Monday, October 25, 2010

Home Remedy

7 year old is sick.
Fever and cheeks bright red.
She sleeps, wakes briefly,
sleeps some more.
She has no appetite -
she who is full of hunger
and growth spurts,
activity and noise,
sips water obediently
and droops back on her pillow.
It is raining and my big plans for the day
have been cancelled.
When she awakens I rub her back,
cool cloth on the forehead,
stay close
where she likes me to be.
I sneak out when she dozes,
a quiet moment
pick up a book
but I’m thinking of her
poor child sick in bed
wanting only one thing
not a snack
not a movie
not wanting to play
no blanket or stuffed toy
not wanting anything
but me, close by
within reach
my hand on her back,
play with her hair as my mom did to me
the comforts of home,
not what but who
this hospital of charity
the ‘hospitable’ relationship between host and guest
one that hosts
one that guests
we take our turns
in this house,
caring and being cared for
guest and host
we give and we receive
only one thing is needed for either,

And the walls come tumbling down

Our house is under construction
and the metaphors in my mind keep running wild;
there is a lot of tearing down of old walls-
which makes quite a mess at first,
no matter how much you try to keep it contained;
splintered wood, chunks of plaster,
nails aimed straight at your tenderfoot.
It's noisy too - you can't hear yourself think!
Then there's the clean up,
carefully avoiding getting hurt in the process,
tough gloves on,
lifting the heavy load and hauling it out,
I still stumble, husband needs a bandaid.
We are helped by one another.
Alone in this new place I lift the broom and do a final sweep
and it's then I pause;
such expanse of space,
light where there was little,
visions of what is possible.
I love this tearing down of walls.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Happy Harvest Time

Property Values

The owner of a small business, a friend of the poet Olavo Bilac,
met him on the street and asked him:

“Mr. Bilac, I need to sell my small farm, the one you know so well.
Could you please write an announcement for me for the paper?”


Some time later, the poet met his friend and asked whether he had sold the property,
to which he replied: I’ve changed my mind. When I read what you had written,
I realized the treasure that was mine.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

A small token

Encouragement comes in many forms,
words, surely
fine and mighty
a softly spoken thank you
a word that lands on your heart.
but sounds too
resting an ear to his heartbeat
a proper sigh.
and the eyes drink in encouragement
in a crinkled smile
the knowing look in the eye
seeing joy unawares.
and how about touch
the hand on my shoulder as I crawl back into bed
7 year olds back leaning into my front as we sit a moment,
just there
the wind in my hair.
and then there's song
why music is on this blog
why church requires singing
and why you should mute me now and listen to this
and after
let the silent stillness 
and the happy tune it carries
encourage you.

I recently came across a new term describing a pattern
that the author claimed was often found in Christianity.
The Christian Atheist.
What the author defined as
Believing in God but living as if he doesn't exist.
It's nothing new to humankind...
failing to live up to what we believe.
We do this in life, believe in say, exercise.
A good brisk walk for 20 minutes to relieve stress,
tone and strengthen the body,
clear the mind; but not living it,
preferring to put our feet up and enjoy a glass of wine and the pause it offers.
I have often considered and taught about the difference
in what we believe vs what we value.
I believe in the walk but I value the relief
of that quiet pause, and so that is what I do!
Yet I need that walk!
And when I do head out the door and down the road it feels great!
But I do not want to write about exercise today...
about want or need,
or even about failure. 
Though I do like Edison's perspective;
"I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work."

No, I am thinking about that new term - Christian Atheist.
I'm not buying it.
There's room for doubt in belief.
Yes, even room for failure.
We are a people on the way...pilgrims
We call it conversion. 
It is the work of God's Spirit in us.

Remember this? Mark 9:24 - from The message
The father cried to Jesus, "If you can do anything, do it. Have a heart and help us!"
Jesus said, "If? There are no 'ifs' among believers. Anything can happen."
No sooner were the words out of his mouth than the father cried,
"Then I believe. Help me with my doubts!"

I am hearing Tom Hanks There's no crying in baseball!
Picturing Tom in the role of Jesus There are no if's among believers!

I am blessed, as a friend recently wrote me, to spend my life giving away God's love.
Living what I believe about God's love and life in us
is the constant touch point in my living the mystery we call Life in Christ;
it's consideration at each days end shaping and reshaping my walk with Him.
It is my work, also, and yet, truth be told,
it is more about God's work on me and in me, and on occasion, through me.
I clearly needed more attention than most from my creator,
and so He has kept me close,
that I might have regular lessons on His grace.
Kept my feet planted on the hidden ground of love.
As Thomas Merton once wrote, reminding us what scripture reveals,
Spiritual work is done with disproportionately small and feeble instruments..,
Yet even kept close it is easy to lose sight.
Thank the Lord I am surrounded by prompts revealing the face of love,
or at least the occasional mud in the eye that opens  my sight or hearing.
I once read "God is like a person hiding,
who clears his throat, so to give himself away."
and "Love and a cough cannot be concealed"
and this is how I often enough stumble upon divine encounters with Love.
But how about you, how do you stay close
so that you can live what you believe?
How do you wrestle with and live out the questions?
And what is church to you?
Where is Your Fathers House?
And what life and love,
what joy or consolation,
what goodness and truth have you found there,
not only in the rhythmic cycles of the church's community life
but in the rhythmic cycles of life's communion?

This is your invitation to bear witness to love.
Go ahead, post a comment...

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Penciled In

We are up and out early all week as we help Kate whose car is in the shop get to college. This early out affords me and 7 year old time alone before school, ready with nothing to do but watch the sun rise as we head out, enjoy a drive-thru breakfast treat of yogurt and hash browns, and linger in one another’s company. We are in the empty parish parking lot, sitting in the car, content in this quiet.  7 year old is looking at my appointment book - reading what fills my days. But when she gets to Saturday nothing is there - Oh, I say - you can write in Dance class - that’s the morning we go to Irish Dance. No, she says, it’s not dance day, it’s our day, me and you. She pencils in a big heart.  The next Saturday gets a collywobbles ‘love bug’, then 3 hearts for the 3 of us God has knit into a family. A picture like that speaks a thousand words, and I hear them daily calling me home.