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breaking the wind

I am a sucker. I believed the lie. I followed the wind and realized the wind was just blowing, not leading. The wind just makes it easier to get somewhere, it doesnt really lead you on a direction. I was biking the other day and thought I was just on fire. I was setting personal records and riding with tireless legs. It was glorious. I listened to my music and every song seemed to speak to my wounded and empty heart. I had answers to what to bring to a Dead’s Man Party or a theme song for a career as a Psycho killer. Then the dreaded turn. There is a 90 degree left turn that crests a hill on my ride. I rise out of the valley and turn this turn to head back to the trailhead. Well, another answer was there to meet me. The reason I was riding with such ease was the gnarly fall wind. It almost knocked me over. Only the deft skills I possess and David Byrne chanting, “Qest Que se?” Which loosely translated is “What the F$%^?” The wind hadnt changed to obstruct my course or to reward my legs with triumph over adversity. The wind didnt care if I was on the trail, off the trail, walking, riding, or falling. The wind was just blowing.

In the original text, the word for spirit, is Ruah or wind. The Holy Spirit could be translated to be the set apart wind. It occurs to me that the wind that blows seems to be the wind, the voice, the breath. We breath our wind to each other. Sometimes that wind is sweet and welcomed and sometimes it smells like onion and coffee. When that breath has love behind it, it is made to be received with joy. Even more than that, it is made to be given with grace.

I tried to let that Wind lead me. I wanted so desperately to be doing the right thing and felt like if I did it right, wonderful blessings would be bestowed unto me. The problem is that when you are standing in a wind storm, sometimes you get knocked over. Moreover, it is hard to get back up again. The wind becomes difficult. Even when you are tumbling along like a tumbleweed, it can be brutal. I dont think that is living life abundantly anymore. It is hard to be thankful and grateful for each moment and the day in general when you are tumbling along the dusty highway.

It is also tough to recognize what force is blowing. If you are in a wind storm and someone has a wind machine 30 degrees off the winds course and both are blowing, which is the direction you will go? If my bike ride was any indication, off the worn path and into some prickly bush. When the wind is calm or stale and the heat oppressive, any breeze feels welcome. Isnt that the reason we have so many gods with a little g: Money, Fame, Sex, Drugs and Rock and Roll? I have been questioning the little g gods I have been blown by. I chased intimacy and connection and struggled to learn how to do it fast enough. I was directed to career and managed to derail that. I was lead to self actualization and ended up very lonely. I felt the breeze of possessions and ended up suffocated with objects. I even felt the wind heap shame on me, as if I could handle the load. I thought I was doing all of this for other, my family, my kids, my self, my God, etc etc. The truth is that feels like a lie. All of those answers arent true. If the Holy Spirit is the guiding force for our lives and we are made to hear the voice of God through the works of the Spirit, then it would seem that it would be directional. However, I fell for that lie. It isnt. The wind doesn’t really care about the direction, or the individual results, necessarily. God doesn’t say that He wants us to believe and then do whatever he says. What He says is, believe and follow me. He want us to do what we do in a new way. The wind is the breath, the voice to us. The Truth is that the air moves with us regardless of the direction. The Truth is that the why isn’t as important as the how.

 
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Posted by on November 1, 2015 in faith, journey, life

 

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umm, one more thing…

The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein.

Someone mentioned that book recently. I really like Shel Silverstein’s books and this was no exception. I felt a little superior to those in the room who hadn’t read it. I am a renaissance man. They unfolded it with several different interpretations: the boy was selfish and a taker, the tree an enabler, the boy was direct and could ask for what he wanted, the tree freely gave in sacrificial love. There were many others, but I was horrified and stopped paying attention. For some reason, my relationship with God kept nagging in my brain. Was I in a relationship or was I simply taking and expecting? Was I allowing God to relate to me in the moment or was I denying Him when things didn’t go my way?

In my journey, I have adopted the strategy of not merely apologizing or asking forgiveness, but making amends. I strive to mend the relationship by asking what it is that I need to do to make it right, or to make the person feel whole or in the direction of whole.

Quick side note: If you decide to do this, you will need to explain what you are doing almost every time you do it. I’ve had people ask me to please just say I am sorry.

