I've got a story and I'm trying to live it right

I was recently referred to this ted talk by The Pastor.  It is a fascinating talk by Brene Brown.  I don’t really want to do her an injustice by trying to sum up her talk so do me a favor… go take 20 minutes to listen to her talk.  Or just read the rest of this post and become intrigued and then go listen to her talk.  It’s fabulous.  I promise.  If you and I get along, you will like it or at least have some things to mull over if you watch it.
She had a lot of really great quotes, one of them that seriously struck me was this definition of courage: “to tell the story of who you are with your whole heart.”  In light of some of the other things she talks about in this talk, it makes more sense (I’m telling you…go watch it).  But even without knowing what she has to say about the power of vulnerability, this sentence kind of makes me ponder a little bit.
To tell the story of who you are with your whole heart.  What does she mean by with our whole hearts?  I think she means the good, the bad and the ugly.  With every emotion that comes with every situation.  To have joy, pain, suffering, depression, anger, frustration, love, beauty and whatever else may come from your heart.  To tell the story of who you are and how you became that person with your entire heart.  To be in a place emotionally to be able to tell your story, live your story without repression of the parts that may be hard to show.
Another great quote she had was after talking about how babies, when born, were wired for struggle.  She says that the job of a parent is to say, “you’re imperfect and you are wired for struggle but you are worthy of love and belonging.”  She then quips, “Show me a generation of children raised like that and let’s see what the world is like.”
This idea, of recognizing that we are imperfect and that imperfection makes us wired for struggle, for hard ship, but that we are worthy of love and belonging.  It’s a beautiful thought.  When a child comes into this world, they seem so perfect and innocent.  I halfway understand parents trying to shelter their children as long as possible.  But at some point, they enter into this imperfect world full of hardships and have to struggle through it, just like the rest of us.  But the job that parents have is to instill in their children that despite of the hardships, they are worthy of love and belonging.
Once we accept that we are worthy of love and belonging, we are more able to have the courage to tell our story with our whole heart.  To not make apologies for the places in our lives that we aren’t proud of whether because of our actions or others’ actions.  To share in the joys of others and to be whole heartedly enthusiastically story tellers.
Now, I have no idea what Brene Brown’s faith tradition is, if she has one.  But I’d like to think this translates into the church.  How do we mak the church a place where people are encouraged in this challenge because of the love of Christ in their lives?  How do I as a pastor create a space where anyone in any season of the heart can find a place to call home?  How do we live out the truce sense of the bible, sufferings and joys hand in hand.
How do we give into the power of vulnerability?  Because I am with Brene Brown, I think it has a distinct power to show us the way to happiness.

in my love – be lifted high

I know I’ve been pretty quiet on here.  But to be honest, I’ve been entirely too busy and to be more honest – there’s not a lot going on in my life that I feel like I can write about.  Let me expand…
A few weeks ago I started a summer CPE program that is required for my degree.  This program involves my working in a hospital as a chaplain (intern) and basically my days involve wandering the hospital (trying not to get lost) visiting patients and offering prayer or just to listen to them.  While it has been an extremely difficult journey thus far, it’s also been really good for me and really honoring for me.  But within CPE, there is a lot of confidentiality issues and to be honest, I just can’t really write on here what has been going on with me and the things in which I’ve been processing.
However, I’ve had some thoughts today that need out and only some of them have to do with CPE so I’m going to write them out anyway.
There is something deeply profound about walking into a hospital room and introducing yourself to a complete stranger and then sitting down to hear their life story.  It’s really honoring to be able to be in this space with this person or family.  I mean to be honest, I am walking into their room at what is quite possibly one of the worst days of their lives.  They are in crisis, something major has happened to them, and here I come with my little three ring binder and an assigned list of patients offering a chance to chat or pray.  In all honesty, I’m surprised that I’m not refused more.
But for whatever, in this place of extreme vulnerability – they open up.  They tell me things they haven’t told their family or their own pastor.  I get to experience this place of extreme suffering with them.
There are so many moments in my days at the hospital that I think to myself, “What qualifies me to be in this place?”  And I’m not sure that I have the answer.  But then again, what qualified Moses to deliver the Israelites?  What qualified any person in scripture to do the things they did?  Now – I’m not saying I’m a biblical character … but still.  What qualifies any of us to do the things we do in the name of the Lord?
Nothing qualifies us.  I mean yes, at the end of this school year I will have an MDiv, and that probably technically qualifies me.  But most of the time I am still at awe at the fact that this dream of mine – to do ministry – is actually coming true.  I have a hard time believing that I am really trying to represent God in any way, shape or form.
And I’m not sure I will ever truly come to terms with that.  But at the same time, I think it’s that dependence on God that makes it okay.  I know I will never do a perfect job.  I know that I will mess up from time to time.  But as long as I keep in mind that it is holy ground I’m standing on at any moment when I’m trying to be like Jesus, I think that maybe, just maybe – I’ll do alright.
If I strive for my whole life, my whole world and all my love to lift the name of the Lord higher, then I think I will do alright.  For without Him – there is nothing left for me.