Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Happy Birthday!

It's hard for me to believe, but 24 years ago at 11:26pm, I gave birth to my first child. I was so young and clueless. I look back and wonder how I did it. I really had no idea what parenthood had in store for me. I am glad I chose life though. The easy thing at the time would have been to not have him. But, I did and I don't regret a thing. He has given me joy, a granddaughter and a sweet beautiful daughter in law.

I still remember the pain of childbirth. There are somethings I think one just never forgets. But the joy of seeing his life unfold before me overshadows that breif pain and I would do it a thousand times over for my first born son.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

I can do this! Right??

Today was the first swim lesson I have had in 32 years. The last time I took a lesson, (and those from Portland will know what I'm talking about...), Dishman pool was called Knott Street, the pool was outside, and there was a wickedly high diving board. I like to refer to it as the board of death, as it was that board that the Wicked Intstructor I had got very impatient with me taking too long to jump.

I remember loving to swim. I started when I was 7 years old and couldn't wait to go to lessons or open play. For almost 2 years I climbed the ranks from Goldfish to Shark (ok, could have been a different name, but I was up there!)So proud of my certificates gradutating me to the next level. I had no fear. I remember what it was like to feel fluid with the water. I remember the pressure of the water on my body, and the full feeling in my ears and head when I was fully submerged. It was awesome. I was a mermaid. I loved it. Then the Wicked Instructor, who I think ate small children for lunch, was having a bad day and just couldn't wait for me to be ready to make the plunge into the deep end (Yes, that would be 12 feet). She yanked the pole and I fell into the water, completed unprepared. I remember the searing, stinging pain in my nose, throat, eyes and chest as I tried to make my way to the surface. It was the first time I felt fear in the water.

That fear has held on to me and I to it every since that day. I never played in the water with my children. I made sure that they learned to swim and were comfortable in the water because I knew I wasn't going to be able to save them if they got in trouble. I felt comfortable in water aerobics, in the shallow side of course. As long as the water did not come past my chin I was fine.

Flash waaaay forward. Here I am, 40 years old and still terrified of relaxing in the water. Despite the fact that while on vacation I treaded water in the ocean, snorkeled and even floated on my back...I can't use a kickboard in the pool...Go figure! I still have dreams from time to time of swimming, feeling no fear, feeling completely natural in the water.

I am back in the same pool. It's now called Dishman community center. It's now indoors and the wickedly high dive board is gone. There is only one know, and it looks manageable. I want to feel that confidence I felt back when I was 8 years old. Diving for rings at the bottom of the pool. Backstroking. Butterflys. I want to feel no fear once again in the pool. I know I can do it. I have to trust myself and trust the water. I have to work with it, not against it. I want to be a mermaid again!! Yes, I CAN do this!!

Sunday, April 4, 2010

An Easter Reflection

Here we are at the highest of Holy days in the Christian Church. It's Easter, full of bunnies who lay multicolored chocolate eggs, rabbits who bring kids yummy treats and toys in the middle of the night...New outfits for Sunday service....Family dinners, Easter sales...Awww, the joys!

As I reflect on this day though, it has nothing to do with any of that. It doesn't even have to do with 'church'. This morning I attended a short, simple yet powerful sunrise service. It was dark, the only light being from the glow of the electric piano display, the powerstip lights and the street lights filtering in from outside. It was solemn, as everyone contemplated the events that lead to Christ's victory from the grave. We sat in silence until the sun came up, and were then dismissed in peace to come back later and rejoice in the good news of the Resurrection.

For me, I thought of the Gift. The Gift of Salvation that was given to all, whether it is claimed or not, its there. I am not religous, I am spirtual. That will go a lot farther than religion anyday. Some who read this may be shocked by that. I get it. Religion is doing and following something. I religously come home on Monday nights and watch 24. I religously hit my snooze bar in the morning no matter what time its set for. Spirtualuality is walking with God, its learning to live through the spirit of God. Its about freedom. Its about love and service to fellow mankind. Its about leaving judgment to God and just loving people where they are because He created them in His image.

I will never waiver from my faith in God. Take away all the churches in the world, and those who truly, truly have faith, those whose spirtuality is not rooted in a building, whose faith is not tied to a human or some formula of doing things. Those would be ok. Their faith is not wrapped up and entagled into a church, denomination or religion. He is in the heart, but he is also in the world around us. Speaking to us in the majesty of the Mountains, in the crash of the waves of the ocean. In the stillness of forest. In the beauty of the flowers. Wispering in the wind. He is everywhere. Displayed in the diversity of mankind. Four walls can't contain that. No one can own that. Its for all.

There have been many events in my life and the lives of those close to me that meet the qualification for me to doubt if God exists, or even cares about us. But because I am still standing, still able to trust even in the midst of pain, disappointment, confusion, grief, tragedy it is because of Faith, when I have no answers to the madness and nonsense I can at least strive for attainable peace. That is a guarantee.

So on this Easter, reflect on the Gift of ultimate sacrafice made for mankind, regardless of ones belief (not believing does not make it not so), religion, etc., figure out how to make your corner of the world a better place by loving not only yourself, but mankind and of course claiming your Gift.