I have been selfish with God. After my divorce, I was at a real low spot for some time. Our friends felt a need to choose sides, and I lost most of them. My pastors stopped responding to emails. Many of my patients were told elaborate and, most times, embellished stories about me and turned away in public settings. Her family reprimanded me and then blocked me on phones and email. My kids were told horrible things about me and told to call me by my first name rather than Dad. Not a single person asked me my side of the story. I had lost my career and my practice as well. I would apply for 500+ jobs in the next 2 years. I worked cleaning golf carts and driving the tractor to pick up golf balls. (That was really pretty fun.) I drove a school bus. I got 2 advanced online degrees. I bought a house by cashing in some of my retirement money and crossed my fingers that a job would come along. I begged God to help me find work and moaned about Him not getting me a job. I didn’t recognize the amazing gift I was being given. I was being granted a life vacation while I got my heart and head organized. I didn’t see it or take advantage of it the way some people would. I spent time growing and learning, but never went to the alps, finished my book, or created wonderous works of art.

I made new friends and meet new people. The friends I had stood by me, shoulder to shoulder. I also had the opportunity to see who I was independently. I got an opportunity to meet and greet myself. I grew to like me again. I was given the chance to see what true friendship is and true forgiveness could look like. I was held accountable, and loved. I lamented the loss of people I called friends and family. I felt isolated and alone. I still ache at the separation and alienation from my kids. I forgot the God had made sure I wasn’t alone. I had friends and family that supported me, that held me, that held me up.

I realized the other day, while riding my “temple bike”, that I have been blaming God for His followers. I have been upset that Christians gossiped about me, judged and condemned me, ignored me, would not forgive me, moved to the other side of the road as they passed by me. I could not understand why all this was happening to me. I was hurt, lost, scared, and felt alone. I was angry at God. The Truth is that I made the choices that led to my downfall and isolation. The Truth is that despite my actions, God stood shoulder to shoulder with me. He allowed me to breath and regroup. He allowed me to understand myself and to grow. He allowed me to open my heart and mind to live more fully into who He sees me as. The Truth is that God didn’t gossip, judge, condemn, ignore, or pass me by. God forgave me, even before I did it.

“God, I have been selfish, dishonest, and insincere. How do I make it right?”

“I already did.”

 
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Posted by on August 13, 2014 in journey, life

 

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ride it like you stole it

I think my bike is a temple. Seriously. Not all bikes, and not because my bike is somehow different than any other bike. It seems like I can be all twisted around the axle about any number of things. I will go to meetings. I will go to church. I will seek counsel. I pray. I meditate. I read books. I write this blog. However, I will remain twisted until I ride my bike. I had a friend who used to run long distances. He said it was getting harder and harder to get a runners high. It is similar on my bike temple. IT takes me awhile to get into the right mindset to hear God, or to recognize the work being done in my head. This last ride, I had to double back and do some sections again because He wasn’t done yet.

This Sunday, I went to a new church and it was an ok sermon. I ducked out of Sunday school because I wanted to ride before it rained. I was headed home and drove by the church where my mom and sisters memorial services were. The service had just started and I decided to listen to the sermon. There was something about this guy that spoke to my mom and sister and I thought I wanted to hear it. He was speaking of Grace. He talked about how to keep Grace you needed to earn it. He told several stories about people who just didn’t understand Grace. He said, with no small amount of disdain, that one woman had actually said that Grace is like a carwash and you come out clean. He scoffed. He told of a college boy who said he felt so welcome in the Lutheran church because it wasn’t as oppressive as his Baptist roots. The boy felt that nothing he did wouldn’t be forgiven. The pastor told of his rebuke and said that God expected more out of the boy to keep Grace.

I was a little bothered. OK, I was incensed.

Grace is not a commodity. Grace isn’t earned or selectively granted. It is given freely and openly to all that will receive it. Luther himself broke from the catholic church because he felt that all you need was Grace. I have been the woman, dirty, hurting, lost, and lonely. I have needed to know I was clean. I have been the boy, rejoicing in the idea that unconditional love is not a myth. I have been blind. I have been wrong. I have been lost. I don’t want to be the person who speaks of Grace and doesn’t share it. When I pray the Lord’s prayer and ask for the Grace of forgiveness from my sins, I want to absorb the idea that I now know how to give that Grace.

As I rode my bike, I realized that I am not extending the pastor as much Grace as I would like to be extended. Shoot. I guess I will just have to accept that some people want to hear it that way.

I don’t.

 
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Posted by on August 11, 2014 in faith

 

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God speaks in metaphors

Went on a road ride today. I like mountain biking better. There is just something about cars that freak me out. I had a road bike before and road with a former friend in Farmington. We road down a big hill and I was terrified. The bike felt loose and the front wheel shook. I slowed to a crawl and was disappointed on how long it took to slow down. I traded that bike for new rims and wheels for my mountain bike. I got another one about a year ago. I enjoyed riding on the lonely and empty roads of Colorado on occasion. I have ridden here in Albuquerque along the Bosque. I enjoyed those rides. There are no cars on the Bosque trail.

