A Letter to God

Dear God:

Thank you.

I try to give you thanks, every day, for something, anything. But sometimes I am rushed or I forget. I don’t put as much thought and passion into it as it deserves or my thanks are superseded by my wants and needs.

Let’s see if I can change that, just once.

Thank you, God, first, for the path down which you have led me. It hasn’t been an easy one and I haven’t followed willingly most times. You know that I am not a follower by nature. It has been difficult for me to see Your vision. When I can’t see, I question you. I get far too comfortable in my ways. Complacent. So complacent that I create a haze. At first, that haze is comfortable. But soon it turns into despair and hopelessness. These two creep, hand in hand, in on my consciousness without my consent. They are so stealthy that they overwhelm me to a level that I can’t perceive.

But You can.

Thank you, God, for knowing me better than I know myself. For knowing exactly how long I will persist in my stupor, how long I will wallow in my complacency, how long I will resist Your calling. And then, as I slowly begin to feel the instability and the pain of the choices I make, I look in Your direction. Finally, I call to You. You are there, always, and You give me Your hand.

But I still hold back. You know I will, and You know why.

Thank you, God, for knowing exactly what prompt I need to push me in the direction You have chosen for me. You know my heart and my thoughts. You know best how I perceive the experiences, people, and issues in my life.

As I stand now, again, on the other side of that valley of despair, and despite the pain of the current leg of this journey,  I feel the peace You intended for me. Finally. The promise of new and better things. The fear that allowed me to held onto things in a manner that You never intended has dissipated. They now hold a promise that is palpable because they are re-configured in Your design.

The path You have chosen for me is definitely not one through any rose garden or along any beach. At least, none that I know of. This path has been rough and scary. You know of all the times during my days, my nights, that I worry. When I worry, I start taking back that control again. Many times, control that is not mine.

I am sorry that I am so much trouble for You, Lord. I am sorry for my headstrong ways, my attitude of invincibility, my stubbornness. I hope that some of that is what you have instilled in me to help me along this rugged path. I hope that the rest I can get rid of….eventually.

All in all, thank you, Lord, for Your patience and persistence with this willful child. Thank you for loving me even when others don’t.

© 2010-2012 Kimberly Yoss. All rights reserved. No part of this online publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, without the prior approval from Kimberly Yoss.

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When Friends Turn Away

I firmly believe that God places people in our lives for a reason. Our job is to open our hearts and be responsive to God’s word through those people; conversely, to be the messenger from God to them. To love one another. After all, life is a circle; but also, in some respects, human relationships are like contiguous circles, moving and affecting each other as they affect themselves.

Obviously, the main problem with this is our ability to discern God’s will. Isn’t this always the case? We are not meant to know what God knows; but we are supposed to try to be like Jesus in the way we treat each other. I constantly try to think in terms of what God wants for me, but my own selfish desires usually get in the way.

Sorry, but I am human.

It is unfortunate for us that God doesn’t speak to us like He did to Abraham, Samuel, David and the crew in the Old Testament; appearing like a burning bush or a burst of thunder whenever an answer is needed to a pressing problem. I have often wished that I could hear God’s direction for me today in the same way He spoke to them. I know my life would be so much easier; I would question myself less. I think.

Experience and faith have shown me that the answers to many of my questions lie in the people around me. I just have to learn to listen to that small voice masked in their words and actions and the situations we encounter together.

Many of the people in my life have arrived and stuck around. Mainly, my kids. After all, they are somewhat of a captive audience. There are times when I wish they wouldn’t stick around; or, on the flipside, that I could separate from them. There have been times when that has actually happened, metaphorically. We have moved away from each other in understanding, compassion, ideals, location, goals. But we always seem to find our way back together, thanks to God, maturity, and mutual respect. These times of reunion are a true renewal of spirit, a new direction for the relationship. Satisfaction comes over me. We press on to better places.

