the quarterly wrestling with life

    I had my quarterly wrestling with life moment today.  Usually, it comes as the result of frustrating moments around me, I usually end up being stressed, and somehow some datey/girly thing comes up in the middle of it.  Anyway, if you see me and I’m a little upset, I am.  If you see me and I don’t seem as happy and easy going as usual, you’re right.

And if you personally are feeling rather chipper, I’d love a hug or word of encouragment.

And I, in return, promise more jovial, happy times soon.



have any of you felt this way…

There are days like today when I want to grab the air and shake it, as if it were a person. I want to fight with it. It’s like I have so much energy pent up that can’t go anywhere, and my environment does nothing but hold me down from enjoying the rest of life.

This isn’t a feeling necessarily bourne from my day (which was somewhat frustrating but enjoyable with my retreatants), or my general disposition, but more just because the air is there, it feels like it’s in my way, and I want to grip it and tell it to get in line or move.

But I can’t grab the air.

saleem guhbril

Okay.  As a introduction, I wrote this a day ago, and when I tried to post it, it disappeared.  That’s the first time that’s happened with WordPress.  It was frustrating, and so now I just have the synopsis of what I wrote:

This weekend, I had a chance to listen to Saleem Guhbril as part of my church’s “Faith and Life Weekend”.

We talked a considerable amount about his forte, that being inner city community development with a spiritual focus (his organization, the Pittsburgh Project, focuses specifically on that…

It was wonderful to listen to Saleem again. He’s a mentor of mine and doesn’t know it. Well, didn’t know it. I told him when I saw him, to which he replied he was humbled.

That right there shows why he’s a mentor. The work he’s done over the last 20+ years in community development has been such a blessing to the North side. He’s Jubilee’s master of ceremonies. He’s building a ministry so strong that it’s being emulated across the city.

He was humbled by one kid telling him he’s cool.  I mentioned him along with John Perkins, and he said that too was humbling.

Seeing him instilled in me again the desire to do inner city ministry again.

The dirty type of inner city ministry.  The one that builds houses.  The one that asks the people what they need.  The one that causes you to live there and minister to not just a neighborhood, but your neighborhood.

The ministry that can’t give you an ego massage because hey, you live there.  The one I’d like to think Jesus would do.

Erie seems like the kind of place to do that.  I can’t help but think maybe I was brought to Gannon to do ministry in the city.

Not surprisingly, God works like that.

things one learns on rounds…

…sorry this has taken so long to finish.

I’m amazed how God can teach such complex lessons all at the same time:

I was finishing up rounds this evening and was walking back to Walker when I watched a woman pass me on 6th street. I think it’s important to be congenial, so I try to make eye contact with her, and she made no attempt to do the same. In fact, I saw determination in her eyes to look straight ahead and make no attempt to see me. I became upset, because I thought first who is she not to pay me a simple nod, and then I thought how frustrating it was that in some ways it’s the society around us and the myraid of jackasses that make it a bad thing to look at people, because they very well might want to do bad things to her. I find that same concern for my students here who wander around Erie by themselves in shady areas of town because you never know what’ll happen.

That was in my head as I was walking back, and a guy came up behind me and next to me. He seemed nice enough, but I wasn’t sure… just seemed kind of shady. He then asks me “hey, does it smell funny here?” to which I replied why yes, it does smell funny maybe it’s the lake. We both agreed it was the lake. Following we had some awkwardness (you know when you’ve talked to someone, yet there really isn’t a whole lot more to talk about, but you feel inclined to speak beacuse you made a connection somewhere), and then he asked me what I did.  I said I was an RD and a Campus Minister.  He asked what that meant.  He then said his parents were Methodist.  He walked one way, and I another.

I was reminded of sin and grace.  Sin and grace.  Over and over.  The brokenness of the world, and God’s willingness to love us anyway.  The fact a woman can’t smile to me, and the fact a man talked to me who had no clue who I was.  Sin and grace.

I have found that more than anything, I want the people around me – the students and non-students alike – to take that and live with it, reflect and be hurt and healed by it.  We’re sinners, and God chooses to love us regardless.  We are God’s beloved, but yet we ignore Him, we try to do things our own way, and we try to take a job we are poorly equipped for.

I say this as accuser and accused, because that’s brokenness.  Sin and grace.

hail mary

Over the last week at the couple masses I’ve been in, we’ve recited the Hail Mary.  Thinking about Stephanie Kmiotek and all of the sadness that surrounded that time (and today, as we had mass in her rememberance and for the icon of Mary that was placed in our chapel), here it is:

Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee;

blessed art thou amongst women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death.


…and here is the Eastern Rite and Orthodox:

Rejoice, O Virgin Theotokos,
Mary, full of grace,
The Lord is with thee;
Blessed art thou amongst women,
And blessed is the fruit of thy womb,
For thou hast borne the saviour of our souls.

peace to you.