Thursday, March 20, 2008

Cool Things I've Done in Houston, Part One

I love the Bayou City. I've lived in or around it the last 10 years and it keeps growing on me. In no particular order, here are some parks, theaters, and museums I highly recommend:

1. Museum of Fine Arts
2. Contemporary Museum
3. Lawndale Art Center
4. Museum of Contemporary Craft
5. Houston Zoo
6. Hermann Park
7. Bell Park
8. Mandell Park
9. Alley Theater
10. Houston Ballet
11. Jones Hall
12. The Hobby Center
13. Menil Collection
14. Rothko Chapel
15. Byzantine Fresco Museum
16. Art Car Museum
17. Market Square (downtown club district)
18. River Oaks Park
19. A. D. Players Theater
20. Barnevelder Arts Complex
21. Blaffer Gallery
22. Memorial Park
23. Holocaust Museum
23. Heritage Society
24. Cherryhurst Park
25. Japanese Gardens
26. Houston Arboretum
27. Houston Garden Society
28. Bayou Bend Gardens
29. Elanor Tinsley park
30. Dunlavy Park

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Benediction (Giving Up Fear)

What Love!
What Love
The Father has lavished on us.
Intoxicating, unfathomable love
That empowers us to be free.
Oh what hope
The everlasting God will give
To those who fear Him.
If you are broken,
Be made whole.
If you are dead,
Be brought to life.
Because Christ's all-consuming
Love is excessive,
And it's yours.
Find your voice,
Brothers and sisters,
And let God tell His story
Through you.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Stir and Slow

My heart is stirred too much sometimes. I fight the impulse to change everything about the world and nothing about me. Why don’t I just take a step back and let it all be?

You are my core, You have to be. Your voice is like a lullaby and I cry into Your chest and let You collect all these tears. You are always on my side, even when I can’t be on my own. Everything changes, but You do not.

Deep is the emotional resistance I might put up when I try to move through any thing new. Not as deep as my soul and all the complexities of my heart. Maybe that’s why it’s so hard to know what it is that has me so exhausted. I’m so afraid of things that are less and less of a reality, so I am not so sure why I struggle so much.

I’m a fighter, to be sure. Most of the time that serves me well, but sometimes I fight so hard for everything that I can’t keep sight of what it is. If everything weren’t so desperately important, maybe I could take a break, or get my heart to slow down. It’s all the beating I can’t control, even when I breathe deeply.

How great is Your love, lavished on me? I am daughter of God, daughter of Jerusalem, dreamer of dreams, prophetess of visions, holder of hope. I am all these things, and sometimes it’s too much.

There is just no way to equate household tasks to ending slavery or daily routines to fighting injustice. But I can defy the system in all these mundane things—not bowing to the expectations and oppressions that history set up to continue. My name, my vote, my career, my consumption, my marriage, my church, my entire identity screams against that injustice and sometimes the smallest things are the loudest.

I don’t have to be anything. I don’t.

And maybe one day I’ll be able to see how all my small decisions took some major steps toward overturning the system. You came to redeem, to reconcile. The whole order that denigrates women, discriminates against brothers and sisters of color, privileges the wealthy, and rapes the earth doesn’t have to be the keeper of my destiny. You keep it. You keep it safe.

You know when I sit and when I rise, when I go out and come back, when I sleep and wake up and all the moments in between. Love is worth the pain. It’s worth all the agonizing over small decisions and large heartaches, and moving in and through the uncertainties. Because You never change.

It’s why I fight and why I can’t sleep and why, finally, I can rest.