Shake it off and let it go

ruffy rister seg, sept 2014

Blessed are the peacemakers, Jesus said. I remember that far too well, trying to ease conflicts, smoothing over disagreements, making amendments, giving way.

Peace is not equal to absence of sound. Conflicts not heard as words will still be felt as sorrow, rage, and pain. Not peace at all.

I talked this over with a psychiatrist friend this summer. Sometimes peace can only be made by getting out, not by giving in, she said. Even to us “good girls” who wants to be liked by everybody, who wants to make peace, there are situations and relations where quitting is the only solution.

Perhaps the peacemaking needs to be balanced by some other commands?

One could be :If they do not accept you, shake the dust off your feet and move on, as Jesus also told his disciples.

The most important: Love yourself as you love your neighbor, sometimes means, shake it off and move on.

Perhaps advent could be a time for shaking our furs and letting go? To fight and to make peace, but only where we do it from the heart of our souls, and where there is a will to work together for peace. Never to make peace by quenching what we believe in, by silencing the voice of our hearts.

As usual, I will be blogging on our advent blog, julefryd (Christmas Joy) until Christmas. This is the fifth year my brother Trygve and me share our advent thoughts together. We’ll see you there! I’ll be back on Indexyourlife after Christmas.

Happy advent and Christmas to all!

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The moment to say no

FredssenterI was enjoying the afternoon sun at a street cafe just outside the Nobel Peace center in Oslo. My husband was fetching coffee. It was peaceful, I shut my eyes and enjoyed the calm, the warmth of the sun, the luxury of a leisurely afternoon.

I woke up by someone swatting with a newspaper, I looked around, and saw a woman hitting another, a gypsy beggar, with a rolled up newspaper. The gypsy woman was standing close to a couple on a neighboring table, shaking a paper-cup, not saying anything. At first I thought the attacking lady was chasing a wasp or something away from the poor woman, then I heard her: “go away, we do not like the likes of you around here!”

Instantly the couple got up, left their coffee and started to leave the cafe. “Are you leaving then?”, the indignant, paper-wielding woman said. “Oh yes, “the man said, “we do not want to be seen near the likes of you.”

This rumpled the norwegian lady, she made some grumbling noises and left too.

It was all over in a couple of seconds. I could hardly believe it had happened. But the rolled up paper was still on her table.

It was all over in a couple of seconds, the shame of it has lived with me for a week. Not as much that a fellow citizen acted on her prejudices, but that I was not quick enough. That I was not brave enough, that my values had not propelled me into action, but into bewilderment and fear. The moment to say” no” had come and gone, and I had not said anything. This time, somebody else did. What if they had not?

Just up the street we passed the Gestapo headquarters during the 2nd world war. What happens when nobody dares to be the one to say no?

Victoria terrasse

Do you really care?

2014-07-31 at 04-59-58I was tired, coming into my hotel late at night, the hotel who has big signs all over their walls saying “We care”.
I was walking through endless corridors where slogans, like “you are finally here”, were painted on the floor.
I stumbled into my room, to discover that it was stuffy, tiny and dark.
I went to open the window, and looked straight into a corridor.
I tried to adjust the air-condition, but there was none.
I did not even sit down at the minuscule desk while I called the reception. I was right, there was no way to adjust the airflow, and there was no other room to be had. The receptionist was kind and tried to be helpful,but he could do nothing. I did not even think it was funny when I saw the folder announcing the values of this chain, “with energy, courage and enthusiasm, we create a better world.” I sat down to search for another hotel nearby, one where you could breath, one with two sockets so you could recharge both the phone and the computer, one where you could walk around the bed without getting stuck. I had to give in. No rooms to be had, and I was too tired to  go out for dinner, so I just went to bed. Bad night.

2014-07-31 at 05-08-53Next morning I had a cold and a headache when I went down for breakfast. As I passed the front desk, the receptionist called me. “I am so sorry I could not help you last night, thanks for being so patient” and “I’ll find you something better tonight”. And he did, and I slept well, and I had a nice chat with him, and I guess I’ll stay there again. I can not help but wonder though, how much nicer it would have been if the building, the technical installations, and the very booking system showed that they really cared? The people were doing their best, but the bricks and stones got in the way for their very best. Sometimes we have to do with what we got, but why would you give your employees a bad hand just to make it harder to make something good?

I ended up having a good time. I was cared for.
Thanks to the people who were not only repeating slogans but trying to live them.

The pictures are from the old church at Lom, the true test on integrity, to do what we say we believe.

The hotel made it in the end, so I will not tell you where it was. I’d rather question myself: where, when, how or even if, do I do what I say I will do?

