The other day I was driving along and a large brown planetree leaf fluttered down from its branch at the exact moment that my car drove past. Its detachment from the tree punctuated the end of its life and its final voyage was disrupted by the whoosh of my car as it was swept upwards away from my windscreen, changing direction, finding another place to settle.
A lot of my weird, profound thoughts happen while driving. Driving under a falling leaf is nothing extraordinary, but for some reason, on this day, I was struck with a question about the nature of life.
The leaf was dead. It was once alive. I looked at a flourishing gum tree and wondered, ‘what is it that makes it alive?’ ‘What is life?’
Sure, we know how to distinguish death from life, animate from inanimate, but do we actually know anything about life?
I looked it up in a dictionary. Life is a condition, a distinguishing phenomena, a state.
I think that’s code for ‘we have no idea.’ We know a lot, but we don’t know that. We can create a lot, but we can’t create that.
For the Christian, it’s profound, but not so difficult to understand. Life is the unique, breathed out, creative power of God. He gives it, and he takes it away, and we just exist within it and watch.
I don’t know the answer to this one, but I do have some questions, and I’m interested to know what people think.
If you’re like me, and you’ve grown up in the western church, you’ve probably noticed a huge focus on the preservation and upholding of the traditional, often nuclear, family model. We consistently have reinforced that Family is important; Family must come first. We even have a conservative political party named for this very idea.
But I’m starting to question it. Maybe it’s because I’m 28 and single. Maybe it’s because I realize that the only reason I’m not alone at Christmas is because I live in the same city as my parents and siblings. Maybe it’s because my heart hurts on mothers day and fathers day and at Christmas when everyone goes off to celebrate with their neat little nuclear families and I see others left to feel the gap; to feel like they don’t really fit in a world made for poster-perfect families.
Don’t get me wrong, family is important. Marriage is sacred and children are a blessing, but somehow I feel like the Bible offers us something better than the nuclear family. I feel like maybe the New Testament wanted to change our focus to the Church family; to turn from the nuclear to the community; to cultivate ‘all together’ rather than ‘us separately.’
If ‘focusing on the family’ means that some just can’t fit in, aren’t we getting something wrong?
Some time ago I watched a documentary by Louis Theroux about legal prostitution in America. What surprised me about these women was how broken they were. There were no pretenses. They are who they are and they know it.
Sure they have attitude and sass, and a lot of bravado, but once you get them talking, deep down, it’s not something they’re proud of.
It made me realize what it was that caused Jesus to hang out with them in preference to the religious elite of the time. While the prostitutes were under no false illusion about who they were and their need for a saviour, the rest of us spend so much time thinking of ourselves as good and trying desperately to cover anything that cracks the facade. The prostitutes of Jesus’ time knew they were seen as the scum of the earth, and came to Jesus in humility, recognising their true place before him.
Jesus had a lot of time for these people. And their humility was their great advantage. As He said “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick.” It is our great disadvantage that many of us who think we are morally healthy by the world’s standards, are dying of pride on the inside, while the humble are receiving Jesus’ forgiveness and grace.
I come from a thin family; tall and thin. People would say I’m lucky, and I am, but it took me until my mid 20’s to believe it. Before that, if I could have changed anything about my physical appearance, I probably would have chosen to be fatter.
The world seems to assume that if a woman is thin, she has chosen it. While remarking on most women’s weight is a social taboo, thin women seem to be fair game.
What goes unnoticed is the emotional-verbal baggage that girls like myself have accrued.
I have never had an eating disorder, nor desired to be thin, but growing up, I received a multitude of personal barbs:
I think from a young age, I thought that there were two types of women in the world. The wife/mummies, and the career women.
I’d always imagined I’d be the former. So what happened when I reached my late twenties and I was neither wife nor mummy? It may seem strange, but on occasion the thought crossed my mind: ‘ I guess I’ll have to be a career woman.’ This didn’t seem all bad. I liked my job, and the idea of being strong, independent and well dressed (all part of the career woman profile), but really, a career-focused life just wasn’t me. But what alternative did I have?
Recently I was walking through the city to do some shopping. I was dressed up; I felt good; free, independent and happy, and unwittingly, the idea flicked through my mind, ‘maybe I could be a career woman after all.’
I’ve pondered this one. My girlfriends have pondered it. My guy friends have pondered it. And no one seems to have a definitive answer.
Sure, it’s usually not a life or death question, but I have known of a woman who almost choked on her meal when it became abundantly clear to her that she didn’t know the answer to this question in relation to the man sitting across from her.
I have a feeling that the Yanks (is that still a politically okay term to use?) may have this one fairly down pat… in fact, so might every other country… but for us Aussies, it seems to be a vague free-for-all in which everyone has their own opinion and people go out on one-on-one-catch-up-non-date-thingies at their own peril, unsure of whether or not their own personal anatomy-of-a-date matches up with their partner’s (or non partner maybe, because really we…
Today marks the one year anniversary since my first blog post!
What a year it has been! I’ve written 110 posts, received nearly 40,000 views, been followed by over 260 people and been viewed in more countries than I can count.
This has been a big year for me in other ways too. While continuing my teaching job, I’ve also begun writing a book with my senior pastor at church, and launched my website bookclassifications.com. My own book, the project that inspired the launch of this blog, has long been on hold. All in God’s time.
I’ve decided, with all the busyness in my life and my ongoing health problems, that I need to cut back a bit, though I am loathe to let this blog go all together. I’ve decided to take a few weeks off, in which I will re-post some of my posts from the last year that were either favourites of my readers, or favourites of mine. Following that I will reduce my postings to one per week.
I have so enjoyed my time in the blogging community and have appreciated so many of you who have faithfully read my posts, liked, commented and shared your lives with me.
I would love to have some feedback on what you have liked about my blog, what you have not liked so much, and what you would like to see in the future.