The White Pages

Lessons Found in Thumb Sucking June 11, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — perfectlywhite @ 2:56 pm

So the last 3 weeks Corban has been trying voraciously to find his thumb.  It’s seriously cute to his parents, but I’m sure seriously frustrating for him.  He’ll open his mouth really wide and wind his little arm around in circles with his fist tightly closed (problem #1: he keeps his thumb tucked INSIDE his fist).  I can’t count how many times he has punched himself in the eye.  Though he can get his fist in his mouth, he finds it utterly unsatisfying and begins the circling routine all over again in hopes of finding something worthy to suck on.  There is a point to this.

Here’s the thing: I’ve tried so many times to open his fist, situate his thumb, and stick it in his mouth.  What does he do?  Pulls it right back out.  Why?  Because he hasn’t gone through the entire painstaking process of trial and error that makes learning learned.  So often we wonder why God would allow us to go through frustration, hardship, and suffering, and I really think this is why.  There’s something about being human – and let me know if you figure out what it is – that requires us to experience something in order to truly understand it.  As much as we would sometimes like easy answers, as much as we would like our thumbs shoved in our mouths, it just doesn’t work that way.  This is a valuable lesson to learn when teaching, parenting, loving, living.  It’s a lesson we’ve learned in youth ministry.  We can’t force anyone to learn or live anything.  So often we feel like it’s our responsibility to change hearts, but it’s not.  It’s our joy to walk alongside, love as Jesus loves, and provide experiences and space for learning to take place.  We’ll leave the heart changing (and thumb finding) to God.

 

Story June 3, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — perfectlywhite @ 2:23 pm

Lately, Caleb and I have been dwelling on the idea of “story” and how God uses stories in our lives.  There’s something about being human that makes us long for relationships, makes us long to connect and to be associated with someone or something.  This is perhaps one of the most obvious ways in which we reflect God’s image.  By His very nature, God exists in harmony with Himself.  The Father, Son, and Spirit are divinely, intimately connected, and we harbor the need to be intimately connected to God and to one another as a result of being created to join God in relationship.  It is precisely this characteristic that makes story one of the best ways to get to know others, as well as one of the best ways to teach others.  We pay attention when someone tells a story, because we can relate to the characters.  We put ourselves in their shoes and imagine how we would think, feel, and react.  In my psych days at Northwestern, we learned that story aids memory for many reasons, but one is because we remember best when we are emotionally connected to something or when we must engage by imagining a scenario in our minds.  This is why Jesus uses parables so often in the Gospels.  This is also why learning (and I say learning because our stories are dynamic, always changing) our own stories and sharing them with one another is so important.  It inspires us to connect with one another, to learn one another, to remember one another.

This last week in youth group we’ve been focusing on stories.  Wednesday night, Caleb, Kirsten, and I shared our own stories (testimonies, if you will) to the students.  We walked down to Lake Superior around 7, which is my favorite time on “the pond” because the sun is just beginning to set and the lake is a beautiful array of pastel colors.  While throwing stones in the water, we shared our struggles and triumphs and explained where it is that we see Jesus in our stories.  Then, we sent the students off to their own “spot” with some paper and  a pen to think through and reflect on their stories.  After awhile we came back together and they shared pieces of who they are with all of us.  It was such a special, intimate time of learning and remembering one another and connecting with the Father, Son, and Spirit!  We are in the process of requesting a few of the students to write pieces of their story so that we can share them with you!