Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Faithful friends...

Thank you all for your prayers yesterday. The surgeon feels that the surgery was a "success" although Katherine's double vision is not totally corrected yet. The two images are much closer, and the hope and prayer is that they will eventually merge into one as the healing continues and the brain re-wires. She is such an uncomplaining good sport that it amazes me. She is experiencing a good deal of pain right now. Jay has written a more detailed account on caringbridge.

We decided that it would be best if James and I did not go to the hospital since he is in such an "active" stage. One of Katherine's most faithful friends, Kelli Powers, sat with Jay in the waiting room. Kelli is a special gal. I can't begin to tell you everything she has done for us throughout this ordeal...organizing help, spending nights on the cot in Katherine's hospital room, interceding, and on and on and on. Amazing. Kelli and her husband Matt just adopted a 14-year-old boy last week. And she is expecting her first baby any day now. It is an extremely busy and transitional time in her life.

Still, she came and sat with Jay for the whole surgery. That is sacrificial love.

On top of everything else, she wrote a beautiful piece on her blog yesterday about Katherine: http://www.successisrelative.com/shifting

I am so grateful for all of the faithful friends who have not abandoned us on this hard journey.

Thank you...

Monday, March 29, 2010

Katherine's Eyes

This was originally posted on Katherine's Mom's Blog on August 22, 2009.  As I type this, Katherine is undergoing a second complicated surgery in an attempt to correct her terrible double vision. Please join us in praying for complete restoration of her sight. There is risk involved to the "good" eye.

As always, we are so very grateful for your support and prayers.

Bless you!

“But it is her eyes that make me want to wail like those women whose “weeping was heard in Ramah.” Those big beautiful aqua eyes, clear as a pristine sea, are out of Katherine’s control. Eyes that could pierce straight through you, eyes that focused in on you as if you’re the only one that matters, now roll around the sockets like big blue-green glass marbles. The right one is infected, red, and suppurating. The pupil hides in the inner corner for the most part, like it’s afraid of what it will see if it comes out. The left is constantly jumping around, but I know she can see out of it. A tear rolled down her cheek when I showed her a picture of James. (But, tough chick that she is, she let me know she wanted to see more.) Most of the time a black patch covers one eye (alternating sides), so she looks like a battered little pirate.”  (“A Bruised Reed,” April 29, 2008)

I couldn’t sleep last night, so I snuck out to the living room for some early-morning quiet time. We have a full house in the aftermath of Katherine’s most recent surgery, so time alone is a gift.

With a click and a scroll, I time-traveled back to where we were 16 months ago.

Perspective is everything, we keep telling ourselves. I needed some perspective after yesterday.


Several months back, my mother said something like, “Well, I’m just glad I didn’t know how my family was going to turn out. We used to be so happy!” Of course, I took it the wrong way at the time. But now I understand what she meant.

I am so very, very grateful that the future is hidden from us. People that consult mediums and psychics must be masochists. (Among other things.)

I am filled with gratitude that I couldn’t comprehend how severe and utterly life-changing Katherine’s brain rupture was at the time. The revelation came slowly, an onion unpeeling layer by layer. The mind possesses an amazing resiliency in protecting itself. I simply could not have wrapped mine around the devastating reality all at once. Each day’s trouble WAS enough. Dear Lord, please let Katherine live through the night. Dear Lord, please heal the pneumonia. Dear Lord, please don’t let the brain swell anymore... bleed anymore... Please help her to stop shaking... hurting... freezing... burning. Please let her move... speak... walk... eat... 


As I said in April, 2008, it was her eyes that got to me the most.

Katherine’s eyes were the very first thing I noticed about her. She gave me a good, long stare just as soon as she popped out, as my mother says I did to her the first time we saw each other. (Babies aren’t supposed to be able to see at that point, but we don’t believe it.)

Katherine’s eyes took up half her face.

They were always her defining feature.

Katherine’s eyes were the most expressive eyes I’ve ever seen.

Katherine’s eyes... 

...sparkled with the joy of life 

...flashed with anger at injustice 

...narrowed at hypocrisy 

...moistened with compassion 

...crinkled with laughter

...widened with wonder

...saw deep beneath the surface into the very heart. 

 We blithely escorted Katherine to surgery on Thursday, naively expecting a presto-chango quick-fix restoration of her eyes. I was more excited than nervous about the surgery. I imagined that the surgeon would remove her bandages the next day, and her eyes would be miraculously back to normal, both aesthetically and functionally.

