all about obedience

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Saint Matthias church in the Castle District, Budapest

A foggy, Autumn afternoon creates the perfect opportunity for photos of Fisherman’s Bastion, Saint Matthias Church and Castle Hill. On this beautiful afternoon, it opens the door for some personal reflection. How obedient does God find me to be?

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tiger mom

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The clouds let go of a gush of tears as my baby left the car tonight. My wipers worked their rhythmic magic, a pulsating synchronization of my mother’s heart. In a few short months, she will leave for college. What is this ripping of ligament from bone that slashes at my tiger soul? It is the precursor to a thousand sleepless nights of wondering where she lays her head, how much sleep she gets, and what concerns worry her brow. Seventeen years of cinching car seats and looking both ways culminate in a kiss goodbye as she hops into a car of teens. Soon, too soon, she will board a plane that carries her far, too far, from my mother’s arms.

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just a little frankenstein

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Foggy weather, creaking trees,
the soul in eerie lab coat meets.
November chill.

Kettles bubble, knife edged shriek,
Whirly-burly criss-crossed streets.
Sanctuary.

Ravens meet and take to flight,
the strange grimace of Frankenstein.
Imagination’s eye.

Within its life giving corridors, the Szent Janos hospital has been a source of healing, kindness and even laughter for us. Each week, we return in the midst of Lydia’s concerns to find Dr. Attila waiting with a youthful smile and a quirky turn of an English idiom. But, I have to be honest when I say that the journey through the windy roads and gothic styled architecture can be unnerving.

As we approached the medical complex today, Emily, a friend who is rather new to our Eastern Europe landscape commented, ‘I feel like we are looking at an insane asylum’ Indeed, our mental arsenal of the Gothic era finds fertile soil in the labyrinth and it’s facade. How reassuring that our outer crust is not an indicator of the core within.

In our part of the world, I find myself constantly facing this rush to judgment. In the prostitutes I passed on my way to the store yesterday, in the street beggar that masks his identity with a clown face, by the Roma couple that shared my elevator today.

God help us to side-step our fears about people; that scarily frightening world with whom we have lost touch and forgotten how to speak. God help us to re-learn the language of care and compassion that Jesus spoke with a Galilean accent. God help us to step away from safety and comfort and enter into the real world.

My sense is that where sermons fall short, the sanctuary of relationship speaks volumes.

It is a bold question, but I will ask it anyway.

Are you an integral part of the life of a person who does not share your religious background?

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where were you?

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A medieval knight stands as sentry in the Citadella.

With the coffee cup midway to a sip, the first text slammed into our afternoon. ‘Where are you? Lydia has hurt her ankle. Come quickly.’ And a little later, another text, ‘It may be broken.’

Our hospital journey had begun. Continue reading

no tourists please

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A view of the famous Vaci Utca, Budapest.

Paradox: I am a tourist in a city where I live. Today with camera attached to my arm, I have chosen to drink coffee on Vaci Utca with other tourists. Snapping photos, gazing at the 18th century architectural wonders, dodging baby carriages, and sniffing forbidden Hungarian spiced wine, I am blending. The city with its Euro-vintage, old-world charm takes the breath away and I find myself wishing for a simpler time when tourism was not the focus.  Continue reading

turkish toilets

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A view from the couchette.

I have heard it recently related that the wife of an important person was hesitant to visit our part of Europe where the toilets may be Turkishly challenging and life is a little raw. She preferred the westernly ordered, pristine shopping boulevards of our European neighborhood. I have to smile at her loss as I ping pong down the narrow corridor of the train in search of strong Romanian coffee. Continue reading