Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Eagle's Wings

I lay in bed and a verse goes over and over in my head... "those that wait for the Lord shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint." (Isaiah 40:31 NRSV)

I'm tired.
I'm tired of waiting on others. Of waiting on others to validate my call. Of waiting on others to discern whether or not they should hire me. Of waiting for others to simply reply to my email or voice mail.
And I am not alone.
So many friends are in the same boat. Their resumes hanging out there, along with their hope. God has called me to ministry, there has got to be a place for me! Right?

So I consider the waiting, and I consider all those who have had to wait simply to live or be treated with equality. And I realize that this waiting is not just from decades past.

I think of my nephew who must wait for a society to see him as an intelligent, warm and engaging young man rather than crossing to the other side of the street from him because of the color of his skin....
My daughter who must wait for a society to deem her valuable enough to have earned the right to marry who she loves, for a church that welcomes her enough to invite her to serve rather than both a society and church that opens the door just enough for her peek in and see what she could have, if only she wasn't herself...
My brothers and sisters who are questioned daily if they belong in the country simply because of the language they speak and/or the color of their skin...

We are, after all, a people of the now and not yet. I remind myself of this over and over; in some ways, it has become a mantra.
Now and not yet.
We will mount on eagles' wings, and it will be in God's time. Perhaps not yet, but one time. Some time. And until then, shame on us for not working toward that goal.

Perhaps that is the call. Perhaps that is where the strength comes from - from waiting on God's time and in the waiting, being and doing with others who also wait.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

The Curve Balls of Life

A month ago I left my ministry position at MIPC without any assurance of what was to come. A few days ago, my better half joined the masses of the laid off. First reaction when he told me over the phone? (I was in LA at the time) I felt my heart drop down to my knees. But I kept my voice calm, chipper almost and after comforting him, I hung up and took a walk.

I wish I could say I walked along the beach. Or some beautifully manicured gardens. But I didn't. I walked down Wilshire Boulevard, eastbound, towards ... I'm not sure where. But my thoughts accompanied me at each step, with each turn.

"I trusted you, God. You called me away from one place to just hang me out to dry like this?"
All I could think of was the reality. My reality. Me unemployed and in search of a call. My better half unemployed. Period.

The further I walked, the further back I recalled similar instances in our almost 27-year marriage. Losing a job 2 weeks before our wedding day. Getting laid off when our youngest was but 3 months old, our oldest 2 year old and me a complete basket case.
Suddenly, I was the proverbial crazy lady walking down Wilshire; smiling to myself.

We'd made it each time. And each time, something remarkable had happened.

No, we never struck gold in the dollars and cents way. We've always made it by. But we seemed to grow stronger, my better half and I. Not only that, we learned to dream a little bigger, and take more chances on what could be. We learned to depend more on our faith and God's assurance, more than anything anyone could ever have promised us. We learned to tighten our belts and dig in our heels; we learned we were fearless in uprooting our little family and moving to the Pacific Northwest where we knew no one. We learned we could lean on each other; alternating between the cheerleader and worker bee depending on who needed what at what moment. We learned we are both determined and unafraid of hard work. We learned that in our marriage, there was and always has been three of us. Husband, wife and God.

"Ok, God, " my inner monologue continued as I reached Farmer's Market, way far from Wilshire and Crescent Heights, "I don't have a clue what's going on, but you've led us this far, I'll trust you have our backs for the rest of the way."

I'm no Pollyana, despite what my sister may say. I know challenges lie ahead of us and there will be days I'll shake my fist heavenwards and my better half will drive me bonkers (and I him, to be sure) but when all is said and done, I know deep within my heart that the promise made to Abraham and Sarah, the Blind Man and the Woman at the Well ... and so many before me is mine as well.
And I will cling to that blessed assurance.

Friday, July 2, 2010


I sit in my aunt's living room, overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Just below is Pacific Coast Highway, "as seen on TV". This is an old view, and yet not completely. I grew up in this town, El Pueblo de la Reina de Los Angeles, otherwise known as LA.

As a kid, my folks packed picnic dinners on summer afternoons and we hit Santa Monica beach. I grew up understanding that everything was supposed to be 20 minutes away, but the reality was that it took us 45 to get to wherever we wanted. I know the difference between marine haze, smog and overcast skies. I know that a Sig Alert means you better pull out all your secret short cuts. I can locate Tito's Tacos, The Apple Pan and Versailles purely by sixth sense.

So I guess you could say LA is my hometown. And yet...

And yet, I walk around and feel like a tourist. No, wait. Not even a tourist, I know my way around. I feel like a stranger. There are no familiar faces smiling out at me, there is no sense of home as I have come to understand home. I can't seem to find touchstones that remind me that I am me.

There was a time, when I initially left this town, that I referred to it with disdain in my voice. The memory of this place was painful for many reasons, and letting a scab grow over the wounds was the healthy thing to do.

But I have been healed. Restored. Made whole.
There is no need to look at this place with anything but new eyes. I know you, LA, yet you don't know me. Never bothered. And it's okay.

In the meantime, I'll keep marvelling at the crash of the ocean waves below me, gazing at that unfamiliar orange globe in the sky and enjoy what this city has to offer. And be thankful.