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At other places
Leaning in to the Weight of Waiting (for Kris Camealy)
November 30, 2016 at 6:01 am 0


Perhaps the snow this year has already lost its luster. Or instead of snow, you just have wind that goes right through your bones. Or if you're in a sunny spot, you long for what you do not have: the snow boots, the snowmen, the glint of sunlight on icicles. We're always waiting, aren't we?

I live in the midst of wait-ers. We wait for the bonus, the promotion, the sale, that will put us over some financial edge that will allow us to finally attain the good life. But the edge keeps moving back. The houses and the cars don't satisfy. If we do get what we want, we're on a walkway that moves so quickly we don't have eyes to see anymore. It takes more shopping, more stuff, more alcohol, more fancy vacations to quell the ache.

Or, we have a particular Jesus-y version of the suburban gods of accumulation: we reason if we had a better quiet time, more "authentic" worship experience, a different (bigger, better) church down the road, followed through on a Bible reading plan,  a mentor/counselor/spiritual director/therapist who really saw me, then we'd arrive.

But we still wait.

What if the waiting was actually how God comes near? Maybe waiting is (at least part of) the whole point? Maybe we need to lean into the pain of waiting and offer up our broken hearts. That's all we have to give.

I'm thrilled to be over at my friend Kris Camealy's blog today writing on these themes. Here's an excerpt:

The world is heavy these days. Every day we have an onslaught of news — of hate winning, of earthquakes and air strikes, of just feeling buried under the grind of the mundane. In our world, all that has been broken for a very long time has reached the surface. It’s as if all the things that were cheap, easy, and horribly bad for it, we’ve been feeding to our collective body and they have made our skin green and our insides twisted. We just now see it. It’s hard to pull away from online chatter, it’s hard to do the good, hard, next step: show up, make dinner, seek forgiveness (not just across party lines, or racial and class lines, but even in your own family). It’s hard to be present when you find yourself weighed down with the weight of waiting.

When all you have is a broken heart, you wonder if that’s enough. Can your brokenness be more than a defect? Can it even help heal a nation, a community, a soul?

I'd be honored if you'd read the rest here. 

Ashley Hales

Image courtesy of Kris Camealy

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At other places
The Year I Lost Fall (for (in)courage)
October 8, 2016 at 6:00 am 0
There's a bit of cool on the edge of the breeze here in southern California, but that doesn't mean that we've retired our flip flops and are reaching for the jackets. It feels different still, yet so much the same. The seasons shift slightly here so you have to be extra attentive to see and feel. You have to pay attention. When we moved a year ago, it felt like I'd lost fall. I'd lost that season of change that shows me that there is rebirth on the other side. That there is a glory to the letting go. Instead I was stuck with what felt like endless summer. Stuck like Groundhog Day into living the same thing, the same feelings, the same thoughts because the weather didn't change much. IMG_1358   This is the story of the year I lost fall.
Fall was about seeing the world magically change before my eyes. Fall was about seeing the earth begin to die as, before each leaf dropped, it turned to a blaze of glory. Even when leaves were dead they was raked into piles and the source of delighted squeals from little boys who jumped in again and again. Fall showed me most clearly what I’m scared of: That dying is never the end — whether that’s when we’re approaching the end of life, or when we’re dying to ourselves day-in and day-out. There is something mysterious in the golden color change. That to drop and fall is a gift, too. It is not the end.
  Ashley Hales at incourage // I'm at (in)courage today writing about fall, the year I lost it, and the lessons of the trees teach us about giving up, letting go, and showing us the way. I'd be pleased if you'd read it.  Don't forget while you're there to sign up to receive free daily notes from (in)courage, sent right to your inbox!  
At other places
How Can You Listen Well When There is So Much Noise?
May 12, 2016 at 6:00 am 0
Listen Closely, Listen Well -- Ashley Hales I'm right in the middle of a Whole30 -- that crazy elimination diet where you take out all the yummy stuff (like gluten, sugar, dairy, and soy) and see how your body gets to be healthy and not addicted. So of course I have to write about all those things that I turn to to fill me up for my friend, Katie Reid. She asked me to write about listening closely and well -- such good questions. I hope you'll listen in and share with me how you lean in.  //   When I am empty, my eyes roam. My body reaches out for the quick fix: the caffeine, the sugar rush, the endless scrolling on social media. My fingers are curved into a phone shape and my thumb keeps pushing upwards – my body enacting the thought that all the Facebook photos, the witty Twitter sayings, and the pretty succulents on Instagram will fill the empty. But I know, of course, that social media does not fill up empty, tired, worn out spaces in the soul. So I do the hard, unseen, unnoticed work. I’m throwing out sugar, deleting social media on my phone, not because these are bad things but I am losing my ability to be moderate in their usage. Detox programs are for the sick, and we all choose our poisons. Mine just look socially acceptable. It is, of course, not simply about removing apps and jellybeans, but also about taking on life-giving habits. Making room is re-inscribing liturgies in my heart. I’m quick to think that new habits will save me. If the caffeine won’t do it, then I just need to buckle down, check off my devotional time, and vow to put my phone down and always speak gently to my children. I trade one noose for another.   Where do you turn when you're running on empty? How do you listen in and listen well? // Go read the rest right here at Katie Reid's lovely spot. Don't forget to sign up for my super awesome newsletter, and get a free e-book on the way!