beka stays compassionate and relational : programming notes

2012 GOALS

COMPASSIONATE

DEFINITION: to love people, especially those who need love most

2012 GOAL: volunteer one day per month

RELATIONAL

DEFINITION: to love the friends and family who make my life so rich; to make people a priority

2012 GOAL: make one meaningful connection per week with a friend or family member

Let’s review those two.

I know I’ve promised in multiple month-in-review recaps (which, speaking of, March’s is on it’s way this weekend) that a post about volunteering at Strong is forthcoming, but it has yet to actually surface. It’s not that I’m not enjoying working with the Better Day Buddies program (I am!) or that I don’t have anything to say about my experience so far (I do!). It’s just that blogging about it doesn’t feel right to me. It’s so vastly different from my other goals. I have no problem blogging about crock pot dinners or running around the canal or making things happen, but to blog about volunteering? It seems antithetical to the cause. It feels self-serving for something that’s supposed to be others-serving.

Blogging about the relational goal also took me by surprise. Apparently I way (WAY) undershot how much quality time I routinely get in with friends and family. It’s much more than I thought! So that was a nice surprise. But something about blogging about the number of interactions I have with humans on a weekly basis feels too scientific. It’s the same feeling I have about blogging about compassionate endeavors; it feels too much like checking items off a list, like turning people into “to-do” tasks. That’s exactly the opposite of what I originally intended. It’s so far removed from the person I hope to be.

So, like everything that grows, it’s time to reevaluate and adapt those two goals, or at least the way that I blog about them.

For compassionate posts, I’m going to start highlighting people who are making a difference, because there are SO MANY wonderful people in the world who are doing great things. Hopefully their efforts can inspire our own as we all find ways to make a difference every day! I’m still going to be volunteering twice a month with Better Day Buddies and looking for ways to brighten people’s days on a daily basis, but I won’t be blogging about them.

For relational posts, I’m going to focus on quality rather than quantity. The goal is still the same: making meaningful connections every week. But the format will be much more about featuring the amazing attributes of the people whom I am blessed to know and love rather than how often we go out for coffee in a week.

And one more change – I’m taking my name out of the beginning of every post because, oh good gravy, it’s just too much. All future posts will be simply prefaced as “staying __________.”

Amen.

beka stays faithful : holding onto what matters

love it

pinned here via here

I hesitated to start writing this because Lord have mercy, we’ve been here before.

But…that’s what this blog is all about, right?

So, grab your waders! We’re heading back into the muddy waters of learning how to stay!

Today was a beautiful day for me. I got to go to a job I love (working at the juice bar). I ate lunch outside at Wegmans. Then I piled groceries into my cart at Wegmans. I made a pie. I delivered a pie. I got to see a family I love. A nice man came and fixed my TV. I ran on the canal at dusk. I had my favorite kind of dinner – picking and choosing between a mountain of fresh produce. I sat on my couch in sweats reading with the windows open.

What’s not to love?

Well, nothing. It was a great day! And I never wished it were any different; I was quite content with how the day unraveled.

But while I was running, I caught myself in a familiar pattern. Thinking about my next career/geographic/relational moves. Thinking about how things might change. Thinking over an endless stream of possibilities that would result in said changes.

I was surrounded by over-the-top beauty, running outside in the middle of March in Rochester, in the midst of a day that made me joyful and grateful and content…and yet my mind was a million miles away, burning rubber trying to whip around a thousand and one curves.

As I ran past an open field I spotted a big crowd of deer in the pasture. It was a moment that Bob Ross would have lovingly depicted on a canvas with streaks of pink sunlight and new spring greenery and “happy clouds.”

And I just felt like God was saying, loud and clear, “YOU ARE MISSING THIS!” You are here, but you aren’t. You are smack dab in the middle of what I’m trying to give you, and you’re missing it.”

Unsurprisingly…he was right.

When I titled this blog “beka stays” I knew it had a deeper meaning than just staying in one location geographically, even though that was the catalyst for it’s creation. The heart of my inability to stay lies in my inability to stay present.

And apparently just because you write a blog about it doesn’t mean the problem is solved. Darn it.

So, here’s the thing. This lack of staying power is twofold: on one side, I feel responsible for making the most of my future. So I try to plot it out as best I can because I want to honor what I’ve been given. But the other far more dangerous side is that I fear embracing today in light of the possibility of losing tomorrow.

I don’t want to be too enthusiastic about today because what if tomorrow isn’t quite as good?

I don’t want to love the family I nanny for too much because what if I have to leave them?

I don’t want to invest too much in Rochester because what if I have to move?

I don’t want to dive into thriving with complete reckless abandon because what if nothing changes?

I don’t want to give 100%, of myself to anything because what if it doesn’t work out?

It’s the sad truth.

But then I felt God leading me toward another truth: I don’t get to keep anything forever. Not the place I live or the people I love or the body I inhabit. Anything I tangibly have right now. There will come a time when I don’t possess it.

Except for Him.

He’s the only thing I get to keep.

And for some reason that thought made everything click. It was like someone turned on the lights in my sparsely inhabited brain. “OHHHHHHHH, this. THIS! This is what you mean. This is joy, freedom, peace in the moment – knowing that all I have is You, all I can keep is You, and all I need is You.”

If I can trust that holding onto God means that I’m holding onto the only thing that matters, then everything else falls into it’s proper perspective. Protecting “my” life becomes completely irrelevant. I don’t have to worry about loving too much, giving too much of myself, investing too much into each day. I don’t have to worry about what may or may not lie ahead, how my life might change or who/where/what I could lose, because I know that ultimately, my future is secure.

It seems so simple.

Now if only I could remember it.