There Are Always More Dishes

Life is like the dishes. There are always more dishes. Not half an hour ago I washed the last container and miscellaneous spoon (there are always an abundance of dirty spoons in my kitchen), and then I emptied my lunch kit and found two more containers. So it goes. I paid my telephone bill just now, but there is a credit card bill waiting in the wings. There is always another bill. There is always another dish. Don’t get me started on laundry.
I’m in a slump. I have a slump every six to eight weeks, so I’m no longer alarmed by them. I know I will rise like the phoenix and become my usual, optimistic self. But that person is unlikely to return today. I’m consumed my merry-go-round life, and trying to reconcile how hard I’m working with my meagre results. When will I catch up to my dreams? It’s like the final lines of The Great Gatsby , in which Nick Carraway likens us to ‘boats against the current, borne ceaselessly into the past.”

I remind myself that I’m only twenty-three, and can hardly be expected to have it together. I also remind myself that part of the issue is that keep myself in a constant state of tension between my current life and my dreams.

But when I’m in a slump, these don’t seem to matter. My best bet is to keep the motions going, so that when Geralyn the Optimist returns, she doesn’t have too big of a mess to deal with.

My pastor said that hopelessness indicates we’ve reached our personal limit. Hopelessness is us ‘redlining’–a warning that we dare not stay here too long or we may get hurt.

But he also said that hopelessness was his favourite ‘difficult emotion.’


He insisted it was true because, when hopelessness, he turned to Jesus. In fact, hopelessness was what brought him to Christ in the first place.

So in these moments when I can’t seem to keep my head up and life seems like an ever accelerating treadmill, I’ve been thinking about that a lot. It’s true, I guess. During my slumps, I listen to more sermons, more hymns and Christian music. I pray more, even though it’s mostly “Help!”

I wish I could instantly be rid of this blend of weariness, discouragement and uncertainty but if I can’t, I guess I can ‘glory in my weakness’ in which God’s power can be perfected.

The Single Girl’s Guide to Surviving Wedding Season

Do you feel conspicuously single at weddings? I do. Golly, ‘single’ must seep out of my pores.

It’s June, and darned if we’re not in the thick of wedding season. I, the unsuspecting writer, took my laptop to the coffee shop to nurse an iced Americano, shop for book covers, and do odd internet errands, and what do I find? The girl who ‘can’t wait to try on her dress tomorrow’ is beside me.

I walked by the bulletin board at work today and saw a poster for someone’s wedding social.  Didn’t they just take one down?

Non-Manitobans, a social is a gathering where people eat, get drunk, dance, and give money to the couple… or something.

I’ve passed through one wedding already and have two ahead of me in the next three weeks. I’ve been the dutiful friend and coworker who’s oohed and ahhed over the ring, the dress, the invitations, and then hugged the bride at the wedding and sat through the speeches. I caught the bouquet (and knocked some poor chick over—read about that here), and I’m prepared to do it all over.

I’ve picked out a pretty aqua sundress. I’ve circled Home Outfitters with a gift registry (does anyone go to Home Outfitters for any other reason?) for eons looking for the one jar.

There’s a bitter-sweetness to it. I’m so happy for my friends. And, well, I’m so glad I’m not the one planning what colour the border on my invitation will be and if I should or shouldn’t invite third-cousin Steve. But they go two by two, as someone once said, and I always wonder, as I clutch the gift registry, as I sit in the pew, camera poised: when will it be my turn?

Single girls: don’t we all think that?

Don’t we all feel a little bit gut-punched when our friend announces her engagement, as she shows off the ring, as she flips through her wedding photos? Even though in our strongest moments, we remember how happy we are for our independence, and how glad we are that we’re not starting a family just yet, and we tell ourselves that we’re too busy for a relationship?

We’re not crazy for feeling that way. We’re made for love and for relationships. Our hopes and our dreams are good, natural desires. Our unfulfilled sex drive (if you’re a celibate single like me) is not evil.

It just isn’t time yet.

