Thursday, February 25, 2016

Medical Center for the Soul

As roomy as this mega-mansion of the soul is… as wonderfully airy and spacious…. 

I can’t help but think-  if we are honest with ourselves and with others-  there are still certain realities of human condition that can’t be overlooked.

There is certain breakdown…. 

...certain rupture … 

Try as hard as you may

to ignore it, 

to cover it up, 

to pretend it’s not there, 

to mask it, sugar-coat it, glaze over it…  

...drown it in work,



but something still remains hopelessly out of joint... 

God! Jesus! I want to argue...You may be so large… so spacious to contain all of us, but Lord, if you haven’t noticed, something is terribly out of joint.  We are sooo desperately broken down here.  Some of us in more than just few places… We try to fix it and we break it even further. So this wonderfully spacious mansion of our souls that is You looks to me more like a hospital than some luxurious resort…

Am I missing something?  

Are YOU missing something?

This marvelously spacious mansion 

– the door open wide to anyone - any one who wants to, who will come in – 

reminds me more of the Nemours Medical Center - filled with sick and wounded, brokenhearted than some fancy celestial Martha’s Vineyard Oceanside Resort. 

Thursday, February 18, 2016

The Mega Mansion of the Soul

I was scratching the interior walls of the chicken coop of my soul looking for that one magic word that might do the trick and painlessly effect the necessary adjustment to my woefully out-of-joint attitude. It all seemed futile for quite a while, which I swiftly interpreted as a sure indication of the incredible complexity of our diversity-on-steroids situation that clearly outstripped even God’s capacity to handle….

It doesn’t always happen like this, but I was sitting on the floor in the middle of a mess of papers, and books and different mobile devices when suddenly my eye falls on the page of a letter  Paul wrote to his friends who lived so far away that he had to write letters to them rather than just send them a quick text or even Skype them….

And these were the words that gently tapped on the murky window of my despairing chicken-cooped-up soul….

So spacious is he, so roomy, that everything of God finds its proper place in him without crowding. Colossians 1:19

So… spacious…

So… roomy…

It was like this old guy, Paul, was reading pages after pages of my journal entries without my knowing it and then responding to them in a message supposedly written to somebody else...

He talks here about space. Plenty of space.

He talks about roominess.  Plenty of room.

For me? 

For us? For my outrageously diverse - multicultural, multigerational, multilingual - family?

For all of GOD! 

There is so much room inside this Person, this Jewish carpenter, Jesus, the Christ… Plenty of room, plenty of space to fit us all in, to contain not just us but GOD Himself – without crowding!

This is not some cup and saucer theology we are looking at. 

It's not some cosmic chicken coop religion we are talking about here. This is a living, pulsating MEGA-mansion of the Soul, that even Donald Trump can’t build!

And yet, it's 'container' is an ordinary flesh-and-blood human being... who was once a baby!

Thursday, February 11, 2016

The Wobbling Attitude Wheel Adjuster

Whenever I hear myself talking like that  - even if no words were actually spoken out loud - I know that the wheels of my attitude are starting to wobble. You wouldn't know it from personal experience, I am sure, but wobbling attitude wheels are terribly annoying at best. 

Sometimes, not to sound like our local news anchor, they can even be deadly!

There is only one mechanic I know who can fix my wobbling attitude wheels.

Unfortunately, I have to admit here that I am not Him. And it's not like I didn't try.  

Pitiful failure as I may be to adjust my own attitude, it doesn't deter me from trying to be the Wobbling Attitude Wheel Adjuster, for a lot of people, especially my kids.  When they start complaining, for example, how un-BEAR-able their lives are (they are teenagers!), I usually say something tremendously helpful like, We should send you to Africa and there you’ll get some REAL reasons to complain about!

Surprisingly enough, that's not even remotely the kind of thing that the one and only WAWA ever tells me. He usually just waits until I have vented enough. Sometimes, when after a few hours of vehement venting I run out of steam and stop, He asks me if I have anything else to add. I would furrow my brow, raking my brain really hard to think of something else to add to my tirade, and if I can’t think of anything, I’d say I am finished.

On rare occasions, since I’ve been treated so kindly, and so respectfully, and so patiently I remember my manners and I ask Him if He would like to say something to me since now I am finally ready to listen. 

A time or two, I even made a point of actually listening to what He might say rather than assume that, 

One: I already know what's in His mind.

Two: He must be just like everyone else, too busy and too important to talk to the little nobody like me.

But, when He speaks, a single word out of His mouth carries more weight than complete works of Tolstoy and Dostoevsky (no offense to either) combined. 

Monday, February 08, 2016

The Coup Inside the Coop

It’s not like something unusual happened at the beginning of February. There was nobody in particular to blame, although there is always a temptation to point fingers. Of course, whenever we do that we tend to forget that every time we point finger at somebody else, three other fingers are pointing right back in our direction! Yikes!

But, whatever inexplicable reason, suddenly the house didn’t feel quite big enough for all of us anymore.  The house didn’t shrink.  Each of us still averaged the same square footage, which mind you, was actually more square footage per person than the size of my entire chicken coop for the whole family!

Nevertheless, the house felt cramped.  A little overcrowded.  Too tight. Too congested, like traffic on Interstate 4 during Friday afternoon rush hour. Tempers begun to flare. Opinions got aired.  

Perhaps we started doing some math...

Six people.

Two languages.

Three centuries, give or take.

One roof.

That's a whole lot of histories and a whole lot of personalities. And if you add six billion expectations, preferences, emotions, thoughts, opinions, tastes and six trillion words to say every single day 24-7... 

And thus  we began to sink.

Some may condemn.  You should be thankful.

Some may commend. You lasted longer than anybody expected!

Commended or condemned, we were sinking.

We started to sink, the way Peter begun to sink after he’d walked on water for maybe 6 or 7 minutes, I'd gather.  Just hopping along until he realized, Wait a minute! This isn't supposed to be happening.  Look at these giant waves.! Look how deeeeeep the water is under my fff.....

Yep, that's pretty much how our sinking happened.

Or, perhaps, I should say, my sinking!  

Suddenly, my little introvert felt like she had had enough of all these people all the time, bumping into people in the hallways, and bathrooms, and the kitchen, and she put her hands on her hips and was ready to announce, 

Alright guys, the party is over and now, RIGHT NOW, is the time for all of you to leave or else…

Friday, February 05, 2016

Chicken Coop for the Soul

Relative to the house where I was born - a 240 square feet (24 square meters) no indoor plumbing 'chicken coop’ as I affectionately refer to it  - today we live in a mansion.  

It’s definitely not a mansion according to the standards of the country where I’ve been residing for the past twenty years, but still in my eyes the house is plenty spacious for our family of four plus our pet guinea pig.  We even have an extra bedroom (affectionately referred to as junk... errr... guest room).  This room houses most of our useless junk until we have guests.  In preparation for visitors, we move the junk from the top of the bed and shove it under the bed, thus making the room guest-ready. We call this process ‘cleaning’.

Two months ago, we cleaned that room and it became my parents’ bedroom for the duration of their three-month stay with us.  When they arrived we went from a household of four plus a Guinea pig to a household of six plus a Guinea pig plus a rat terrier Jack we were babysitting while his human parents were away.

I still thought the house had ample room to comfortably accommodate all of us. We have lot of furniture including couches, sofas and chairs and two full bathrooms. With a little coordination we are able to take care of our cleanliness, appearance and bodily needs without too much interference and desperation.

Everything went remarkably well in our duolingual, bi-cultural, inter-species, multigenerational, ‘united nations’ household  until we started nibbling our way into the third month.