Esperanza

Today, I was stuck at home sick (I’m ok – just once again feeling the effects of not enough sleep Sun-Tues). But in all honestly, I can’t have had a better day to be spending the day ‘on bed’…because it has been one of the most inspiring days I can remember as I’ve watched as one by one, Los Mineros trapped in the San José mine have been rescued one by one. Holding my breath hoping everything continues to go well.

Above is the footage of the first of the mineros, Florencio Avalas, reaching the surface. So many of the children have burst into tears as their Dads or brothers have reached the surface and they’ve seen them in the cage known as Fenix 2.

This was another that really humbled me (they all did to be fair…). The oldest of the mineros, who has been trapped in a mine before this time and started working as minero at age 12, falling to his knees in prayer of thanksgiving. He has not been the only one to do so.

There is no doubt that their rescue is a miracle. They were trapped for 17 days before anyone knew if they had survived. One of them is diabetic. So that boggles my mind. All of them have looked pretty healthy coming up considering they’ve been trapped underground in horrific conditions for 69 days.

I think we can learn so much from what’s happened & the Chileans response:

1. The importance of teamwork & structure – thanks to the leadership of their foreman they made a few days of food supplies last 17. So many people have come together to keep them healthy, focused, encouraged, hopeful and put together an incredible rescue mission.

2. Humble leadership – One President not denying mistakes have been made, and ready to make sure lessons are learned. One Mining minister who has stayed awake for I don’t know how long greeting every single minero at the surface. He has never stopped hugging or smiling, or supporting relatives as they anxiously wait. One Foreman, being like a ship’s captain saying he’ll be last to leave, he wants to make sure all his team are safely rescued before he is.

3. Hope – So many families who have camped out, never losing hope. Many of them praying together, keeping up spirits firmly believing that God would be gracious, knowing their loved ones were alive, even when rescuers doubted.

4. Grace – So many complicated family situations, and as a result of this mining disaster which seems to have a gloriously happy ending…a lot of marriages about to happen. Plus hugs for the government officials, thankful for the fact they’ve made sure they were rescued, rather than just being angry that it happened in the first place.

5. Love – Even I’ve been welling up as I’ve watched the reunions… :)

Father’s Day: the heart of the matter

After being down on the North side of town to celebrate a friend’s birthday (which resulted in my 4 a.m. bedtime…eek!), I didn’t realise until I rolled out of bed at 11 a.m. to check e-mail, facebook, twitter that it was Father’s Day.

There was a lot of discussion last night about fathers, children, pregnancy, learning disabilities, abortion and parenting.

(I think it’s the affect I bring into a room now…oh dear!)

The simple fact is I don’t celebrate Father’s Day. 6 years in Aberdeen meant I was rarely at home for either Mother’s Day or Father’s Day anyway so I’m not in the habit of doing the whole celebrating thing.

The relationship between me and my earthly father is complicated to say the least. I have been rejected, ignored and abandoned by him in various ways and levels more times than I care to count.

Don’t get me wrong, I love my Dad, and I think he’d like to think he loves me. The problem is that he just doesn’t know how to.

He has never really got how to be a parent.

After 2 years of no communication, he has chosen to pretend like nothing has ever happened, and in April walked back into my life when I went to meet my younger sister in London. He didn’t arrange to meet me, he didn’t call or write or anything. He just manipulated my sister into telling him where she would be meeting me.

He’s even been in Scotland and made no effort to see me.

He’s tried to get me to lie to my sister, and my sister to lie to me.

He’s kept them from me, made choices that have ruined their lives (quite literally). And now he wants to speak he tries to get me to lecture my sister and parent her.

And it’s hurt me. It’s hurt not just because of what he’s done (or not done), but also to have watched him hurt my sister and brother who I love more than words. I got hurt. They got hurt. Badly. Possibly beyond repair. And that’s the reality.

I could talk about forgiveness, and I know it’s important.

I’m not sure I’m totally there yet, but I’m getting there.

One thing I do know is that forgiveness does not mean I have to trust him or let him back into my life too far.

It does not mean I have to pretend and make out and call him ‘the best Dad in the world‘ just because a bunch of card companies have decided that once a year in June that’s what sons and daughters should do.

Forgiveness does not have to be earned. It is the very beauty of grace.

But trust does have to be earned back.

To continue having a soft heart, I have to protect it, so I don’t have to harden it.

It means protecting my heart from people that might smash it to pieces.

For sure when we have a soft and open heart, we are liable to get hurt.

For example…

When I go out on my bike, I run the risk of getting hurt. I could fall off my bike. I could get hit by a car (or bus, or truck).

Now I could just not cycle so this doesn’t happen.

