April 2020 Newsletter

Thank you to all of our faithful supporters and encouragers through the years. We appreciate you so much and are excited to discover what direction Mountain Haven will be heading as we seek answers, rest, and direction for the years to come. We continue to prayerfully consider what our future looks like and how ministry will evolve and take a different shape and direction for us. This season is turning out to be longer than we expected but we are going to be patient and stop putting expectations on it, and ourselves. Thanks for being patient with us, supporting us through years, praying for us and always being kind to us. 

 

MINISTRY AT A GLANCE
Financials: Monthly Revenue Required: $2700.00 and Monthly Revenue Received: $700.00       Remaining Need: $2,700.00

Something Interesting or Unexpected that Happened:  The Covid-19 virus has turned our entire world upside down. I am sure like us you are navigating the nuances of this new life. I wear lots of protective garb at my job as a hospice social worker and am seeing a lot of our elderly and isolated population enjoying the very limited visits they get during this time of extreme isolation.

 

Top Prayer Requests: For Kevin. We will be having his surgery on April 16 (it was cancelled for March 26 due to the Covid virus) We are so grateful as his symptoms are concerning. He will be at the hospital alone, as they will not let me come up to the hospital during the surgery or during his recovery. It will be a bit trying but we are grateful he is getting this surgery finally.

Mountain Haven Newsletter – April 2020

“Learning the Grace of Compassionate Self Acceptance”

“The way you think about yourself determines your reality. You are not being hurt by the way people think about you. Many of those people are a reflection of how you think about yourself”   Shannon Alder

Imagine yourself in a long twisting and turning hallway. This hallway has ornate mirrors, plain mirrors, small and large mirrors decorating the walls for miles and miles. But covering these mirrors are blankets, lots and lots of blankets. Everything you see in this hallway is covered with a veil, a mask, and a pretense. BUT what if you happen to pull down the blankets-one by one- and see your reflection for the first time? You suddenly see the horrendous, hidden things that are glaring back at you? Or the glorious, beautiful, tender things that you didn’t notice before? For years you were comfortable in that long hallway, you even believed that what you saw was enough and that it was the authentic you. But what you were really living with was an image of yourself that was guided not through true seeing, but through self deception and half truths, and choosing the easier path.

I think the reality is that many times we build constructs just like this hallway. I know I do. I am looking for an order and a presentable image. I am looking for a way to order my family of origin hurts, my personality flaws, my circumstances, my resentments, and judgments so that I am able to handle the image I pass in that hallway. And so that I present the right and presentable image to the world around me. But what if the only way to really become whole is to put our arms lovingly around everything that we know ourselves to be- passive, wise, argumentative, patient, lazy, hard working, materialistic, generous, treacherous, courageous, afraid, compassionate, resentful, trustworthy, sacrificial and selfish. To pull off the blankets and see it all- all the things you think you are hiding from yourself, but really everyone in your intimate circle has seen all along. Just ask them?!

I have many blankets up of self sufficiency, self reliance, and detachment. These are the hardest blankets to pull off the mirrors, because the reflection of those things inside me feel overpowering. Sometimes when I come face to face with my detachment it can be too much. The reflection can be so distorted and ugly and then I slip into condemnation. “Why are you so shut down Chris?” This is why all the mirrors must be uncovered, so the reflections can be set free. And one reflection does not overpower the other. One moment we are allowed to see our genuine compassion and love that about ourselves, and maybe the next minute we see our despair and wonder how we can be such a fraud. BUT alas, we look into another mirror of our sacrificial love towards another and realize we are not a fraud, we are merely human. We start integrating and embracing the parts of ourselves that at one point felt contradictory or unloveable. This type of transformative self compassion truly does open us up to loving our spouses deeper, our children unabashedly and creatively. As Parker Palmer says “If we can’t embrace the whole of who we are-embrace it with transformative love- we’ll imprison the creative energies hidden in our own shadows and be unable to engage creatively with the worlds complex mix of shadow and light” (“On The Brink of Everything”, pg.174).

In doing this act of casting the blankets aside that lay over the mirrors in our hallway, I believe we allow ourselves to live more accepting of who we are– and who we can become. That will translate into our ability to love and accept others in our lives, and not be afraid or back away from their pain and fear.  Honest self examination can be a doorway to misery if we come to believe we are the only one with this particular type of brokenness, but the beauty is that we are not, and we are lucky and blessed to meet others that too are willing to uncover their mirrors as well. We empower ourselves to be life givers to others, to be compassionate reservoirs of love and acceptance, instead of performance demanding, law defining people. This type of self compassion changes us, it doesn’t make us more stuck, or make us fixated on being a victim or throw us into self pity. It allows us to look into self pity or fear as it presents itself in our lives, and be honest about it. This level of honesty and vulnerability allows us to move towards integrity within our soul and spirit. That, my friends, is freedom.

 

I have been in a long tunnel of blackness, of hopelessness, and anger. I had thought to myself that I had uncovered those blankets in the hallway of my life, but I am learning there are more, and that is ok.I don’t need to keep my soul on life support because I am seeing my resilience, my compassion, my fortitude, my loyalty, and my wisdom, they are true characteristics within me. I see these along with my anger, rage, fear, and despair and I will not be overcome. I have compassion on this person I am, and I am becoming through these circumstances that feel unbearable, the way a loving parent has compassion on their child. This I hope is enabling me to love Kevin, the girls, and the world so much  better. I guess time will tell! I hope the same for you.

 

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