Now isn’t the time to pine for what you can’t have, and what you probably can’t control. Now is the time to chase your purpose, your calling, your potential. Now is the time to pursue education—to get the degree, or to delve deep into subjects you love. Now is the time for adventure—hopefully with your family or your best friends. Bungee jump, backpack Europe, go on a week-long shopping trip (like my sister and I are doing in a couple weeks. Yay!). Now is the time to learn discipline—keeping house, financial intelligence, healthy living.

Those things, once accomplished, cannot be taken from you. They are ‘safely stored in the past’ as Victor Frankl said. They will turn your life into a masterpiece whether you marry and start a family, or you are the crazy aunt who tells the best stories.  Believe it or not, there is much more to your life’s calling than ‘wife’ or ‘parent’, even though those are good things.

I hope you make the most of the now, because time isn’t waiting for you or the spouse that may be out there for you. One day you’ll wake up and ten years will have past. Will you have made anything of them?

As I said recently, the future doesn’t seem to deliver. Putting our hope on future events will just let us down. Rather, let’s work on everything we can and put the rest in God’s hands.

Single gal in the aqua sundress, the wrapped gift in her hands: cry if you want when the bride walks by. It isn’t easy to be single. But dry your tears and smile, and dance, and catch the bouquet, and laugh with all your friends around the table. Enjoy the moment, whatever it is—and perhaps soon you will find yourself where you want to be, that you are the person you want to be.

Why Christians Should Make the Best Employees

As a Christian, realizing your coworker has the same faith can be like finding a fellow countryman in a strange land—an instant connection.

But sometimes a coworker claimed to believe as I and hoped no one else knew. I remember one young guy I worked with who was often late, disappeared once for a few days (he said later he was sick), and was laughed at behind his back because he was lazy, stupid, and couldn’t be relied on to do his job well.

And then I found out he was quitting to go work at a Christian camp. I cringed.

Another time, a coworker was telling me a humorous story about another guy who used to work there who, while out in the field, would hide his vehicle and take a nap. My coworker caught him because he forgot to turn off the flashing beacon on the vehicle. He told me his name and my heart sank. I’d gone to Bible School with him.

Neither of these are isolated incidents in my short career.

It shouldn’t be this way. Christians should be the best employees. Why?

We are Ambassadors of Christ

“We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us” (1 Corinthians 5:20 NIV).

I’ve been drilled since childhood: we need to share the Gospel with our friends. But if we do not display the results of the Gospel in our lives, why should they listen to us?

Excuse me, but the fruit of the spirit is not laziness, tardiness, abrasiveness and irresponsibility. If we cannot be trusted, if the supervisor has to correct us constantly, if we take longer breaks than is our due, if we gossip and engage in political games, what proof of the Gospel is there? Faith without works is dead.

By being the example of an excellent employee, we build our platform for witness.

Work is our Divine Mission

Paul said to the slaves in Ephesus (a position more like the typical employee of our day and less like the North American slavery we are accustomed to reading about) that they should obey their earthy masters with respect and with sincerity of heart, “Not only to win their favour when their eye is on your, but like slaves of Christ, doing the will of God from your heart. Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord,” (Ephesians 6:5-8 NIV).

Do you see what he says? “Doing the will of God from your heart.” Your work—God’s will. We serve wholeheartedly, because God has given us a job to do, and he is our true master. Even before the fall of mankind, Adam was given work to do. Work is not a punishment, but a mission.

God is leading me to see my job as a sacred calling: yes, manufacturing pharmaceuticals, a divine appointment. Every day when I walk into production and look at the board for my assignment, it isn’t just my supervisor who has given me that task, but God—my true master. Whatever I am doing, I must do it well. Whoever I am working with, I must bless.

I like calling it an assignment.  It makes me feel like a secret agent.

It’s far harder to do than to say, because by definition, excellence requires going against the current. And the current sure is strong in my workplace.  It seems I’ve failed just as many times as I’ve succeeded.  But it is fulfilling to know that my job in manufacturing is just as important as my job as a Sunday school teacher.

Your work is your mission field.

I hope to flesh this topic out further in the next couple of weeks, with the intention to write a more comprehensive ‘theology of work’. Dorothy Sayers wrote an essay on the subject, called “Why Work.” It is challenging, but incredibly affirming for those of us who don’t work in traditional Christian ‘ministries.’  