Today, I road along the street, in traffic. I just didn’t like it. The cars came too close. The wind made me feel unstable. I felt out of control. I had to slow down and regroup. I yelled in my head. I cursed the road bike. I got back on the bike and held on very tight. The front wheel shook. I was even more unstable. I gritted my teeth and held on tighter. The cars passed by. The wind taunted me. I loosened my grip. I giggled at myself. I welcomed the cooling breeze. I finished the ride. Fortunately the last several miles were back on the Bosque trail. I liked that part of the ride.

I think I will stick to the Bosque from now on. At least I will for awhile. I need to be who I am within my means. There is pushing the limits and there is totally abandoning them. I wasn’t ready to ride the roads on a holiday traffic day. I knew it and ignored it.

I want to be able to do that on the ride and in my life. I hold on too tight. I try and control. I get afraid and forget to let God be in control. I wrestle with the handle bars. I shake and quiver. I argue and yell. I want to let God do it. I want to enjoy the ride. I want to laugh and play and grin. I want to enjoy the wind of change. I want to live into each moment that God has given me. And I will. With God’s help.

 
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Posted by on July 4, 2014 in faith

 

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sand, cactus, and a southern bluebird

Had a lot on my mind, recently. I seem to enjoy the tumult in my life as I continue to add to it. I wonder if I get some solace out of creating a chaos and then repairing it. There is a line in the old “Get Smart” TV series where the leader of chaos tells Smart he needs Kaos because it suits him. I cant remember what Smart says in response. I wonder if I need a shoe phone.

I do enjoy keeping busy and it helps me to figure out things in the subconscious rather than over perseverating on them. (P.s. if you are one of the people that nodded in agreement, apparently that really bugs some people.) When things get overwhelming, I go for a bike ride and things magically get organized again.

When the clock struck Recently o’clock, I went for a ride. I put in my head phones and wondered if God would speak to me through the song selection again. I don’t really think God is scrolling through my playlist, but sometimes the lineup in the shuffle mode is reflective of inspiration. (Maybe I just have good taste in music). I got on my 29er and began the ride to the trailhead. An aside here, 29 inch wheels are pretty dang nifty, but it means your hips are near 35ish inches off the ground, with clearance and saddle height. Again, pretty nifty, well unless your inseam is 31. I rode to the trail head and began the undulations of a pretty glorious ride. I rounded a pretty sandy corner and my back tire slid out. I never used to be so concerned, but Albuquerque has seen fit to be arid enough to let cacti flourish. I had been anticipating this scenario as my bike tire is a tire only by strict definition. It is round and made of rubber material. However, the days of knobbies on that tire were long gone. I came to rest inches from the cactus. I cant swear to it, but I think I heard the cactus chuckle.

I just lay there a moment and heard a voice from under a nearby tree. Instantly, I thought of Mark Twain. It was a southern voice, almost singsong. It was mellow and playful. You felt like you could lean on the voice as it was sturdy and trustworthy. Occasionally, it stammered and broke the spell, sounding like Foghorn Leghorn. The voice said, “Albeit that sand looks more comfy than the cactus, Son, my suggestion to you is to get back up.” I smirked at the word suggestion. “Seems to me that you are mocking my lingo, Sir.” “Not at all, I have had the opportunity to be conditioned to smirk when anyone makes a suggestion. You see, it is suggested you wear a parachute when you jump from a plane.” The laugh was neither forced or dishonest. It was hearty and smooth. The kind of laugh that seems to give you a hug. I looked over at the voice under the tree, anxious to see the person who could hug my with a chuckle. I expected to see Colonel Sanders, sipping a mint julup. I saw a bluebird. There was no minty beverage nearby.

“You are a bluebird”, I exclaimed.
“And you are still in the sand, avoiding a cactus.” he retorted
“I have never seen a bluebird in New Mexico.”
“I am on vacation.”

I picked myself up and dusted away the dirt. I glanced at the cactus and smirked once again. I led my bike over to the shade and sat with the bluebird. We talked about life in general. Nothing specific, just about casual things. He asked me what I was doing in the sand and I went on to tell him about my tire. He said, “Boy, I don’t mean the physical sand, I am talking, I said, I am talking about the metaphorical sand.” He continued, “As I see it, you were running from chaos and chatter in your head and life. You came to a turn in your life and didn’t have the equipment or talent to remain upright.” “Correct, so far, go on.” “Well, my dusty friend, you hit the dirt, but avoided a prickly situation. The funny thing is that you were attracted to the prickle and directed your energy to it. It called to you and all you could do was slide right at it. It chuckled…”
“I knew I heard it chuckle.”
“I am talking about your life situation, not a plant, plants don’t talk.” “Your life situation chuckled as you approached and then rechuckled at you in the dirt.”
“I can see that, but I don’t know how you can.”
“Irrelevant. I find it most interesting that you chose to lie there for a spell.”
“Catching my breath.”
“Interesting, it is getting late, do you mind giving me a ride back to town?” With that, he hopped on my shoulder.

