Monday, January 21, 2008

"Don't go where I can't follow..."

Last week a good friend of mine played me a clip from Lord of the Rings: Return of the King. It was his way of making light (kind of) of a challenging situation we were in. It made me laugh. It also made me want to watch the movie, so on Saturday night - after a very long and somewhat difficult day - that's exactly what I did.

I haven't watched any of the LOTR movies in over a year, so it was fun to get re-acquainted with the characters and the story line.

Several times throughout the movie I found myself thinking "I want to be a 'Sam'." Samwise Gamgee... a hobbit from the Shire who devotes himself fully to the service of his friend Frodo, who must travel to Mount Doom and destroy the much-sought-after and terribly dangerous "ring". Samwise.... an uncommon name for an uncommon character. He's not considered the hero of the story, but to me he is the greatest kind of hero. Could there be anything more heroic than setting aside your own life's ambitions to help someone else pursue theirs? What a beautiful picture of service, loyalty, and true friendship.

I long to be the kind of person who can so fully lose her life in the service of others that she gives no thought to herself. Someone who can truly partner with others as they pursue God's call on their life... I long to serve people in this way; my friends, my family and - Lord willing - someday, my husband.

We live in a world that tells us we must pursue our own dreams or we'll never get them. But what if that's not true? What if the best way to achieve our dreams is by first helping someone else achieve theirs? It sounds backwards, and a little nuts.. but also quite possibly true. Jesus said that in order to gain our lives we must lose them, but how often do we contemplate what it means to truly lose our life? I fear that we (I) think too small... I let someone pull out in front of me when I'm driving and in a hurry... I just "lost my life", gave up my desire, for the sake of another. I reached out to try and help someone else even though my life is stressful, or dark, or frighteningly uncertain... look at me.. I just "lost my life".

Or did I?

Was Jesus implying something greater? Something that tests the very core of our identity? Do I depend too much on my hopes and dreams as things that define me? Do they define me? Do I *want* them to define me? Or would I rather be defined, not by what I achieved, but by how I lived? And if I truly want to be defined by how I live, then what do I want my "definition" to say? "She devoted herself to achieving her greatest dreams" ? or, instead.. "She devoted herself to the service of others, helping *them* achieve their God-given dreams." ??

I want to want to be someone who gives her life in service to others. I think that's my greatest hope and prayer as I get ready to head out into the desert. Maybe, during those 5 days of solitude, God can begin to transform my heart into one that rejoices in the dreams and accomplishments of others, rather than coveting my own.

Friday, January 11, 2008

I am Legend

Sir Edmund Hillary, the first climber to scale the world's highest peak, Mount Everest, has died aged 88.

As a boy in New Zealand, Edmund Hillary's fragile appearance belied his ground-breaking potential....

By the time Sir Edmund attempted his [Mt. Everest] ascent, seven previous expeditions to the top of the world's highest mountain had failed.

Sir Edmund recalled: "We didn't know if it was humanly possible to reach the top."

Despite this general trepidation, the determined New Zealander joined a trip led by British climber, Sir John Hunt.

After a gruelling climb up the southern face, battling the effects of high altitude and bad weather, Sir Edmund and Tenzing Norgay managed to reach the peak at 1130 local time on 29 May...

He took the famous photo of his Sherpa companion posing with his ice-axe, but refused Tenzing's offer to take one of him, so his ascent went unrecorded...

In the years that followed his famous ascent, he shunned the celebrity that had become his overnight.

On the 50th anniversary of his achievement, he even turned down an invitation from the Queen, so that he could instead travel to Kathmandu to be with lifelong Sherpa friends.

He was made an honorary Nepalese citizen in 2003....

He spent two years as New Zealand's High Commissioner to India, and founded the Himalayan Trust in 1964, which helped establish clinics, hospitals and nearly 30 schools....

Although he will always be remembered for reaching the world's highest plateau, for the explorer himself, his greatest satisfaction came with the Nepalese people he befriended.

He said: "My most worthwhile things have been the building of schools and clinics. That has given me more satisfaction than a footprint on a mountain."

Sir Edmund Hillary remained philosophical about living with such an early achievement. He explained: "I've had a full and rewarding life. Life's a bit like mountaineering - never look down."

Source: BBC News

Thursday, January 03, 2008

here's the problem...

This is the clock and temp reading on the dashboard of my friend Kerrie's car when we were driving home from the movies last night.

It's things like this that make me wonder why I live in Michigan.

Though I like snow and love being outside I STRONGLY DISLIKE being cold. This is the kind of cold that makes fingers and toes start to hurt.

Are the frigid temps simply my cross to bear? Or should I consider migrating south? :)