Why I Left Christian Music

I stopped listening to Christian music about the time we got high-speed Internet in our house. I was probably sixteen. I’d never been on YouTube before.

I had a problem with ‘worship music’ since my early teens, about when I entered my angsty stage (from which I never emerged, by the way). I’d be at a youth-retreat. The band would be playing their heart out, and all around me people would be raising their hands and crying, and I’d be standing there going “if you repeat the chorus one more time, I swear I’ll kill someone.”

Angsty, remember.

If the band was good, all I wanted was to be up there playing in the band. If the band was bad, I’d stare at the ground, embarrassed for them. By the fifth round of the chorus I’d refuse to sing, and say “God, I’m sure you get the point by now.” And then I’d feel guilty.

I was sure something was wrong with me. Why couldn’t I feel anything? I loved Jesus. I wanted to follow him. I wanted to worship. Why couldn’t get all into it like everyone else?

I enjoyed Christian rock, but at the time there was no Christian rock station in my area, so I was limited to the few CD’s I bought. The Christian radio station played mostly pop and Chris Tomlin and all this local stuff that sounded like it was produced in a basement.

Haunted by my lack of connection to the words, annoyed by the sound, I turned to mainstream music.

What kind? All kinds. I’ve never pinned myself to a genre. But it sure was angst-ridden. Sad songs about lost love, struggle, depression, longing.

Was it the darkness that drew me to those songs? It isn’t that you can’t find darkness in Christian music, particularly Christian rock, but my local station (the one that played Chris Tomlin and pop music) sure was bright and shiny. I didn’t do bright and shiny. If you look at my writing from those days–actually, if you look at any of the novels I’ve written–you’ll see that I cover a lot of dark themes and I’m really not sure why. But as music often acts as the inspiration and the soundtrack for my writing, melancholy melodies are what I needed to come through my ear buds.

And then I went through a ‘hipster music’ stage—for my older friends, that means Mumford and Sons, Bon Iver, the Lumineers, and then as many bands that no one has heard of as possible. Make it weird, raw and jangly… yes, jangly.

These days my playlist is a bit more up-tempo, more hopeful. My anthem this week has been “Sprawl II: Mountains Beyond Mountains” by Arcade Fire. “They heard me singing and they told me to stop. Quit these pretentious things and just punch the clock. These days I feel my life, it has no purpose. But late at night these feelings swim to the surface.”

To me it signifies the struggles against the mundane. I aspire to so much, but most people around me would only drag me down if I listen to them. Gosh, I got a lump in my throat just now. My ‘romantic battle’ to follow my dreams of being a writer and just plain an excellent person is one of the most important things in my life—and, I believe, part of God’s purpose for me.

I’ve yet to find the Christian equivalent to bands like Arcade Fire, Broken Bells, Passenger and Muse. I recently found a Christian ‘Mumford and Sons’ lookalike, but their songs were so saccharine that I exited iTunes without purchasing.

But lately I’ve made a return to Christian music.

It began when I joined a group of young women who meet to pray, study and worship together. The group leader would always play worship music, and I would often sit there (pretending to pray silently) annoyed as heck with the music. I mean, what did they do? Put all the Christian clichés in a bowl, mix it up and flop it on the page?

But one day, she played an album by Christy Nockels—“Into the Glorious”. Her beautiful voice, the piano driven sound and the beautiful lyrics got to me. I bought a couple songs and began listening to them when I was down or in a funk, and they would remind me of the goodness of God.

I now have a playlist—a short playlist—of ‘songs of worship’, which I will play during my devotional times, or when I need to be reminded of God’s truth.

I also have a mind full of hymns that I learned as a child, and I love to belt them out when alone in my process room at work. The profundity of the poetry and beautiful melodies make them mini-sermons for my soul. I still find singing in church a bit awkward, and being an anal writer, I’m driven wild by the prevalence of pronoun confusion, tense-jumping, and other literary weirdness but… we’ll let that pass. I seem to be growing out of it—a little.