But that was not the case.

"What fresh hell is this?” Dorothy Parker once wondered sardonically.

Katherine’s ‘fresh hell’ is that, for now, the double vision is worse, not better.

Her world is grayer, not rosier.

It is hard for all of us to bear.

But I know that many times, things have to get worse before they get better.

And most times, prayers are answered in stages, so that faith has an opportunity to stretch and grow.

I thought of this story:

“They came to Bethsaida, and some people brought a blind man and begged Jesus to touch him. He took the blind man by the hand and led him outside the village. When he had spit on the man's eyes and put his hands on him, Jesus asked, "Do you see anything?"

He looked up and said, "I see people; they look like trees walking around."
Once more Jesus put his hands on the man's eyes. Then his eyes were opened, his sight was restored, and he saw everything clearly."
 (Mark 8:22-25)

I’m praying for some Celestial Spit.


“I will not drive them (enemies) out from before you in one year, lest the land become desolate and the wild beasts multiply against you. Little by little I will drive them out from before you, until you have increased and possess the land.” (Exodus 23:29-30) 

Friday, March 26, 2010


School’s out. The ice-cream man jangles his jingle, enticing the kids with the lure of after-school treats. A neighbor, strolling down the uneven sidewalk, stops to chat on someone’s stoop. Birdsong competes with the singsong voices that drift over the tall backyard fence. Sporting a stylish apron, I hang laundry on a makeshift clothesline while a little boy plays in the dirt.

I am dreaming that I am the mother in “Leave It To Beaver.”

No, I am awake.

This is my life now.

At least part of the time.

It does seem like a bit of a warp.

If I let myself, I can catch scents and glimpses of my early childhood. Dick and Jane playing in the yard while Mother hangs the laundry. The smell of sunshine on drying clothes. An image of myself, age 6, flying down the hill to intercept the ice-cream man before he leaves our street. Diaphanous curtains blowing in the breeze from windows left open all day.


The work is hard, but the life is simple.

How often I have longed for simplicity in the past. How hard and how fruitlessly I have tried to achieve it.

But now, it is here. It is a gift.

One that came at a very high price, and through a means I would not have chosen.


“Tis a gift to be simple…”

Help me to embrace this gift.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Handing Out Permission Slips

The older I get, the more suffering I see.

I got a pie-full in the face the last time I was home.

Friends my age with incurable, progressive diseases. Lost loved ones. Divorces. Kids in rehab.

So much pain.

Now the truth is that when you’re not currently in a state of active pain yourself, you might not necessarily want to hear about the pain of others. Of course there are exceptions. But a lot of people want to avoid the acknowledgement that we live in a precarious world in which pain and suffering are inevitable components. Desiring no reminders of mortality, they avoid people who are suffering like the bubonic plague. Fiddle while Rome burns. Eat, drink, and be merry, buy a new pair of shoes…for tomorrow…who knows? I could lose the cosmic lottery. Tragedy could show up on my doorstep. It is best not to think about such things. Doing so might make it happen.

The human instinct to avoid pain at all costs can make us impatient with those who are in the middle of it. Unknowingly, we make their burden even harder to bear. Because it takes time to process loss.

In a multi-tasking, frenzy-paced world, those of us undergoing the process are not always given a great deal of grace. After a certain period, we are expected to get over it and get on with it. We are viewed as weak if we cannot. As a result, the grieving process is aborted.

I read an account of a plane that crashed into the ocean. With no bodies to bury, the families were creative in their memorials. A witness wrote:

“Some family members chartered helicopters to fly over the actual crash site; many survivors participated in impromptu candlelight vigils; literally hundreds joined together for a more formal ceremony that culminated in throwing wreaths of flowers onto the water at sunset. One broadcast journalist covering this particular event was overhead saying, “What’s wrong with these people? Why don’t they just go home and get on with their lives?””

This impatience is a relatively new phenomenon. Throughout history, mankind has established elaborate grieving rituals. Although there are cultural differences, most practices involve giving the mourner the gifts of time and space. Lots of time.

That’s why Scarlett caused such a scandal at the ball by dancing with Rhett in her widows weeds. In the 19th century, “official” mourning lasted at least a year.

