Thursday, December 28, 2017

Expectations

Expectations come in many forms and in many degrees.

Christmas Day is one of those days that brings with it a weight of expectations. Expectations about what one might receive; the sugar plums dancing in one’s head and heart. The day is filled with rising to joy and celebrations as gifts are unwrapped and as stories begin to unfold.  It brings with it a weight of specific family traditions that define what Christmas means.  The tradition of the room being filled with the smell sausage pinwheels cooking in the oven as we move from opening stockings to diving into the larger gifts.  Maybe your tradition is that breakfast casserole  you’ve eaten since you were a child and are now making for your own children or grandchildren.  Christmas break brings with it the weight of time spent with family; days in which you expect board games to be played; lounging around in the morning enjoying conversation before the plans of the day fully unfold.  Christmas Day and the days to follow are spent in a shroud of magic and the most wonderful time of the year.

Except when it’s not.

When nothing is as it has ever been before it leaves one feeling a bit out of sorts.  Expectations are shattered, emotions run high and disappointment ensures.  Grief for what is not surges up from places you thought were on the mend or were strong enough to withstand the weight of it all.  The grief pours out in ways that you least expected and it leaves you feeling empty and just plain sad.  The shattered expectations leave you isolating yourself to some degree because as hard as you tried, as hard as you worked trying to keep a semblance of normalcy for Christmas it is not the same and it has not been wonderful.

Finally the sun slowly sets and you find yourself waking to a new day that has brought with it the dawning of a new beginning, a reset and a way to move beyond the expectations of one day, to a day where the weight has lifted and a freedom to just be present; to merely be yourself  arrives.  Slowly but surely joy and laughter replace the mourning and grief of the day before where expectations were not met and the places they merely fell short.  There is always the promise of a new beginning and a way to start fresh.  One day does not define who we are, what we have to offer and the underlying joy that is available to us every moment of everyday.


Saturday, December 23, 2017

Incarnation

Incarnation; a person who embodies or exhibits some specific quality or idea.

Today the fog has been heavy on the mountain, it is as if the sun never rose above the horizon.  My heart was a bit heavy as I made my way through the morning.  What should have been a day of excitement and anticipation; joy ringing through the house was a day of methodically walking through a very long list. 

The list was filled with gathering specific items for work, kitchen utensils that I might need in order to prepare dishes away from the comforts of my own kitchen, trying to discern the types of clothes that I need over a long period of time away from home, cooking meals that can merely be reheated throughout the week.  Two days ago we received news that Emma's care team wants to move her into partial residential which is a way of beginning to expose her to being back in a real-life setting. It's kind of fascinating because they don't want her to feel overwhelmed with having to make all food choices all at once (she does get a choice as to what she wants to eat for the three meals and three snacks that she has every day) so we begin with her choosing breakfast and her evening snack at 'home'. 

Home meaning the transitional living space that she'll be moving into on Tuesday evening. This transition means that a parent/guardian must live in the space with her; hence the long list of things to accomplish today.  I am feeling a bit out of sorts with the unexpected news as I ready to be away for several weeks.  Today was just hard trying to keep the words of hope and light that I am preaching about tomorrow deep within my own heart.  Throughout the morning I would find my mind wandering, almost pleading with God asking for His presence not to be lost in the crazy of the day.  It's been hard enough hold onto the words in my head much less my heart this season but I wanted desperately for today to feel like Christmas; to feel God's presence.

God's incarnation was handed to me in the sweetest text from a friend that ask if we wanted to come over for dinner.  I could have easily said no. I could have easily looked down at the floor where my clothes lay waiting to be placed in my bag for the journey tomorrow evening and politely turned her down. I could have looked at the two sermons sitting on my coffee table beside me and declined because I had a full day of preaching tomorrow (not to mention packing everything into the car).  I could have said no but instead, I leaned into God coming to me in the flesh, inviting me to the table for nourishment and enveloping me in love and goodness through my friend.  Tonight she was the incarnation of Jesus Christ, she met me at the well and gave me water to drink and broke bread so that I could know the fulfillment of God walking here on earth.

After a night filled with love, I opened the mailbox to find a letter (not a Christmas card) from a colleague whom I deeply respect and admire.  His words filled my soul with the spirit of wholeness and breathed within me a breath of fresh air.  His words embodied Jesus' healing touch and words of release as he prayed over not just Emma but all three of us.  His note is not the first that I have received on this journey and I know that it will not be the last but tonight the incarnation of Jesus Christ was upon me. 

The incarnation of Jesus Christ is all around but sometimes we have to say yes to the very things that seem out of the way and takes us away from the task.  I am reminded that Christmas is not a feeling but a spirit in which others embody and freely give the holiness, love, and hope that Jesus offers them.  The incarnation of Jesus Christ came today. 


Friday, December 15, 2017

Holy moments

The alarm never went off because I was already awake.

The sky was gray and yet every so often the sun tried to peak out.

“What Unites Us” by Dan Rather was being played through the speakers in the car.

Conversations with my dad as we made our way together to see Emma for the first time after admitting her to McCallum Place on Monday, December 4th.

Moments of brutal honesty that gave a sliver of light that perhaps something was being heard and a clink in the armor of defense might have been made.  Watching and listening, wondering if the slightest bit of self confidence was slinking into her heart and mind.

Therapist that see and hear what you see and hear.  A team of physicians gathered around your child wanting the best for her as they stay longer than the allotted time (even being late to pick up their own children from aftercare or daycare) to lead your child out of fear into faith.

Being told that Emma was eligible for two passes.  Two hours on Friday, just enough time to get out and see some of St. Louis which will more than likely just be hanging out at the local mall and window shopping as well as people watching.   Four hours on Saturday, to visit her favorite place...the Zoo.  

Noticing a new dad sitting at the end of the table with his daughter at visiting hours and then running into him again in the very same hotel, on the same floor.  When you get to stand in the hallway, talk to a stranger and yet find a unity in that your daughters are plagued with a disordered way of eating and that it’s not just a matter of mind over matter but speak frankly about how difficult it is.  Book suggestions from the dad who isn’t knew to this road even though it was his first night dropping off his daughter at McCallum.  Finding a book on Amazon that seems to reach in the heart and soul of what your daughter might be experiencing and being able to click one button and have it immediately at your finger tips at 4 o’clock in the morning.