2014-07-31 at 03-25-14

Doing nothing

IMG_5851 (1280x853)Working from home today. It is 11:17 and I have not done a thing.
I woke up, showered and dressed. That’s nothing. I stripped the beds, did the laundry and hung the sheets on the line to dry in the sunshine. Not really a thing is it?
I cleared the breakfast table, and tidied the kitchen. As my husband had made breakfast, that is not really anything at all.
I walked the dog for an hour, and stood for a while watching band practise at the school yard. Philosophizing on the strange fact that even a thing that started ugly, may end up as innocent and meaningful activities. The young boys in uniforms are not marching to war, they are just donning uniforms, playing war music and heeding their leader to add joy and fun to this sunny day.
Then the dog and me went home, scrubbed the garden furniture ( bird droppings), had a coffee (me, that is) and I posted on my Bible blog.

I still have not done a thing, my account is still unbalanced, and my reports are still quite unfinished. The important projects are totally unplanned. Which makes me think. Except for watching the band and doing my blog, everything else I have been doing today are things I sooner or later will have to pay others to do for me. If I live long, perhaps even the shower and dressing bit. So is this true: do I work to be able to  pay others to do the work I do not appreciate being able to do today?

I do not. Sometimes though, my mind, and people around me think that is a way to live. Then I’ll have myself listen to my heart. Realigning my priorities, just now, by going outside to hang the next load of laundry and really smell and enjoy the first sunny day for ages. In a moment, by opening my job mail, while all the time hearing the dogs content sighs and snores as he dreams of his long walk.

IMG_5845 (1280x853)

You’ll never walk alone

IMG_5662 (1280x853)Yesterday I was present when the congregation at Tiller started to use their new liturgical clothes. The process of designing and making them is worthy of several blog posts that maybe will be told, one day. Today I’ll just share the beginning and the end.

I always start with the biblical texts for the Sundays when the liturgical clothes, or paraments, will be used.IMG_5618 (1280x853) This set is red, the color of blood, the color of martyrdom, the color of fire, the liturgical color for Pentecost, for ordination, for the day of the apostles. The texts speak about being a witness, about martyrdom, about baptism by fire and by the holy spirit. To me, most of all it speaks about the God who walks with each and one of us through all this. Be not afraid, one texts says. I will not leave you fatherless, another tells us. Yet another, I will stay with you to the end of the world.IMG_5641 (1280x767) So I wanted the textiles to show God surrounding us, enfolding us, walking with us, in every moment, in sorrow and in joy. Which made me start with the Fibonacci numbers. Fibonacci did not invent them, but told the west about ancient indian and arabic knowledge, the sequence and order you’ll find in nature, the golden ratio. Like the seeds of a pine cone or a sunflower, every row being the sum of the two before it. IMG_5639 (1280x853)To later theologians this sequence became a witness of how God’s ordering principles rule nature. To me, I used this sequence to make a cross, and the world where we live. Sometimes you do not immediately see it, like in life, it may look chaotic, it may look without order. If you keep looking, it is there to be found.IMG_5651 (854x1280)

 

Silver, books or food?

IMG_4193These last weeks I have been reading two books, in norwegian, written by daughters, clearing out their mother’s home. Some years ago my siblings and I did that too, a chore that is something quite else, more like an initiation rite.
Going through item after item, trash and treasures, and deciding;
This you must leave, to grow to what you are to become,
this you may keep, to stay true to who you are,
this you may finally get rid of,
this is not yours to have,
all the time knowing it is only things.
The lesson that could be taken is: “These things are not what your mother left you, but what is, and what is worth keeping?”

One of the authors used the lost Franklin expedition to reflect on what we cherish. The  real story about  John Franklin and his men getting lost while searching for the Northwest passage in 1845 is still a mystery. Actually a new theory was launched as late as this january. What is known though is that these starving, lost men, pulled their sleds, hoping for salvation, but still throwing away essentials to make their burden lighter. The Inuits and the rescue parties have found tins of food, medical supplies and crucial tools left along the last route. They must have been giving in to despair, realizing all hope was lost. And then, perhaps not, the last things to be ditched were monogrammed silver cutlery and a novel. Why?

IMG_4444I found my copy of the book, The Vicar of Wakefield, and read it through, to understand why and when it would be better than food. I am not sure, what do you think?

To me the real eye opener is not how these lost men prioritized though. The more serious question is of course my own choices, not only when it comes to material belongings,or food versus books, what about relations, obligations, work, beliefs?

When I let something go, what guides my choosing? When I decide to keep on to something, will it really keep me up to the end?

Thirst by Mary Oliver

Pat always shares poems or quotes that gives me a new insight, while also resonating with something in my soul. Is that not always so, we can only understand the answer if the question already lives in our heart.

OPreach

The pond God has given us The pond God has given us


Another morning and I wake with thirst

for the goodness I do not have.
I walk
out to the pond and all the way God has


given us such beautiful lessons.
Oh Lord,
I was never a quick scholar but sulked


and hunched over my books past the hour

and the bell; grant me, in your mercy,
a little more time.

Love for the earth
and love for you are having such a long


conversation in my heart.
Who knows what
will finally happen or where I will be sent,


yet already I have given a great many things

away, expecting to be told to pack nothing,

except the prayers which, with this thirst,

I am slowy learning.



— Mary Oliver, Thirst,
  Beacon Press, Boston, 2006, pp. 1, 52, 69

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