In the 21st century, the Jewish way seems most gentle. Lori Palatnik writes:

“Judaism provides a beautiful, structured approach to mourning that involves three stages. When followed carefully, these stages guide mourners through the tragic loss and pain and gradually ease them back into the world. One mourner said her journey through the stages of mourning was like being in a cocoon. At first she felt numb and not perceptively alive, yet gradually she emerged as a butterfly ready again to fly.
The loss is forever, but the psychological, emotional, and spiritual healing that takes place at every stage is necessary and healthy.”

I think that is the key. A grief that is not allowed to be fully felt and expressed remains unhealed.

But grieving does not pertain only to the death of someone you love. There are many losses in life…losses of relationships, health, reversals of fortune, the loss of youth, loss of sanity. The empty nest. The loss of a dream that dies. All kinds of losses need to be healthily grieved before moving on. Stuffing the emotions back inside only makes them linger longer. Maybe fester. Turn into something worse than grief, like bitterness or cynicism or depression.

In “Missing Katherine,” I wrote of my own struggles in dealing with the loss of the pre-AVM Katherine. In some ways, I have lost a child…as I knew her then. It is very painful.

The comments I received on that post were among the most meaningful I’ve read. Brave women shared their own stories of painful loss. Cheryl wrote,

“Dear Kim, I have read your blog, and in many ways understand what you are feeling. Just before his 50th birthday, my husband was diagnosed four years ago with a very rare form of dementia called Fronto-temporal dementia. He has Progressive Non-fluent Aphasia which means that he cannot communicate, nor can he completely understand us. I am watching my husband, my best friend slip away before my very eyes. Our children are having to parent their dad, their hero. It is heart breaking, and yes, I miss him. I look at him, and see him, and yet it's not him. The only thing I can think of is that we have had so many blessings. God has been so good to us. I try so hard to concentrate on that.”

Susan shared her story:

“We moved to Atlanta in 2004 and one year later -- November 19, 2005, our son and daughter were involved in a horrible car crash which took the life of their friend and left our daughter in a coma. Every bone in her face was broken, teeth and bone knocked out and worst of all, the doctor said her lungs were beyond repair --"prepare yourselves. your daughter will not make it through the day." She is a miracle and God gave her new lungs. Yet she has had many other issues.

So we do understand, to an extent, how your family has suffered, yet no one suffers the same. Four years later our girl continues to have more reconstructive surgeries and endures chronic headaches. Life is serious and sad quite often. I too miss her carefree spirit, her symmetrical face, her confidence and on and on. Some days it just hits me, and I'm sad for all that's been lost. So thank you, Kim, for aiding in my healing today -- giving me permission to be sad for my little girl.”

Wow…thank you…for reminding me that we can help each other in that small way.

So for anyone out there who is suffering any kind of loss, large or small…today, right now, I give you permission to grieve, to cry, to question God…to rant and rave…to curl up in a ball on the couch…

To do absolutely whatever it takes to get it OUT. (Or to do nothing at all.)

Not because I’m any kind of special permission-giver, but because sometimes we’re much tougher on ourselves than on anyone else. And we just need someone…anyone…to give us the freedom and grace we seem unwilling or unable to give ourselves. 

It might as well be me.

And while I’m handing out permission slips, how about if I also give you permission…

To be imperfect…

To slow down…

To stop trying so hard to look good…

To stop comparing yourself…

To accomplish nothing…

To let it all hang out…

To not make up your bed…

To eat in bed…

To have a big fat bowl of ice cream. Or a glass of wine. (In bed!?)

To be who you really are.

To be real.


"Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep." (Romans 12:15)

Sunday, March 21, 2010


Sometimes I feel like a ping-pong ball, whacked back and forth from coast to coast by malevolent forces beyond my control.

Whack!   East Coast…100 obligations, events, and expectations…

Whack!   West Coast…hold on to your hat and hit the ground running!

Usually, I find myself somewhere over Texas.

Looking out the window, I stare at the puffy, white clouds. I imagine jumping on them…collapsing into them…resting in them. I wonder what they taste like. Soft snow? Celestial cotton candy?

Watching them makes me feel soft and malleable, like they are.

Slowly, imperceptibly, they shift and evolve into new shapes and forms.

As do I.

The tense and tension-laden me shifts and softens into the calm and peaceful me.

It helps to have a little perspective.

It’s all in the way you look at things. And the angle from which you view them.

There is a river of peace that gently flows above the frenzied anthill of the earth below.

I hope I can float it in after I land.


