Showing posts from June, 2019

Equilibrium take Three

There is often much talk about finding a balanced life today.  Like we should be able to navigate through the roughest weather with the grace of a fearless and experienced captain…like no wave should ever knock us off our feet…like we can have it all ~ if only we try enough.

It can be easy to make equilibrium seem like an ideal we all have to strive for and achieve.
But perhaps every day isn’t just your best life ever…or where all your dreams come true…or like sailing on a chocolate river in the Willie Wonka factory.

In fact, I wonder, if in trying to always look like we are calm, cool, collected, and in control might be the source of some of our disequilibrium?  If sometimes the waves that crash down on us are caused because we are trying to project to the world that nothing knocks us down?

Maybe the swirling, sloshing seas have something to teach and tell us that smooth sailing won’t be able to ever convey?

Or as the African proverb suggests, "Calm seas do not make skillful sa…

Equilibrium take Two

It can be tempting to think that equilibrium is all about finding the smoothing sailing and seas possible.  Or that faith should help us weather any storm without ever grumbling or feeling seasick.  That some how we are at fault if the waves come crashing down, overwhelming us.  Yet, I am not so sure faith can be as easy as that equation might suggest.

Sometimes we need to live through the storm to see what is on the other side.  Perhaps it is only in going through the disorientation of the storm that we might find new places our souls crave.  One of the most important books in the Bible, the Psalms, are full of people trying faithfully to weather the waves of life, navigate the seas of each day.  In fact, Martin Luther once said that the Psalter "might be called a little Bible.  In it is comprehended most beautifully and briefly everything that is in the entire Bible"

The Psalms are raw and real with emotions like anger and frustration and questioning.  When the psalm crie…

Equilibrium take One

“It’s smooth sailing today,” the captain’s velvet voice soothingly said over the loudspeaker.
But for me, every wave felt like a roller coaster.  The constant bobbing up and down caused my stomach to do somersaults and my mind to say, “Um, if it is alright, I would like to get off this ride…like now, please.”

For me, that moment on the boat became a metaphor of trying to find our equilibrium in the midst of life.  As we try to navigate the waters of each day, what one person experiences and calls, “Calm,” another person might feel like is choppy and chaotic. 

What one person thinks is easy, another laments how rough it is.  The waves of life might knock some off their feet, while for another she is able to go with the flow rising and falling in rhythm with the water. 

What some consider to be tumultuous, others might think is a perfect day. 

Trying to decipher and decide how we will navigate this day before us, which way we will go, depends a lot on how we are reading the weather and…


Our family is setting out on a vacation this Grace Traces will take a break too from my regularly scheduled programming of posts. 

Some suggestions of what to do with the time you would otherwise spend reading my random thoughts:

1. Watch videos on YouTube...there are 300 hours of videos uploaded every minute.  In the time that it took you to read this far in the post.  300 hours.  Suddenly I feel so behind!
2. Talk to a family member or friend.
3. Learn to balance rocks and re-create the photo above in your front lawn.
4. Go for a walk...unless you are in Florida and it is the afternoon in which case I highly suggest you wait until evening as it is probably hot out there or raining or both.
5.  Talk to your favorite fictional character ~ this was the number 1 response when I googled, "Things to do when you are alone."

Feel free to add to the list with your own insightful and beautiful ideas.

May traces of God's grace be woven into every moment of your life...…

What Do You See

Clouds sailing across the sky like a boat across the bright blue sea.
Clouds that are shapes and can awaken our imagination.
Clouds that invite us back to child-like wonder.

In these three clouds I see:
A frog or maybe a kind of lizard (top)
A dog/raccoon/cow on its back (middle)
A skinny shark swimming in the sea (bottom)

But the great part of this doesn't matter what I see.
Or whether you see what I see.
Or whether we would agree that clearly the dog/raccoon/cow combination in the middle is chasing a feather.

Yet, so often when we see something we are adamant and insistent you must see the same way.  That is the cultural waters in which we all swim today.  But I wonder how often we really persuade people to "our side".  So often we end up "agreeing to disagree"...which while it is a catchy cliche, it just means that you stay safe in your camp and I stay in mine...and we refuse to talk about that topic any more.

We have lost the art of discussion. 

What We See

What do you see inside this frame?

You could go logical and say, "I see a walk way."
You could hypothesize that perhaps this walk way is a bridge, which would be rational and reasonable given that there are railings that would prevent falling.
You could go metaphorical and say, "I see an insight into life as being a journey where we only get to see so far down the road.  We cannot know everything, just a bit down the road.
You could focus instead on the greenery growing around, reaching up above.
Or the leaves reaching down from above.
It is almost as if the trees and plants are trying to form another kind of bridge next to the human constructed one.

We could focus on the planks that make up the bridge as a metaphor of each day of this one-by-one they start to form/fashion a path.

We could focus on the railings and ask, what helps keep us safe?  OR what hems us in making us feeling confined?  OR what boundaries do we push up against along life's path?


Putting a Frame Around Life

The other day I road my bicycle to a nearby park.  As I wandered around surveying the various shades of green that where on display, I ducked under this group of trees for a bit of shade from the sun.  When I glanced up, the above photo is what I saw.  
The Psalmist proclaims ~ "I lift mine eyes to the hills".
Now in the place I call home there are not that many hills around me to lift mine eyes toward...but there are these trees.  
Towering above my head.
There are so many fascinating truths about trees.  Consider that what you see above your head is only part of the vast root system growing unseen beneath your feet in the soil.  Consider that the roots usually extend at least as wide as the branches.  Consider that trees communicate to each other...not only those close by but some distance away.
I lift mine eyes and it is not only what is seen...but what is unseen that invites me into the holy mystery of this day God has made.
This is the power of putting a frame around a…