Saturday, March 22, 2014
Saturday, July 20, 2013
He said ludicrous things.
Stories and snippets and zingers,
ludicrous and beautiful.
Seeds, pearls, yeast, trees.
Trash heaps and teeth gnashing
Everyone was there.
Women around the bread oven,
fisherman and farmers
And then the deal breaker.
Flesh and blood, a feast.
They all heard him, the madman.
They heard him, and most of them
did what any sane person ought to do.
They turned around,
and wandered home to the alleys,
across the fields,
back to their boats and palaces
and undisturbed consciences.
A few stayed.
As crazy as he was, I suppose,
but they trusted him.
Years later, with their crops long failed
and their fishing nets rotted through,
they ate flesh, drank blood.
They dined on redemption
like kings at the table.
They caught glimpses,
and saw within themselves
seeds, pearls, yeast, trees.
(inspired by John 6:53-69)
Wednesday, May 08, 2013
Sunday, April 28, 2013
Several months ago, there was a mini-earthquake in Lexington. Most people didn't feel it. But I was alone on the 15th floor of an office building, where a small tremor is amplified, and I felt the whole building shake. The thing is, I don't associate Kentucky with earthquakes, so it didn't cross my mind as a possible explanation. What did cross my mind was an image of the whole building tumbling down around me ala a bomb or some other attack, and I quickly left the building. In time it became clear that all was ok, and I went back to my office, but it took a while to shake the sense of terror.
A few weeks ago, I was walking out of the same office building when I heard a rumble. I still don't know what it was, but I do know that I spent most of the walk from my office to the pharmacy thinking about whether the phone lines would be tied up if I needed to tell my husband that it's ok, I wasn't in the building when "it" happened--whatever horror "it" might have been. The strange thing was that it was sort of a mundane thought process. I was casually making a contingency plan. That's when it began to sink in to me. That was when I thought, "THIS is what they mean by a post 9-11 world."
Recently, I considered asking a stranger to watch my things (mostly my backpack) while I ran to the restroom at Barnes and Noble. And then I pictured a shredded black backpack on a sidewalk in Boston, and I thought, "I don't know if that situation will feel safe to anyone anymore." A girl at the library asked the same favor of me today, and though I did it without hesitation, I was a little more antsy to see her return than I would have been a month ago. I live in a post-Boston marathon world.
Since that mini-earthquake, I have been thinking about what all this means for the life of faith. I think of John's words: "There is no fear in love, but perfect love drives out fear." That's one of those verses that's beautiful as a platitude, perhaps an embroidered pillow or a bookmark, but completely unsettling when taken seriously. Take it in for a moment. There is a love so deep and high and long and wide that it actually eclipses fear entirely. It is the trump card of all trump cards. THAT is the love of God. It's an ocean I dip my toe in sometimes.
Faith that overcomes fear, that banks on the trump card even when the ante has been raised immeasurably--would be an astounding statement to a watching world. I'm wrestling with that today.
Sunday, March 17, 2013
It's been a while. And by that, I mean way, way too long. It's not that I haven't started to write a few times. There are several unfinished drafts floating around in a file on my desktop. It would appear, however, that I haven't been able to complete a thought in almost a year now. Perhaps that should worry me. Perhaps it has just been one long transition, or series of transitions, and I haven't really had my feet on the ground for a while. At some point, I suppose, if I am to retain that precious part of myself that is a writer, I will have to be content with publishing an unfinished thought or two...
Sunday, April 15, 2012
Saturday, February 25, 2012
It is understandable, then, that I have had a pretty hard time remaining present to anyone or anything lately. Last week, I found myself thinking that I would like to go to sleep and not wake up until I am on the far side of some of the things I am waiting for. The space between desire and fulfillment is one of great tension. I am exhausted from dwelling in it.
Thank God for weddings. In the weeks before my two friends recently tied the knot, with the big day rapidly approaching, last minute needs came to the fore (as they always do with weddings) and jobs were handed out. Despite the fact that the bride and groom are two dear friends of mine, I suddenly found myself annoyed with all talk of weddings, and I chafed at the thought of taking on any helping role. I didn’t know why, really. It isn’t like me. I tried to talk myself into a better mindset over and over, but oh man, I wanted to exit the whole scene and go sit alone in my waiting room.
The tension, the chafing persisted. Until the Tuesday preceding the wedding, when those of us at my church’s evening service somehow came around to discussing the notion that we—the body of Christ—belong to one another. I don’t even remember how we got there, or what the scripture was that week. All I know is that I heard it loud and clear on the inside: My community and I, we belong to one another- I to them, and they to me. I realized how self-centered I was becoming in my waiting room. How selfish it really is to want to go to sleep just to avoid the ache that can come with waiting. I realized that I belonged to people who needed me to be awake, to people who needed me to be present in the moment and not just on the far side of my restlessness. This included my soon-to-be-wed friends. And so, in a dual-purpose event, two people I love got married and I got a seismic shift on the inside. I entered fully into the occasion. It was an exhausting and beautiful weekend, both life-giving and full of unexpected joys.
I got a seismic shift, but not a salve. This is still a letter from the waiting room. Still waiting for news, waiting for word from a friend, waiting. And it still hurts. In the midst of it, though, I am finding life in the in-between. I am a little more aware of the present moment, a little more alert to those to whom I belong. Yes, thank God for weddings. And in the end, thank God for waiting rooms where, if I am paying attention, I will often find God himself keeping me company and speaking to my antsy heart.