Pay No Attention to the Woman Behind the Curtain

A few weeks ago, I attended the International Clergy Meetings in Bryn Athyn, USA.

Or did I?

I think everyone can agree that I was in Bryn Athyn at the time, but whether I was present at the Meetings themselves… well, you can decide.

I first realized that there was some confusion while at the Clergy & Wives dinner. There, we wives had been toasted by our husbands, “we couldn’t do this without you.” Juxtaposed against that, after dinner I learned that a group of women had set up a protest—they had left shoes outside the door of the room where the Meetings were being held. Empty shoes meant to display the absence of women’s voices in the governing of the Church.
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Social Media

My kids set me up with a Facebook page, so I could see the photos that they posted of their children and of their activities. They would email me the fact that they posted something on Facebook, and I could “open” the Facebook link and “like” it or “comment”. But I had to “friend” them first.

I soon found that if I “friended” someone, a long list of people’s names and faces paraded down the page, as possible friends, and I could choose to “friend” them or not. Shorty after I started this activity, I was at a party, and a woman I knew said, somewhat accusingly, “I friended you on Facebook, but you didn’t friend me back!” (Uh-oh, I thought. Have I just started a new stream of obligations?) All I could say was, “I don’t have to ‘friend’ you on Facebook for you to know you’re my friend!”
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The Noise Surrounding Me

Have you ever just sat somewhere and listened? I mean really listened. What do you hear?

We are all surrounded by noise and that noise can have a positive or negative effect on us. I have started really listening. Externally and internally to the noises surrounding me.

Externally: As I sit in my office at home writing this article, I am acutely aware of the external noises. Some irritate me, some bring me joy. The washing machine is on in the garage connected to my office. The pool pump is running to clean the pool. I hear the fridge in our garage making a noise, aware that it is near to the end of its useful life. My son is outside playing on his bike pretending that he’s on an obstacle course. He is talking to himself and I can sense his joy. My eldest daughter is on my office floor reading a book and I am enjoying that she is here with me.
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New Beginnings

I remember as a child whenever I had a wave of night terrors I would have trouble imagining my room as the ordinary bright place it was in the daylight.… The hells specialize in making us feel things that aren’t true. I don’t have night terrors anymore but I’m discovering that, as adults, a lot of us deal with darker states–whether it be depression, anxiety, spiritual struggles or even mental challenges. Whatever the cause, when we are feeling far from the Lord and can only see all the things that we’ve done wrong this week, this month or since childhood it can be hard to truly believe that life will look and feel differently in the light of more truth. In moments like that I also have a hard time remembering that the less happy times are permitted along the journey and they are not stopping points themselves but something that will give way to brighter states afterwards.

Now, even while trying to find what to write about this time I wasn’t quite sure that I had anything helpful to share. And then suddenly the clouds lifted in a new way.
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