It’s not sinful to enjoy music made by non-Christians. We are all endowed with a certain measure of common grace, and many artists use it to produce wonderful music. I doubt that the list of Christian music I own will ever be longer than the mainstream, but I’m opening myself up to finding it again. They both have their place.

In other words, no need to play therapist to me. I’ll be fine. 🙂

But, having said that, if you know of a band I’d like, please let me know! Comment, or share a YouTube link so I can take a listen. And I always appreciate when you guys share articles on Facebook and Twitter. Thanks for your help.

Note: The term “Christian music” means different things to different people. I’ve defined it as music produced by a band that specifically claims to be Christian and/or is associated with a Christian music label, as this is what I think of when I think “Christian music”. If I were to write out a definition of ‘Christian Music’, I would probably call it ‘music produced by Christians for the glory of God, regardless of what genre it belongs to.’

Roll Up the Rim is Gambling! (A True Theological Dilemma)

I’m on such a losing streak. I’ve yet to win anything in Roll up the Rim. Nothing, not even a donut. This year each cup even has two rolls on it and I’m still skunked.


But I roll anyway, because I remember The Streak. It was a college kid’s dream. I rolled a rim and won a coffee, which won another coffee, which won another coffee, which won another. Tim Hortons didn’t make any money on me that year, oh no. Never mind that I was only buying coffee there because it was Roll up the Rim…

The other day, my sister and I had a perfectly serious conversation about what we would do if we won the car (sell it), and this morning as I pulled into the drive-through, I said “Oh Lord, if I could only win something big…”

It dawned on me this morning, as I rolled out of the drive-through, that this Roll up the Rim thing may be… it might be **whispers** gambling.


You don’t say. A good Mennonite? Gambling?

Well, if you think about it, a cup of coffee is almost the same price as a bet at the local horse races (that place of sin and debauchery).

What is a Mennonite to do? Maybe I need help. Maybe I should buy coffee exclusively at McDonalds where I am at least guaranteed a sticker for my rewards card–a return on my investment. Perhaps that would be better stewardship of my God-given resources.

Or maybe buying coffee at Tim's is too worldly all together! Never mind that NOT going to Timmies makes me un-Canadian or something. Mennonites don't really do the patriotism thing. Everyone knows that.

Well, if I ever win the car, I will tithe once I sell it. I promise. That makes it okay, right? Right?

I hope my good Mennonite friends will recognize satire when they see it 🙂

The Gift of Inadequacy

What if inadequacy is actually an advantage?

This story didn’t begin in a place of loss.  Friday was a day of triumph for me–a day of small victories that all added up to make me feel that potent combination of warm and fuzzy and exhilaration.  I hadn’t felt so good in a long time.

After my late shift, I sat at the kitchen table with a bowl of fruit and yogurt, and basked in the glory of the day–the weekend that had finally arrived, the goals I’d finally met, and the crucial conversation about faith I’d finally opened with a coworker.

And then I realized that this sort of conversation was exactly what I was meant for, even called to.  That beautiful feeling vanished. Instantly I was scared, and I said to God “No, I’m not smart enough, I don’t have time to study for it, I’m not brave enough. I can’t do it!”

And this story, from C.S. Lewis’s Prince Caspian, came to mind:

The Narnian soldiers stand on the banks of the river Beruna, stern and triumphant. The Telmarines cower in terror at the sight of the great lion, Aslan. The talking animals of Narnia surge around Aslan’s feet, in joyful adoration.

And Peter pushes Prince Caspian forward to meet the Lion.

“Welcome, Prince,” said Aslan. “Do you feel yourself sufficient to take up the Kingship of Narnia?”

“I-I don’t think I do, Sir,” said Caspian. “I’m only a kid.”

“Good,” said Aslan. “If you had felt yourself sufficient, it would have been proof that you were not. Therefore, under us and under the High King, you shall be King of Narnia.”

After a couple days of digesting, I realize that darn right, I’m not smart enough and brave enough, nor do I have enough time to study all I could study. That is all beside the point. No, it is BETTER that way. Recognizing that I can’t do it brings me to the place of humility and openness that precedes great learning and personal change.  It opens me up to ask for help.

