Truth In Love of Fashion

14 May

A funny thing, men’s fashion. Here are some of the looks on the summer 2012 runway.

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Um, like, you can’t wear that if you, like, want to hang out with us.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again; when we ‘tell the truth in love’ it should be about TRUTH, and not your personal perspective; it’s a chance for unleashing beauty instead of an excuse for exposing what bugs you about others.

Now for someone, these outfits were beautiful enough to find their way into recognition and onto the runway.

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Somebody needs to take a designer to intervention dinner.

For anyone who believes that the Truth shall set you free, please stop quoting bible verses just so you can express a personal beef.

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Truth: that suit is blue. Love: you are unique and brave to wear it.

A young man I know was invited out for dinner. Little did he know that his two ‘friends’ were setting him up for a wardrobe intervention. “You shouldn’t wear those pants. And, um, like, those shorts? You know those plaid ones…like, um, are you serious?”

I don’t know if they paid for his meal or not, but he sure paid for their self-indulgent-self-righteous snobbery badly disguised as ‘tell you the truth in love.’ It was more like, ‘Um, like, if you want to be with us you have to stop, um, like dressing like that.’

There was no setting free in that, no love, no truth in it either. Unless, um, you’re, like, you’re a redneck.

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There’s, um, like too many of you for one dinner. Like, doesn’t anyone own tweed anymore?

You Are Here

13 May

The whole idea of moving away… again;

that belief that you need to go somewhere

or have something else…

but in fact, if you didn’t have the choice

or when you don’t have the choice

it doesn’t mean you’re settling for second best or Plan B…

Life is not about getting from Point A to Point B…

It’s about getting from Point A to the new Point A

You are here. Now.

I Still Can’t See You

8 May

Success. Ministry.

Two words I try hard not to put in the same context.
But success and life… now that deserves some thought.
To consider success in l ife I have to go back to my goals.
That’s simple:
1. Charlotte’s Web.
2. A Sycamore Tree.
3. Makeup Artist
4. Follow The Yellowbrick Road
Charlotte’s Web: Charlotte took that thing she did best and used it to draw attention to a humble pig, who would otherwise have spent his life in preparation as an object for consumption. No one noticed Charlotte, no one asked who spun those words over Wilbur… she just did what she did. And people loved Wilbur because of her words.
A Sycamore Tree:  Last summer in Ottawa we were part of the crowd that was trying to get a glimpse of Kate and William. Some even climbed onto the roof of the johnny-on-the-spots to they could see over the crowd. There’s a short story in the Bible about Zacchaeus. The story is not about the Sycamore tree. But the Sycamore Tree is in the story of Zacchaeus. You see, there was such a crowd around Jesus that anyone who wanted to find out what Jesus was all about had a hard time seeing Him. The tree was the place that enabled Zacchaeus to see Jesus. Clearly. Beyond the crowd. A cool thing happened. Zacchaeus did not stay in that tree. He didn’t become a member of The Sycamore Tree branch AD30. Jesus went to Zacchaeus and actually told him to come out of the tree because “I’m going to your house now.” No one built a parking lot around the tree or posted a dress-code or made anyone boss of the tree. No one wrote a book about how to get people into your tree. It was just a great place – for a time – that allowed a man to see what Jesus was doing.

A Make-up Artist: No one ever complimented my daughter’s eyes or cheek bones until… she got a job modeling a new fashion line. A very skilled artist outlined those eyes, hi-lighted her cheeks, added specific elements that didn’t change her face but just showcased what was always there. Beauty. Unleashed. And we have no idea who the make-up artist is. 

The Yellowbrick Road: because once you look back on the road you’ve traveled you’ll see that what you think you lack, what you would ask the Wiz for, is that very same thing that gave you the ability to make it along the Yellowbrick Road to Oz. Had Scarecrow never traveled the Yellowbrick road he’d never have known he had a brain. Same for Cowardly Lion. Same for Tinman. The journey revealed the true self. And Dorothy, wow, Dorothy found home among her friendships that were tested and tried along the road.

Success? 
For me success is when a Wilbur is blown away time after time when he is ‘seen’ and his life is valued, a life that would normally end up being used or consumed, or worse, go unnoticed.
Success is when a Zacchaeus moves along, finds home, and is ready and see what can happen in his own house.
Success is when I can skillfully hi-light and unleash the beauty that no one else can see… yet.
Success is when I can love the Yellowbrick Road, even in the midst of pain and discomfort, danger and all.
“Why did you do all this for me?” he asked. “I don’t deserve it. I’ve never done anything for you.”
“You have been my friend,” replied Charlotte. That in itself is atremendous thing. I wove my webs for you because I liked you. Afterall, what’s a life, anyway? We’re born, we live a little while, we die. A spider’s life can’t help being something of a mess, with all this trapping and eating flies. By helping you, perhaps I was trying to lift up my life a trifle. Heaven knows anyone’s life can stand a little of that.”

At Maple Mudpuddle Everyone’s Welcome!

