perder la vida

Learning to Live Missionally and Mindfully

Back from the ‘boro March 18, 2010

Filed under: frustration,jesus,missional living,spirtual matters — Katie @ 2:28 pm

It’s Spring Break. WORD.

Originally, I had no Spring Break plans other than to sleep, relax, and catch up on schoolwork. Then I decided that was ridiculous. So after a brief chat with my mom, I thought that a trip to Greensboro (NC) would be a great idea. It WAS a great idea! It wasn’t a very long trip… but long enough to get away from Tuscaloosa, catch up with some great friends, and fall a little bit more in love with North Carolina.

What I realized about Greensboro during this trip is that it’s just a really big small town. As Greensboro has grown, it has built itself around existing buildings and homes. I’m sure many structures have been demolished over time to make way for growth, but many more remain. The downtown area is also not overwhelming… nowhere near the madness of Atlanta or Boston. Okay, I know those cities are much, much larger than Greensboro… but… that’s what I think of when I think of driving downtown! Anyway, I could go on and on about all the things I love about Greensboro.

But, what I loved most about this trip was our visit to the International Civil Rights Center & Museum (could they have chosen a longer name?). According to Alisa, Greensboro is where the civil rights movement began. 🙂 The museum is actually located in the old Woolworth’s department store building, which is where four young men from NC A&T protested the injustice of the continued practice of segregation. They began their protest on February 1, 1960. Within a week, students from other universities in the south began holding their own sit-ins. Within three months, the sit-in movement had swept the racially tense south and helped bring racial segregation to an end.

Since I am from the south and have experienced modern racism, I am fascinated by anything and everything to do with the civil rights movement. But, this museum moved me in an unexpected way.

The first exhibit featured a KKK robe and hood. I did not expect to see that… at all. It was in a dimly lit case and, at first, I didn’t notice it. I walked closer to the case to read an information board on an adjacent wall. Then, I realized I was standing right next to this disgusting artifact. Once I realized what it was, I almost broke down in tears right then and there! There is a part of me that is so ashamed of the people who came before me. None of my family was involved with the KKK… in fact, my great-grandfather (a rich landowner, farmer, and employer) set an example in our community for helping African-Americans. But, I still cringe whenever I see anything related to that awful organization. I wondered how I really would have felt about blacks during the 50’s and 60’s. Would I have been a friend? Would I have helped fight for civil rights? Or would I have fallen into the trap of ignorance like so many southern whites?

I could go on and on about the things I saw in the museum and how I feel and how I am constantly taking for granted the freedoms and civil liberties that we have now. Just being able to stand in the same room with people of all races is a major achievement. But, what I haven’t stopped thinking about since the visit is not about race at all. I started thinking about human trafficking and the fact that there are more people enslaved today in 2010 than there were before the American emancipation. I don’t think about it much because it’s not as prominent in the U.S. But, countries across the world are harboring and trading human beings for sex and labor. India alone has 40 million bonded slaves (the Dalits/Untouchables) working to pay off the debts of their ancestors.

I wonder what I can do… I wonder if I can do anything. I wonder why our attention has been on Iraq for so long when there are so many more people hurting across the world? I wonder why we are stuck on one civil rights movement (Though powerful! And important!) when our global brothers and sisters in our current day and time have no civil rights and no liberties are are being treated like animals. I wonder if things will ever change. To me, the problem seems so big that there may not be a solution. But I hope that as we become more aware of the realities of this world,  people will begin to take a stand the way those four young men took a stand for racial equality in a time of division and hatred. And maybe… just maybe… one day I will walk through the halls of a museum dedicated to the disenthrallment of slaves everywhere.

That was deep. 🙂

 

Though it costs all you have… January 28, 2010

Filed under: 1,jesus,ME,mindful living,spirtual matters — Katie @ 1:38 pm

… get understanding. – Proverbs 4:7

Lately, I’ve been re-reading the book of Proverbs. I don’t really know why… usually, I’m an Old Testament story person. I’d rather read Exodus or Chronicles or about Abraham or Esther than read a collection of random sayings. To be completely honest, I’d rather read the Old Testament than the New. I also really like the Psalms. And I like Hebrews. But, Proverbs??  Proverbs does not have a story, a plot, or a true main character (other than “Wisdom”). It’s in the Old Testament, but that’s just about the only favorable trait I can find. But no matter how out of character it is for me to want to read it, I still read it. And I love it.

