The State of the State (of the Kingdom of Me)

Those who walked with me at St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church will get "the Kingdom of Me" reference without explanation, but for everyone else, I better explain: Dallas Willard in The Divine Conspiracy talks about the Kingdom of God and the smaller kingdoms we all live within, and so we each have our own little world that is our own life and our own perception of reality, and that, for each of us, is "the Kingdom of Me". Today is a great day to reflect on that for me!

In 12-step groups like AA or Alanon or any of the many other iterations, during open share time, each person sits and listens to each who chooses to share, and "no crosstalk" means that no one is supposed to comment on another's share, but simply share their own story of the week or of life. In social media and in blogging, we have lots of "crosstalk" in our comments and in our posts responding to each other, but we also have a lot of time speaking our own piece and enjoying the love that others show as they "listen" by taking the time to read a post. I have come to realize the huge love that is given me by anyone who takes the time to read one of my posts with real attention, even if it seems that I wouldn't have any way of knowing they did so. We are all so interconnected, and the love that flows from those who give me that consideration is what creates anything good going forward. I am bound to you!

So, after those rambling disclaimers/explanations, here goes this "share":

I am now old enough to know that life is a mystery, and I can't dissect it and examine it and compile my notes and write them up and file them away and control life by knowing. I am old enough to have had a little of my innate narcissism kicked out of me, and old enough to realize that I don't have to be ashamed of my narcissism because it is human and natural. I am old enough to understand what makes life sweet is relationships, and that one of those relationships is between me and me, and that I can forgive myself and love myself and nurture myself with the same grace and kindness that I want to have toward anyone else I love. And I am old enough to have lived, and to be grateful for that life, and to be ready to die even while I am ready to live until 106. I'm also old enough to know that music and fiction and art express reality better than words do!

For the last week I have been hearing words from all of the different songs on the old U2 Album All That You Can't Leave Behind playing over and over in my head, and I realize it is because I am finally old enough to not just like that album but to live that album. It is the track to this part of this journey. I am grateful! So if you are curious, pull it out and listen to it, and you will learn more about this day in my life than I can write in a blog post!

I am grateful for my companions on my journey, and while this blog has been all about church and all about my life here and now, it is many early childhood friends and friends from young adulthood that come to mind now as having MADE me. I am so grateful for each! My family and extended family, of course, and Steve Sullivan and his family and friends, and Don . . . but the ones that jump out at me today in my memory and gratitude are:

The Sarbins (Adam, Sara, Debby)
Alan Maline
Joe Loftschulz
Chris Blake
Michell Martin
Mike Martin
Jean Watt
Stephanie Harlan
Jenny Harned
Nancy Jessen
Brian Borchers
Scott Turnbull
Dave Larson
Irma Jimenez
Wanda Dayvault
Kevin and Keith
Brett Westbrook

and the mental list goes on and on . . .

Many painful memories are just as significant as loving friendships! It's important to WANT to be friends with the people you are attracted to and rejected by, and important to learn to be friends with the people that love you in real ways, and important to learn to forgive ourselves and others for the realities in life that weren't what we wanted them to be. All these lessons have been the lessons I most needed!

So the "State of the State" (of the Kingdom of Me) today is GRATEFUL! Grateful for Omaha, and Burke High School, and Wheaton College. Grateful for my family -- expecially my nuclear family and amazing uncles and aunts and cousins who have given me a rich loving world that I took for granted until I moved so far away. Grateful for God's Grace, which I no longer need to understand to bathe in!

But most of all, the "State of the State" (of the Kingdom of Me) is amazed at what is in my cup and what is pouring out of this tiny little cup that is my own tiny little world. I am grateful that the Kingdom of God is available fully, right here and right now, and see that the Kingdom of God is coming . . .

Even when I am dead and in the ground, the Kingdom of God will be at work to bring beauty out of darkness and despair, whether my burial day is in less than a week or in 60 years from today. Life is good, and today I am alive and aware and grateful for eyes to see!

I AM just a blip on the computer screen, but while I'm here, I get to see each of YOU . . . and THAT is beauty and joy!


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