Wednesday, December 24, 2003

S.O.C.E.D.

Shopping on Chrismas Eve Day (SOCED) is the least stressful shopping day of the year. Everyone finished their lists on the 23rd, and now the only people in the store are those who forgot "one more thing." When it's only one thing, there are virtually no lines, and if there is one, it doesn't take long! *zzzip* Even the traffic is lighter.

Two years ago when I engaged in this little tradition of SOCED, I had coffee at a popular espresso place with a dear friend, and there were only a couple of people at the other tables. Right off the bat at the first store we hit, they were giving away real wreaths for free. At the mall, I bought all the 18 people on my list their gifts at the same prices I would've paid the day before, but without the blood, snot, and migraine, and was helped by sales clerks who were thankful I was not a family. (Y'see, one shopper on the 23rd represents an average of 4 other shoppers who are also in the store somewhere with their own lists and armloads to check out. They recognized me as an SOCED-er, the rare and coveted breed of customer.) I'm glad to see them--they're glad to see me--the beautiful symbiotic symmetry of capitalist consumerism at its best! Ah'm a happy girl with this little gift to myself... Merry Christmas to me! (And to y'all, too...)

Monday, December 22, 2003

May Sarton

I found this poem by May Sarton that I had to perform for an oral interpretation class in college, (yes, I went to a four-year college, Tina =). I love it for the sentiment toward her father. It's entitled "A Celebration For George Sarton" from her book Selected Poems of May Sarton.  I even got an A.  Don't know if it's punctuated the way she wrote it because I typed it out with all the pauses, stops, and inflection to read it the way I wanted to the class. I keep losing this old typed copy, so I wanted to put it in a place where I can always find it.

I never saw my father old.
I never saw my father cold.
His stride, staccato vital.
His talk struck from pure metal, simple as gold.
And all his learning only to light a passion's burning.
So beaming like a less god,
He bounced upon the earth he trod,
and people marveled on the street at this stout man's impetuous feet.

Loved donkeys, children, awkward ducks,
Loved to retell old, simple jokes.
Lived in a world of innocence where
loneliness could be intense.
Wrote letters until very late,
found comfort in an orange cat.
Rufus and George exchanged no word,
but while George worked, his Rufus purred
and neighbors looked up at his light,
warmed by the scholar working late.

I never saw my father passive.
He was electrically massive (a little marvel).
He never hurried, so he said,
and yet a fire burned in his head.
He worked as poets work--for love--
and gathered in a world alive
while black and white above his door
spoke mystery, the avatar,
an Arabic inscription flowed like singing
"In the Name of God."

And when he died, he died so swift,
his death was like a final gift.
He went out when the tide was full,
still undiminished, bountiful:
The scholar and the gentle soul,
the passion and the life were whole
and now death's wake is only praise
as when a neighbor writes and says,
"I did not know your father, but his light was there.

I miss the light."

Sunday, December 21, 2003

working things out

He who has the courage to believe in God’s immeasurable Goodness will find Strength to withstand even the gravest opposition.

This is what I woke up with in my head. Don’t recall hearing it before so it appears to be an original thought, but I never know what stray cat someone of my Committee might bring home unannounced. If I truly believe that He is immeasurable Goodness, if I cast aside all illusion and suspicion to the contrary, it would be the simplest, the most natural, confident, peace-full and even joy-full thing to join Him in Whatever.

I ran down to the computer to record it and journal, and in looking up an Amp vs that contains the word “believe,” He stopped me short at this:

Do not let your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. Stop allowing yourselves to be agitated and disturbed; and do not permit yourselves to be fearful and intimidated and cowardly and unsettled. ~Jn 4:27

The words “agitated” and “cowardly” stood out. I keep using the word “agitated” in describing my current condition. And in writing about Tina last night, I made reference to her courage and thought hard about my cowardly unwillingness. Zing!

Jn 3:16 Amp expounds on “believes” with trusts in, clings to, relies on. I asked Him last night where my faith is to believe the Truth against the onslaught of lies and twisted thinking. If He supplies everything we need to live lives of godliness, then where is the faith? Or does that actually reside in the land of free choice?

How is it that sometimes I come upon some pearl and instantly I get it? Wait--maybe it’s not instant--maybe it’s been in the mixer, one ingredient at a time, apart from conscious awareness, and the moment I get it is the moment it has come to fruition and become what He has been working it to be. And it only seems instant because that one last bit was all it took to put me over the edge and enter that place of I Get It.

Jesus replied, This is the work (service) that God asks of you: that you believe in the One Whom He has sent (that you cleave to, trust, rely on, and have faith in His Messenger)~Jn 6:29. Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. I quick flip to Heb 11:1 – Now faith is the assurance (the confirmation, the title deed) of the things we hope for, being the proof of things we do not see and the conviction of their reality (faith perceiving as real fact what is not revealed to the senses). Vs. 2 – For by faith—trust and holy fervor born of faith... Vs 6 – But without faith it is impossible to please and be satisfactory to Him. For whoever would come near to God must necessarily believe that God exists and that He is the rewarder of those who earnestly and diligently seek Him out.

