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Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein
There is a place where the sidewalk ends
And before the street begins,
And there the grass grows soft and white,
And there the sun burns crimson bright,
And there the moon-bird rests from his flight
To cool in the peppermint wind.
Let us leave this place where the smoke blows black
And the dark street winds and bends.
Past the pits where the asphalt flowers grow
We shall walk with a walk that is measured and slow,
And watch where the chalk-white arrows go
To the place where the sidewalk ends.
Yes we’ll walk with a walk that is measured and slow,
And we’ll go where the chalk-white arrows go,
For the children, they mark, and the children, they know
The place where the sidewalk ends.
Where is that place where the sidewalk ends and peace begins? It is the peace of Christ in which the grass grows soft and white, the sun burns crimson bright and the moon-bird rest post flight.
It is the peace of Christ beyond smoke blown black, through darkly winding and bending streets and past asphalt flowers.
It is the peace of Christ that measures our walk along the path where chalk arrows go. For the peace of Christ marks where the sidewalk ends… Children mark and know that place. It is that peace in Christ that children have not forgot.
The peace of Christ they have cast their lot. Where that peace ends and the sidewalk begins is that place where peace departs its human face.
May the Peace of Christ be with you.
I am exhausted. I am not physically tired. I am emotionally spent. I am spiritually steamed. I am running on empty.
I have a few hobbies. I like to create art, run, lift weights, watch documentaries and I love to talk about church. In fact my other hobbies are often invaded by my churchy mind.
I create art that speaks to my faith and challenges the church world to which I am either fighting or loving. My creativity is my bridge to which I connect the profane parts of me to the divine parts of God to renew the whole.
I run and lift as a prayer. I have found liberation in running. I run to the silence of my body working to maintain a speed and struggling to get on down the road. The blood coursing through my veins and the air taken in and expelled out of my lungs being the breath of God filling the fabric of who and what I am. Running is a powerful prayer that burns the anxiety from my heart.
I watch documentaries to connect to stories. I love people’s stories. I try to make time for those stories that inhabit my life. I love to be blessed to hear the holy of people, the struggles and the hurt.
I have formed the foundation of my ministry in these places of creativity, tranquility and contemplation.
In the last three weeks I had attended three conferences. All three have been varied in topic and scope. All three have held anxiety, fear, hope, joy and some things I have not yet the words to describe.
I am exhausted. I am not physically tired. I am emotionally spent. I am spiritually steamed. I am running on empty. Actually, I am not running. I am not maintaining wellness. I am not creative, tranquil or contemplative right now.
I found it difficult to sleep last night. I tossed and turned with thoughts of vocation, employment, future, hurt, loss, fear and a lingering sense that God is speaking to me.
In the midst of this concert of emotion and thought I heard these words,
“Goodness is stronger than evil; love is stronger than hate; light is stronger than darkness; life is stronger than death. Victory is ours. Victory is ours through God who loves us. Victory is ours, victory is ours through God who loves us.” Desmond Tutu
I repeated them over and over. Washing myself in them. I bathed in the promise that God is bigger than my exhausted tank ever was.
God is indeed still speaking. I am not sure what is being said nor have I quite discerned what it is that God is calling me to. I am leaning to the notion that God is not calling me to anything in particular and that God will bless what it is that I find delight in and share that delight with the world.
I do know that the weeks filled with anxiety, woe, fear, dread and control cannot replace the desire of my heart to be creative, tranquil and contemplative. This is where I’ll strive to be.
Holy Wise Word, You are the ancient utterances that fill the lips of children and the hearts of mothers and fathers in all places. Grant us creativity so that we might we be awakened to your presence in our being. Deliver us from anxiety and the need to control so we might be a space of tranquility and Gods peace might inhabit our ways. Bless us with a contemplative heart so that Gods whispers might find our ears. We petition you in the name of the living Word Jesus the Christ trusting that being a space of creativity, tranquility and contemplation in a world hungry for peace, hope and love that we might be what God has called us to be to those in need.
I’m not worried about food so much today. I even had a bit of popcorn today at the movies.