Best of all, I continue to count them among my closest friends, with the trust and faith that is associated with that special bond. Together, we plod on, supporting and encouraging each other in the way God intended.

What plagues me most is the loss of those people who come into my life like a storm, with power and force and pleasure and promises, enough to have no question about Who sent them, but who leave just as quickly as they came. Those friends who turn away; those friends from whom I turn away. Remember, it’s all a circle.

I am thankful that I don’t have many examples of this. But those that I have nonetheless baffle me.

  • What was the task, God? What lesson were You trying to impart, and to whom? 
  • WAS the task a tease, a game, a test? Were they meant to come and go? Is it all “to be continued’?
  • Did I perform as You expected? Did we both get the message? Did we pass?

The key, I think, is to continue through it, as painful or confusing as it is, with an open heart and mind. I try to hold no malice; I try not to make it all about me. Believe me, this has been difficult to learn and is something I have only recently begun to practice somewhat effectively. I find when I can use this approach, I am better equipped to move on, having learned a lesson and satisfied in whatever impact I had on the other person’s life.

What continues to hurt the most, in every one of these situations, is the open wound that inevitably results. This wound is manifested in unspoken sentiments, misstated words and emotions, invisible or absent closure. Yes, the wound does heal, eventually. Like all deep wounds, it takes time, lots of it, and has to endure many scab-pulling reversals. Inevitably, there is always a scar left behind. The question remains: will I smile, if only a little, when I remember the events that led to the scar or will I wince?

I strive for the smile, as small as it might be, and hope that I contributed to the circle effect of the relationship, and did not disrupt the balance of contiguity among the circles. If I can end up doing those things, the scar is worth it all.

© 2010-2012 Kimberly Yoss. All rights reserved. No part of this online publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, without the prior approval from Kimberly Yoss.

The Power of Love

True love is perfect. It is warm, beautiful, comforting. It enlightens and strengthens. It is reflective and contagious.

It is sought after by many and is multi-purpose. Ideals, principles, people, and things. Love of self. These can all be the objects of love.

The effects of love can be destructive. But, it is not the love that destroys. What destroys is the power that is instilled in people who love. And it doesn’t matter what or who the object of love is.

Power is power. And power can be manipulated, with devastating results.

The power of love can make you…

Laugh or cry

Walk or run

Stay or go

The power of love can also make you…

Talk it out until you reach middle ground or…

Fight and scream to get your way.

Open your mind and your heart or…

Close yourself off to new ways and thoughts.

View the world through a new lens or…

Continue to use an old cracked one.

I believe that it is a matter of choice.

But, like any choice, choosing one path over another can be difficult. Choosing the right one requires strength and faith.

St. Paul wrote about it best in 1 Corinthians.

Huey Lewis put some provocative imagery, as well as a sense of immediacy to it in “The Power of Love”:

“It’s strong and it’s sudden and it’s cruel sometimes. But it might just save your life.”

© 2010-2012 Kimberly Yoss. All rights reserved. No part of this online publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, without the prior approval from Kimberly Yoss.

To Shrink or Not To Shrink

Recently, I was shrinked by someone I barely know.

Not even to my face, but behind my back and without my permission.

When I found out, I felt violated. Small.

I had been reduced to less than a sum of all my parts. I had been read and then interpreted by a stranger. The stranger had used a foreign spectrum to analyze me: a spectrum lacking not only color and depth, but also the proper perspective on the history and the situation being shrunk.

As a result of this experience, I spent quite a bit of time pondering the characteristics of shrinkage. Obviously, the verb “to shrink” means to make something smaller, to minimalize it.

Why do we have to make things smaller? We make them smaller so we can make them fit into smaller, more defined spaces.

  • We fold paper to fit it into an envelope.
  • We crush trash to make it fit into a bag or a bin.
  • We break thoughts into bullet points on a piece of paper to help others understand.
  • We suck the air out of plastic wrapped objects to fit them under beds and into suitcases.