Oswald Chambers advises not to wrestle God, but to wrestle before God over an issue. He also says that it’s in the struggle that a thing is made our own. If I am lazy and do not strive to make the thing clear, it will never be mine, not the way the things are that I have dug into and endeavored to work out. Those are mine. I can give them voice because I engaged in the effort, and they are now by His gifting, something I can author that might help someone else. There are countless things I take on someone’s word for it, and they are not mine, and they lack the passion, conviction, and power of the wrestled booty. Struggle then, can be and indeed usually is, an appropriate forerunner of Belief. For me anyway. I look forward to the day I want the All of Him as desperately as air, as in the tale of the poor student whose head Socrates kept pushing & holding underwater.

He is building up courage and willingness in me. And belief. The trees are leafed out, and there are the barest buds so I know it’s happening. And of course, there is my spirit, where those things take place in perfect congruency with His divine nature. I believe He is moving heaven and earth, “taxing the last grain of sand and the remotest star” in order that I might get this.

I believe...

Saturday, December 20, 2003

my mother's hands

My hands look older every month. I remember holding my mom's hand as a child in church, examining it and memorizing the shape of her fingers, her nails, and the lines of her palm. I wondered with a sigh in my heart at all the work they had seen, even as a child. Veins protruded like tributaries under the skin, her nails were rough and uncared for, but they were beautiful hands. Hands that were always there for me, to hug me, to smooth my hair, to make endless meals, to work like a dog beside my father... and always motivated by Love. Wedding ring everpresent on that left ring finger symbolized not only her unflagging devotion to my dad, but to all of us. Now I own two sets of her wedding rings, replaced each time because of the undersides were worn thread thin by manual labor. She has made it a goal to buy a 1-carat solitaire ring--not for herself, but in order to have "something beautiful and valuable" to give me of hers after she dies. "It's the only thing I can give you as a legacy."

Mom, I have it already. You have been giving it my whole entire life.

I hope my hands age with that kind of beauty...

Monday, December 15, 2003

humility?

Often I seem put in the position of being a good friend, someone who listens and relates and responds. No sense of bragging or pride, mind you, it's just the best way to describe the circumstances. I was on the phone sooooo much longer than I expected or wanted the other day. Did she receive some blessing from that? From my involvement? I can't tell. Perhaps that is what humility is when I am Your instrument and have no felt acknowledgment of the Good that was done. I enjoy it the MOST when I have been Your hands or mouthpiece and not been aware of myself--it's just You happening… I love that the best… Ecstasy is rare, but maybe that's what lends to the exquisiteness.

Saturday, December 13, 2003

The Longing

Life is exactly the same as it was yesterday, with the exception of the truth that resonates in these lyrics from the song by Daniel Bedingfield. They fly around in my heart and stir up the longing. I think I’ll capitalize that from now on because it has taken on a life of its own. The Longing. Yes, that fits.

If you’re not the one, then why does my soul feel glad today?
If you're not the one, then why does my hand fit yours this way?
If you are not mine, then why does your heart return my call?

I hear the words. I hear The Longing. I hear it with piercing amplification. I feel the almost electric stabs. The echo reaches the nether parts of my soul. Sometimes it launches me into an emotional tirade. Other times I swither into a depression that tears do nothing to relieve. This is a creature of a completely Other nature.

Lord God, YOU did this. You started this, and I have no idea where it’ll end up, but I hope with every frayed fiber of my heart that I don’t screw it up. Maybe You could make things a little clearer to me about this whole thing. It must stay pure. I don’t want to go where You’re not calling me from, beckoning, encouraging, nudging. Can you dust off my ears and sharpen my senses? What would You have me do with this?

What would satisfaction look like in this? Would something precious now have to be sacrificed in order to complete this Longing? There’s a thought… I’ll take my present circumstances if it means being spared crushing pain. I’m not willing to hear that You will take one of my precious ones. No devastation. Yeah, the more I think about it, the more certain I am that You know what You’re doing. And that I am willing to be made willing to trust You in this. You have always been the perfect and tender keeper of my heart. I choose not to leave that Trust. Today. Guess for now, that’s the best I can do.

XO

Wednesday, December 10, 2003

a bug of agitation

There is a bug of agitation about. It's been embryonic for months now, but in the past week it seems to have developed gestational diabetes, growing fat and heavy and dangerous. Folds of truly too much mental sugar...

Here it sits, waiting to be fixed or discussed, and perhaps this blog might prove helpful.