21 Feb

Welcome to Maple Mudpuddle Community Church

The Pastor at Maple Mudpuddle Community Church answers questions in response to a petition that circulated in the town of Maple. They were accused of discrimination:

Q: I guess what people are asking themselves is why Maple Mudpuddle Community Church would be anti anybody?

A: Maple Mudpuddle Community Church is not anti-anybody.

Q: Is the Mudpuddle an affirming and accepting community of faith?

A: Our church was founded on the idea that people matter to God. All people. All people of all backgrounds, all colors, ethnicities, and sexual orientation. The mat at every door on this campus has always read “Welcome.” And since the Mudpuddle  was a wee little droplet, we have flung the doors of this campus open to the widest array of humanity I have ever witnessed in the global ocean of Christiandom. And thousands–tens of thousands–have come to learn the teachings of Jesus. So to suggest that we ask anyone to check any kind of issue or sin at our solid doors is simply not true. And to answer your question, yes, we are an accepting and affirming community.

Q: How do you and the folks at Mudpuddle come to terms with ‘love the sinner, hate the sin‘?

A: Just ask the hundreds of greedy generosity-challenged consumers who attend our church every week. Now what is true is that we challenge the greedy and the non-greedy to live out the financial ethics taught in the Scriptures–which encourages a generosity-lifestyle between the poor and the wealthy in the context of community and prescribes greed-abstinence for the greedy as well as continued non-consumerism purity for everybody else who isn’t already greedy.

Q: That must be hard. How could you ever manage to monitor the lifestyles of all those people at the Mudpuddle?

A: Even as we challenge all of our people to these biblical standards, we do so with grace-filled spirits, knowing the confusion and brokenness that is rampant in our fallen consumer-driven world. And at Mudpuddle we honor the journey of everyone who is sincerely attempting to follow Christ. So it’s unfortunate that we could not have explained this to those pro-greed activists with their consumerism agenda who called us anti-greed and started this petition.

Q: Do you and your people at Maple Mudpuddle ever buy Starbucks coffee?

A: I don’t see how that has anything to do with this.

Her Name Was Cassandriana

7 Feb

A long line of longs

She said her name was Cassandriana. Not a-na, but awe-na. Cassandriawna. She was the kind of person who made sure you always said ‘awe-na’. It was fitting that her name was long. Five syllables. That’s a lot of syllables. But Cassandriana came from a long line of longs, with legs longer than her history, arms that were long – not mutant long but super model or Grace Kelly long. Her hair was long and she flicked it back with her long fingers and long acrylic nails. The only thing that wasn’t long about Cassandriana was her temper. Especially if you, per chance, pronounced it a-na instead of awe-na.

The Chosen

6 Feb

The Chosen

 

I was ecstatic when I received my invitation. Me? I’ve been invited? I couldn’t believe it! But it was true. I would definitely attend. It would be an honor. My imagination was full of my sense of importance and I started picturing myself seated at -or at least near- the head table. The host was a very good friend of mine, after all, and we’d had many visits in my own home already. Pfft. Of course I’d be near the head table in his home. The dress-code was casual; I knew the event would be anything but.

The day I arrived and it was more beautiful than I had imagined. The sun was showing off its sky like a proud parent. The one-story, centuries-old stone home was very old-English-country-village, except for the palm trees and hibiscus blossoms. Flowers bloomed everywhere, unashamed of such blatant exposure.

And here I was, an invited part of all this. I couldn’t help thinking, What a great blog this will make.

All the windows had white shutters and all the shutters were open. Already many guests had arrived before me and they were mulling around. The place was getting crowded quickly. As I came to the door of the house, my heart sank with a thud to see that all the places inside were taken. Full place-settings of mismatched antique china were laid out on crisp table cloths.  Wildflower bouquets looked intentionally scraggly – not wilted, just not flowershop perfect. You know what I mean…

Because there were only so many places around the table, the host had place-settings on each of the antique end-tables and coffee-tables around the large living-room and dining room. People were already seated at each of these places. Small round tables were set up outside each of the open windows so that even though they were sitting outside, guests would still be a part of the meal inside the house. I was seated at one of these outside tables, with another person, a complete stranger to me. We leaned our elbows on the table and looked through the window, into the room.

Although I tried not to, I felt somewhat insulted. I felt like I had overestimated my value in the eyes of this friend, as I had been prone to do with other friends. My throat was growing tired of squeezing down an unwanted lump.

Our host welcomed us all. His clear expression of deep pleasure in seeing each of us there reminded me of why I respected him so much and enjoyed his friendship more than most. Yet the lump full of insult held on stubbornly in my throat. Everyone began to eat, and as we did, some rose to their feet, and where they stood they started to speak. I wondered to myself if I should speak, and wanted to gather thoughts in my head; I searched for articulate thoughts of words to impress and grab the rest of the guests and leave them talking about ‘that lady who shared so well’.

But that would change.

The first person who spoke was a very young woman, I guessed her to be no more than thirty years old. She began to talk quietly. She tearfully told how she married young, but love turned bitter, she was going through a painful divorce and fought demons of shame, anger and unforgiveness; how not that long ago an outing at the beach with friends turned into horror as her dear brother, her only brother, drowned before her very eyes. She went on to say that through this pain, her faith is greater and she loves her God more than ever. Not even this pain could separate her from His love.