Rows and floes of angel hair
And ice cream castles in the air
And feather canyons ev'rywhere
I've looked at clouds that way

But now they only block the sun
They rain and snow on ev'ryone
So many things I would have done
But clouds got in my way

I've looked at clouds from both sides now
From up and down and still somehow
It's clouds illusions I recall
I really don't know clouds at all.

Joni Mitchell

Thursday, March 18, 2010


As I've mentioned, Katherine's friend Lauren Miller has started a blog called "Embracing the Detour." A few days ago, she issued a challenge to her readers to send in their stories of how they were dealing with the unexpected "detours" in their lives.

When I first heard the name of Lauren's blog, my thoughts went immediately to Katherine. I can't think of many people who've experienced such a dramatic detour in their life plans. The other ones that come to mind were fellow patients in Neuro-Rehab.

It amazes me now to think of how I used to respond to small changes in my plans, unexpected twists of fate, and little glitches in my schedule. I guess I thought I had more control over my life than I actually do. I fought against circumstances that thwarted my will.

What has happened to Katherine has taught all of us who love her that we are not in control. Life rarely turns out the way we envision it. The only thing over which we truly have control is the way in which we respond to our "detours."

Katherine has chosen to say, "I don't understand this, but I trust. This was not my plan, but I accept that it is Yours. Your plans are to give me a future and a hope. Because of that, I will choose to find joy in spite of the circumstances."

I think that, for the majority, 'happiness' is dependent on circumstances. That's why so many people are unhappy and dissatisfied. Circumstances are fickle. They can turn around and bite you in the back in a heartbeat.

At our lake house, there is a tiny lithograph of a woodland rabbit. Underneath him are these words: "Happiness is not a destination, but a manner of traveling."

As I continue down the path of this major detour, I pray that I can learn to travel more lightly...with joy in the journey....one day at a time.

It's all any of us really have.


To read Lauren's sweet words about Katherine and learn more about her challenge, go to:


Monday, March 15, 2010

Holding On While Letting Go

Baby steps.

Don’t try to do everything at once.

Just do one little thing.



Filing books away in our small library, I notice a handled basket hiding in the corner behind a chair. An overflowing basket. Full of letters and cards that were sent to me following my father’s death.

After he died, life got out of control. Not just because he died, but because life does that sometimes. One major life event followed the next in rapid succession. Good and bad. Blessings and curses. Then a mini-crisis followed by a major-crisis, chased by a middling-crisis. Topped off by a health-crisis. Or two. (Actually, three or four.) Bam bam bam. No time for recovery in between. Just catch-your-breath-and-strap-on-the-seatbelt for the next wild ride of events. Everything just sped up. Way too fast for me.

I suppose I’d saved those cards and letters because I never really had sufficient time to savor them. I wanted to sit down some day and really read them. Soak in the kind words honoring my father’s life. Giggle at the reminiscences of his adorable eccentricities. Be touched by the stories of how he’d touched the lives of others. How he’d helped people to heal.

Seven years have gone by since his death. That basket has been hiding in the corner of what our architect dubbed ‘Kim’s little book closet’ for seven years now, gathering dust.

It is time.

In a fit of energetic resolution, I grab the basket and carry it to the kitchen. I place it on the counter next to a large trash basket.

I start tossing.

But then, I notice an interesting return address. I take a peek at the card inside.

One peek leads to another.

I end up standing there for well over an hour. But I get it done. The letter basket is finally emptied into the trash.

As I start to close the lid, a card on the top catches my eye. Digging it out of the trash pile, I read the front cover: “When we lose a loved one, God gives us the strength that allows us to hold on while letting go.”

Holding on while letting go.  Obviously, an oxymoron.

What does that even mean?

How can one hold on and let go at the same time?


I know people who are tragically imprisoned by the past. Attempting to re-clothe themselves with the tatters of a former life, they resist acquiescence to painful, but necessary, changes that might bring them freedom. They stubbornly hold on, even as the fabric of those non-existent lives unravels into nothingness. They refuse to move forward.

At some point, there must come a realization that one can’t go backwards. Some sweet times and places cannot be revisited. As much as we’d like for one to exist, there is no rewind button.

Life is forcefully pushing us all down the birth canal of transformation, and it’s impossible to climb back up into the warm, familiar womb. Its safety and comfort were just for a time. We must come out into the new, or be stillborn.

(Or die.)

In this sense, holding on is only holding back.

But, I wonder…

In which ways is holding on positive instead of negative? A blessing instead of a curse?

