2 years & 2 days!

2 years & 2 days ago yesterday i started this blog.  instead of just glossing by it, i wanted to take a moment and let you all know how thankful i am to you for taking time to read, for being a part of the carnival in my head.   2 christmas vacations ago i made a commitment to myself to risk it for one year, to say some things that i wanted to say about church & faith & life and see what happened.  i honestly had no idea what i was getting into. i still don’t know what i’m doing & am completely lame when it comes to all the things that good-bloggers-are-supposed-to-do related to tags and links and regular posting and twitter and all kinds of other bells and whistles.  but i do know this, i have been surprised by how fun the past 2 years have been.

i didn’t realize how many friends i’d make, how much i’d learn, how much more there was to learn.  it has fanned some flames into fire, it has made me crazier than i already was, and it has opened my eyes to issues of justice, restoration, and hope-for-what-is-possible in more ways than i expected.  i will admit, some days i wake up and say “it’s time to throw in the towel, it’s all meaningless and useless anyway!” and then other days i am up in the middle of the night writing a post in my head, believing that maybe someone will care about what it says.

i have a lot of ideas for 2010, some will probably happen and some are probably too ambitious–but hey, it’s the new year and it’s always fun to dream.  there’s one thing i do know, though–i am thankful for you and that you have hung in there with me.  i appreciate the comments, the emails, the connections, the ways i know i am not alone and that we are not crazy.   they give me hope. and remind me that despite all the ways the system makes me nutty, there are so many people doing, trying, exploring new ways of living out their faith & life and the world is better for it.

here are a few things that i have been thinking about a lot when it comes to this blog:

i wish i could tell more stories of the beauty i get to see day after day up close and personal, but i purposefully do not share them out of respect. these are my friends.  their journey, their life, their story is not mine to tell.   and sometimes that’s hard. i have moments where i want to shout from the rooftops-this person just said out loud for the first time something that has been haunting them for their whole lives!…this person looked me in the eye for the first time after a year of keeping their eyes to the floor out of shame and self-contempt!…this person is trying to let love in even though it’s kicking their tail to allow themselves to feel….this person is done with religion but not with Jesus….this person told someone after they hurt themselves instead of staying stuck in shame…this person thought they were the only one who woke up feeling like an atheist and now know they’re not alone…this person has 30 days of sobriety!   i could go on and on and on.  pretty much every day i have a lovely story to tell, some spark of God-at-work-in-people.  but i realize that for many, the daily stories i have don’t seem that exciting.  they aren’t glitzy or glamorous or sexy.  they are just real teeny-weeny humble shifts that brave friends of all shapes & sizes are making here and there along the way as they open their hearts up to the ever-tangled mix of God and people. so while i intentionally don’t exploit stories, in 2010 i am committed to try to find ways for others to tell their own stories, like the view from the margins and out of the darkness series.  i am cooking up some ways to make that happen.

i thrive on feedback. comments help.  emails help.  telling me in person what a post stirred up helps.  i am also trying to live in the reality that it’s important not to expect that. we’re all busy. some like to read and have the freedom to never comment.  i totally respect that, i’m just acknowledging out loud that it always feels better to get a little feedback here and there and know what thoughts are resonating or not resonating with you.

i need to let go of some of the ways i do things on here to be more flexible. when i start something, i get a groove and keep on doing it, sometimes to my detriment.  my rhythm here has been to post something long and intense once a week; i do my little facebook & twitter note every week like clockwork. there’s nothing wrong with that, but i think i need to break out of my self-imposed schedule that mainly comes from trying to juggle an awful lot of balls in the air & make room for it.  but when i’m honest, i think i’m also scared to change.  i kind of like the basic ethos and rhythm of the carnival and am scared to mess with it.  at the same time, i think that’s connected to a bigger rut i can sometimes dig myself in, a metaphor for sometimes how i do things–i get in a groove and i don’t change.  part of 2010, i hope, includes mixing it up, being more creative and spontaneous, and trusting myself and others will be able to hack it.  my daughter’s “2009 quote of the year” applies here, from the ever-profound dr. suess–“be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.”

i’d love to know what you’d like more of. it is always helpful to know.  i know i won’t be able to deliver all the goods, but it is always nice to know what seems to resonate most and what might be helpful to explore more.

thanks again for your love & stories & heart & support & courage-to-wrestle-with-hard-stuff and try new things.  you inspire me on my journey.   happy new year!