Its a fact. Its actual. Everything is satisfactual.

 
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Posted by on June 8, 2014 in journey, life

 

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askew….bless you

I was biking a pretty tough trail, back when I had a hard tail. (I am talking about my bike, not physical conditioning.) I had noticed previously that my rear tire was slightly askew. The axle had bent and it resulted in the tire sitting at 5 degrees lilt. The tire rubbed the brake for awhile and slowed me down, but I set the brake off to the side to compensate after it rubbed it for awhile. I was bombing downhill, but when I had to pedal, I noticed the gears didn’t shift quite right. I quickly adjusted the derailleur just enough that it would switch gears in a pinch. The pitch of the tire messed up the balance of the bike. I had to lean a little to the right.

I had decided that it was better to go ahead and ride the bike out of the woods. I noticed the problem after a 5 mile climb and felt like I earned the downhill plummet. I figured that the wear and tear would be minimal and repairable. The risk would be that I would have to replace tire, brake pads, chain, gears, etc. The trick, I told myself, was to ride enough that I enjoyed it and not too much to ruin the bike. The problem was that there was no way to tell how long that would be.

My life has been like that descent as of late. I trudged quite a hill the last few years. I have lost a business, a career, a home, a wife, my kids, friends….etc, etc. I pedaled and pedaled. I was afraid to stop. I was afraid to keep going. I couldn’t think. I couldn’t breath. So, I pedaled. There were false peaks along the way. Id think I had seen the worst of it, and the trail would magically re-pitch and I’d have to put my head down and climb some more. I had decided to ignore the feeling that I had finished the climb and just pedal until I dropped.

I met a wise old coot along the way. I paused to listen. I absorbed the information. It was then that I looked around and saw the problems with the bike. I couldn’t really stop, but I could make adjustments on the fly. It felt funny beneath me, but it was better than nothing. I passed person after person. I heard declarations of admiration, love, hate, hurt. I kept pedaling.

My tire was off balance. I couldn’t seem to maintain the course I had planned. My education and experience weren’t important in the eyes of employers. I had a check mark next to my name and it seems to blind others to anything else on the page.

My brake was rubbing on the tire. I tried to move forward, but was held back. Judgement and condemnation followed me everywhere. The idea that I could possibly change was dismissed. The harder I pedaled, the more the rim rubbed the brake pad.

If I tried to alter my course of the intensity of the struggle, the derailleur wouldn’t switch gears. I tried different approaches to the same problem. I tied to alter how I expended my energy, ignoring the cacophony of mean spirited voices.

The adjustments worked and I have continued to pedal. As I ride on, I wonder how long I, the bike, can last without being ruined. I block out the evil voices (most of the time), and pedal on. I focus on each pedal stroke without worrying about the hill (some of the time.) I long to be whole 9all of the time.)

 
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Posted by on January 24, 2014 in journey, Uncategorized

 

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Fall rides

I needed to find you, to ask you questions. I tried, but the noise of life stifled your response. I prepared for my bike ride, thinking of you. I slipped when using my tools and was bleeding from my fingers. I was frustrated, I was in discomfort. I didn’t seem fair.
I finally got underway. I rode the 5 miles on pavement to get to the trail. The air was cold. I pedalled steadily. My knees turned red, my breathing quickened. I was losing my mind in the ride. Despite my bandages, my fingers bled through my gloves. I am only with me. I had glimpses of you. I could see you wanting to hide, but I caught the glances and the longing. I cried some. The sunglasses hid my tears. Any passerby would think I was tearing up from the cold, I figured.
I arrived at the dirt. 20 miles of dirt to meditate. 20 miles to be free. 20 miles. I thought I saw you up ahead. I surged to catch you. I chased you, caught you, even passed you.  I methodically considered you. I thought about what holds you down. I considered your self-imposed condition. I dreamed your dream. My legs cramped. My heart beat. My breathing rapid. I felt your pain. I see you. The more I rode, the more I wanted to be with you. The faster I went, the sooner I wanted to melt into your heart and mind. The miles went quickly. I came, I saw, I conquered. I was ready to let you know, you are what I am going to fight for. You are worthy, and beautiful, and special, and free.
I rode home the 5 miles. I pedaled smoothly and steadily. I cried. I had come to find myself. I had found myself. I miss me. I need me. I want me. I love me. I do like a good ride.

 
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Posted by on January 5, 2014 in journey, life

 

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