I think the meaning of the phrase on the card was “hold on” as in “hold on to your sanity,” “hang in there,” “keep on keeping on” during a time of grieving. But I’m examining it in other contexts. What is truly worth holding on to? Certainly, there are things that merit extraction from the garbage pile of discarded past experiences. Things worthy of a second look…one last, final, contemplation before the lid is closed on them forever. Even things to rescue and hold close. To keep the rest of our lives.

I find that they are mostly intangible.

Things such as the aura, the essence, the lessons, the evocations, the example…

of a person’s life.

The memories…emotions…

the words (their words) engraved upon my heart.

I want to hold onto these things with all that is within me.

As I want to hold on to the absolute certainty of reunion.

But I want to hold on to all of these things while simultaneously letting go of others.

Sometimes, letting go can seem like a wrenching away; a ripping and tearing. I envision hands being torn from each other’s grasp; I hear a splitting of skin at the start of a surgical procedure.

It can be is so very, very painful to let go.

Let go.

But then, there can be an intoxicating new freedom, like the way a good haircut can make you feel lighter…less encumbered…fresh and new. The way taking a load of junk to Good Will can make you feel absolutely euphoric.

Just as we must let go of the physical presence of those we’ve loved and lost, there are also intangibles we must release, or face deterioration and decay.

We need to let go...

Of the pacifiers of a ‘past perfect.’
Of expectations and assumptions.
Of resentments and bitterness.
Of burdens and bondages.
Of our crutches.
Of our grief.

Of control.


of the very visceral need to

hold on.

Just as, one day, we will let go of these feeble, fleeting, ephemeral bodies in order to to grasp hold of…

…to hold on to…



Friday, March 12, 2010


 I feel agitated.


Anxious to the inth degree.

I am home.

As I’ve confessed, Time is not my friend.

Its artificial tyranny over our lives exhausts and disgusts me,

because it is manmade.

 (and temporary…

thank God.)

There is just not enough of it for some of us.

If we let it, every day can seem like the day before final exams.

There are too many things on my “To Do” list, and not enough spaces on the calendar in which to fill them.

Not enough blanks.

The urgency tempts me to agitation and a feeling of total inadequacy.  There is no way I can complete the tasks, meet the needs, achieve the goals.

So I do…


The mere contemplation of the overwhelming demands causes a state of paralysis.

I get in bed and start writing this.


The next morning...

I vow that I will achieve peace, no matter what.

I refuse to get out of bed until it arrives.

I try every artificial means I know.

Nothing works.

I pray, briefly… with my eye on the clock.  (“I’ll give you this much time in which to calm me down…then I’m on my own.”)

He accepts the challenge graciously and gracefully. Not because He has to, but because He can.

And because He wants to.

He is the consummate gentleman.

Peace comes suddenly, like a flood of liquid love.

I rest in it.

Sometimes doing nothing is the best thing you can do.


“What does man get for all the toil and anxious striving with which he labors under the sun?" (Ecclesiastes 2:22) 

Monday, March 8, 2010

Happy Birthday, Katherine!

...28 years of love...

Throwing Tantrums

My otherwise angelic grandson has developed a charming new Terrible-Two habit.

Whenever he doesn’t get his own way, he takes whatever he happens to be holding at the time and throws it onto the floor (or ground) as hard as he can.

Then he spits. (Like a “Bronx cheer.”)

Unfortunately, the auntie that was babysitting him the first time the spitting thing occurred laughed uproariously at his little display of anger. So, of course, that reinforced the behavior like liquid cement.

Now it happens several times a day.

“I need a cookie!”
“I’m sorry, James, you’ve already had too many.”
Thomas the Train slams into the floor and ricochets against the floorboard.
A shower of spit comes my way.

“I wanna go Mimi’s house!”
“I’m not ready to go back over there yet. We’ll go in a little while.”
Smash! Shatter! goes the favorite DVD he’s clutching. “Pppppttt!” (Bronx Cheer.)

But this is the funny part.

After the spitting, accompanied by a defiant little look at me for emphasis, his gaze turns to the injured item. And he cries, “Oh noooooo!” Scooping it back up, he hands it to me and says, “Fix it, Mimi. Fix it.”

What a great tableau of a spiritual principle, acted out for my benefit over and over again. 

Until I get it.


I know people who are really mad at God. They blame him for everything wrong in their lives. They become increasingly bitter with age and its accompanying disillusionment.