I’ve sometimes been offended when I’ve celebrated some small success, only to have someone say “I wish I could do that” in the sort of tone that says they’re sure they can’t. I want to jump across the table and say ‘Why the HECK not? Do you really think I succeeded because I’m so much more special, heck, lucky than you?”

I realize now that I was doing the same thing.

None of the people that I admire started with themselves all together.  They grew into that role that I admire them for.  You weren’t born able to walk, even though you had legs and muscles, and everything else you needed.  You grew, and became strong, and you watched people around you walk.  And one day, you walked.

Feelings of inadequacy ARE and advantage, because if I know I’m not good enough, I know I need to learn.

One of the Biggest Lies I Know

One of the biggest lies you will ever hear is “Mom, these aren’t my cigarettes. I’m holding them for a friend”–to paraphrase Claude Hamilton.

Another is this: no one understands you.

Have you ever just known that no one ‘got you’? Have you ever been sure that if people knew the real you, they’d never accept you? I’d venture that we all have, and I’ve come to believe it’s a lie.

We are not alone.

I’m the only writer in my family. They find my imagination and my humour and my obsession with social media to be rather off the wall. Don’t get me wrong–I love my family to death. But sometimes I find this frustrating, because I can’t talk about what is important to me. I thought I was completely unique–perhaps even a wacko–until I found entire communities of others just like me. It was sort of a homecoming. “You mean you’ll take me seriously if I ask ‘do clones have souls?’ You mean we can have whole conversations about punctuation?”

I had an addiction that was eating away at my insides. I was ashamed, and didn’t want anyone to know. I wanted to deal with it myself, but I couldn’t. When I finally confessed it to friends, they said “Uh huh. I know what you mean,” and gave me grace and encouragement. Just having it the open took away its power.

It’s a humbling thing to realize that your eccentricities and your dirty secrets are actually not uncommon. What? I’m not special?

Well, yes, you are.

But the belief that we are the odd one out may actually make things worse. It drives us away from those who could help us, and who may actually understand what we’re going through. We get all turtled up in ourselves and don’t see that hands are reaching out.

Its actually a great strategy. I don’t know if you believe in the devil, but if you were the devil and wanted to destroy God’s creatures, what better way then to drive them all apart? Feeding them the lie that ‘no one understands’ is a great place to start.

There may be a scenario where we actually are alone, and in that situation, it is helpful to have a solid grounding in faith. My own faith is in Jesus Christ, and he is always with me. Sometimes it just requires me to pull my head out of my troubles and look up at him. Because he came to earth as a human being, he can empathize with the failings of our mortal selves.

My brothers and sisters, the weirdos, you are not alone. Your oddities and your secrets do not have to isolate you. Keep looking. We will find each other eventually.

Why I Ignored My Phone Yesterday (Or, A Guilt-Free Holiday)

I love to write. But what I didn’t realize that, these days, writing means building a social media presence. Before I began taking my writing seriously, social media was something I did once or twice a week. Now whenever I pick up my phone, I hit the Facebook, Twitter or WordPress app immediately. And I pick up my phone every ten minutes.

I just checked my phone.

You’re looking at your phone, aren’t you?  I knew it.

Checking my blog stats is beginning to feel like an addiction. It’s beginning to feel like… slavery. So, this Sunday, I decided to take a Sabbath from social media.

‘Sabbath’ is a Judeo-Christian concept, which began as a day in which no work was to be done. It memorialized a couple things: first, that on the seventh day of creation, God rested from all his work. Second, it reminded the Children of Israel that God had freed them from slavery and forced labor. And, now, in the Christian tradition, the Sabbath falls on Sunday to honor the resurrection of Jesus Christ. It is a day to reflect, and a day to be free. As Mark Driscoll has said, God is a loving Father who doesn’t want his kids to work all the time. He wants them to have time to spend with him.

But it isn’t just for those of faith. We all need time to be free. Daniel Pink, author of A Whole New Mind (and of no discernable religious affiliation), suggests taking a Sabbath as a way to “remove yourself from the maw” and refocus. He says “Whatever your faith, consider experimenting with this practice [of taking a day of Sabbath]… If committing to this weekly ritual isn’t right for you, consider [Wayne] Muller’s alternative: ‘Choose on common act during your day to serve as a Sabbath pause.’”

