Category Archives: Friendship

Bedtime Blessings

Whew! I’m writing this because we made it through bedtime! Alleluia!  Tonight Eric is teaching a night class and it’s hot … so for a treat I let the boys fall asleep in our bedroom (where our aircond unit is).  Dante read in the living room for awhile (which still amazes me … 2 years ago every printed word was cause for tears) while Cade and I laid in the dark, cool bedroom on the fuzzy carpet floor (I got tired of tiles everywhere … it’s nearly shag carpet… I love it!)  We talked about his day, his class, and I listened (because I was laying still on the floor, my “get stuff done” attitude turned off for a bit) and he began remembering bits of books his class had read two years ago.  Something in the silliness/beauty of the memories led me to thinking of camp (I love camp) and so Cade and I sang “the Pasta song” which goes like this:

Some people like pasta; some think it’s alright.  Whatever our uniqueness, God made us ri-i-iight.  Pasta! Pasta! Pasta! Makes us one of a ki-e-i-e-ind.”  And then you add other things – our verses tonight were food-themed – Porridge! Ice cream! Pasta! Makes us one of a ki-e-i-e-ind.”

At which point Dante came in for bed and demanded more camp songs.  I’m a good sport, but I was also tired.  Then both boys actually agreed on a song.  Think of the wonder of it: two brothers, age 6 & 9, willingly agreed on something.  Stop the presses.

They wanted the song “One Body,” which I suddenly couldn’t remember at all.  But Dante started singing, Cade joined in, and then I began to remember the words and melody as well.  It’s a gorgeous song – click the lyrics below for a link to one sung version of it.  As I lay there on the floor with two kids not only singing about living together well, but actually DOing it, images from our life these past weeks scrolled by in my mind.  

We are one body, one body in Christ;
and we do not stand alone.
We are one body, one body in Christ;
and he came that we might have life.

That part about not standing alone brought home to me the wonder of what life is like when people take time for each other, whether it’s praying, giving kids a ride home, bringing a card, checking in online, and what I’ve heard so often – “If you need anything, please, ask.”  I’m not driving yet and I can’t even do the dishes, but I do not stand alone and that’s what is keeping me sane.  Impatient, sore, and not sure what I should be up to – but sane is a good baseline, and I’d say we’re even positive.  The kids chose the same song … it’s like a little sign that says “we can do this, we can even find a way to stick together.”  

The boys are asleep now, and I soon will be, but I wanted to share this song with you.  I learned it at Mar-Lu-Ridge this summer, a Lutheran camp in Maryland (though we used fewer and different verses … everyone has their own version, I think).  The song rings a certain way in my ears; I wonder how it will sound to you, where you most need to know that you don’t stand alone, that God has a life and future for all of us despite our bickering and fatigue.  I’m posting this at my bedtime – it’s morning in the USA – but I wish you good dreams, whether waking or asleep, and the hope that God’s love will continue to shape our communities and our lives.

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Met by Samaria

in Bandaraya (downtown) Kota Kinabalu, a juice stand called "Samaria"

in Bandaraya (downtown) Kota Kinabalu, a juice stand  & restaurant called “Samaria”

This is the restaurant we see on Sunday mornings when we come out of the BM-speaking church we attend.  I never noticed it before, but it’s intriguing – where did it get the name “Samaria”?  But it may be the perfect sight when coming from one culture (Church) to another (mainstream Malaysia, which is significantly Muslim).

Long ago, Samaria was a country that shared a border with Israel during Jesus’ day.  Samaritans worshipped the same God as the Jews but they didn’t center their worship at the Temple in Jerusalem, so Samaritans were not considered Jewish.  Despite sharing so much in common, there was a drastic dislike between the two.  You may remember the story of the Good Samaritan from Luke’s gospel – the point of the story, told to the people of Israel, is that a hated Samaritan could possibly be considered “good” – many people thought Jesus was just talking crazy to have told a parable like that.

Later, in the book of Acts, the disciples are sent out from Jerusalem, told that the good news is not just for Israelites but for all of God’s children.  The disciples probably struggled with that.  Scripture specifically says in Acts 1:8, “and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”  Local, foreign, and distant; but note how Scripture specifically includes Samaria.  

What a modern-day parallel to greet on Sunday mornings.  As we leave Church, we are reminded that there are many cultures, religions, and beloved children of God who we are called to love.  They may look & sound very different from us; or they may be so similar that we assume that we understand each other.  When we leave the worship of the God we know, we enter:

a.)    a world that has its own beliefs, that may truly be open to hearing ours – as long as we are also willing to listen, grow, and change (without giving up our identity … ah, what a balancing act), or may not be open, but we don’t know until we gracefully speak

b.)    a world that has its own needs, both from God and from us.  (In this case, it was a business – needing customers … would I avoid their business because I don’t understand their culture? or can I meet them and meet some of their needs?)

c.)    a world that  has its own values, and we would do well to ponder what values are shown in our living before we critique the values that others demonstrate

d.)    a world that has a beautiful, God-given diversity, which can enrich all, but not if we demand uniformity.

By chance I came across this picture today .  It fits, doesn’t it?

Faiths sharing the journey

Faiths sharing the journey

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A photo that does me so proud

IMG rock climg Dante Artur StanA friend of Dante’s (in the yellow shirt) is moving to Hyderabad, India – something that is a commonplace kind of thing when attending an international school in a quickly developing nation. This picture was taken at his good-bye party (rockclimbing! in Kota Kinabalu!)

When I look at this picture, I see what kind of friend Dante is growing up to be. In an international setting, people are coming and going – moving, attaching, saying good-bye. The kids can’t always articulate it, but it is often a challenging kind of life. Yet a pat on the shoulder, sharing some cake… and everybody gets to live in the moment, for just a little while longer. Friendship, at any age, is such a gift, and it comes from being able to both stand on your own *and* reach out to span the gaps.