There’s a lot to be angry about down here.  It’s not hard to fall into a state of perpetual anger. Anger can become a reflexive reaction to anything or anyone that thwarts our will, destroys our plans, rains on our parade, or cuts us off on the by-pass.

Having tumbled into that treacherous trap on more than one occasion, I appreciate the unambiguous illustration my grandson provides for me:

Our anger hurts us more than anyone else.

It destroys the very things we hold most closely and value above all else…sometimes beyond our ability to repair.

And then we run to God and ask Him to fix whatever’s broken.

Whatever we’ve broken in our rage…

Even if it’s been directed at Him.


 When James comes to me with the fruit of his anger, I request (require) an apology for the behavior. 

“I sorry, Mimi,” he readily admits. Then he hands me the pieces of Toby the Train’s broken Station House.

I easily snap the door back on its hinges and give him a hug to celebrate. Then I say, “Now, James, I don’t want you to act like this any more, okay?”

“Okay, Mimi, okay,” he assures me as he runs off to play.

But he probably will.

Just like his grandma.


"My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, for man's anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires."  (James 1:19-20)

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Dear Friends,

Thank you for putting up with me. I don’t know how you do it.

I appreciate each and every one of you for taking the time to write and encourage me. I treasure your advice and support.

The past month has been hard. I’ve been feeling a little worn out and beat up. Doubts creep in. I begin to question whether the expenditure of time and energy this blog requires is wise under the circumstances. The goal of honesty to which I aspire compels me to admit it.

Your reassurance both comforts and inspires me.

There are so many voices out there.

Thank you for taking the time to listen to mine.

It is an honor.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

An Audience... of One?

Several members of my family have a startling ability to mimic voices.

After the last couple of blog posts, I’ve been (mentally) hearing those talented ones imitating the rescuers in Titanic: “Is there anybody ouuut there…???”

(I guess you had to be there.  Had to have been there. Whatever. It was funny at the time.)


So, anyway, since I’ve already spilled so many embarrassing beans out onto the Internet plate, I guess I might as well come clean and admit that my feelings get hurt every now and then.

For now I’ve eaten the fruit and opened the box:

I’ve been looking at other blogs.

(And I am so glad I didn’t do it earlier.)

I am grateful that I didn’t have a clue what a “blog” was when I started writing. But I do now. And I want to go running home and cry, “Mommy, my blog’s not like the other girls’ blogs.”

Boo hoo.  Wanh wanh. (Really, how in the world do you alliterate that?)

The other girls’ blogs are pink and green and pretty. And monogrammed. Or they’re cool and minimalist and existential. There’s gut-wrenching reality. Navel-gazing raised to a new level. Or they’re shabby. Chic. Or they are purveyors of rarefied products. Or of “free giveaways!” They are repositories of coolness of every kind.

They have every bell and whistle and widget and gidget and gadget one can imagine. They connect to at least 10 different  “social networking” establishments. If desired, you can twitter and twatter and skitter and skatter the day away. (“In the bathroom now… let you know how it all comes out…”)

And they have thousands of “followers,” although I’m not completely sure what that means. (I realize that it is no longer cute that I have so little grasp of these things, but I really don’t know. Does that mean you get a notice when I post something new? I am very, very grateful to you for the show of support, in any case.)

Following a rabbit trail through a labyrinth of ‘known’ connections, I’ll find myself in someone’s post where the F-word is used multiple times…and it engenders at least 89 comments of affirmation, understanding, and approval.

That is why I’ve gotten my feelings hurt a little lately when I’ve gotten just two or three comments. Nobody else is on the same page??? Nobody else gets it? No one else can legitimately say, “Right on, sista? I know how you feel, where you are?”

I start thinking: Maybe I’m too worldly for the religious people; too religious for the worldly ones. Maybe I should just shut up.

(Plus, I’m a big, fat hypocrite because I rarely comment on other people’s blogs. There are days when I can’t even make it near my laptop to check my email. I suppose I feel that, in the name of fairness, I shouldn’t start commenting on one unless I’m ready and willing to commit to taking the time to comment on everybody’s.)

In a way, I wish I’d never started looking at the other girls’ blogs.

But I needed to, in order to learn and grow. It was research for the ultimate product…which is still yet to come.

Growth pains hurt.

As I type these petty words, a recent email I received from a friend comes to mind…

and I feel ashamed.