* * * * *

ps:  i’m almost done the liturgical year by joan chittister and some of her words really resonated with me as i reflect on the past few years, where i’ve been and where i hope to keep headed in the wild mix of blog-life-Jesus-refuge-church-spirituality-love stuff that i spend an awful lot of energy on.  to me, she hits the power of the gospels on the head.  she says:

“it is in the contemplation of the mysteries of the faith, the deep-down wrestling match of conflicting ideas, that resides the motivating power it takes to become what we see in Jesus.  the world around us tells us that life is about money, security, power, and success.  but the Gospels tell us that life is about something completely other.  real life, the Gospels tell us, is about doing the will of God, speaking for the poor, changing the lives of widows and orphans, exalting the status of women, refusing to make war, laying down our lives for the other, the invisible, and the enemy.  it is about taking everyone in instead of leaving everyone out.”

 

Kathy Escobar

Kathy Escobar co-pastors at The Refuge, a Christian community and mission center in North Denver and is the author of Faith Shift: Finding Your Way Forward When Everything You Believe is Coming Apart and several other books.

16 Comments

  • Thank you for this blog Kathy. It is one of just three that I read regularly. Perhaps it’s because we make similar observations about this journey. Perhaps it’s because I don’t think you have an agenda. Almost everyone has an agenda.

    The quote from Joan Chittister pretty well sums up life as I see it. There are those who understand the Gospels and live them, but they are exceedingly rare.

    Teach me to follow you Lord, not the voices that constantly try to get my attention so that I will buy whatever it is they are trying to sell.

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  • Hey Kathy!

    “i will admit, some days i wake up and say “it’s time to throw in the towel, it’s all meaningless and useless anyway!”

    So glad I am not alone in thinking this!

    When the mess and chaos of peoples lives just becomes too messy and too chaotic – wheeew boy!

    but then there are those times when the chaos becomes a bit less disorganized and there is a smile and a glimmer of hope and I can kick back, look up and just say “Thank You Jesus for doing what only You can do and for allowing me the pleasure of seeing You do it!” -sortta makes it all worthwhile eh!

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  • Kathy, we started our blogs on the exact same day, and found each other “out here” a few months afterward…and I can honestly say that the friendship we’ve found with you and your family is one of the single greatest personal benefits I’ve received from entering the blogosphere. Thanks for all you do. Looking forward to great things ahead!

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  • Congrats on the 2 years, Kathy! You know how the Word of God (Jesus, not the Bible, ha ha) is the incarnation of God’s heart and spirit. That’s sort of how I feel about your way of putting your “word” out there in the blogosphere. (And I mean that in the non-blasphemous sense :)) It gives your heart and spirit a chance to be “incarnated” to so many of us who aren’t near…and is yet another beautiful way of bringing Jesus into what we ca of Jesus.

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  • Ok, I wrote it…why the heck can’t I edit it, and what did I push that entered it before I finished?? 🙂 What I meant to say is that your blogging is yet another beautiful way of bringing Jesus into what we can see and hear and feel. So thanks! Big hug!

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  • This place is a regular watering hole for me … I love it and sense a kindred spirit. What I enjoy also are – the guys that comment … GREAT PEOPLE!!!

    Hey!!! – went to church on Sunday … Pastor spoke on first three words in the Bible … Genuine Moroccan Leather … I didn’t really get a lot out of the message.

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  • Go for it!

    I care about your thoughts. You inspire mine.

    Don’t censure. I love to get the raw insights!

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  • It goes without saying that your blog has transformed the trajectory of my life for the better. Who knew?! Thank you for being so real. Love you!

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  • I love you Kathy. I learn so much from your heart and am so thankful you put it out here for all of us. I don’t comment often…I’m bad that way…so often your posts are so heavy and thought provoking that I can’t articulate anything to add. But know that I’m here and reading every time. Thank you.

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  • Kathy,

    Do I hear an “Amen” out there? I most certainly do.

    Kathy, the comments from others are excellent. They speak about your blog as a light or a window. The connection is your ability to pull into words and phrases how we feel, and how we think deep within us.

    The honesty is the key. That and the willingness of so many to make their stories known through your posts on this blog. How very brave of them. How very brave of you.

    Tell those stories! Champion those small but powerful moments of movement towards healing, learning or whatever God would have for that person.

    Thanks for doing this!

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  • Kathy,
    I love your honesty and williness to put it out there. I love that you lead by example and that your words are a reflection of the life that you live. It encourages me to take the steps I need to take and to move into that place that God has for me.