Sitting in the hotel lobby trying to capture the words that are to be spoken to a congregation on this third Sunday of Advent.  Your fingers holding the pen and gliding it across the page with words that seem so shallow and yet you keep thinking if I can only get something down I will be able to put the meat to it later when my mind is quiet.

An unexpected conversation with someone else sitting in the lobby of the hotel that gives way for another person {who turns out to be a hotel employee}to enter into the conversation and ask deeper questions about something she overheard about OCD. Listening to her questions and then being ale to answer with honesty about how it affects my own sweet teenager. With the exchange of words, emotions begin to take over and tears fall from her eyes.  There is realization that she has had OCD her entire life but never knew why her brain functioned the way it did, it’s paralyzing her today and her job is on the line.

Unexpected holy moments are envelope us.  They offer us grace. They offer us community.  They offer us the arms of embrace.  Look around today....what unexpected holy moments have you experienced? Where do you need to open yourself up to the world, people, compassion and love that is being offered?



Saturday, December 9, 2017

It's really the small stupid stuff

I'm not sure why but today has been hard.  My mind is rushing to and fro and will not settle down to concentrate on the task at hand...the sermon that has to be spoken on Sunday morning. Even as I type this short blog, my hands are flying across the keyboard at a much faster rate than they have been in the past several hours trying to capture the words that God wants me to proclaim to our congregation during this season.

It's the stupid things that have gotten me today, not sure why but the wave that comes over you when you know life is different.  It started with going into the laundry room.  For the past year or so we've had laminated sheets with directions on how to wash different loads of laundry hanging on a ring from the rack over our washer and dryer.  I put them there so that Emma would stop asking how to do the simple task and maybe just maybe it would come a bit more naturally with her and she would remember how to take care of stuff.  Before Emma left, she asked if she could take the laminated sheets down so that she would know how to do her laundry while she was away.  For over a year, every time I have lifted the washer lid I've hit the sheets but today that didn't happen and it caught my breath that Emma wouldn't be home next week.

Then a wave of sadness hit me when I heard her say to us when we were finishing visiting hours on Tuesday that she would probably only call us like once a week.  At the time that didn't seem like a big deal because we were to have a 'family meeting' with her team on Thursday (yesterday) but due to their schedule something happened and we didn't get to hear our weekly update from her team.  I'll be back there next Thursday night yet in the moment of the day it felt like forever....which is completely silly because she's been gone for more than a week at a time before where I couldn't talk to her. 

In a season where we are preaching about being invited to step into the light, see the world from and with God's perspective, and to hear the good news sometimes that is easier said than done. Transformation is hard and the road is filled with potholes trying to trip us at any moment.  I may have gotten tripped today but as I sit with a new candle that a dear friend gave me it reminds me that in the midst of it all I am not alone.  I will never be left alone and there is always going to be one that wraps me in the warmth and assurance of goodness even when the small stupid stuff tries to hold me hostage. 

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

I remember the first time I ever went rappelling.  It was both terrifying and exhilarating. The first step is tricky because everything in your being is telling you that you shouldn't be hanging off a cliff backward, leaning perpendicular to the cliff.  Then there is a part of you whispering, give this a try; go ahead and step off the cliff.  You stand there with palms sweating, heart racing and your mind willing you trust the ropes that have been strategically and methodically placed.

Letting go and trusting propels you off the side of the cliff into the glorious adventure of swinging out into the open air, watching the ropes bend to bring you back to the rock where when you trust the process your feet land just right and you get to pause and look around at the beauty that is before you. Each time that you swing out and release a bit of the rope, you find that trusting comes a bit easier.  Every time your feet hit the rock you gain confidence in your abilities.

Anyone that desires a deep abiding change in their life must find themselves standing on the edge with every bone in their body screaming you shouldn't do this.  The voices begin to scream you cannot do this because you aren't worthy enough, you will never accomplish this because you are lazy, you do not deserve this.  There is also the part of the heart and soul that longs for transformation that looks around and has to not just say but believe,  I am going to trust this process, I am fully worth it.  You have to begin to trust that you can accomplish that which you have set out to do.  You have to believe and trust that you do deserve all the joy and love that this life can offer.  This magnetic pull requires you to step off the ledge and trust that the one that is your 'belayer' {the one holding the rope at the bottom and has the ability to catch you when and if you fall}.

Today as we made our way back to our sweet mountain, I thought about how hard it must be for Emma to stand on the ledge and simple trust.  I can not fully imagine the courage she has felt in leaning back and taking that first step off the cliff.  She is learning to trust the guidance of those in her care team.  Every day she will have to learn to trust that she is not just good enough but that she is worthy enough to make this transformation.  She will work every moment on learning to trust that she can accomplish all that she desires.  She will kick off the mountain each morning and my hope is that she will pause to see the glory that surrounds her and hopefully find her footing and release a bit more of her rope. Emma will have to trust each of her 'belayer's on a daily basis, trusting that if she were to fall that they will catch her before she hits the ground.  Each day will bring an opportunity to not just find her footing but to release a bit more of the rope and trust a bit deeper.

We too have leaned back and taken a step to experience this journey.

I'll be home for Christmas

During this time of year, we begin thinking about where we will be spending Christmas. We think of waking up in the excitement of our children or grandchildren.  We think of watching the eyes of those we love beam as we open gifts gathered around a tree strung with warm glowing lights.  We talk about what we'll be eating and which family member will be bringing which item.  We coordinate schedules so that we can get to this Grandma's house and that Papa's house or which parent will have the kids which days of Christmas Holiday.  It is a day in which we sing I'll be home for Christmas thinking about the comfort that 'home' brings.

When our journey with Emma began several weeks ago we shed tears about how the holidays would be different yet as the hours turned into weeks the sad emotions gave way to something different.  A knowing came over us that while we would not be in our home under the glow of the lights and the enchantment that comes with the opening of a stocking and smelling fresh sausage pinwheels cooking in the oven we would definitely be home for Christmas. 

Home is not just the four walls that provide security, home is the security that comes from merely being gathered together. 

Home is not the warm glow of lights but the warmth that comes when you take the time to hug one another tightly as often as possible.

Home is not the food set on the table but the nourishment that we get from one another as we laugh, talk about the mundane task of our day and trust one another with our heart and soul.

We will not be on the mountain for Christmas but we will most assuredly be home for Christmas. 

May you be at home this Christmas.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

You’re in my space

We are educated.

We have resources and are resourceful

We have each other.

We have a huge circle of people enveloping us and loving on us.

