Airsick

My dreams at night are vivid. Crazy vivid. I dream in full-color cinematography, complete with action-packed plotlines, in-depth characterization, and celebrity guest appearances. Usually the dreams are entertainment, merely—the Netflix streaming of my subconscious mind.

But sometimes, my dreams point to a relational truth about my life I need to take a look at: a resentment at work, for example, or a challenge in my marriage.

Or maybe a struggle to trust God.

Last week, I had a dream in which I was traveling on a plane. God was the pilot. But he was flying recklessly, and I was getting angry. . . .

 

I’m blogging this week over at the Flatirons Women’s Community Blog. Click here to read the rest of my dream-induced musings: airsick

What I’m Learning from Jack Bauer

[The following blog post took shape between 10 pm and 11 pm.]

Maybe you’ve heard. Jack Bauer, the hero of the long-running television show 24, is currently back on TV to Live Another Day.

Confession: I’m one of five adults my age in America who didn’t watch the show when it originally aired. (To be fair, kid #1 was four years old when 24 premiered, and I was pregnant with kid #2. It wasn’t a good time for me to take on an addictive new show; otherwise, I’m sure I’d have been on board.)

In case you’re one of the four other people who haven’t watched the show, a little background: 24 stars Kiefer Sutherland as Jack Bauer, a CTU (Counter Terrorist Unit) agent who works against the clock to thwart terror attempts against the United States.

When I finally started watching 24, I expected Jack to take on challenges; I didn’t expect him to challenge me. But he did. And here’s how it unfolded…

 

I’m blogging this week over at the Flatirons Women’s Community Blog. Click here to read the rest of my Jack Bauer-induced musings: Bauer

Am I Really the Underdog?

Sometimes I label myself the underdog.

Not underdog in the feel-good movie sense where the unlikely ragtag sports team takes on the high-powered favorite. That sort of scenario carries with it a scrappy sort of hope.

No, when I label myself the underdog, I picture the scrawny kid with the secondhand clothes who runs into the schoolyard bully and his minions. Alone. The underdog without a chance.

Sometimes the obstacles in my life look huge. Muscled. Mean. They gang up on me, catch me alone, back me into a corner.

I don’t know what your gang of bullies looks like . . .

 

I’m blogging over at the Flatirons Women’s Community Blog today. Click here to read the full post: Underdog

John 8 (a poem in three parts)

by Kirsten Wilson
©2011

i
Jesus

sometimes i take my finger
write my law
on stone tablets
for moses to carry down mount sinai
to the people

sometimes my finger
writes judgment
on palace walls
of evil kings
fiery letters of coming
doom

but dust is my favorite canvas
not stone
not walls

sometimes i scoop up
dust and shape it
with my fingers
breathe life into it
make man
make woman

like all of you
standing round me now
watching me
stoop down and draw
my finger through the dirt

can you feel
the touch of my finger
in your dust-born heart

let the stones fall
let the stones fall from
your hands

my best stories are not written
on stone

dust is my favorite canvas

ii
Pharisee

why will the stone
not fly from my hand

moses said
moses said
she should be stoned
for her sin

but now this jesus says
whoever is without sin
among you

let him throw the first stone

and the stone in my hand
won’t fly

iii
Woman

guilt
has the gritty
taste of sand
mixed with fear and blood

i tried
not to look
during the frenzied moments
dragging me
to this place

but before i landed
licking dust
pebbles grinding into my skin
i saw the eyes
of the men who pushed me
down

accusing eyes
righteous and
oh so very right
in their zeal

hungry eyes
tracing the silhouette
of my naked self
i saw the lust flicker
as they stored the memory
of my shape
in the secret bedroom
of their minds

startled eyes
quickly averted
but not before i saw
reflected in them
the certainty
of my coming death

then
with the soft thud of dropped stones
and the stammered shuffle
of departing feet
all the eyes are gone

all but his

and his eyes they meet me
with such intensity
it drives the air from my chest

even were i clothed
it seems
i would stand naked before him

and i understand why my accusers ran

but i
keep looking
his eyes will not look away
keep looking
hear him say
has no one condemned you

so many men have undressed me
with their eyes
have scorned
and glared
and judged

but they are gone
and his eyes look at me
not to possess
but to create–
God before he rested
forming me
up out of the
gritty dust

dressing me with his eyes
clothing me with
mercy and
dignity and
honor

and i find myself clothed more richly
in my brokenness
than ever when i was whole
clothed so richly
in his eyes
my heart finds hope that i might indeed

go and sin no more

Unsent Thanks

On Christmas Day 2006, Katie unwrapped a gift from her grandparents: a puppet theater  complete with the finger puppets needed to enact the story of the Three Little Pigs. Red curtains hid the scene until ready. And the young puppeteer could press backstage buttons to produce sound effects at key dramatic moments.

