Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Blog-a-versary #4 (Two Days Late)

"He had never felt that ministry--or God--was about making things happy. He'd long felt that the heart of ministry--and the heart of God--is about making things beautiful, even when they can't be happy."

~~ from Living Without Enemies: Being Present in the Midst of Violence by Samuel Wells and Marcia A. Owen

I just started reading Living Without Enemies last night. Its authors are people I know--Sam Wells is the Dean of Duke Chapel, where I attend church, and Marcia Owen is the director of The Religious Coalition for a Nonviolent Durham, a group that seeks to end violence in our community. Once, a few years ago, I stood on a street corner downtown with Marcia and another woman, praying for peace in our city. It was one of the strangest things I've ever done, but I was glad I did it.

The funny thing is, when you do something like pray on the corner of a busy intersection or fix lunch in a soup kitchen, you feel good, but not the way people think you do. You don't feel good because you think you're this great, altruistic human being. Your feelings aren't about yourself at all. You feel good because for thirty minutes or an hour, you lived your life in the kingdom of God, right here on this earth, and you were actually paying enough attention to realize it.


I continue to feel unconcerned for my children's happiness. This came in handy today when I dropped Jack off at the chapel so he could put in a day's work with his youth group, a day which began at the St. Joseph's community garden downtown, followed by lunch--prepared by the youth--with the homeless gentleman who congregate there, and then more community service this afternoon. Tomorrow, more of the same, all of it in blistering hot weather.

The worst part of it all? I wouldn't let him take a book.

And while I don't care in the least whether or not he's happy today, deep down in my heart, I hope he is.

ETA: Just picked Jack up from St. Joseph's. He was hot, sweaty and complaining mightily about having spent the morning gardening in the heat. And he spent the whole trip home chatting away about the day's activities. In short, I think he had a great time.


As of today, I've been blogging for four years and two days. I am ever thankful and grateful for the community I've found myself a part of and the friendships I've made. Whenever I get cranky about the role of technology in our lives, I remember that the all-consuming Internet has brought into my life all sorts of wonderful people I'd probably not cross paths with in the regular course of events, and in that way modern technology has been a blessing to me. As have you.


The dB family said...

What a great post! It's so true what you say about feeling good. I hope your son is happy too -- or at least feeling good about what he is doing.

Happy 4 years and two days in the blogosphere. I'm very glad we have "met" too.

I have a burning question for you. Are you actually left-handed? I am.


magsmcc said...

Well I have not been reading you for four years, but I wish I had been- this much encouragement to mothers should be bottled and distributed at school gates! And I find something new to make me laugh every time too- I know I've read your profile bit before but the tattoo bit reminded me of a converstaion I had just last week with a (previously bohemian) middle-aged also friend and her teenage son!!

wayside wanderer said...

Happy Bloggy Birthday! I love the quote at the top of this post. I remember in my old neighborhood back when I was trying to lose baby weight I would get up early and walk my neighborhood and pray for the people in it. I think it changed me.

I listened to a talk this past week by Tim Keller where he was discussing happiness. He says it is the one thing that if you seek it you will never find it. But if you see the kingdom of God and His righteousness you get happiness thrown in, too. Happiness is taking our eyes off of ourselves and looking at others. And typically those who are pursuing happiness are always looking at themselves which means they will never be happy.

It sounds like your Jack did just that, taking his eyes off himself. You are a good mom. Is he really old enough for youth group? In my minds eye I pictured him younger so I must readjust that mental image.

Heather said...

Happy Blogiversary!

Tracy said...

I love hearing stories about how the not worrying about your children's happiness looks for you. Inspiring.

Congratulations on your four year anniversary!! Here's to beautiful friendships!

Pom Pom said...

I agree! The blessing is vast, eternal, miraculous, and FUN! LOVE my blog friends and cherish all the thoughts I think about them!
I love the praying on the street corner story, Frances. I love your heart.
When you said you wouldn't let him take a book, you reminded me of our bookish Brad who wanted to take a book to a Bronco game!

Angela said...

Great post. Love the blog- congrats on your 4th anniversary. I shall have to check out that book!

Grateful to God for having met you in Blogland [and for Mags and PomPom and all the others too!]

blessings and love xx

GretchenJoanna said...

I think a lot about how each of us has to find happiness on our own, in our own hearts. It's a constant temptation for a woman to fall into thinking that she can provide happiness for other people. We can point our children in the right direction, and set a good example, and love our families and friends, but each of our loved ones has to choose for himself.

debbie bailey said...

Wow! You're wise as well as funny; a perfect woman. Glad we found each other in the blogsphere. If I ever get to your part of NC or you get to south GA, we'll have to look each other up. Did you read my blog when Pom Pom and I met last summer in Colorado? She's as cute in person as she is on her blog. I'm sure she thought the same about me! Ha!

victoria said...

One of my most favorite lines from your blog so far - "I continue to feel unconcerned for my children's happiness."