This morning on the way to our appointment with Emma’s counselor I was texting a fiend and in the midst of the conversation I shared with her how thankful we were for our mental health benefits.  She works ‘in the system’ and just shared how many parents feel hopeless when their child needs mental health assistance and do not have the funds.  My heart sank for all of those who are unable to walk the same road to wholeness that we are on.

This road is not for the faint of heart.  Just getting here to St. Louis...to McCallum place took a lot of research, hours on the phone in conversation with several different places in order to find the right fit, countless emails back and forth with our questions and even more phone calls to insurance probing, advocating and seeking help in an area that we didnt’ know much about.  

Luke and I have been able to divide and conquer these task that have led us to the stepping stone that we are currently standing upon.  I cannot imagine what it must be like for single parents, for those without insurance and all of those who stand on the cusp without the support of others.

With the wind swirling and the temperature in the high 30’s, we opened the door to McCallum Place this morning talking about how Emma would have on shorts and a sweatshirt because somehow it would be too hot for her!  We sat in the chairs waiting for Emma and the counselor to meet us and as she rounded the corner we laughed....our kid was definitely in shorts!

We fell in love with her counselor immediately and feel so comfortable with her; as if we have known her for some time.  Towards the end of the conversation the counselor and Luke were having a side conversation and I sensed that Emma wanted us to leave so I simply ask if she was ready for us to leave and without skipping a beat she said “I don’t want to be mean but I feel like you’re in my space and I am finding myself getting defensive.”  I laughed because I got it.  She loves us as much as we love her but it was time for her to be; time for her to do this thing in her own way and on her own turf. She wants to prove to herself that she is capable and worthy of all of the change that she so deeply desires.

In a series of unexpected events we got to meet her teacher, some of the team members that are with them daily and move them through their schedule.  The teacher rocks!!

We’ve had a day of renewing our own souls; lunch, running a few errands, getting to watch a movie, dinner and a treat at Starbucks.  We’re back for visiting hours tonight and are looking forward to seeing her in her space before we make the journey home tomorrow morning.  

Space is important.
Space brings security.
Space is sacred.
Space can be life giving and transformative.  

May you find your own space that allows you to soar.

For those of you who have asked about writing or texting; for now writing is grand.  Here is her address 
McCallum Place
Atten:  Emma Diamond
231 W Lockwood Ave #201
St. Louis, MO 63119

Monday, December 4, 2017

The drop off

For those of you who have taken the time to read this let me begin my saying that it’s not my normal blog but it’s the fastest and most efficient way to reach out to many people at once.

Today was the day.

We had been waiting for this day to arrive for three weeks and today we finally got to take a small step forward.

What I am about to share isn’t anything that Emma doesn’t share herself.

At the tender age of 13 Emma was diagnosed with OCD.  OCD wedges it’s way into the brain and creates an act that the person must do in order to feel safe.  The compulsion must be completed before the person can move forward.  In OCD a person’s brain literally becomes disordered and the person must work against the disorder everyday in order to live a healthy life.  Unfortunately, as one compulsion is given up for another, the person can often form an dis-ordered way of eating and a dis-ordered relationship with food.  Dis-ordered eating is as dangerous as any other addiction.

Three weeks ago Emma came to us asking to go into residential treatment for her eating disorder.  She has freely admitted that she binge eats.  It is more complex than just over eating or eating junk; google it if you don’t know much about it.  Through the power of the internet she came with her own recommendations for treatment.  Today was the day we had been waiting for because bright and early this morning the three of us walked through the doors of McCallum Place in St. Louis, MO. A 4-6 week residential program for adolescents with eating disorders.

Today we have watched the bravery and maturity of our sweet, drive us crazy teenager as she told her story over and over.  We met with practically everyone on her team.  She sat through the financial conversations which I thought was important that she see the process and understand the investment that is being made for her.  We met with her dietitian, medicinal doctor and her psychiatrist.  She began the process of meal planning and understanding what it will look like for her moving forward.  In meeting with her psychiarist and medical doctor and she described the medicines that she takes on a daily basis without missing a beat.

At lunch we all got a break, she went to eat with her peers; those with whom she will be in group with (while Luke and I walked down the road to this lovely Japanese restaurant).  As they were all hanging out after lunch, Emma took the initiative telling one of the staff members that she didn’t want to break any rules about having a phone.  This initiative led to her phone being put away, which she admitted almost made her cry because we had been told that she could have her phone at night but at that moment she found out that she couldn’t have it until she got to ‘phase 2’.  So if you want to text her go ahead, she might not respond for a week or so but will love to have them once she is able to have her phone!!!

When we departed for lunch we thought that would be the last time that we saw her today so we asked her if she wanted us to return for visiting hours tonight and she immediately responded no, telling us that she was fine and wanted to get use to just being there.  We did end up back at an afternoon appointment and again she emphasized that she was fine for the evening and that she would see us tomorrow for our last meeting with some of her team members and then tomorrow night for visiting hours.

The road before us is going to be full of twist and turn. It might lead us down paths that might seem dark, leaving us with the feeling of disappointment but today we are thankful (tired and exhausted) but grateful for people and places like McCallum that welcome adolescents under their wings in order that they might begin the healing process of re-ordering their relationship with food, give the confidence that they can soar and assurance that they are not alone.

It is well with my soul......

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Size

We live in a world where looks are everything.

When we see someone who is skinny we believe they are determined.

When we see someone who is skinny we believe that they are athletic.

When we see someone who is skinny we say how beautiful they are, how wonderful they look.

When we see someone who is overweight we believe they are lazy.

When we see someone who is overweight we believe they don't exercise.

When we see someone who is overweight we believe that they aren't that attractive.

Our size seems to say something about our determination, how athletic we are and how beautiful we are and so much more.

We make judgments about someone based on their size. 

How many of you have looked at someone who is larger than you and made a quick judgment about them?  Be honest, think about your first impression. 

Size does not always reveal the entire story of what is happening within a person's heart, soul, and mind.

This year I've lost about 16 pounds.  Over the summer and into this fall as I encountered people that I hadn't  seen in a while, they are quick to comment about how great I look, they ask if I've lost weight and then again tell me how great I look.  These compliments boosted my self-confidence then I began to really think about the compliment.  I thought to myself over and over, "didn't I look great before?"  Wasn't I attractive before I lost the weight?  On top of that, what they didn't know is that the pounds that I lost over the spring have come at a great cost to me physically (and sometimes emotionally).  Those that aren't in my inner circle don't know that for months my food intake was limited to about 3-4 items and that I no longer had any smells that were pleasant.   What people don't see is that last year at this time I could easily hike 9 miles and today it takes me 20 extra minutes to hike the simple miles that I could hike in just und an hour.  The pounds that were shed were because I have a smell and taste disorder that continues to affect my taste and smell.  I do have a broader spectrum of food than I had this spring but still, one that is very, very limited.  While I 'look great' the pounds have come at a great cost and that in all honesty, I'm really not that physically fit!