Another way of looking at it: when I was in college, my professors suggested working hard all week, and then making Sunday a guilt-free, ‘homework holiday’. I’m suggesting the same thing. Make one day (or afternoon, or evening, or moment) your guilt-free holiday.

There is something powerful and invigorating about a break from the ordinary. If you are person of faith, I suggest taking time for prayer, meditating and reflecting. Then, do something you wouldn’t normally do. Go for a walk. Play a game. Read a novel. Or, my personal favorite, drink good coffee and cook something awesome. Recognize that you need it. If God ordered a day of rest, take it! I think that’s license for a break.

So, this Sunday, in order to ‘remove myself from the maw’, I put my phone on my nightstand and removed myself from social media. What did I do instead? Napped. Napped for two hours. And then, I hung out with my family, watched football, and fried fish.

The concept of Sabbath is ever-evolving for me. I don’t claim to have a fool-proof plan, or even stick to my guns on this all the time. I’m learning. Next Sunday, I plan to put my phone on the shelf again, and the Sunday after that, and after that. Maybe I’ll make this a life-long habit.

On Duck Dynasty, Empathy and the Right to Refuse

I am the voice crying in the wilderness “Can’t we all just get along?”

I don’t like conflict. I don’t know if that makes me a coward, or one of the peacemakers that Jesus called blessed. I don’t now if being anti-conflict is a strength or a weakness, and no more have I questioned this than in the last couple days.

It began on Thursday when, on my break at work, I had the misfortune of clicking on #DuckDynasty. I inhaled venom and vitriol like so much chemical fumes. They burnt my insides and left me feeling confused and ashamed to be part of the human race. I understand that Phil Robertson’s comments were offensive, but I don’t understand how his comments give license to be equally offensive. The level of cognitive dissonance displayed would have been funny if it had been on some more trivial subject. But it wasn’t funny at all.

I felt the need to take a side.

Thing is, like Phil, I am a Christian. I believe that, like a good father, God has set boundaries for his children and homosexuality is outside those boundaries. I do not hate gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender people and I respect their right to act according to their beliefs, but I cannot agree with them.

According to comments I read, that makes me ‘hateful’.

On the other hand, having now read Robertson’s comments in the original GQ article, I agree that he lacked tact. Whether it was naiveté or simply not caring what people think I do not know, but I am appalled that he would say such things in an interview. That’s just asking for it.

That makes me ‘afraid to stand for the truth’, apparently.

My confusion continued yesterday. My coworker and I were assigned the cleaning of one of the coaters (I work in pharmaceutical manufacturing). In order to do this job well we are required to climb inside the coater, which is dangerous and often leaves us bruised and sore. The procedure does not tell us to do this, but we can’t get the coater clean without doing so. My coworker announced to me that he was ‘going to be a d***’ and refuse to go into the coater. As part of our employee rights, we can exercise the ‘right to refuse’ if we believe the task is unsafe. He explained to me that the management and safety committee knew that the job was unsafe, but when he protested to them they told him that we just needed ‘more training’. Well, he called that BS, and this was his formal protest.

I decided to stand by his decision, and also refused to go in. The supervisor was notified, and she was pissed. So was our senior operator, and he talked to me and asked me if I actually agreed with this whole thing. I said yes, more or less. He continued to wheedle, and I began to waver.

He was called away, and I walked away feeling like such a weakling. Yeah, I didn’t ‘change sides’ so to speak, but I felt that I was way too easy to persuade because I didn’t want to disappoint anyone.

I told my coworker that I wasn’t going to stand in his way, but I wasn’t going to be around when the feces hit the fan either. He didn’t mind.

Is there any happy medium? Is there a way to stand for truth without being offensive? Without alienating the other party? Without shooting my mouth off and looking like an jerk?

In the fallout of Robertson’s remarks, I found an article that really encouraged me and shed some light on a solution. The Huffington Post article is by Shane L. Windmeyer, an LGBT activist and founder of Campus Pride, and is titled “Dan and Me: Coming out as a Friend of Dan Cathy and Chick-Fil-A”. You may remember that Chick-Fil-A was at the center of it’s own controversy in 2012 when it came forward that Chick-Fil-A was funding anti-LGBT organizations. Windmeyer and Campus Pride advanced a national campaign against Chick-Fil-A.