Something I quoted a few weeks ago was used in her life in a powerful way. (Not even my words…a quote.)


as much as I long for this to develop into a conversation, instead of a monologue; as much as I’d like to hear more of other people’s thoughts, ideas, and life experiences…   

that email alone provides more than enough incentive to plow on.

And I realize that it is a privilege to continue this sharing, if only for an audience of 2 or 3.

What am I saying???

It is a privilege to do it for an audience of one.

I need to keep telling of His goodness to a mess like me…

whether anyone else is listening or not.

...He’s listening.

Just a note to let you know that Katherine's good friend Lauren, who started this whole blogging thing for me, has started her own blog called "Embrace the Detour." Since today is her birthday, I'm inviting everyone who stops by here to visit her site:




Monday, March 1, 2010

Changing Places

Sometimes…not often, but sometimes…the anger over The Atrocity is so great that we have nowhere to go with it.

So we turn it in the only direction we feel safe turning it:

on each other.

And then the defensive parapets quickly erect themselves, to guard our hearts from more hurt.

It is hard to storm a parapet.

(After typing that word twice, I decided to look up its origin. Parapet derives from the Latin meaning “to defend the breast.”  Hmmm…interesting that I just wrote “guard our hearts.”)

Protective parapets must be dismantled in order for there to be true peace in the kingdom.

I remember a conversation I had long ago with a very wise, but radical, friend. I suppose I was venting about some now long-forgotten (perceived) injustice.

As I ranted on about the offense, defensively self-vindicating along the way, she looked at me and said, “Yes, but Kim, He did not defend himself.” (Mark 15:5)

That stopped me in my tracks.

She went on, “I’ve found that when I keep trying to defend myself in a given situation, it only builds a bigger wall. So I’ve learned just to accept blame sometimes. Because even if I didn’t do what I’m being accused of, I know that I’m capable of it. Humility tears down defensive walls.”

I told you she was radical.

I’m not there yet.

Not by a long shot.

(But I’d like to be one day.)

It’s important to understand that this principle is not the same as being a doormat. (There are times when we have no choice but to fight for our rights.)

It is not a surrender; it is a victory. Well, actually, it is a surrender. But it is a victorious surrender. It is a volitional laying down of one’s rights. It comes from an understanding that there will be justice in the end.

The beautiful irony is that by then we’ll be over our need for it.

In the meantime…

We all struggle.

(Even perfect people aren’t perfect.)

We battle with ourselves and with each other. But it is imperative to keep in mind that “we” are not the enemy: The Enemy is the enemy.

And all of us are wrong very often, because each of us perceives the world through Me-colored glasses.

I love the exchange between the visitor from (self-chosen) Hell and the ‘Blessed Spirit’ in Heaven in Lewis’s The Great Divorce:

“Oh, of course, I’m wrong. Everything I say or do is wrong, according to you.”

“But of course!” said the Spirit, shining with love and mirth so that my eyes were dazzled. “That’s what we all find when we reach this country. We’ve all been wrong! That’s the great joke. There’s no need to go on pretending one was right! After that we begin living…”

Real life begins with a death.

We have so many opportunities to die daily. Laying down our wants, ways, desires, dreams, opinions…the need to be “right,” the lust for control… for the benefit of others seems like dying.   It is a type of death.

I believe that’s one of the reasons we’re here, though…to learn how to die. At the end of “Missing Katherine,” I quoted from the lyrics of a strange little Indie-ish song by Jon Foreman of Switchfoot. This refrain is the response to the lines I quoted there:

“She said, “Friend,
All along I thought 

I was learning how to take

How to bend not how to break

How to live not how to cry

But really 

I've been learning how to die

I've been learning how to die…”

I confess that there are times when I’m just not up to the challenge. When Self rears its ugly old head and refuses to die back down.

Two strong-willed Selves faced in opposition create an impasse.

And then round and round and round we go.

The only way to interrupt the cycle is to put yourself in the other person’s place.  Really. Try to get inside their head. Wear their skin for a minute. Feel what they’re feeling. Try to see the world through their eyes. (Maybe close your own in order to do it.) Use Method Acting techniques if you have to.

It’s not easy to do at first, because we humans are so blinded by self-interest and our own tightly-clutched opinions.

But then I remember that someone did put himself in my place…

and bore the consequences of being me.

That makes it easier.

Much, much easier.


(Oh, if only I could take my own advice more often…)