I think I love Proverbs because I stink at all the things the book talks about. I stink at “keeping my foot from evil” (4:27), “giving freely” (11:24), providing “a gentle answer” instead of a “harsh word” (15:1), and “seeing danger and taking refuge” (27:12).

If my life had a little more Proverbs in it, it might turn out just a tad bit better.

 

Saying Goodbye January 21, 2010

I have said “goodbye” far too often over the past few years. When I stop and think about the grief my family and I have endured since 2006, it overwhelms me. Sometimes, out of nowhere, feelings of anger and bitterness rise up because I randomly remember that life is not fair.

On Saturday, I heard about a 25-year-old acquaintance of mine who died in a boating accident. This acquaintance of mine, Matt Miller, was golden. I am not going to elaborate on his life here, but just know that he was the kind of person everyone should have the opportunity to know. I was shocked by his death. Angry, even, that God could somehow think that Matt Miller’s life on earth was complete. Matt’s death reminded me so much of the car accident that took my 18-year-old cousin, Jonathan’s, life in May 2008. I remembered my dad’s quick illness and sudden death in 2006. I remembered all the people I have known who have died in the past three and a half years. There are too many to name.

Then I remembered that just one year ago today, my granddaddy left this earth. I remembered how perfect his last few days were. We were ready to say goodbye. Watching my granddaddy fade from one life to the next was much like watching a ship sail out to sea. We prepared ourselves for his leaving, savored each moment, and took him to a place where he could be set free. And in those very last days, there we were, my family and I, standing at the shore waving our last “goodbye’s” until he had sailed so far away that we could not see him any more.

Saying goodbye is hard. Whether you have the opportunity to bask in a loved one’s final sunset or if someone’s life is ripped from this earth like a tree cleaved from its roots, saying goodbye is hard. It is never easy.

It’s not supposed to be.

 

Dreamer November 10, 2009

Filed under: creativity flowing,jesus,ME,spirtual matters,thinking — Katie @ 2:03 pm

As many of you reading this already know, I have very imaginative and vivid dreams. As an infant, I suffered from “night terrors.” These are horrifying dreams that babies often suffer from that cause them to wake up “screaming bloody murder” (in my Mom’s terms). The first dream I remember having was actually a recurring one where my head would get held underwater in a fish tank and I would wake up gasping for air. In 2004/2005, I would dream about my dad dying and would wake up in tears. These dreams prompted me to get closer to my dad and reminded me how precious my time was with him and when he died in 2006, I realized the importance of those dreams. In high school, I dreamed my grandmother died and was so convinced that it actually happened when I woke up, that I immediately called her to see if she was still alive (she was okay!)!

 

But I have also had hysterically funny dreams…. like the time I was being chased by a giant cricket. I often have dreams that are completely absurd and I wake up laughing. Even though I don’t believe these dreams have any deeper meaning or significance in and of themselves, I really believe they are a gift from God… I mean, who wouldn’t want to wake up laughing!?

 

Some of you reading this may not believe that God is in control of our dream life. I, however, do. The Bible has several stories of prophetic dreams and their interpretations. Jesus’ birth itself is intertwined with messages delivered through dreams. As early as Genesis, we hear of Joseph interpreting a dream for Pharaoh. Daniel interpreted the dreams of Nebuchadnezzar, and even Joseph (Mary’s husband) had dreams sent directly from the Lord.

 

Since I believe that the gift of prophecy is certainly alive and well in Christians today, I also believe that dreams are a type of language in which God chooses to speak to us. Some of us are open to this type of language, some are not. I know people who never remember their dreams and are convinced that they do not dream at all. There are several reasons for this, but I won’t get into that here. I just know that God designed me to receive and interpret dreams.