But then Windmeyer received a phone-call from Chick-Fil-A president and COO Dan Cathy, and that hour-long conversation led to more and more conversations and texts between the two men. Windmeyer says:

Throughout the conversations Dan expressed a sincere interest in my life, wanting to get to know me on a personal level. He wanted to know about where I grew up, my faith, my family, even my husband, Tommy. In return, I learned about his wife and kids and gained an appreciation for his devout belief in Jesus Christ and his commitment to being “a follower of Christ” more than a “Christian.” Dan expressed regret and genuine sadness when he heard of people being treated unkindly in the name of Chick-fil-a — but he offered no apologies for his genuine beliefs about marriage.
And in that we had great commonality: We were each entirely ourselves. We both wanted to be respected and for others to understand our views. Neither of us could — or would — change. It was not possible. We were different but in dialogue. That was progress.

Neither man changed his views. Windmeyer did not agree with Cathy’s Christian views, and Cathy did not condone Windmeyer’s lifestyle. But, Chick-fil-a ceased to fund the most divisive anti-LGBT groups in favor of marriage enrichment, youth and local communities. Campus Pride dropped their campaign.

In my mind, this is true tolerance: to respect the other enough to hear them out, understand their views, feel sorrow for wrongs and right them where possible, and love them as a person, not a stereotype. That is the person I would like to be.

I believe that there will come a time where standing for the truth will be inescapably offensive, but I do not believe that must be the norm. Does that make me weak? Maybe. I will continue to explore this. But in the meantime, I wish to emulate the words of St. Francis of Assisi:

Lord, make me an instrument of Thy peace;
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is error, truth;
Where there is doubt, faith;
Where there is despair, hope;
Where there is darkness, light;
And where there is sadness, joy.
O Divine Master, Grant that I may not so much seek
To be consoled as to console;
To be understood as to understand;
To be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive;
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
And it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.

Read the full Huffington Post article by Shane L. Windmeyer at:

To Thine Own Self be True: Backhanded Cure No. 2

I used to think I was an honest person.

I had a reality check when I found two points of dishonesty that were a regular part of my life. One: I’d lie to cover up things that embarrassed me, and two: I’d lie to myself. I’ve realized (with help) that if I can’t be honest to myself, I’m not a trustworthy person. And if I can’t trust myself, that is a serious blow to the self-esteem.

Leadership guru Orrin Woodward said that if you set your alarm to get up at six, but snooze twice and get up at 6:18, that is a lack of integrity. You said you’d get up at six and you didn’t. Sure, no one else cares, but you know, and this will erode your self-confidence. I guess if I can’t discipline myself to get up when I say I will, I don’t have much discipline. Ouch.

If you say “this evening I’m going to get this project done” but watch TV instead, you’ve broken a promise to yourself. If you say you won’t spend money on eating out, but you do, you’ve broken a promise to yourself. After a while, when you say you’re going to do something, doesn’t your inner voice say “yeah right”?

Mine would.

Think about someone you know who always tells you their plans, but never carries them out. Don’t you just nod and smile and think yeah, whatever?

But doing what you say you’re going to do builds confidence. My small victory in this area has been delaying gratification in buying clothes. I don’t deny myself the pleasure of buying new clothes. Instead, I set a goal, which, if I accomplish it, ‘unlocks’ a portion of spending money. Over the last months I’ve raised the goal, and I have do to a lot of work to unlock just $30 of money toward my wardrobe. But when I buy the clothes, there’s no need to feel guilty. I’ve earned them.

It definitely wasn’t always like that. My finances are one area where I’ve been very dishonest with myself.

Some would rather be free to do what they like, and say what they like. But I suspect true freedom is the opposite. To be able to trust one’s self, and control one’s self is to be free. No human can reach complete mastery, of course, but that shouldn’t stop us from doing our best and leaving the rest to God’s grace. To thine own self be trustworthy.