I've seen the opposite be true for someone who has gained weight. Suddenly the compliments that one use to receive have fallen to the wayside.  Others make small talk about poor so in so because they have just let themselves go and don't have any self-control. I have listened to people talk about how lazy the overweight person must be and how they need to get out and exercise.  What they don't see is that the person they are talking about walks with obsessive-compulsive thoughts in their head all day long. Every moment of every day they fight off the negative thoughts that are controlling their every step.   The person with whom are talking about isn't lazy, they are out on their bike when other kids are making fun of them.  When everyone has a team jersey that fits but the person who is overweight, and the person holds their head high wearing a regular t-shirt knowing that they will cross the finish line last.  When it appears that the person isn't determined because of their size, what you don't see is the student who is having to study much longer each night simply because their mind is filled with relentless thoughts as well as one that wanders around the bend to find something more interesting.  What you don't see is the person who is working hard to walk through their day, implement a plan and make an impact in the world.

Size does not determine health.

Size does not determine ability.

Size does not determine worth.

The next time you look at someone and make a judgment, stop to think about yourself.  Think about all the things that are unseen, all those things you are walking through and dealing with that cannot be seen from the outside. 







Thursday, September 7, 2017

Raise your eyes

Walking.

Putting one foot in front of the other.

Wanting to rush, to finish as quickly as you can.

Head down and determined to get to the other side of the path.

I’ve been hiking the same trails for several years now, yet for the past 8 months, my feet have not hit the trails.  Recently I stepped out of my car with trepidation and began putting one walking, putting one foot in front of the other.  Even though I have hiked the trails more times than I can count, in all seasons of the year and both in the day and night with my head lamp shining the other day was a bit different.

I realized that I was tense and was hiking with my head down.  I was cautious of every step that I was taking, not wanting to fall. 

Then I did something that I didn’t want to do, I looked up.

I stopped looking so intently at the ground and found a more comforting scene enveloping me.  When I looked up, I was able to see the rays of beautiful light shining through the dark trees.  I saw the morning dew glistening on the spider webs making them a thing of wonder instead of disgust.  I noticed the mushrooms whose tops were shades of red and orange.  In the stillness of the morning, I saw a deer eating its morning breakfast.  The path that seemed so difficult and long transformed into a pathway leading up the next hill and into a moment of accomplishment.

By merely looking up what had seemed like a long, dark path was given light and beauty.  What had seemed to isolate moved into being part of something grander than myself.  The path that had appeared filled with challenges that I might not be able to accomplish gave way to the journey that was filled with milestones of success.

Where in your life are you merely so tightly focused on the details that you are missing the glory of the full picture? Where in your journey do you feel like the path is filled with dark, steep challenges and have stripped your sense of awe and wonder?  Where in your life are you missing the creative, stunning wholeness?

God is calling us to look up to see beyond the details and boundaries that keep us bound to our task, fear, difficulty, mistrust and isolation.  Look up and find freedom, redemption and community.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Hatred

White
Middle Class
Female

The beginning of something new.
It all started in 5th grade and I remember it all too well.
The impact came in 6th grade.

Standing in front of our house early in the morning waiting for the bus on the first day of school.  The ride no longer took a mere 30 minutes it took almost an hour.  We sat in silence on the long ride to our new school.  We walked into a new school where we were now the stranger.  We were the foreigners in a foreign land.  Bus riders were the white students and the walkers were the African American students.  This was their school, their territory.  

 Five classrooms were in a 'pod' without permanent walls, no doors, tables instead of desks.  Division and glaring looks at the 'other' permeated throughout the classroom.  Us and them...the white kids and the black kids.  

Something beautiful was both offered and received.  Students sat putting their tick marks on their voting cards.  A new mascot and school colors were chosen.  A new student government was formed that had equal representation.  Partners in the class were assigned.  Teachers treated everyone with the same respect, gave the same encouragement and took us under their wing as 'their children'.   Slowly over that hard fought year friendships were formed.  Invitations to birthday parties exchanged, sleep overs occurred.  The race that had once divided us was no longer seen.

Our one year at Kings Lane Elementary gave way to our friends now having to endure long bus rides to our own Joelton Middle School.   Hugs were given and high-fives were exchanged because we knew the fear that grew with them as they entered what they perceived as 'our territory'.  Relationships tested once again.

Middle School gave way to High School.

High School gave way to what the outside world perceived as an unbalanced and unfair ratio, of 80-85% African Americans to 15-20% Caucasian students.  The media {both print and TV} did everything within their power to slant news from our school in a negative form.  If we won a football game {and we won plenty, never once did we not make it to the second or third round of the state playoffs} it was only because of all of the large 'black boys' on our team.  When our basketball team played in the State Championship game our student body was the rowdy, unsportsmanlike conduct black student body.  When the opposing team's crowd member was handcuffed in the gym for possession of a gun it was slanted that they were merely trying to protect themselves from those kids. When our student leaders went to visit a local news station they were asked the question, so do you have two homecoming queens, one black and one white?  Do you have two valedictorians, one black and one white?  Hatred came spewing out of the mouths of those who were not part of our community.  Hatred from the outside world reigned down upon us.  Slang and disgusting remarks were made about us when we were together as a group in the greater community.  

When people found out that I was a student at Whites Creek High School, their immediate response was always, 'Oh' and the 'oh,' always came with a look.  Even today when I say that I graduated from Whites Creek people in the Nashville community give me that same look of pity and sorrow.

In the 5th grade when we did not start school on time because new school zones were being set I didn't understand. In the 6th grade, I was the foreigner in a strange land and eventually found a place I could call home.  In Middle School relationships were deepened and the color of anyone's skin wasn't seen.  In High School, we danced together, celebrated our 16th birthdays together, dated {without the thought of the color of one another's skin tone}, cried together when one of us was hurting and we learned to stand together in the midst of hatred being spewed upon us.

I am white....I am middle class....I am female.

But

More importantly, we are all human.  Human beings that have been wonderfully and wholely made.  