If today is an example of how it’s going to be then I may be aces. D.V.
I am beginning to calm a little. I am not worrying as much about what I can or cannot eat. I speant today at the laundromat and cleaning the house. This gave me time and safety to reflect on the last few days. I did not go to the gym. I needed the break from the physical exercise.
I was reflecting on why I am so fearful of the food part. I have never had a great relationship with food. I have wrestled with food addiction & overeating in my life. When I was a little kid my family used food as a reward. We were not the wealthiest of folks so food was a way we could go on vacation, escape the hardships of the place we were at. Food blanketed our hurt, pains, disappointment & inability to deal with the world. Food was always there in some manner or another. The best kind of food was sweets. My grandmother could knock out a pie or cake, even cookies daily to keep us savage little indians at bay with little money at all.
As I grew older food was that friend that calmed me when I was sad and talked me down when I was fearful, angry or confused. Food and I have had the most soap operatic of relationships. I have been in recovery for a few years for Food Addiction and have been seeing a counselor off and on for the last two years. It is something that I have been ashamed of and alluded to some family and friends. In fact, this might be the first public appearance of this dirty little secret. I am nervous that it will hamper my future as a pastor. Who wants a pastor that wrestles with addiction? Sometimes I wish my addiction was a little more glamorous and easier to shut off completely. I am just not a drugs or alcohol kind a feller. Shifting my addiction to working out has been harder than I thought due to physical limitations. I cannot workout for four hours a day.
Being diagnosed with diabetes is the bottom I have been seeking. I cannot and will not go further to the bottom. I know that God has blessed me with this to allow me to live better. This is where I am at today. I can only care for today. I must follow the best advice given to me by medical professionals as to how I may live well in with this disease.
Last Sunday I preached on Matthew 6:24-34
“You can’t worship two gods at once. Loving one god, you’ll end up hating the other. Adoration of one feeds contempt for the other. You can’t worship God and Money both.
on not serving two masters and exegeted the passage with Pablo Neruda’s poem “I Do Not Love You Except Because I Love You.”
“I do not love you except, because I love you; I go from loving to not loving you, From waiting to not waiting for you, my heart moves from cold to fire.”
I did not know it then but this sermon was more for me than it was for anyone else. I take this passage and this poem in to the fight against diabetes. God loves me and wants me to have health within my body & my connections to all of creation. I have lived in a manner that exploited the Other, my self and the call upon my life. I pray that I may take this opportunity to stop, reflect…regroup…discern in compassion and move forward to be love to the Other I exploited…be love to my self and be love to the call upon my life. Today has enough to bear. Tomorrow if it comes, arrives with provision and direction to bear.
I am still scared to eat. I feel if I eat the wrong thing I will explode and awake in the hospital or knocking on the pearly gates. This is a dreadful way to live. I must find peace in this. I spoke to my nutritionist and she is confident that I can manage this thing with diet and exercise. I am getting more confident. I pray that as the fear subsides that I do not lax my desire to walk this path and fall back to the road that got me here.
I ran again this AM and fell this is key to managing my diabetes. I do not like claiming that I have diabetes. I can barley write the word without intentionally moving my fingers to type it. I prefer “thing” or drop the direct article to create distance between me and this disease. I know I am not the first person with diabetes. I am the first me to have diabetes and this scares me. I now have preexisting conditions and I started to worry about my future and the need for heath insurance. The fight for universal coverage just got terribly personal for me.
I do find comfort in having named this disease that is hurting my body. As I learn more about it I connect the warning signs and symptoms that I have noticed in the past few years. I am comforted that I am not broken or crazy. I have diabetes. I am not diabetes. I am not a diabetic. I am a runner, preacher, husband, son, uncle, friend, advocate, peace maker, artist, speaker, author, bad dancer, retired beer chug champ, wanna-be musician, spiritual director, former carny, liberal, Christian, interfaith lover, admirer of beauty, imperfect creation that was fearfully and wonderfully made feller that has diabetes. Diabetes is a part of me that will shine and fade. I will not allow this disease to define me.