Tag Archives: writing

The Criminal on the Cross

thy will be done

It’s Holy Week.

Yesterday in church they read the Passion.  As I was sitting there playing with my palm, trying to turn it into a cross, I thought of something new.  When the criminal on the cross next to Jesus says to him “Are you not the Christ? Save yourself and us!” it made me think of how we act in today’s world.

We want it now.  We want to prove how strong we are.  We want to show everyone our power.  We wave around our success and our popularity and our knowledge and our strength and power like a flag.  We are proud people and I don’t mean that in a good way.

We post on Facebook and Twitter and we write blogs that scream “LOOK AT ME!” Aren’t I smart?  Aren’t I pretty?  Aren’t I special?  Obviously I’m guilty of this since I’m the blogger here.  And I was just getting ready to tell you one of my posts was published on a yoga website called Elephant Journal.  Here’s the link:  http://www.elephantjournal.com/2013/03/humble-warrior-sue-bidstrup/  I’m super excited.  But it feels a little awkward.  I want people to see it because I want to be a writer and that’s how it works.  People read and share and it goes viral and I’m rich and famous and hanging out at my house on the beach making a reality show of my life.  Just kidding, that sounds awful.  Not to mention really boring.

It’s unfortunate but in this world, I guess “likes” and “shares” matter.  So I post and I share and I like and I keep writing.  And if my writing shows up somewhere else or gets some recognition, I celebrate and toot my own horn.  But just for a minute because immediately I feel kind of icky.  I think that’s what God may have been pointing out to me yesterday…even Jesus didn’t brag or boast or control or strive or grasp…he accepted and he went with God’s plan.  Makes you think.

We want credit and we want praise and we want to show the world how much we have it together.  Can you even imagine being humiliated on a cross?  Can you imagine being wrongly accused and beaten and mocked and murdered?

We can’t even imagine going one day without Starbucks or God forbid the internet is down for a minute.  I’ve heard people say “that’s a first world problem”.  I found a great video about this I want to share.

Sorry, I got off on a little tangent.  I’m not criticizing you, I’m criticizing myself.  I feel like I had a huge reminder in church yesterday.  A reminder about humility and most of all PATIENCE.

My son has been watching The Bible mini-series with me and we love it.  He asked me a most profound question the other day.  He said, “Mom, if God knew he would send Jesus to save us…why did he wait so long?  Why did all those people have to die?”


It’s moments like this when you realize how little you know and how passing on the faith is no easy task.

Here’s what I believe and I have no business spouting it out but I will anyway because that’s what we do when we have access to the internet.  Here goes:

God loves you so much.  He loves all of us.  He created us beautiful and loving and trusting and then life got in the way.  We started to sin and to look away from God and to think we know all things.  We thought we were in charge.  God saw this and was sad.  He knew we needed a Savior and he wanted to save us because he loves us so much.  So he sent Jesus.  Why he waited so long?  I don’t know.  I have to believe it’s so we learned about ourselves and about God and about the path we don’t want to take that leads to destruction.

It’s like Lent…why does it seem so long and so bleak and so tiring?  (It’s like winter in Chicago…I mean, snow? today? really?)  I believe it’s so we know how truly glorious Easter morning is – so we really, really need and want Jesus to rise again.  So we can rejoice!

Because in Lent and in life, there is no sweet rejoicing without some suffering.  There is no Easter without Good Friday.  There is no mountaintop moment without a climb.  We may want what we want and we may want it now but God has other plans.  We must have patience and trust that His plans are good and that He loves us.

If we do not know that yet, we will.  Because even in Jesus’s toughest moment, he said, “thy will be done”.  And it was.


©2013 Sue Bidstrup, Great Big Yes™ All Rights Reserved





“Good writing is always about things that are important to you,
things that are scary to you,
things that eat you up.”
—John Edgar Wideman


It’s Father’s Day.  It’s a tough one for me.  My dad died 13 years ago.

I woke up and read my email from the Writer’s Almanac.  There was a poem called “Yesterday” by W.S. Merwin.  I cried.  It was 6:45 am.

I made coffee.  Got the paper.  Read the article by John Kass “A Father’s Day Gift to Dream About”.  I cried again.  It was 8:28 am.

I miss my Dad.

I want to make this day special for my husband but I guess when it boils down to it, I just want my Dad.

In the end, when we are in our 90s, do we still just want our Dads?

Am I always going to feel like a little girl, dying to sit on his lap one more time?

Am I ever going to love this day?  Am I ever going to be able to just remember, without tears?

Maybe if I hadn’t read the poem…or the paper.

Then I read the quote above and I was reminded.  Reading the poem or the book or the paper is always a frightening proposition.  If the writing is good, when I’m done reading, I will be different.  I will remember or discover or realize or awaken.  If the writing is good, I will be changed.  This is why I read.  This is why I write.

Some of you never knew your Dads.  Some of you had Dads that were mean or absent or drunk or troubled or angry or philandering or violent.  I’m sorry.  This day is probably not easy for you either.

When my Dad passed away, my mom told me and my brothers, “We are not going to feel sorry for ourselves.  God gave us this beautiful man and we are blessed.”

I told myself that then and I tell myself that today and every Father’s Day.  It’s true.  I am blessed.  But then why can’t I stop crying?

©2011 Sue Bidstrup, Great Big Yes™ All Rights Reserved

Write it down

On this day, June 14th, in 1942, Anne Frank began to keep her diary.  It was one month before she and her family went into hiding. 

“The best remedy for those who are afraid, lonely or unhappy is to go outside, somewhere where they can be quite alone with the heavens, nature and God. Because only then does one feel that all is as it should be and that God wishes to see people happy, amidst the simple beauty of nature. As longs as this exists, and it certainly always will, I know that then there will always be comfort for every sorrow, whatever the circumstances may be. And I firmly believe that nature brings solace in all troubles.”    -Anne Frank

Do you keep a diary? 

Maybe you call it a gratitude journal.  Maybe it’s a blog.  Maybe it’s notes by the side of the bed that you scribble in the night.  Maybe it’s the words you write next to the pictures in the scrapbook you are making for your family.  Maybe you enter thoughts into your Blackberry or iphone.  How do you tell your story?

Your story is important.  Your voice is unique.  Your thoughts are original.  Do you think Jeff Kinney would have imagined that his childhood memories would one day become the “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” sensation?  His original thoughts also help link us to our universal truths and our shared experiences.  His memories make us laugh. 

Is your story funny? Serious? Thought provoking?  A cautionary tale?  All of the above?If you don’t write it down, how is anyone going to know? 

I realize you can tell people what you think.  You can share your experiences verbally. But when you write it down, it’s forever.  I know that I can tell my kids something and if they are not ready to hear it, it goes in one ear and out the other.  But they may be ready to hear it 10 years later.  If there is a written record of my thoughts, they can return to it. 

I have some of my mom’s old books and she has written in the margins, underlined things, and dog eared pages that were important to her.  She has always given me books as gifts and she writes beautiful notes in them.  These are treasures to me.  I am lucky to have my mom’s thoughts and dreams and wishes written down to continually inspire me.

Where would we be without the ideas and poetry and stories of people who have gone before us?  We all have something important to say.   The words you write down may be the words that give another person hope.  Maybe even almost 70 years later as is the case with Anne Frank.   Considering her circumstances, these words just take my breath away.

“It’s a wonder I haven’t abandoned all my ideals, they seem so absurd and impractical. Yet I cling to them because I still believe, in spite of everything, that people are truly good at heart.”    -Anne Frank


©2011 Sue Bidstrup, Great Big Yes™ All Rights Reserved