 

In Mark 4, Jesus tells the disciples that “The secret (“mystery” in some translations) of the kingdom of God has been given to you.” (v. 11) Later, he tells them, “For whatever is hidden is meant to be disclosed, whatever is concealed is meant to be brought out into the open. If anyone has ears to hear, let him hear.” (v. 22-23) We all know that Jesus taught in parables and I believe that the Lord is still giving us parables today. Prophecy and dreams are a type of parable, a different type of language that God delivers to us. Most of us ask God for clear and concise information, but I don’t believe that’s always how God works. I mean…. the whole bible is a story that we all interpret to gain meaning and understanding and purpose for our lives. The prophetic is the same. They are stories, images, dreams, words, prompts… ways that the Lord speaks to us for us to interpret.

 

Now, I could go on and on about the interpretation part and how you have to be very careful when interpreting the prophetic. If I receive a dream that I believe is “spiritual” but cannot figure out an interpretation, I put it on the back-burner. I had a dream a few months ago that basically told me that a friend of mine had an evil spirit around him and that he was being used by the spirit to distract an entire church. That is a pretty serious accusation, so I was careful to seek interpretation. I still do not have that dream figured out, therefore I have put it on the back-burner and am still open to an interpretation should it come. But, for now, I do not believe that my friend has an evil spirit around him. Instead, I have just prayed for protection from such spirits and for the Lord to protect that church. Sometimes, dreams are used for a warning rather than for an update on current events. And, sometimes, you have to just give the spicy taco you ate at 11pm the credit for your crazy dreams.

 

If you are still reading this, props to you. Let me know that you made it this far. I feel like I am writing a book on prophetic dreams when I actually just sat down to write about some of the funny dreams I have been having lately. So, I’ll jump to the funny bits.
I have not been having a lot of prophetic dreams lately. In April, I started reading a book by James & Michal Ann Goll called Dream Language. It’s a great book and has helped me understand my dreams and why I receive them. It also prompted me to start a dream journal. I have been writing my dreams and their interpretations (or lack thereof) since then. I found myself up and writing dreams at one in the morning on occasion. Lately, though, I’ve been pretty dry. And sometimes I’ll have a dream and get so busy that I forget to write it down… and then I forget it.

 

But over the past few weeks, the hysterical dreams have come back in full force. The funny dreams started with a dream in which I was dating…… LUDACRIS. Seriously. We were an item and he was so, so sweet. All I can really remember from the dream was that he picked up some really heavy boxes for me and I would tell people that I loved him because he could “carry heavy stuff” for me. That’s the resounding phrase I kept hearing, “carry heavy stuff.” So… maybe I need some hot rapper in my life to carry all my heavy stuff… whatever that means.

 

Funny dream #2 came to me Saturday night. I watched a creeper movie called 28 Days Later where these zombie-like infected people try to attack the few remaining humans on earth. I even told the person I was with that I was going to dream about zombies that night. Sure enough, I did. I dreamed that I was being chased by zombies. I kept having close encounters, but managed to escape every time. At one point, someone actually rescued me from an attack. The next thing I knew, I was in a rickety boat with a handful of other people. The lake we were on was murky and steamy and the people told me we had to go underwater in order to be saved from the zombies. I was crying hysterically because I thought they meant that we had to drown ourselves. I refused to go into the water, so this guy with super dark hair (the details!!) pulled me into the water. Once I was under, the water was vividly clear and I could see everything. There was a whole city under that dingy lake! Plus, we could breathe under the water! It was a miracle. At the lake floor, there was a medical treatment facility and that’s where we went. I don’t know what happened there because the dream jumped forward. All of a sudden, the people from the boat (dark haired guy included) and I were riding on a cart in a busy airport. In my head, I kept thinking “To these people (who were passing by us), it’s just another day. They have no idea that we just encountered ZOMBIES.”

 

Dream #3 happened last night and has fewer details, but it was still funny. I was on The Office and we were showing all the employees the new Jim doll. Dwight was so angry. The Jim doll was made in the likeness of the Dwight doll, except with Jim’s features. We all knew it was making Dwight mad, so we kept going on and on about the new Jim doll. It was so weird.

 

So, there you have it. Congratulations if you made it to the end. You’re either a trooper…. or really, really bored.