I do not, nor will I ever stand on the side of racism.  
I do not, nor will I ever support you if you are slandering anyone because of the color of their skin or the accent of which they speak.
I do not, nor do I ever want to be around you if you continue to blame and shame upon human begins because of the skin tone in which they were created.
I do not, nor will I ever laugh at your jokes when you are bashing someone who has a different life story than you and must work harder than you because they are from a particular neighborhood and have a darker pigment of skin than you or I.
I do not, nor will I ever support hatred.
I do not, nor will I ever support hurting another human being.



Tuesday, August 15, 2017

My people..my place

A day off.

Lunch with mom and Emma at the trendy Chocolate Covered Strawberry (where no matter what you order you always have a beautiful chocolate covered strawberry sitting on the side of your plate ready for you to devour at the end of your meal).

A detour into JP2 to see a couple of our favorite people.  We were quickly welcomed by the new head of school, ran into a few people and got to hug two people that we love and adore.  JP2 was our extended family for 10 years and walking through the doors was like going home. We love the faculty and staff, it was the place where I could sit in worship and not worry about anything else.  It was the place where Emma could roam the halls with other faculty kids and run free on a Friday night during football season.  It was a community that loved us when I was a stay at home mom.  We celebrated with other faculty members as our children started pre-k and began making their way through elementary.  JP2 was our extended family.

From JP2 to a sacred space called The Potting Shed.  It's an amazing local boutique and flower shop. The two owners are a mother daughter team who are simply delightful.  For two years I served as the pastor at their local UMC church and they welcomed me into their lives with open arms.  The Potting Shed was a haven for the community. They opened their doors for an early morning community bible study.  When I wanted company for lunch I found myself sitting at their small round table in the kitchen breaking bread together and receiving encouragement.  Their building and their spirit welcomed you into the presence of Christ, and you knew that you were standing on holy ground as the door swung open and the bell chimed.  I have stood with them in that space in tears and in laughter.

Ah, the fulfillment of people who know you and love you.  

It was a treat to be with them today.

I stood with people today whom I love deep and adore with all my being. I walked into places that felt like home.   As I made my way back to the mountain tonight, I simply smiled.  The stars had already filled the sky and yet I could feel the pull of my place and my people calling me home.  This mountain is my place and Morton is my people.

The awe that comes from looking up each night to clearly see a star filled sky and feel the breeze blow across your face.
The gift of being able to step into the covering of trees and walk miles by myself.
The smiles and warmth of Spencer and Eric and the rest of the crew at MGM. A place where they make your drink as hot as you want, let you sit and linger with friends even as they are cleaning up, feed your child when she doesn't have enough money knowing that you'll be back.
A hairstylist that welcomes you into her chair not to just do your hair but to exchange stories about children, struggles and the unbelievable things that God continues to do in this world.
Walking into the doctor's office and being treated as though you are their one and only patient for the day.
A community who ensure your vacation isn't just time out of the office but a time that is filled with events that renew your soul and draw the family together.
People who say "I have your back no matter what."

I could go on and on about the ways this place and these people fill my soul but I think you get the point.  I loved visiting with people who have impacted my life, who hold a special place in my heart and yet.....

This is my place (this mountain) and these are my people (this community of Monteagle/Sewanee and Grundy County).


Tuesday, July 25, 2017

We don't always get what we want

Today I returned to the mad scientist.

I'm not gonna lie, I was a bit anxious this morning about what the day would bring.

I had to repeat the taste/smell and salvia test that I performed on Friday.  More blood was drawn.

Then came the crazy magnetic procedure.

I sat with my feet uncrossed on the ground, comfortable in a chair and my hands in a natural position. I had to identify a smell in the room (of course there were two things that I could smell but couldn't fully identify).  The Dr began by placing the magnetic wand near what I could call my left collar bone.  After each 'pulsing' series he stops and asks me to identify the smell, the percentage at which I can smell it and if is unpleasant, pleasant or neutral.  He moves it to the left collar bone are, then my neck and up onto different positions on my head. OK, so it's not the most pleasant thing to have done, it doesn't really hurt per-sa but oh my goodness is it STRANGE.  It moves the muscles in ways that cannot be fully described.  Don't forget after each pulsing I have to identify the smell, give it a rating and tell whether or not I like it.  Then the doctor moves the wand onto a muscle that must attach to the eye because I was the wildest thing I have ever experienced.  My eye being pulsed...I knew it was coming but my eyes wanted to tighten which just made it worse.  It doesn't hurt, it's just a very weird and strange sensation.


I’m not really sure how long any of the test/procedures last because this place is a time warp and time just seems to slip by.  All I know is that I arrived at 9:30 and was walking toward my Uber pickup at just after 1:00pm.

When I finished the chemical  and putrid/rotten smell had abated just enough for me to tell a slight difference.  After waiting for about 15 minutes I was back for my final round of taste/smell and salvia test and final blood work.  

Things are not always what we hope for or want.

This procedure did shifted things to the next stepping stone  but there is a long way to walk and much to uncover.  My body has taken a hit over the past six months without proper nutrition.  I have to begin to add back in specific nutrients that will help sustain my overall health.  I have to keep a daily journal about the foods I eat and the smells that I smell on a regular basis.  I have rate them just like I do in the taste/smell test.  I have certain ‘call in’ appointments with the doctor to ensure that  he continues to see the full picture of my health.  There is an oral medication that might help with this.  It comes with its own side effects so he doesn’t want me taking it anytime soon. He said over and over, sometimes this is not immediate.  Sometimes it takes days or weeks for people to regain their smell/taste.  

Of course I’m disappointed and deflated but deep down I know that healing takes time and there is still a light shining. 

I cannot see beyond the end of the dim light.

I cannot imagine what lie beyond the light but I will continue to move to the edge of the light believing that more will come {I have hiked in the dark enough with a headlamp to know while the beam only reaches so far that I can always where to plant my feet and that if I keep walking the beam will keep extending}.

Where are you being challenged to keep walking to the edge of the light that has been placed before you?  Take courage and take a step.






Monday, July 24, 2017

Walking with others

When I realized that I needed to come to Washington DC for a series of specific test in hopes of finding some answers for my distorted smell and taste I thought of some very specific family.  Our paths have crossed many times over the past 20 + years.  I reached out to them in hopes that I could stay with them.  They of course welcomed me into their already full lives.