It has everything to do with dissatisfaction. Like a pebble in my shoe, or in my case the princess and the pea, it's just enough of an abrasion to get and keep my attention. How grand if it transforms into a pearl...

Music is helping. Two songs in particular. The first is "I Don't Want to Go," by Avalon. Lyrics zeroed in on a longing to stay in the place where I am keenly aware of my Abba's presence. This is the ONLY place where I am completely satisfied on this earth, something akin to a miracle in this broken world.

The second is "If You're Not the One," by Daniel Bedingfield. Bingo! Focused, protracted longing for something, yet the certainty abides that this will not be remedied either soon enough or to a degree equal to the longing. Yep, that's it. Something that seems so perfectly complementary and yet unrequited.

Lord, what do I do with this?
What good will this come to?
My self-discipline muscles are atrophied. How to die to the natural in order that Your promises might nourish the spiritual?
Can You relate to this kind of longing? When?
Please, either move, or move me.

XO

Tuesday, December 09, 2003

From a Friend

This is a message I got from that friend I mentioned:

You are incredible. Don't give up. Our struggles are the same: getting it, losing it, getting it again, looking at it, wanting to give it to others, being rejected, losing it, getting it again, ruminating on it, loving it, floating in it, new test, getting it, losing it, getting it again, looking at it, wanting to give it to others, being rejected, losing it, getting it again, ruminating on it, loving it floating in it, living it, losing it...

I will respond in detail later. LOVE YOU SO MUCH! YOU ARE THE FRIEND EVERYONE SHOULD HAVE BUT I’M GLAD YOU'RE MIIIIIINE!!!

Now how encouraging is THAT?! Words like these inspire me to pray that I might one day be the person she thinks I am...

Sunday, December 07, 2003

[Pearl Harbor Day]

I have this awful, dreadful, fearful feeling that You have purposes in mind for this move we made, and I am obstructing the realization of those purposes. I don’t WANT to be depressed, but I can’t make it go away. I look at You, I read Your word, You do these remarkable things for me—personal, intimate, incredibly kind things—and I remain in this ditch. Most of it is my fault. Unbelief, despair, doubt, distrust, stubborn loitering in the bog of the bad-for-me-but-at-least-it’s-familiar... Yet a part of me knows that You supply everything. So if You supply everything, then where is the faith I need to take You at Your word that says You are trustworthy and Your kindness is everlasting, that I might believe this is all Good...? I’m going wrong somewhere in my logic. Do You not supply my faith...? Am I on my own in the land of the free-choice there?

This font is difficult to read, and there’s something in me that likes that. What part of me is it that WANTS to be difficult?! If your computer doesn’t have this font, I’m wondering if it even shows up to you.

Is it weird at all to anyone else that I’m here in my little home, and you’re out there in your own little world, but somehow we connect as you take in the words I’ve left on the worldwide web...?

I CAN access that part of me--the REAL me--that desires ONLY the good, true, perfect, and beautiful which parallels TRULY with the character of my Jesus… Spirit to spirit, deep calls to deep. Mae said that we are spiritual beings having a human experience. This deep dissatisfaction with the manner in which things are conducted on this earth bespeaks a condition with which we are not daily familiar—our new, real lives, “hidden with Christ in God” (Col 3:3).

But the key to accessing that part of me is to DIE to my natural life. And who wants to die to the comfortable, the convenient, the familiar, the known? My natural life is naturally at war with my spiritual life, at odds by virtue of their life source. Oswald Chambers says the only way the natural life can be made spiritual is by sacrifice. Eeeeyuck! The last thing I want to be is a martyr! C’mon, be honest—would YOU?! There’s only one person I know who is still alive who would answer a resounding YES to that question, and she would mean it. And I am not her. I am not even on the same planet in terms of willingness and courage. I’m the part-time inmate in a prison of my own design, constructed not of concrete and wood, but of stubborn willfulness, lack of motivation, hissy fits, and adolescent self-misdirection. Minimum security, work release, but a night-time location of Cell Block D, cell 6.

But this is about me. This whole blog is about me! But I’ll probably talk more about her later.

I am leaving this unresolved until clarity or resolution comes to me on this little blue planet.

Wednesday, December 03, 2003

Feeling Around In the Dark

Never having blogged before, I'm trying to feel my way around Blogger, and I think if I was at least as smart as the program, I would be a lot more successful. Or at least faster in finding the methods of design and format. My 17 yr old has forgotten more "tech-know-stuff" than I'll ever accumulate. Not whining here, just the facts.

Friday, November 07, 2003

One Thing I Know

"One thing I do know. I was blind, but now I see!" ~John 9:25b

I don't know much, but "one thing I do know." Jesus loves me. It always boils down to that one, sweet, simple childhood tune for me. All my thinking and analyzing reduce down to a line many Americans, even if they don’t believe its truth, at least hear as a child. To know, to understand, to realize… I am relearning this again.

