Cuba, Mi Amor.

The sun hung high the first time I saw you from a distance. You, over there, with your graying hair, and Spanish leather shoes; I thought I knew your type. Perhaps you thought you knew mine too.

[I suppose most affairs commence with such clichés. As I write this I wonder if we have what it takes to outlast the blockbusters and billboard charts. But you, mi amor, are teaching me to risk.]

When you drove past me in your pristine red 1957 Chevrolet Bel Air I admit, I took your photograph…but I determined not to give you my heart. Could you blame me…anachronisms beckon suspicion where I come from?

I’m sorry. I realize now you rebuilt every part of that car. Your hands know the movement of decades like no other.

And since my letter has begun with confessions, I will not stop until my heart feels free.

I had you wrong in so many ways.

I know this may sound silly, but I thought you’d be a bit naïve since you have few ties to the World Wide Web and all.

Alright, your memory is sharper; your gaze is more present; and you read and research and banter, and banter, and banter. Touché.

I love that we can be honest—for the most part—you and I.

So…one last confession…I assumed you were also narrow-minded.

Hold on a minute. It’s not that outlandish. One day you did jail a teen for having a compass and a woman for having a podium with a microphone. The boy just wanted to learn navigation, but you’re right…the woman wanted more. Free speech.

I still think she was right.

But I know in your heart, you won’t let others censor your thoughts. And you have learned the art of saying much without the words I prize. You turn scrap material into precious metals and limiting laws into freedom of expression. You work as a hard as a farmer and as precise as a surgeon. You create with subtly. But you dance like you’re running for office.

I so love that about you.

And you know what else I love?

I love that when money was sparse you threw dinner parties. You only had a ration of rice and you still invited friends over. Aimara brought the oil and Ulysses brought the rum. You named it your Communist meal and dined like you were royalty.

And when times got most severe you declared it “The Special Period”. You ate even less but your soul feasted on music and laughter. Your favorite staples. You and your friends and the moon danced and wrote poetry until the sun stirred. And you still smirk when you tell me about that time.

I’m so curious to hear more of your stories. And I long to hear your dreams too. I have more to share as well. I’m more complex than you may think.

I pray to God this isn’t a fling.
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A Little Ode to Story – Favorite Quotes from the Storyline Conference

This week I happened upon my notes from the Storyline Conference I attended last November. I was reminded again how much I savored the experience.

And curiously enough during the conference I noted to my friend Krista: “I love my job, but I’d really like to do a documentary on Syrian refugees on the side.” However, there was no side to my deadline-dense job. Then…I arrived at work the next week to find out my position was among several being cut. While I was sad to leave a team I loved and a job that was a playground for my curiosity…it’s been such a graced time. And this spring I found myself in the Middle East interviewing Syrian refugees. I love it when God nails foreshadowing…or rather should I say, when I actually notice it.

Here are a few of my favorite quotes from the conference:

“What will the world miss if you do not tell your story?” — Don Miller

“Story changes the moral compass in the human brain.” – Robert McKee

“Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.” Neale Donald Walsch

“Don’t change your life…just be a better observer of your life. Be your favorite future version of yourself. Have a picture of yourself…of your character in the future and live that out. What do I have to do today to keep that future in mind?” – Glennon Doyle Mennon

“Let pain have a sense of meaning and dignity.” – Don Miller

“God did not create us to live in reaction, but to be co-creators of a meaningful life.” – Viktor Frankl

“In some way, suffering ceases to be suffering when we find a meaning for it.” Viktor Frankl

“Do your thing…with great love…right now.” — Shauna Neiquest

“Staying inspired is the work of the writer. It’s a part of my job to live an inspired life. — Shauna Neiquest

“How you do anything is how you do everything.” Richard Rohr

“ What if when people meet us they feel like they have just met heaven?

“We are not our failures or success, we are our love.” – Bob Goff

“What’s the next humblest version of you?”- Bob Goff

“Whisper to your heart. The more we talk to our heart, the more we connect with Jesus.”- Bob Goff

A Dare to Contend for Desire (For Longing by John O’Donohue)

Blessed be the longing that brought you here

And quickens your soul with wonder.

May you have the courage to listen to the voice of desire

That disturbs you when you have settled for something safe.

May you have the wisdom to enter generously into your own unease

To discover the new direction your longing wants you to take.

May the forms of your belonging–in love, creativity, and friendship–

Be equal to the grandeur and the call of your soul.

May the one you long for long for you.

May your dreams gradually reveal the destination of your desire.

May a secret Providence guide your thought and nurture your feeling.

May your mind inhabit your life with the sureness with which
your body inhabits the world.

May your heart never be haunted by ghost-structures of old damage.

May you come to accept your longing as divine urgency.

May you know the urgency with which God longs for you.

The Art of Showing Up: A Benediction for Being Here

Sometimes people have no idea the Herculean effort it took for you to lift the covers, crawl out of the bed and choose the shirt you knew you had to iron. Bless you for showing up.

 

The sky whispered gray and the rain ran hard, and you had much rather curl up on the couch and remember the lover that left you in a storm. Bless you for showing up.

 

The to-do list is bound to outlast you, the demands never use their inside voices, the inner-boss in you will likely not be satisfied again today. Bless you for showing up.

 

The friends, the family, the strangers on the subway may never get how much you’ve worked to be sane…especially when the rain runs hard. Bless you for showing up.

 

May you continue to simply show up for the day, and may that be enough, may that be love.

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