When I landed on Thursday I had a picture of the refrigerator. The refrigerator was filled with colorful tubs of the yogurt that they knew I could eat over the next several days.  This was just the beginning of a wonderful weekend.  Ike, Jan, Josie and Keeler welcomed me into their lives and made me feel at home; like someone who had been part of their family for some time.

As we sat together that first night Jan and Ike listened to the crazy journey that I've been on and just opened themselves up for whatever I needed in order to feel at ease with all that I needed to walk through.

They were constantly inquiring if I needed anything.  On Friday after my appointment they sat and listened to me tell them about the day; intrigued with the process but more importantly wondering how I felt about all that I had learned that day.  They included me in family decisions about what we would be doing for 'fun'. They took me to a Smithsonian that is off the beaten path and will definitely be one that I will make a point to see again.    Ike and Jan let me stay with the kids and cook dinner so that they could run some very important errands, which gave me time to learn some new board games and see the sweet, gentle nature of the two kiddos.  Josie patiently tried to teach me origami which I simply could not get!  She's amazing by the way, I'm headed home with several beautiful creations.  Keeler snuggled up against me one night while he was reading his book.

Luke's best friend in the world is here in the DC area and Ike/Jan made sure that I got to spend time with my friend who's out of the Metro stop area. Seeing Matt and Candice was a give in itself!

Yesterday we literally had a lazy Sunday.  We all sat with our books in hand flipping through the pages.  They did a few things but really we just sat!   Then it was time for a tour of the West Wing and the Eisenhower Building.  Ike has been working in the White House for the past year and oh my goodness, I felt beyond honored for him to take time out of his day off to give me this amazing tour.  There are incredible things that most Americans will never have the opportunity to see and experience.  One of my all time favorite things was standing in the Colonade walkway that connects the East and West Wing. It's the very enterance that singals that the president is moving from their residence into their place where they lead our Nation and make so many decisions.  The other thing that really made an impression was an original artwork by Normal Rockwell.  Mr. Rockwell came and sat in the  Presidental waiting room for a week and drew all of those who entered the White House to have a conversation with the President.  It's a four panel piece that is done in both color and ink, it is stunning.  It allows you to feel as though you are someone of importance and have been part of something larger than yourself.

The tour was breath-taking and I just felt honored to be walking through the halls of  those who that  led our country through both tribulation and celebration.  Ike was spectacular and I just felt honored.  I did find out that he loves President Bartlett,too! (If you don't know check out West Wing from NBC)

Today when I left they made sure that I had everything I needed for the long day ahead.

This trip would not have been possible without them.

This morning when I left Josie woke early just to give ma hug goodbye.  It made me miss my sweet Emma that much more.

Friendships are so unique and life giving.  These two people have walked with me through these last four days and have made me feel like family.  West Wing tours, food that I could eat, museums, conversations and hugs.  This  has been a life giving weekend because someone was willing to walk with me.

Who has walked with you in the unexpected?  Who do you need to begin walking with in order to bring a sense of calm and peace?  Let us walk with one another in times of celebration and uncertainty.

Friday, July 21, 2017

Mad scientist

It is fascinating how interconnected everything in our body truly is.  One small thing has the power to alter one major thing.

I'm not gonna' lie the doctors office this morning was like walking back into a time warp.  The instruments were not the new shiny kind with lots of bells and whistles.  Instead they were dull, the kind of dull that tells you that they are well worn, used for specific purposes over and over.  The Doctor himself looked like a bit of a mad scientist with a tie and shirt that didn't really match, his tie skewed just enough to make him appear a bit unkept.  He spoke softly and gently, stopping me when the information wasn't that important or assuring me we would get to that when I had jumped ahead.
Taking blood from my seem to be second hat, as if he had done it a million times over, which I am sure he has.  No gloves, I think because there isn't any fear of getting a disease and that it reminds us all that we are in it together.

Over and over in his soft voice he said, this has had to been life altering.  The very same words that I have been speaking for some time now.

Small vials neatly in their rows, placed in their boxes.  I sat with my feet firmly on the ground and stuck out my tongue over and over as the assistant placed three different drops upon my tongue. My job was to identify the one that was not water. After identifying the one that wasn't water, I had to try to identify if it was salty, sweet, bitter or sour. From there I had to give a number of how strong it was from 1-100 and finish with saying if it was pleasant, unpleasant or neutral.  I had to say I think I have a really high tolerance because it took me what seemed like forever to get to the 90-100 range that allowed me to stop within those 4 categories.  Taste was by far easier and more pleasant than the smell test in which I had to do the same sequence of events but in smelling them.  I progressed to 100 very quickly with most being unpleasant.

If those things were not enough, I had to move onto a salvia test where a device was placed on my salvia gland inside my mout. Lemon  juice was placed on my tongue very 5-10 seconds  to create salvia and catch it in this specific devise.  I was once again thinking about the mad scientist, performing a series of test to prove their theory.   The truth is that it's not just a MD working to figure out the dynamics of what has happened with my taste and smell there is a biochemist that will be running all of the test and putting them together.

After careful listening and the first round of test, we do know the following.  In November of 2016 I had bronchitis as well as smoke inhalation.  During that time my brain began working overtime to override the smell inhibitors in my brain, the very thing that detects bad smell and the major inhibitor of the brain.  Inhibitors are our protectors and in the process my brain wore the smell inhibitors out leaving me with a sense of distorted smell and taste.  Clinically I now belong to a group "who have low levels of brain gamma aminobutyric acid (GABA).

The good news is that this thing that I have...this thing that has been driving me crazy for 6 months can be treated.  It starts with stimulating the brain waves in a new form and new ways.  On Monday, I'll back to the office for  transcrannial magnetic  stimulation where a small round magnetic device will be placed around various locations on my shoulders, neck and head.  Again, these are magnetic pulses not electrical pluses.  The magnetic stimuli are less than the strength of the field used to obtain and MRI.

After each simulus they will be asking me to smell an odor and again estimate the categories of salt, bitter, sweet or sour along with the strength (1-100). Once the TCMS is complete I will repeat the smell and taste test that I performed today in whole as well as the salvia test to gather more data for the mad scientist!  The hope is that this will work .  Some patients respond immediately yet others respond much slower and must eventually take oral medication in order to help.

This might be a very fast change but it also might take some time and might need some additional help along the way.  Today was like watching a sweet old mad scientist listen and put all the pieces together.  Amazing that they can put such weird things together


Wednesday, July 19, 2017

The unexpected

Yesterday morning I sat in worship listening to a gifted colleague lead us to a deeper understanding of God's holiness and the call upon our lives as apprentices of Jesus.

