Tell About It

Hiker: Made by Dad

Hiking in a wonderland. As a preteen I was the cliché of awkward adolescence personified: chunky and clumsy and had an overall combative relationship with my body. However, my awkwardness was only matched by my fear of missing out on an adventure.

So when my family decided to hike a Colorado peak I was all in!

Let me establish a little context for this expedition. My family wasn’t the most professional of hikers, meaning we launched off into a multi-mile hike at high noon with only Diet Coke cans and Wheat-thins. So after an hour or so my mother and brother rallied logic and turned back. But my dad saw a peak that must be conquered and I couldn’t bear to miss out on the experience…and even more on an adventure shared with my dad.

We hacked our way through overgrown bush, clung to jagged rocks as we traversed cliffs, and dodged wild animals to reach the top…or at least in my preteen sensibilities it seemed we had barely beat off death. But there I stood gazing at valleys and rivers thousands of feet below, right next to my dad. That day I became a hiker.

I loved the hardscrabble work of seeing beauty, and even more, I savored the bonding with my dad. And at the end of the expedition I was more tired than I ever had been—so fabulously tired.

My body hadn’t failed me. It got me to a feat and enabled me to be with my dad. That day I grew more comfortable in my preteen skin and have hiked ever since.

Hiking has become a passion, so I was thrilled that my first stop in South Africa was the Drakenberg mountain range for three days of trekking with friends.

As I shared my story of hiking with my dad, my friend Tracey recalled the glorious hikes with her father she had had on these very trails.

She too had become a hiker because of her dad. Her father passed away a few years ago, and she shared that some of her favorite memories were with him on the mountain range we were trekking.

As I write this I can’t help but think of another dear friend who also loves hiking. She too had done a considerable amount with her dad. He just passed away suddenly…I pray as she looks at the mountains she will remember her dad at the heights. He made her a hiker…just like my dad did for me.

New Year’s Eve…and other Confessions

IMG_5847Here’s a confession: I booked a ticket to South Africa, in part, to guarantee that I’d actually remember this New Year’s Eve. Cheeky, I know.

At times New Year’s Eve can feel like income taxes. It exacts a price on one’s efforts and state of being, making it a little less.

I guess I sense its anti-climatic power most when I’m feeling vulnerable with my story. Admittedly I’m not living the story I would have written for myself. Long ago, let’s say a decade, I envisioned myself married and a mother.

New Year’s Eve, if I let it, can fine me for living a different story.

But here’s another confession: I’m a sucker for marking moments, putting exclamation points after big days on the calendar. And as I look back on 2012 it was a year of Community and Adventure. A very good year.

While it’s not the story I would have written for myself, I’m learning to trust that God is writing an even better story…one’s that more epic, more generous.

And so I am all the more grateful to have marked the exit of 2012 and the entrance of 2013 surrounded by the beauty of Cape Town, listening to legendary jazz musician Hugh Masekela perform, and toasting with dear friends.

It felt like one spectacular exclamation point on the life I am living now.

Can’t resist the question: How is your life story different than you thought it would be? How do you celebrate the difference?

Peregrinatio, Me, and a Little Round Boat — En route to South Africa

IMG_5420One of my favorite gifts I got in last year was a word. My dear friend Roxanne Morgan endowed me with Peregrinatio. Maybe you’re quite familiar with this old Latin word, but I had never heard it before.

She had to say it more than once for me to get close to the proper pronunciation. But once she defined it for me, I knew Peregrinatio and I would be close through the ages.

It means “self-imposed exile for the love of God; holy wandering.”

Peregrinatio originates from these monks who would get into little round boats, boats you can’t steer. They’d hop in their boats and travel wherever the current took them. When they’d washed up on shore they’d simply go serve and receive hospitality. Then when the time seemed right they’d return to their round boats and join the current.

The image entices and challenges me at the moment. Recently “going with the flow” has felt like a luxury afforded to only those living on another planet.

In the past two weeks I moved out of the flat where I had been living for 10 years, finished up a major TV project on sex-trafficking, said goodbye to dear work friends, and set-off on a trip…one that was originally a two week holiday, but I’ve just extended it to two months now that my job ended.

During the past few weeks every waking hour has been scheduled, plotted, negotiated. In the final days before my trip my alarm clock screamed out at 4:15am for the to-do list to be tackled.

And yet there were so many surprises I couldn’t predict—beautiful and heartbreaking in a dance together.

Friends drenched me with generosity. I won a grand prize at a work raffle and…a dear friend’s father suddenly passed. Rarely can you schedule—control—joy and sorrow.

I may have been gripping a steering wheel, but nonetheless I was still in a round boat with strong currents.

Right now I have no job, no address, and no idea what is next.

But I know I’m in the round boat, ready to be tutored in showing up like the monks—to serve and receive hospitality. Peregrinatio…look out!

My dear friends sent me off with other words and images I hope to blog about as the current leads—Emmanuel, Peregrin falcon, and others!

Cheers to the journey!

Can’t resist the question: What word or image best describes how you’re living life or want to live life at the moment?

Finding Yourself in the Story

I grew up with a colorful cast of characters. My parents’ dinner parties often had x-diamond thieves, petty-criminals or TV evangelists on the guest-list. At different times, drug-addicts detoxed in our basement; expectant mothers took up residence in our guest bedroom; babies lived with us awaiting adoption.

I quickly learned that everyone has a story to tell.

And as I listened to story after story I discovered that no matter the label, the rap-sheet or zip-code someone has, given certain circumstances, I could have had a similar story.

From an early age my curiosity stirred. People—and their stories—fascinated me. And, I still revel in creating soulful spaces for others to share their lives, their thoughts, their experiences.

I trekked from Rome to Jerusalem interviewing over 100 strangers on their description of God. I savored hearing their insights about God, and ultimately their life stories. But as I was writing my book my editor kept telling me that I don’t have a story unless I tell my own.

As much as I have loved listening to others stories I’ve struggled with sharing my own.

When I was producing a TV show in the Amazon and my talent didn’t show, once again I found myself in the story. As I stared down a camera I was forced to face the question: Do I have a story worth telling?

Owning our story and loving ourselves through the process is the bravest thing that we will ever do.” Brene Brown

So in part this blog is a practice, a practice to lovingly own my story.

However, my less-than-secret desire entails something else as well. It’s for you…that as you read my stories you’ll find yourself in your own story. Perhaps my posts will jog your memory or prompt you to see your story in a new way.

And I deeply believe that as we see more clearly our own stories we discover more of the One who is writing the greatest of all stories!

 “There is no deep knowing of God without a deep knowing of self, and no deep knowing of self without a deep knowing of God.” John Calvin (paraphrased)

So…As I share my adventures and thoughts…be warned…I won’t be able to resist asking you questions en route. And…I certainly look forward to hearing what you have to say.

Cheers to Finding Yourself in the Story!

Tam

 

 

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