Or I could wear a helmet to protect myself. I can look around before I pull out or turn right into a road so I’m not cycling into oncoming traffic. I can choose to cycle on paths or roads that are safer as I get used to cycling again.

I still run the risk of getting hurt or hurting someone else while I cycle. But it reduces the severity of the hurt if it comes.

It is the same with my heart…

I could choose to protect myself against who I let in by letting no one in.

Or I could choose who I let in very carefully to keep myself safer, but not miss out on the joy there is loving, caring and being loved and cared about in return.

One of the last days I had with the PCC trainees, I played them this song sung by India Arie in our personal preparation time before one of the final sessions. It’s gone round my head for many months now, much like the Leigh Nash song did leading up to Christmas. A little bit hard to swallow sometimes…but wise words all the same…

Introducing some new blogs…

Earlier this week The People of The Second Chance officially launched their blog. This is a new project headed up by the writers of Deadly Viper, Jud Wilhite and Mike Foster.

What is The People of The Second Chance all about…well, I’ll quote straight from them

We challenge the common misconceptions about failure and success and stand with those who have hit rock bottom in their personal and professional lives. We are a community that is committed to stretch ourselves in the areas of relational forgiveness, personal transparency, and advocate for mercy over judgment. People of the Second Chance have experienced a second chance so we  actively support social justice organizations and advocate for the vulnerable, forgotten, and left behind.We are not ashamed of our scars, wounds, or failures and leverage them as a source of strength and character development.

We are People of the Second Chance.

You can follow their blog at http://potsc.com and follow them on Twitter @POTSC

Also, some of you might remember these photos which were posted by Bringonthejoy and myself in July 2009. I thought you might like to know about the movement which is stemming from our ideas of beach, surfing and community.

It’s Soul Surfers, and my friend TheStateThatIAmIn is going to be a catalyst for seeing how this might begin. It’s still very much in the early stages, and we’re not sure yet where it will go.

The blog has just been launched at http://thesoulsurfers.wordpress.com and you can follow Soul Surfers on Twitter @TSTIAI

And I forgot to give this one specific mention when it started I think (I’m sorry Pastor Karl!!), though it has been linked in my blogroll since it’s first week. It is taking a break over the Christmas period and will be back in the new year, but recently our pastor starting blogging, with the occasional switch from Senior Pastor to Apprentice Pastor. At the moment he’s going through Romans in bitesize chunks.

You can follow the Pastor’s blog here. You can now follow our church on Twitter @MBCTweets

Needing some recommendations…

I’m always look for ways to keep our training and resource base fresh and as helpful as possible to the people working in our centre. (We also have a growing library that we can lend out to clients on our pregnancy loss support programme if they are looking for something extra)

At the moment, I’m really searching for a book that’s a challenges and encourages us, but is not monotonous to read on that covers the topic/concept of Grace.

Any recommendations?

Sunshine + flip flops = rest

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Thursday is my ‘sabbath’ day this week

(since I’ll be working on Saturday & at church most of the day Sunday!)

This photo symbolises how I plan to spend it knowing that…

…I can’t do anything right now except pray and wait

…I’m drained physically & emotionally (but not spiritually) I need rest and some time alone to process.

In the spirit of one Aussie blogger’s Be Thankful Thursday…I’m choosing to give thanks even though there’s a lot I’m angry about, and a few things I’m even more worried about than I was a couple of days ago.

1. I’m thankful for friends and family who are always so supportive even though I’ve been a rubbish friend. That’s grace my blog readers!

2. I’m thankful for the fact it’s Thursday…Thursday nights mean I can spend a few hours in American TV Drama world with the folks at the California Bureau of Investigation, the Walker Family, the FBI missing persons unit & staff at County General (minus Neela, Abby & Kovac though…sniff sniff). 

3. I’m thankful for this

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…it might mean a higher risk of osteoporosis, it might make me angry  my previous consultant refused this particular treatment to me 3 years ago, but I’m so thankful I’ve been allowed it now, and even more thankful that it now seems to be working! Minus the tooth issues, I’ve been pain free since the last Sunday in March. Without any surgeries!

Hallelujah!!

4. I’m thankful for my Mum. She may drive me crazy at times but I’m so glad she’s still alive and here. 

5. I’m thankful for blogging and Twitter. It’s seriously been like therapy these last 2 years. And I’ve met some really cool, encouraging and generous hearted people that I hope I will be given the chance to meet face-to-face before the apocalypse. :)

6. I’m thankful that we’ve had some sunshiney days. They give me hope for the future!

7. I’m thankful for grace. And I love that part of my first name means exactly that. It’s very fitting. God has to pour a lot of it out on me. I hog his grace a lot (sorry if any of you feel you’re being cheated out of it on my account).