I recently asked the question of my Facebook friends, "If we could meet for coffee what would you want to talk about?" I was blown away by the sheer quantity of responses, but always wanted to post some of it here for you to see.
Friend: Life, Mark, life...
Me: My favorite topic! Life is a gift that is so weird. Like, you open the gift and it’s messy and horrific and beautiful and hilarious and boring and stressful. And you’re supposed to smile and say “Thank you?” That’s super challenging.
Friend: Über liebe und Leben... (translation: About life and love...)
Me: To me, they are the same thing.
Friend: Dealing with depression...
Me: Yes we could talk about depression for a while. It stinks. And there needs to be no shame surrounding it so we can all get the help we need. Sometimes when I’m feeling blue I just need to eat something! Take a nap, or call a friend.
Friend: What has inspired you to pursue your ministry?
Me: My own awareness of hopelessness inside and outside. And a desire for it not to be the last word.
Friend: Hope - and how God never abandons us, even in the dark times and we need only to open our eyes and we will see God's hand even in those dark times. Because of this, we can live in a state of hope that God is never surprised, by right by our sides...at all times.
Me: Ooh, that’s good. And even when I can’t see God’s hand I can trust/have faith that there’s purpose even in the quiet and dark times.
Friend: The world...
Me: Big subject! The world is full of wonder and beauty. “Ever since the creation of the world his eternal power and divine nature, invisible though they are, have been understood and seen through the things he has made.” Romans 1:20
Friend: I am so saddened by our world...the way everything is accepted,and suppose to be o.k....when it's not... how so different in our schools,and our teachers have no control...I grew up in the best times I know!
Me: I'm so sorry for your sadness. I understand and feel great sadness many days, too. But I'm learning I can't camp out there. Hope, to me, says there is good yet to come...even in this moment there is beauty and purpose, that God is indeed making all things new.
Friend: The massive list of things you have accomplished. Might need several pots.
Me: Ha! Thank you! I get bored a lot and spend a lot of time alone so I find being creatively productive is the best way to stay sane.
Friend: All the things you have been up to since high school!
Me: Lots of naps, lots of talking, some writing, some singing, little traveling, eating, thinking, crying, laughing, boredom, dreaming, more sleeping, and a good share of coffee. I think that covers it.
Me: Yes and how it’s such a great metaphor for life.
Friend: Hope. Faith. Prayer.
Me: Good ones. Three great tools to survive these crazy days.
Friend: What inspires you the most?
Me: Good question! How growing in my understanding of how much I’m loved frees me of fear and shame and let’s me be super brave to try and help other people know they’re loved as well.
Friend: Gifts of God....and the great gifts you have..... 😀
Me: Thank you! I believe we are all equally gifted. Some are just buried under fear, busyness, laziness, or even a simple lack of curiosity.
Friend: The times we are living in.Being single in todays world.
Me: The times they are a-changin -- to quote a fellow Minnesotan, Bob Dylan. But the more I read from the past, the more I realize the same things were are going through are the very things people have been going through for centuries. And being single... for me, a switch flipped when I realized that my being single was a choice. I had thought it was some cruel punishment from God. I'm currently choosing to be single, until further notice.
Me: The game, the cereal, the state of being? I'm grateful for my life...but also grateful for the cereal. You?
Friend: I love cinnamon Life cereal, but I was just referring to HUMAN life, as in how’s your life going, how’s my life going, politics, ecology, the state of the world, religion, etc.
Me: Ooh...big questions!! Life is going, and for that I'm thankful. The world and people are filled with mystery and wonder...and it stinks when that mystery, wonder, and awesomeness gets squashed out by fear, shame, envy, ego. I hope our faith walks and God's love can clear up some of our mess.
Friend: Your journey with Jesus.
Me: My journey with Jesus...yes we could talk. In short, a journey away from rules into faith. From living to get what I thought I deserved from God (because of how good I was/am) to resting/abiding/dwelling with open hands to receive whatever God wants for me. Jesus, in particular, is the best way for me to understand God's love and to see how I'm supposed to live. To literally, be like Jesus was--loving, healing, serving, walking/eating, praying, trusting, and aiming for unity among all of God's children.
Friend: How to be happy and not worry about others or carry their burdens with me. Is it really that easy to just let it go. Why do I feel like I can fix everybody.
Me: I have this same disease. :) You have great wisdom, insight, intuition...that is a great blessing, but also painful to carry. Especially when others can't see their own pain that we are feeling so deeply for them—this is the classic definition of co-dependency. I have to remember that my identity has to come from who I am and who God says I am...not what I can do for other people. I also have to fall deeply into faith..and trust that just like I claim God is carrying me, God is also carrying others. When I try to control or fix others, I can subconsciously push them away, even if I'm just trying to help. I can be available..but I need to rid my mind of how I think others should be living their lives...that's just overinflated ego on my part. You're not alone, but freedom is right around the corner.
Friend: Where you grew up. Your perceptions as a kid. (I'd like to hear the differences considering I'm from St. Paul.) But mostly, nothing about music. Our professions should not define us. Our walk with Christ does.
Me: I feel like my childhood was a mixture of magical times exploring and making forts and listening to music. Combined with feeling like I never fit in at school. Combined with feeling like I needed to be perfect for Jesus. I learned early that life is filled with super intense challenges, and that we're mostly alone as we go through them. But also that Minneapolis was the good side of the Cities. LOL I'm kidding, though we rarely went over to St. Paul. I like what Garrison Keillor said, "Minneapolis is where you go to pretend to be the person you want to be, then you go to St. Paul to be the person you really are." You win.
Friend: How ARE you? REALLY?❤️
Me: Hi!!! I'm up and down, mixed with tired, bored, happy, thrilled...grateful for times when I can go for a walk on the river. Grateful for a good season of baseball going on just down the street from me. I'm learning a ton about myself and my past and how to better love myself and how that plays out in my work and relationship stuff. How are you?
I'll end there for now...Please visit my Facebook page for more!!