Wednesday, May 30, 2012

The Summer of the "Hiako"...

I wanted to invite you into something fun that my family is doing this summer as a way of practically disciplining ourselves to being Agents of the Kingdom.  It stems from something that Sami thought up (and i thought was incredibly clever) while we were talking about our desire to have this summer be "the Best Summer EVER" with our kids, and our enjoyment as a family when we have the opportunity to be what we call "Love Ninjas" (stealthy, silent, generous, loving, invisible expressions of God's love to others) in our everyday lives.  Here's the concept:

A "Haiku".
You may have studied the Japanese poetic form called "Haiku" in school.  Even in the US, most people are aware of the short, simple, poetic expressions from Japan that are comprised of 17 syllables and often deliver a single poignant thought with an elegant beauty.  I actually love Haikus for their elemental simplicity and their philosophical precision, and if you remember from school, a Haiku always follows the following three simple "rules":
  • Short – A Haiku is short and simple.  It's 3 lines of a total of 17 syllables in the framework of 5 syllables, 7 syllables, then 5 syllables. That's a "hard deck".  It's not a haiku if it violates that rule.  
  • Poetic – Haikus are poems.  They are more than just 17 syllables strung together in an obvious statement.  The best haikus use contrasting imagery, often natural or philosophical images, and sometimes even humor.  They have a symmetry and beauty best understood in native Japanese, but can still be appreciated in form and concept in any language.  As poems, they hold something inside themselves that penetrates deeper than just a Twitter post or text.  There is a flow and a rhythm to the words that comes  from both mind and spirit, and elicits a response beyond just "Oh. Ok. Whatever."
  • Intentional – If you've ever drafted a Haiku, you know that you have to stop for a second and think about it.  At a minimum, you have to at least make sure that your syllables line up (5-7-5), but the best Haikus show perception and a purity of focus that gives them an intentional "weight", even though they are relatively short and simple.  
As an example, here's a haiku that i wrote while looking at a painting of a woman standing on the seashore, staring into the surf at some undefined point with an expression of contemplation on her face:

A lone female form
Stands dry but deeply immersed
In the breaking surf

You see?  Simple!  But hopefully more than just a random accumulation of words.    

A "Hiako".  
In his book, The Divine Conspiracy, Dallas Willard talks about his hatred of the phrase "Practice Random Acts of Kindness and Senseless Acts of Beauty".  Willard explains that Kindness and Beauty impact others not when they are random and senseless, but when they are focused, intentional and directed.  Rob Wegner also talks often about "the Power of Small Interventions" to solve the world's problems, and how "small intervention + focus = big impact".  As a result, Sami and i have decided this summer (much like the process outlined in Hugh Halter's "Tangible Kingdom" if you went through a TK group here at GCC) to make it "The Summer of the HIAKO".  It's like a Haiku in that it's Short, Simple, Poetic and Intentional, but rather than being lines of written poetry, these will be acts of service that we embark upon "writing" with our lives as Agents of the Kingdom of God.  What's a Hiako, then?  It's a…

H ighly 
I  ntentional 
A ct of 
K indness for 
O thers

So here are the rules (for us, anyway … you can make up whatever rules you like):
Short – These are not "saga service acts".  We can accomplish them quickly.
Cheap – We're probably going to put a $ limit our Hiakos.  For us, none of them will probably cost more than $10.  Probably less.  
Poetic – Whenever possible, we want to try to figure out what would be meaningful for a given "mark".  In other words, we're not going to drop candy on the desk of a person who is on a diet, for instance.  
Ninja – We're going to try to be as invisible as possible in the process.  Like Ninjas.  Love Ninjas!

We're making a list of potential people and target actions, and we're going to try to make it our personal mission to let our lives be a Hiako each week this summer in a definable way.  Want to join us?  Jump on in!  Imagine what would happen if everyone just started "writing" Hiakos this summer with their lives and their families!  

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