For today’s Friday Five, share five occasions or events in your life that have been turning points…when you have felt like a new thing was being born. You can refer to the birth of children, career, your kitchen garden, or whatever moves you.
1) I grew up in a loving but confusing family. Or perhaps confusion is just a part of everyone’s growing up. Our family did medical missionary work in underdeveloped countries in the 1970’s. I was fourteen years old when I was sent to bush villages in Nicaragua to immunize children 3 years old and under against tuberculosis. My dad had me practice giving an injection on an orange first and then I climbed in the back of a truck with Guillermo who told us the gun he carried was for two footed tigers. I knew one mesquite word, “naksah,” which means hello. My heart was poured out for children carried in the arms of their mothers and fathers, smelling of sunshine and coconut oil. They lived in homes with thatched roofs and dirt floors. No electricity. No running water. Their smiles, their trust and their hospitality are still an ever-present memory. The poorest place on earth was at once the richest. After that, I knew it did not matter where in the world I went, I would find amazing people to love.
2) I am the mother of four sons, a fifth if you include my husband, smile. They have taught me the transforming power of love in ways that I could never have dreamed. They truly have reflected Christ to me every step of the way. It has not always been easy, but in the thick of things, I have always seemed to find hidden blessings. I am currently at the dawn of a new transformation as our eldest is getting married. I did not realize how much joy I would have as our son and his fiance share their love with us.
3) I have Scottish ancestry and deeply feel rooted and connected to the landscape and the people of Scotland. I have had the privilege of going to the island of Iona twice on pilgrimage. The deep interconnectedness of time, creation, and Christ is rich and meaningful. The hospitality of the community on the island and in the Abbey is transformative. I hope for the opportunity to return.
4) My dog Ruby, is an aussie. She is not the dog I had hoped she would be. When I got her, I hoped to train her for obedience. When she was just a puppy, we had a family member who was seriously ill and so her training was kind of sidelined. She became the family comforter instead, and to this day, she will crawl in your lap, all 50 pounds! She has not once tried to run away, in fact, she is sleeping at my feet right now. Love has become more important than obedience, that is the kind of transformative power I can live with.
5) If you are still reading, here’s the goods, I saved the best for last. A practice of silence has been the single most transformative power in my life. I attend to God’s presence in silence regularly each day. Every Wednesday, I take some extra time to put into words an invitation for others to listen for God. I post these simple prayers here on this blog with hopes that others will take a moment to pause, breathe and listen. I believe this practice has made me aware of God acting and moving, inviting transformation in myself and others. I am still a beginner at this practice. If you want to learn more about contemplative living, please visit http://www.shalem.org.