Brennan Manning wrote, “To know is to be transformed by what one knows.” I would personalize that a smidge and say that for me, it is by whom one knows. I am convinced that anything I know is just chaff and husk if I know it apart from the love of Jesus for me. His love impels me, empowers me, strengthens me, encourages me, enwisens me, directs me, and shapes me. I use “me” after each to emphasize the reality and impact.

This Potter keeps His hands around me when I am on the wheel. It is my flesh under His fingernails. Even though the scraping is uncomfortable and oftentimes bruising and sometimes agony, it is always necessary. He would not impose a mark or pull across the smallest point without sure, loving purpose. Oswald Chambers is right—I go through it for the most part misunderstandingly. Clarity and understanding may or may not come in this life. We live on the underside of a tapestry where the colors are inverted, threads criss-cross, and loose strands dangle unknotted. I think it was C. S. Lewis who said the thing we’ll say most often when we get to Heaven, and the front of the tapestry is revealed, will be something like, “Ohhh, of course it had to be that way…”

I am not often proud of my behavior throughout the whole day. I am often peevish, moody, sad, anxious, gritchy, or morose. It is the awareness of His Love and purposeful abiding inside me that interjects to infuse Hope. Sometimes it is in answer to my crying out. Sometimes He sets it in my mind, and I’m taken off guard. Always though, it is welcome.

I am pauper and princess, tart and tiara, menace and marvel—a paragon of paradox. Why I would lean so heavily on my own human resources—feeble, few, and faint—is just plain sad. And yet, even as I write this, believing it all to be true, I am without self-condemnation and have NO crooked, bony finger poking into my chest. Instead, it is the same thing I am reminded of in sprinklings throughout the day:  I don’t know much, but Jesus Loves ME, this I know.

Thursday, November 06, 2003

a year later

I found this note in a Bible I use for traveling because of its compact size. I stayed with my mother-in-law for a week while my father-in-law was in a hospital kind of facility for the analysis and evaluation of his dementia and poor circulation.

Nov. 6, 2002

Oh, Kevvie, what would we do if we were the ones in the position of your mom and dad? If you were this sick, my tears would always be on the ready too, just like your mom's are. Would I be as strong and thoughtful of others? Sometimes the intense closeness of the Holy Spirit makes me more aware of others, and I am grateful.

If I was the sick one, would you wither from worry and loneliness...? Would God impart mightily His peace--desperate grace for desperate need? Might you read to me from your Bible, sing to me (I'm sure not, but know that I would love it!), stroke my hair, look me square in the face so I could see your beautiful green eyes that have launched me into Peace so many times before...?

Kevvie, we are BLESSED. May we know it and be truly grateful. More the challenge for me than you, as I've always felt how you treasure me and want for my lifting up. Lord grant you mercy to know the same marvel of being my answer to prayer.

Saturday, September 06, 2003

a box of paradox

To:  Tina
Fr:  Cyndi
>Subject:  Re:  Friday
>Date:  Sat, 6 Sep 2003 21:30:04 –0700

You are wonderful, you are precious, you are go’geous, you are loved. You are nothing and you are everything, crap and priceless treasure worth dying and living for all in one beautiful paradox! A box of paradox are we all!

reason and rhyme
motion and time
lemon and lime
nickel and dime

water and dam
lion and lamb
thicket and ram
the Great I Am

searching, reaching, diving, drowning
still inside, the head is crowning
moving downward, inside out
this pain is hell I whispershout

i dont know how to live this way
i want to die--now--every day
i smack my head remembering
that death alone supplies the sting
that deals the blow to life's confusion
doubt and sin and blind delusion

Lord, please drown me now in Grace
deliver me and take my place
fill my lungs with Gospel air
and show me now that YOU can bear
my death and life in lovely order
a citizen on Heaven's border

help me catch the little foxes
of trickery and paradoxes
of lies i make myself believe
of smoke and mirrors that deceive

i thank You, Lord, for this arena
where You strike keys and love my tina
who grabs my hand and steals my heart
whose kids say sh** and hell and fart
who seeks Your heart with such abandon
without concern for what she'll land in
kiss her, hug her, stroke her hair
deliver from the dragon's lair
whisper sweetness in her ear
Grace and more Grace let her hear
disappear the sores and boils
slather her with Abba's oils

searching, reaching, diving, drowning
we live the hope of bridal crowning
on and up, His resonance
this is Life, His very Presence

That’s all there is right now. Hope, anguish, grace, sprinklings of sweetness, untangling from barbed wire of our own and others’ stringing, but barbed wire grace for barbed wire tangles. He is enough. May you be in the place of you&Him. Pray for me as I pray for you. Grace be yours in ridiculous abundance right now.

xo, ~c.