She was poised. 
                Calm
                    Dilberate 
                       Filled with calmness
                          Bold
                              Courageous            

She was filled with God's spirit.  Her words powerful

As I sat and listened I wondered if my own preaching and leadership immulated the holiness that I was witnessing.  I wanted to have what she had.

In a twist of events Emma happened to be sitting next to me in this worship service and at the end she turned to me and said "Mom, you two are basically the same person."  I smiled and breathed a sigh of relief that there is a part of me that shines the light of Christ in such a way that others are invited in. Then I asked her one question (because who of us doesn't want to know what their teenager daughter really thinks!), "is my preaching as good as hers?"  For a brief moment I saw the sweet, truthful, light-filled being sitting next to me when she responded "mom, I'm a bit biasis but of course you are, that's how you preach."  A smile rose across her face and she leaned into me just to reassure me.

I told her it was the best compliment she could ever give to me.  

There are moments when unexpected grace and assurance rises up and you have to lean in to it with all of your being.    

It wasn't that I expected or needed my teenager to affirm my preaching, I was actually wondering if the words that I speak each week somehow penetrated the thick wall of a teenager who sits in the back working the sound system, drawing or playing on her phone.   Something unexpected happened yesterday I caught a glimpse of God's presence in a teenager who doesn't have a youth group of her own,who never gets to that coveted leadership position on the conference level and who has to listen to her mother to speak the words of God in her life.  

The complement was unexpected and filled my heart but the unexpected was the glimpse of the holy that I saw in my child yesterday.

Packing

I'm packing for a four-day trip to Washington DC.

I've been waiting for some time for this trip. It's not for pleasure, this trip has a very specific purpose.

Usually, I'm a very efficient packer and can have my bag ready to go in a blink of an eye. I never worry if I'm forgetting something or I'll have enough clothes. I just know what to pack and how to pack it. But today feels different, it feels like I'm packing for an extended trip in a far off land.

I have lots of moving parts to this short trip.

It's not the navigating the Metro or calling Uber for a lift.

The moving parts are making sure that I have all my paperwork in order.  It's not just making sure I have my photo ID for my flight, this trip is about ensuring that I have my 3-day food journal filled out with as many details as possible.  I have to make sure that several previous specific tests have been sent and faxed in.  I have to make sure that I have the address of the place that is the reason for the journey.

The destination for which I am packing for is  5125 McArthur Blvd, Washington DC.

This is a place of hope.  It is a place providing a light at the end of a tunnel that sometimes zaps my energy.

You see I'm not just packing stuff and paper work. I'm packing the hope that something can be done to help the strange taste and smell that I've had since the end of January.  All of the sudden the things that once smelled delightful and inviting turned into a metallic, disgusting, foul smell and taste.  My sense of smell had quickly become something that I loathed.  The delicious smell of ribs cooking in the oven made me want to gag. The enticing smell of coffee became a dread each morning.  The sweet taste of chocolate turned into a putrid one.  All proteins (yes, any meat or nut) were out of the question, fruit, and vegetables slowly lost their fresh, juicy appeal.  Thank goodness for steamed milk with peppermint, Noosa yogurt, Joyvial GF pasta and a few other things like IBC Cream Soda, Kraft Mini Marshmallows, Haribo Sour Gummy Bears and Hardee's vanilla milkshakes for these things have kept me going.

Today I am packing hope. Hope that this weird and crazy thing isn't so strange.  I am packing for the hope that the treatment plan will let me enjoy a dinner with friends, a leisurely cup of coffee on a Saturday morning, the joys of summer garden vegetables and an afternoon piece of Dove chocolate when the day at the office is long and tedious.

I am packing hope and goodness as I make the journey to the Taste and Smell Clinic of DC.

What kinds of things are you packing for today?  Is it just the task of the day, or the schedule that awaits you at home?  May you take a second to pack a sense of hope and joy into your being today.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Something new takes time

Yesterday there were four beautiful old trees on our property at church but today has a different view.

After worship, I headed out with a group of young adults for lunch and as we made our way back to the church property, the backhoe was being delivered and set into place to begin the tree removal this morning.   This morning as I drove around the back side of campus like I always do I was in awe of the one tree that had already been taken down. The grass that was so beautiful yesterday had already been crushed under the heavy equipment used to delicately remove the trees without disturbing the buildings. Tree limbs lay scattered over the property.

These are not tiny trees that they are uprooting these are trees that have their roots in the ground for well over 100 years.  Before we knew it, a second tree was down and covering our entire parking lot.
 The morning was moving quickly as the men worked with skill and precision to remove the trees that had to be taken down in order to ready the ground and area for our new ministry center.
We have known for some time that the trees had to be removed but that doesn't change the emotions of letting go.  Tears streamed down the face of one of our long time members as the trees fell to the ground almost as if in slow motion. As I watched her tears I was keenly aware of the many who have planted their roots here at Morton Memorial and have withstood so much in order to keep our community of faith a vibrant witness of Christ among the community of Monteagle.

We know that something new is coming but today the letting go is difficult. Our landscape has been changed and what lies ahead cannot yet be seen.

The promise of something far beyond what we can imagine has been set before us.  The view is different but our purpose and mission remain the same.  We have a long way to go before a new beginning in a new space will take place.    New beginnings take time.  The landscape of our lives will be different along the way and new perspectives will arise over the months to come.  There will be grief, uncertainty, a bit of frustration and a desire for it to hurry up and be over.  Just as the trees have grown over the years, we too are being shaped into something greater and more powerful than we can fully comprehend.

Our view is different today but our mission is the same.  New beginnings take time which and cannot be rushed.  In order for new life to come, there must be a letting go/a death.  Today we let go in order to await something new.



Thursday, March 9, 2017

Dry and yet filled

As followers of Jesus we rarely talk about the seasons in our lives when our souls are dry.

We keep going through the motions but it seems as though nothing will quench the thirst.  The words on the pages are just that; words.  The scriptures seem hallow and flat as if there were written for someone else and some other situation. We read yet nothing sticks.  We journal yet our soul longs for more.  We go to worship and sing hymns yet our souls miss the movement of the music.  We bow to pray and our minds are blank.

If we were honest with one another we would confess that our souls are dry, that all the nourishment has left our soul and that we are weary.  Yet, alas we remain silent, walking into church, studying in our small groups as if we are perfectly filled and that all is well.