The Urban Dictionary definition for “shrink” is one we all know well. It is a derogatory term for a psychiatrist. When someone wants to jab you about your sessions with your therapist, or, let’s face it, when you want to jab yourself about those same sessions, you refer to your psychiatrist or your therapist as your “shrink”.

I can accept being shrunk by a pro, even if I have to pay that pro alot of money to shrink me. I prefer a shrink who is either trained in the art and science of shrinking others properly, thus allowing them to retain some dignity. Or someone I know, who I know knows me, who can analyze me or my situation at my request and to my face. Someone who will offer me an option to state my opinion or set them straight when they have shrunk the wrong element in the wrong way.

There is a profound loss of pride when you realize you have been shrunk by a novice. Worse yet, a novice at play…. at play with your heart and your reality.

Don’t get me wrong. I know that everyone shrinks at some point. We shrink things to make them more palatable and understandable. We get this self-righteous attitude that because we are the outsider looking in, we can somehow offer some insight or spark of intuition that the people caught up in the situation might have overlooked. We brim with arrogance that what we see matters and can affect change.

Unfortunately, I have shrunk others. And maybe this realization was payback. Or, at least, God’s way of showing me how it feels, and then smacking my hand and sending me on my way to not do it again.

The shrinker will go on to shrink again. But, I hope that I will not be the shrinkee anymore. I will proceed to take back the pieces and put them back where they belong and move forward to never shrink again.

© 2010-2012 Kimberly Yoss. All rights reserved. No part of this online publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, without the prior approval from Kimberly Yoss.

R-T-H: In Training Week 1

I was off to a great start this week, if only  because I did not let my work schedule overwhelm my training schedule.

Day 75: Long slow run.

3.1 miles at my optimum fat-burning heartrate. Felt really good throughout. No burnout at the end of it; in fact, I could have gone another mile.  Started cutting out the bad carbs from my diet and focused on proteins and high-complex carbs, like fruits and veggies. LOTS of water….

Day 74: Gym day.

Fat-burning intervals on the treadmill, combined with a weight lifting and core-building routine created for me by my trainer. As I walked out of the gym, I glanced at the clock and realized I had been there for over an hour and a half! For dinner, picked up some pre-made healthy meals from the gym’s café: Pesto chicken and broccoli. Tasted almost as good as my cooking!

Day 73: Cycling.

I did about 15 miles. It was a beautiful day and I had no planned route; so it was the perfect opportunity to explore. Saw a road that leads to a local ‘beach’ area that I have heard some locals talk about. I want to scope it out in the truck first, and then make it a planned route for my next cycle. Really, just need to know in advance how many more hills I can anticipate!

Day 72: Rest day.

Birthday weekend!! I will be making up for the partying and good times in Week 2!

Even after only a week of training, I can feel the fat burning off and I can see the results, not only in what I see in the mirror, but in what I feel in my body and how I feel in my mind.

Thoughts for October

~ 10.1.2012

Didn’t you get the memo?

~ 10.2.2012

Be true to you. After that, everything will move into place.

~ 10.3.2012

The opposite of love’s indifference. (Subborn Love by The Lumineers)

~ 10.8.2012

If I live the life I’m given, I won’t be scared to die. (The Once and Future Carpenter by The Avett Brothers)

~ 10.10.2012

If you’re not willing to give up everything, you’ve already lost. (Act of Valor)

~ 10.17.2012

You’re missing your chances if you’re marching in time. (Dashes by Tyler Ward)

~ 10.18.2012

You gotta live out loud with no one to fear. With no one around who ever brings you down or gives you tears. (Western Shore by Ryan Bingham)

~ 10.21.2012

All things pass with time…all things freeze with time. (Winter by Noah Gunderson)

~ 10.22.2012

Don’t look back. You can never look back. (The Boys of Summer by Don Henley)

~ 10.23.2012

This is not for you, nor is it about you. Not this time.