The next person to speak was a young man, no more than 25, who told his story. He was adopted, and in his early teens his mother was brutally killed; how his father turned away from him and his siblings; how the pain of abandonment was excruciating, I could see it in his expression, but his expression changed as he told about knowing his God, and how although his birth father and his adopted father left him, there is an anchor inside of him that holds him to his Father. That anchor won’t move no matter what.

A man started telling his story. He told of his happy childhood and the day that it shattered when he found a love letter for his father, a letter from another woman. He told of his mother’s pain and destruction, then her sudden death in a car accident; he told of his anger toward his father and God. He told how time and friends had taught him the power to love his father again, only to later stand my him, pray with him and then watch him die of cancer; how he has learned not to despise his pain but to allow it make him stronger and provide him with a place to connect with others who need God’s love and healing.

Another person – a young girl – stood up, grinning shyly. I wondered what pain she could have ever experienced in her very short life. This young one told tearfully a story that had been told to her, of how her mother had died giving birth to her in a remote village on the other side of the world; and how her superstitious father ran away in fear of ghosts; how the grandmother threw her into the jungle to die; how she cried for 3 days, she said kind of like when Jesus was in the grave for 3 days and was resurrected, so was she; how a missionary just happened to come to visit that particular village and how the grandmother, unable to endure the cries of the wee baby, took her to the missionaries; how they cared for her and found a home and a family for her; of how she was thankful to God for sparing her life and how glad she is for her family.

I was weeping. I felt ashamed of my sense of entitlement. No longer did I feel insulted for not having a place inside the room, at the table. I was just honored to have been invited at all, along with these people. I felt like I wanted to do anything, right there and then, to serve them. I wanted to pour water for them, to bring the food platters to them, to hold the door for them. It dawned on me that these people were special. They were trusted by God. He trusted them to carry such heavy packets of pain, and they seemed to know – or were ready to learn- how to carry them without giving up, without collapsing under the weight. They had been chosen to show the rest of us how to carry pain in this life. They had been chosen to ‘go through the fire and not be burned or consumed’, to come out not even smelling of smoke.

Many more shared; the parent holding a child while they took their last breath; the news of the death of a little sister; lost love and near suicide; scars of abortion; a young woman’s rejection after coming out; a grown man whose father never told him ‘I love you’. So so many stories.

No one wanted to leave the house. How could so much talk of pain end up causing nothing but a sense of hope and possibility and freedom? My wanting to sit at the head table seemed so infantile at this point. There is such a bigger picture happening around us and I was inspired to live into the big picture and be glad for a place even outside the window. It’s a picture with rare colours, strange pairings, odd hues with hints of pain and of forgiveness, restoration, redemption and even resuscitation.

Thank-you, dear Host, for my personal invitation to this Picture.
I love You.

Patricia Anne DeWit

Those Elastics

19 Jan

 

Ow!

Sorry, this must be one of those brushes for a bald man.

He laughed, sort of, his breath soursweet. At least he was up. He would remember this.

There. How’s that? He always asked. She never answered. It was lumpy. It would hurt to take the rubber band out and do it again. Mom always used a scrunchy. All Dad could find now were elastics, like the one that closed the oversized Walmart bag that held her Cheez Whiz on white. She knew the lunch monitor would help her with the elastic after she fixed her ponytail.

Dad’s De Soto

18 Jan

A story in 420

I told Vern about the car. The motor was fast. He didn’t believe me. So we took it out for a ride. He was driving. I told him go up to 70. It was automatic with a push button shift, no stick. I said to drop it from drive to 2nd, then put his foot to the mat. It lifted the front end right off the road. It scared him so bad that he took his foot off the gas, brought the speed down to 35. He kept it there. We turned off the 401 at Thickson, took service road back home at 30. It scared Vern so bad. I didn’t say a word. Didn’t have to.

Street Stains

15 Jan

The Spill

A story in 420

Shoes, wallets and helmets littered the road and two people lay on the dirty summer asphalt, one crying and writhing in broken pain, the other showing no movement except for the blood spilling out of his ears, his nose and his mouth, an unstoppable rhythmic sort of spilling directed by the ever-slowing pulse; a pulse that should have been feeding that very blood into a system of working organs but was now pushing the redness of life out of that 16 year-old body, soaking his clothes, staining the street.

You Pull, I’ll Pour

13 Jan

A story in 420 characters

The men wore no shirts. Their backs were golden like fried chicken. They were building suburbia across the street. It was a hot there’s-nothing-to-do day for two sisters who paraded through the construction site. Pieces of parquet flooring and lumps of dried cement made it hard for them to pull the wagon. “You pull the wagon, I’ll pour the lemonade.”

“Why do you get to pour?”

“Just pull!”

The men smiled, pointed with their chins. They sauntered over to the wagon. At 5 cents a cup they welcomed the break.

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