Sunday, December 28, 2008

Absolute Value

"There are only two ways to live your life.
One is as though nothing is a miracle.
The other is as though everything is a miracle." - -ALBERT EINSTEIN

Perhaps this statement could also read:

There are only two ways to live your life.
One is as though nothing is essential.
The other is as though everything is essential.

In math terms, the concept of absolute value based on a number line is viewed as the distance from zero. Absolute value is never negative; absolute value only tells "how far." It doesn't define "in which direction." This means that the absolute value of +3 = 3, because 3 is three units to the right of zero, and also the absolute value of –3 = 3, because –3 is three units to the left of zero. Zero is identified as a perfect circle -- O. By design, it has no beginning and no end. It is the point from which all other measurements begin.

I imagine the positive times in my life (gain, blessings) to the right of zero, and the negative times (loss, challenges) to the left of zero. But no matter which direction, positive or negative, everything in my life, exactly as it is, contributes with its absolute value in shaping my soul.

I believe everything is a miracle. Everything is essential. Everything has absolute value.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008


Betrayal is a most devastating act, especially when it involves someone we love and trust. I just read a story on a blog about a betrayal of the worst kind, one involving a potential adoptive family. The betrayal came from someone close to the family who made a complaint to the powers that be and ended with...

Well, I won't tell you how it ended. You can read about it here:

The more I thought about the events, the more I was reminded that things are not always what they seem. I see in the immediate, often getting caught up in the injustices and forgetting that our purpose and experience go so much deeper than the tangible.

What I can't see is the shaping of the spirit that is happening because of and in the midst of adversity. What I do see is a growing faith within that all things are necessary. That all things begin and end in love. That nothing warrants judgment that is used to sanctify us.

We are shaped in the darkness. One is used as an adversary for the sole purpose of revelation of the heart and as a means of purification. Adversity reveals what is in the heart by its presence and by our response to it.

Does that mean I celebrate and have a desire for the darkness? For loss? No. It means that I see adversity has purpose. Though one may bring a soul-splitting loss into our life, it is also a great burden for the one through whom the devastation comes. No one has the power to devastate another's life. That power simply isn't theirs. But they are instruments in shaping our spirit.

If I had read this post even 5 years ago, I would not have understood the purpose of betrayal. But now, though I may not fully understand it, I am at peace with it.

What changed?


Saturday, December 20, 2008


I have watched brothers come to a precipice of separation. Locking horns, muscles flexed, a cloud of dust surrounds them as each attempts to dominate the other, like bulls competing for the prize. Verbal blows have been delivered, landing hard in the soft, vulnerable places unique to each one. It's hard to say whether or not they will let the fault expand between them. It's tempting. Justifiable even. Each one is holding to the truth as they believe it to be. But at what cost?

What is most important? Holding or releasing?

We grip tightly to the things that comfort us; things to which we are emotionally attached; things that give us a sense of belonging, a sense of stability, a validation of love and devotion. What we don't see, is the very things that we hold to are the things that hold us back. If we are not willing to release our grip, we can venture no further in love. Something will always come between us.

A Father bestows a gift. Each son interprets the gesture from their perspective of relationship with the Father. The Father's generosity becomes a catalyst of confrontation. Only one can hold the gift. Only one can have physical possession. The gift cannot be divided among the brothers. Technically, it was only given to one. The gift forces a confrontation between the brothers.

So what do the brothers do? Grasp tighter? Demand? Force? Obtain? Keep? Let resentment continue to build? Or is the only hope for love to be found in the release?

What has more value than love?

Release is the only answer. There is no other. Love is released in yielding. Yielding is a hard lesson to learn. Loosening the hold on the gift is the highest form of respect the brothers can show toward each other. It is also the means by which they honor their Father.

Fire and Ice

The recent winter storm left a coating of ice on everything in its path, changing the sounds in my neighborhood. Now when the wind blows, tree branches crackle and pop, like flames in a fire.