Puppet Theater

Katie loved it.

She wrote her thanks large, in a four-year-old hand. Prepared a note for her Grams and Grampa. Readied a card for me to mail.

A few days ago, while cleaning, we found that card. Cute as the dickens, but lying unsent and forgotten amidst unsorted clutter these seven years.

thank you theater

Gratefulness: It’s often felt, but somewhat less often sent. Somehow, despite the best of intentions, the cards sink quietly into the clutter of our lives, the words go unspoken in the busyness of our days.

Gratefulness slips through my fingers so easily. But I want to grab hold of it–and then voice the thanks I feel. Send my thanks out to the one who gifted me.

 

Postscript: There were several other unmailed notes with the one I’ve described. So, in case you’ve been wondering…

Mom & Dad W: Katie loved the puppet theater, and Daniel really liked the star planetarium.

Mom & Dad B: Katie thanks you for the hat and gloves, and Daniel thanks you for the moon boots and for Lego Star Wars. 

Daniel’s Third Grade Friend Timothy: Daniel thought it was cool to construct the “Build a Frog” you gave him.

Beth & Kylie: Daniel thanks you for the Dino Poop.

thank yous

 

Forgiveness Pie (Because why should Humble get all the cool pastry metaphors?)

Forgiveness does not come naturally to me.

I don’t let go of stuff easily. If I’m going to forgive, I have to fight for it. Pry my fingers off the offense. And then struggle to hold myself back so I don’t grab it again.

Many years ago, I had a friend who should have had my back, but stabbed me in the back instead. He was someone I worked with, someone I trusted. And he hurt me. Bad. He betrayed me, lied about me in ways that caused damage to my life and reputation but left his intact. And the respect and trust I had for him warped pretty quickly into a swirling mass of anger and hate and resentment…

I found myself thinking about him and what he had done to me. All. The. Time. I didn’t go around talking to everyone about what had happened, but with a couple of my closest, trusted friends, who helped me process stuff…the topic came up in most every conversation.

In bed at night, I’d lie awake imagining scenarios where he’d get what was coming to him. Where his betrayals would be exposed. Where I would be the hero and he would be defeated as the villain. Where God would torch the guy.

forgiveness pie 1

During the day, I found myself reworking what had happened over and over in my mind, trying to find the thing I could have done differently to keep it all from happening.

This went on for months.

The guy was consuming my life. And finally, I got sick of it. This person had stolen enough from me already. I didn’t want him stealing even more.

That’s when I began to consider if maybe forgiving the jerk might be an option.

Eventually, I did choose to forgive the guy. But ugh. It wasn’t like I made the decision and everything was magically better. I had a ton to work through and root out and grieve and–

At one point in the process, I had a dream about it.

I dreamed that I went for a walk from my home to a park. At the park, I found a crowd of people at an outdoor concert. Looking across the crowd, I caught sight of the person who had hurt me.

forgiveness pie 2

He saw me, too, this person. And because he and my husband, Steve, and I had all at one time been friends, I ended up inviting him back home with me for a visit.

Somehow Steve had anticipated a guest, and when we arrived at the house, I found the living room freshly picked up and vacuumed, and the kitchen and bathroom clean.

There was also a pie on the kitchen counter, so I asked our guest if he’d like a slice of pie and something to drink. He accepted the offer, and I headed into the kitchen to serve it up while he sat on the couch in the living room.

forgiveness pie 3

And that’s where I ran into problems. In the way of dreams, the simple task of putting a slice of pie on a plate became ridiculously daunting. I opened the cupboard to get a plate, and pulled out dirty dish after dirty dish. Seems that in his rush to prep for unexpected company, Steve had just shoved dirty plates from the counter into the cupboards.

forgiveness pie 4

So there I was, with this guest waiting in the living room. And I was searching for a clean plate, a clean cup. And I kept at it, determined to get the job done.

In my dream, I talked myself through the task. I found myself muttering, “When your enemy is hungry, give him something to eat. When your enemy is thirsty, give him something to drink.” (This is a verse from the Bible, actually–Romans 12:20, NIV.)

forgiveness pie 5

 

That was my dream.

Here are my observations:

First off, I’m proud of myself that my ultimate goal in the dream was to get to the place where I could do an act of kindness for my enemy: get him a plate of pie and something to drink. And that I didn’t let go of that goal even in the face of obstacles.

Second, this dream vividly illustrates the kind of tenacity it sometimes takes to forgive a person. There are all kinds of obstacles in the way. You’ll pull out lots of dirty plates before you finally get to a clean one. It’s no simple task, getting to the place where you’ve worked through the forgiveness process enough to offer pie to your enemy.

forgiveness pie 6