within His kingdom there have been many other lords who have tried to rule over us with the intent of gaining our obedience... Some gain our obedience by stealing our peace and making us bow down to our emotions. This is the lord that often tries to rule over me... They try and trick us into believing their lie that they are the true king and there is no one else.

Our ultimate fear is death and this is where Jesus came in and established His Lordship forever. Now it is up to us to accept His rule and not bow down to the smaller atrocities that come against us in life. We are to keep our peace and learn to battle against what is coming against us, not succumb to its terror. Moment by moment I am constantly having to retrain my focus. Someone else is coming against me. It's not just Me, but powers rulers and authorities that are trying to gain my obedience. Whom will I bow down to? Who will rule my life?

If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do. James 1:5-8

I do not want to be unstable or double minded. I want my actions to reflect what I believe. I believe in the One True God. Please God, let my actions reflect what I believe. Keep me strong so that I can win this small battle. Help me to focus my attention in the right way, on You. Help me to be stable and strong. Help me to learn to breathe even in the chaos of life. I love You my Father, thank You

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

The Mountains in the Distance

I received this sweet email this morning from a man who inspires me.  We all need these people on our lives, so I thought it time to share mine with you....


I just re-read your blog -- it has been a hectic busy time since leaving CB, so I haven't been able to write back.  I did try on the blog itself but then seemed to lose it in the ether when I thought I was saving it to your blog section.  I hate losing words just by hitting a wrong key.

Anyway, you are so right and as usual so inspiring about pressing on through failure.  I do not think you have to be ruled by never letting failure stop you, even in front of your children.  My father was incredibly successful in public service, going so far as to be a Deputy Director of the CIA, but he did not succeed always...yet he was a person of such high personal character that he was respected by everyone and an inspiration to two generations who followed him.  And he did not let one failure stop him...he kept on.  I do not think "failure" is the right word in most cases and certainly not where anything you do or try is concerned. Lack of success is a better description, as failure is way too harsh a word...after all, nobody thinks of a climber as a failure simply because they do not make it up a peak.  It took me five tries to make it up Mount Wilson, and three to get up Capitol Peak when I did it the second time.

I was so inspired by my father, because he was always "right" in his motivation and guiding principles.  He   was a person of Jesus or a true part of what I hope and believe God stands for or is -- without ever having to mention either of their names, let alone invoke their names or even set foot in church on any regular basis.

I cannot help but believe that you will always be an inspiration to your children...even if it takes ten attempts to pass that real estate test...or even if the goal eludes you.  Of course, it will not elude you.  You will pass it, and it will mean so much when you do.

You blog is so good because you have let loose your frustration with "failure"; others, me included, can relate to it.  There is God's purpose in everything, even lack of success in something where hard work and perseverance deserve a better outcome.  There is an old English saying, by someone famous I believe, "It's an ill wind that blows no good." And the good in what you are upset about is that you have tried so hard.  It is easy to do easy things; you are not doing an easy thing.  You are not doing something that is easy for you. It is your own personal "Mount Everest".  No one can fail to admire that.

This was his email to me. This next part is from a whole inspirational collective that I have previously written... Please be inspired! Oh, and I passed my test! Took me 4 tries, but that 4th one I PASSED! :)

The Mountains in the Distance

He is a small older man who walks not with a normal walking cane, but with his hiking poles that once helped to propel him up towering mountain passes.  His hands are beginning to turn as arthritis is taking its swing.  As he travels through his small apartment that is beaming with bright colors of yellow and red his oxygen tubing travels with him. He can take you on the most inspiring adventures as he pulls up photos from peaks of mountains to valleys probably never looked upon by another person.  His photos speak volumes as you climb the small staircase that rises to his garage apartment and gaze through his eyes upon peaks covered in snow and dusted with clouds. As another picture of a small Asian child sitting in a boat catches your eye, you must ask, Who is this man?  

He is not a poor man, but a man who has grown up drinking fine bottles of wine that came from his own vineyards.  His daughters live abroad and were married in his castle, a true princess wedding. But now what does he do when he can barely climb the stairs in his garage apartment where he has come for so many years in order to escape into the mountains?

His words...

The Universe Turned Upside Down
It is late on the overnight flight home from San Francisco,
And a fragment of Mahler’s Eighth Symphony,
Unexpected on airline headphones,
Has me pause from restless half sleep
To think instead of trying to hold
The excitement and promise of years
Now gone four decades and more,
Tempered by the momentary return
Of their companions – uncertainty, pain, and doubt.

How can I accept that being young
Exists now only in my mind ?
Why am I so torn
When others, outwardly at least,
Seem unconcerned
That those years of starlight and storm
Are gone forever ?...”
                                                                                  Written on United Flight 792
                                                                                  San Francisco to Washington, DC
                                                                                  November 3-4, 2010

My sweet friend, he gives me such inspiration.  Yes, there are years that he cannot reach out and touch anymore; years of friendship and love, of travels and adventures.  His journey has been filled to the brim with great adventures, but his thirty plus surgeries have tried to bind him in chains; chains that never stopped him, but chains that left him with another mountain to climb.
His poetic reference as he thinks of yet another surgery...

“Bounded by the movement of my eyes in a head firmly secured.  
The reach of my voice, and the range of my left arm only.
And yet, outside that terror is the person those faces must see
As I must be-a smile, banter, hope, and determination
To climb a mountain higher than I’ve climbed before,
With bravery shown but masking its complete absence,
Amidst the thunderclaps of dependence, the fear of abandonment.
And the unfamiliar unknown…”  

Did you see it? And yet, outside that terror is the person those faces must see… a smile, banter, hope, and determination. After waking up from surgery and discovering that his arm and shoulder were paralyzed my friend thought not of the despair he felt underneath, but of how to be brave despite it, to take it as one more challenge to overcome, not a challenge that would overcome him.  His thoughts are directed to his daughter and the joy of her new engagement, his family and friends that he must be strong for are what push him to new heights.  Inside he is full of his own terror and pain, but he is Gallant as he climbs this most difficult climb that will leave him Learning to do again the tasks once so simple and easy.      

Now he is inspiring! Don’t you just love people like this.  People who make you want to be a better person. People who live life, not without fear, but live in spite of it.    His example to live through the pain inspires me to LIVE! Don’t you just love him!  Don’t you want to live better today through the difficulties you come against? Don’t you just want to rise to the occasion now that you know of my friend!

He is inspirational for me, not because of his next great adventure, but because of his peaks of joy that he conquers and climbs on a daily basis. He helps me to keep my moans at bay and this helps me accomplish my own day. I see my grandmother in his hands. I love bent and distorted fingers, for those are where I found true love.  Fond memories that are kept alive through another’s willingness to live joyfully.  I want to live like my friend.  I want to see life through the eyes of a true sufferer who knows how to overcome. For his example helps me live better today, so that I can see a tomorrow.  To live gallantly and to help others do the same, this is a grand adventure indeed.