    I look forward to the 2010 blogs. I look forward to the stories and the inspiration it will bring. The tiny shifts in people’s lives that are so important and beautiful to see.

    I look forward to the comments and feeling the impact of your voice.

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  • sam – i am really glad your voice is here and you are part of the conversation. yeah, that chittister quote is a good one, isn’t it? it really nailed it.

    pops – always great to hear from you and i am glad that somehow despite all the mess & chaos that God’s spirit shines through in wild and weird and amazing ways.

    jeff– i always forget we have the same blog birthday. i would agree, you and shelby are a lovely gift from blogland and a reminder that the weirdest connections can get made online that are part of our big crazy real-life-in-the-flesh stories, too. look forward to what’s ahead for you both…i think it’s so cool that you guys stepped out and went for it to get to denver, too. inspiring to many, i know that.

    blueorchid – you were a gift to the carnival this year, thanks for sharing your heart and for being a part from afar. i look forward to the journey – so excited about this online class, to, will keep you posted!

    mark – no one can make me smile online like you do! yes, kindred spirits indeed and hoping one of these days i can get out to australia to hang out with you guys. the church you went to– is that honestly what he taught on???!!! what motivated you to go, btw?

    randi – thanks for hanging in there with me. we have come a long way, haven’t we??? love your heart, your spirit, your passion, your humility to learn. it is so encouraging to me and reminds me that i want to be more willing to, too. keep remembering you are not alone in your dreams for what could be. they’re not crazy. they’re possible.

    susan – thanks. it makes me happy that even though we never get to see each other that you are reading and part of it all.

    stacy – thanks for your courage, my friend, it is awfully fun how we met and what God’s spirit seemed to stir up. what a true and amazing gift you are to me, to us.

    erin – i’m the same way. know we can always give each other “comment grace.” i love you and your heart and am glad that despite the distance we are connected in all kinds of fun ways. thanks for your courage, too, you always inspire me.

    debbie – thanks for reading. i have such a special heart for all the emdes-ers. we’re just in the same weird wild boat. anyway, i will do what i can in 2010 to keep telling these stories. thanks for the love and encouragement, it always means more than you know.

    julie – i am glad you are part not only of this online conversation but the real in-the-flesh refuge community. we are all learning so much, aren’t we? more than we all probably bargained for but i’m so thankful God is stirring up all kinds of great stuff to move us, change us, restore us, use us. thanks for all the ways you love people.

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  • Thanks as always!! 🙂 I can’t believe it’s been 2 years and what’s amazing to me is that I started reading not long after you started writing – GOd’s plan for sure! He has truly opened my heart/eyes/ears because of the voices here….. and I hope it is encouraging to you and other readers who have been “here” the past 2 years that He can do that to anybody and your voices can make a difference! Too bad I wasn’t (am not) some super wealthy sugar mama…. Anyway, I’m so thankful to have found the carnival. I thought I was starting to blog for a journal for my son and family memories — 2 years ago next month — but come to find out God had this incredible other idea to allow me to cross paths with you and a few others and my blogging experience took on this totally different adventure – He’s so awesome like that 🙂 Appreciate you!

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  • Kathy. I’ve been reading your blog for the last 1/2 year (more or less). Not quite sure how I found it but it really has been (like Mark R said) “a regular watering hole”.
    I have been immersed in DEEP DEEP religon my entire life and I am so weary of it. I leave one “cult” to join another. The rules; the expectations; the way men “lead” and women “follow”. Not quite ready to give up on God but definately ready to give up on church and Christians. Christians truly have been the most prideful, most hurtful, and ungracious people in my life. I would rather work (most days) with unsaved people.
    I love and admire the fact that you have the guts and the skill to write in a nonconventional fashion/belief. So much of your frustrations, rants and beliefs mirror what is going on in my head…..I am totally lacking in education and talent as far as writing so I truly love when I find someone who puts my thoughts into word. Thank you!
    And I feel like I get to live a little through the work you are doing and writing about. Those are the victories that (I think) God delights in.

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  • randi – yeah, you never know the twists and turns and the weird things that lead us to totally new terrain. that’s what’s wild about the blog world, really, an expanse of ideas to challenge us. i am so glad that you are part of the community and conversation here!

    mmec – oh thanks for taking time to comment and let me know that you are reading and sharing a bit of your story. it always encourages me to keep on going, that someone out there is sitting at their computer thinking some of the same things. i am sorry that so many of your experiences have been so predictable, really, the control the rules the expectations the roles. it makes me sad. hope you stay in touch, would love to hear more about your journey!

    Reply

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