Let me share with you that you are not alone.  Last year I worked really hard with the church to fulfill our 5 year long term goals and am currently working our leadership team in new and exciting ways.  It takes a lot of energy to lead, pastor, shepherd, set the vision and keep the life of a discipleship as the priority.  I'm also a full time mom to a teenager. A teenager who is full of life, has difficult things happening in her life that need support and encouragement.  My husband is amazing yet he works full time and has endless hours of grading and school responsibilities that reach beyond the classroom.  Our lives are full.  My life is filled with breath-taking and life-giving moments and yet I've been walking through a season where my soul is dry.

TodayI was hiking and with each step my shoes crunched the dry leaves beneath my feet.  All around me were leaves that had been blown too and fro throughout the winter season.  They laid on the ground as if they had never held color, never swayed in the wind, never brought shade for hikers in on warmer days.  They were dry, crumbling on the ground.  Hiking along the rim  I could hear the rush of the springs flowing beneath me.  I rounded the corner and could see there in the midst of the dry branches a stream of water flowing freely.   I stopped to take in my surroundings and listen to the water flowing.

As I stood there listening and breathing in all that surrounded me, I was reminded that even when my soul feels dead to me that God is pouring God's self into all that I am.  God has not and would never leave me.  God emerges in my dry soul to fill me over and over again until my cup is overflowing.

I might not be able to feel God at this very moment. I might have given and given until my cup was empty but that does not mean that God has stopped filling my cup. He fills us when are dry, weary and feel as though we cannot take another step.

If your spirit is dry, go outside and take a deep breath.  Close your eyes and ask yourselves what you feel around you? What can you hear?  Now open your eyes again and take note of what you see.  God is there with you.  May you find the streams of living water running over you today.
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Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Giving up

Today is one of the most somber days of our Christian year.

A day in which we gather together for a service penitence.  A service in which we connect to the sorrow that we have caused others.  It is a time of looking within the depths of our being to acknowledge the places where we have walked away from God, separated ourselves from God's purpose for our lives, and to confess the ways that we have chosen our selves over God and others.

For many Christians around the world, it is a time to give something up.  A time in which the dust that is placed on our foreheads in the stillness of the service reminds us that we are being called to remove the unwanted from our lives.  In year's past I have tried to focus on trying to take on a spiritual practice that I might not normally do within my daily routine and yet somehow something is different within my being this year (this season).

Recently, I've been thinking about Lent in terms of the characteristics that I possess rather than the things that I give up.  When thinking about what Lent entails I've been drawn back to Jesus sitting on the hillside, with the wind gently blowing and large crowds gathered around him as he conveys the foundation of who he is and why he has come into the world.

The conversation was about the way we treat others. His teaching and conversation wasn't legalistic, it was relational.

This year for Lent, I'm not giving up social media or even some favorite food.  

I want to give up making judgments about where people are in the their journey of faith or in their lives in general.  I want to tear down the walls between political parties that have caused a divide within families, churches and friends.  I want to give up the half heartedness approach that I take when approaching God's holy throne.  I want to give up the expectations of perfection that I place on myself and something on others.

Instead, I want to take on recognizing when someone is in mourning.  I want to look around and notice the deep wounds that parents are feeling when their child has wondered away, to acknowledge the grief that comes flowing like a river as friends walk through the loss of their parents. I want to take on being content in my life and my the design of who God has made me to be.  I want to take on compassion for those whose voice has been silenced or never heard at all. I want to stand with those who are hungry in spirit and in their belly; providing both nourishment for their physical body and their spiritual well-being.  I want to give up disagreement and take on being a peacemaker (not be confused with a people pleaser).  I want to give up thinking that I'm going to be persecuted and take on a spirit of righteousness isn't defined by my actions but by the love I share with others.

Lent, a somber season of sorrow.





Tuesday, February 28, 2017

The unseen

Yesterday I was in a meeting with people I love and while we were working through the details of the event someone jokingly said, yeah I'm OCD about that.  I felt my heart sink.  I knew that the phrase carries with it a complex layering of emotions and rules that cannot be merely dismissed.

I knew everyone laughed and we all knew what that meant.  It meant that we had a finite
way of approaching that particular area.  We've all heard it, we've used it as a way to dismiss a sense of rigidity in our organization, time and schedules.  I'm a person of structure, organization and schedules and in the past I've used the term myself but in the last year, I've come to understand I can no longer use the simple acronym as a way to describe my personality.

The things that you cannot are the very things that are impacting the person's everyday existence.

OCD is deeper than someone holding onto every single piece of trash, purchasing items that may seem useless and creating an environment that is overrun with items.  OCD is deeper than someone merely standing at the sink washing their hands a certain number of times before being able to move onto the next item on their agenda.  Living with OCD is like holding a different phone in each hand. Both phones are being held to an ear and on the other line is someone telling you what you have to do to make it through your day.  On one line there's a person telling you that you MUST count the tiles on the floor in to be safe.  On the other line you're having a conversation with someone else telling them how irrational counting the tiles sounds,  of course you're safe but wait what if they are right; what if you something will happen to you unless you count those tiles before moving on.  The conversation goes back and forth and eventually one of those voices wins.

Maybe it's not counting tiles, maybe it's that you have to pick your skin, hair or eyebrows in order to be accepted and fit in.  Maybe it's that you cannot sit on the edge of a couch and have to sit in the middle for fear of being harmed. Maybe it's that you have to touch a specific item in the room before going forward.  Maybe just maybe you are fearful that your pets are going to die and you have a certain routine that you have to accomplish in order to ensure their well being for the time being.    For each individual their obsession and compulsion is different and unique to, each having their own conversation with the voice on the other end of the phone.

The phone conversation doesn't stop just because you count the tiles.  There are always two voices; one that is rational and one that is irrational.  One that is boxing you into a corner and the other that is calling you to move forward.

Those of us on the outside are left to walk with a person who might seem to the world that they do  not a care in the world.  Left to walk along side someone  that the doesn't have a physical disability and yet is struggling in their own right to walk in the world, to hear the world through one earpiece and to see the world through one lens.

OCD, it's the unseen.    It's people fighting something within the wiring of their brain to make it through their day. It's people rising every morning with the courage that they can get sassy with the voices and over come the irrational conversations pressing down upon them.  It's people living in hope that they are not less than the rest of their peers with whom all things seem to come with ease.  It's the rising to do the things that you and I take for granted everyday.