Monthly Archives: August 2012

The Best Thing about Getting Seriously Old

The best thing about getting seriously old is that you don’t have to.

The Scariest Thing about Getting Truly Old

The scariest thing about getting old is that your doctors, dentists, priests, nurses ,pilots, investment and insurance counselors, and sometimes even the President of your country, are the same age as your grandchildren. If that doesn’t scare you to death, it should.

The Spirit

At first, it seemed as if God walked
through the garden of my life
on velvet kitten paws,
gifting me with fleet impression
of brushing soft caress,
leaving feather light prints
in the tender earth
of my spirit.

In later times, God climbed
the granite mountain
of my stubborn will,
using painful stake and hobnail boots
to gain each foothold,
bringing about His kingdom
through the thundering voice
of circumstance.

Then, recently, I sensed God lost,
absent on Sabbatical
of undetermined length,
leaving only fading echoes
in my memory.
Until, at last, in desert night
and aching loneliness,
I faced my emptiness.

And discovered Her –
within.

Blogging Across Borders

I am thanking God this morning that I lived long enough to experience this brave new world, where we can speak to one another’s hearts as fellow human beings across the borders of nations, cultures, religions,genders, age, education, and profession.

If you have a chance, read this blog by Doctor Dad in the Philippines:
http://carlocmd.wordpress.com/2008/06/13/a-loss-of-trust-2/

Whether he is writing about his four sons or his experiences as a physician, he speaks heart to heart with an openness that touches me profoundly.

Pouring the Wrong Cup

I follow a blog called Spilling the Happy Cup.com. The author, Jacki, shares simple happy moments in just a few words and photos. Her special rainy Saturday morning meditation had been baking banana bread. I could smell the banana bread, hear the steady rain, and feel the grace of being focused on a simple pleasant task and living in the present moment. Lovely.

Then I had to laugh. I too spent that Saturday morning cooking.  I was trying out a new recipe for a brunch I was having on Sunday. I had a class at noon, so I was feeling pressured for time. I had the ingredients scattered around the counter; beaten eggs, cream, melted butter, grated cheese, browned sausage, and onions. Old age seems to bring on A.D.D., so when my husband asked me where my checkbook was, I pointed to it, and then poured the melted butter into the mixture of sausage, cheese, eggs, and cream.

Unfortunately, the butter was supposed to be used to saute the onions. Of course, I blamed my husband for distracting me.  He quickly disappeared, taking refuge in balancing my bank statement, and considering it karma when he got to tell me I was $40 dollars off.

I debated throwing it all out and starting over.  But the $40 checkbook mistake was not in my favor. The recipe didn’t call for bread, but the day before I had brought home some yummy garlic cheese biscuits from being treated to lunch at the Red Lobster.  It suddenly occurred to me to crumble the leftover biscuits in to absorb the extra grease.  I could cook it and taste it when I got back from class. That way, if it was too horrible, I could go to the store and make it over that night.

Short story, long: it took draining grease off a couple of times during baking, but it was actually edible.  In fact, everyone went back for seconds. Though the two Saturday morning cooking experiences played out very differently, the grace for me was having the biscuits on hand and managing to save the casserole and the money.

Thanks, Jacki, for helping me notice God in both Spilling the Happy Cup and Pouring the Wrong Cup.

My Hero

A post on Face book today: The person who dances with you in the rain, most likely will be the one who walks with you through the storms.

Touched a chord.
Memory of my husband, Julian, running through our field with me, both of us drenched and laughing in the rain, just after we bought our hundred acre weed and rock sanctuary.  Forty-one years ago.

Several years later, when the power went out and we ran out of wood for heat,  both of us and our five children were out in the snow in the dark cutting down a tree with a cross-cut saw and forming a log brigade to pass the logs up to the door.

 

The whisper (Edited)

I hear my name whispered
in the new day’s softness.
I hide in the shadows,
perhaps it was birdsong.
I hear it carried on the wind
much clearer now.
But, I’m old and tired,
I pretend not to hear.
I have a longing in my heart,
a hunger in my mind.
But, I’ve tried and failed so often,
I cling to where I am.
I glimpse a narrow path
winding in the mists.
Abram and Sarah
are there beckoning.
But still I hesitate,
too afraid to follow.
Finally, I see a face
with eyes that see
into my soul,
a smile so warm
it melts my frozen heart,
a hand that reaches out
to grasp my own.
Jesus calls my name.

Here I am, Lord.

An Ebenezer Isn’t a Biblical Geezer or The Rosetta Stone of Our Ebenezers

An Ebenezer is a reminder or symbol of God’s presence at a particular time and place. It’s a reminder to ourselves and a testimony to others traveling the same path.
In 1 Samuel 7:12 Ebenezer refers to a memorial stone set up by Samuel to commemorate Israel’s victory over the Philistines. But, it also refers to the place where Israel had been defeated twice and even lost the Ark of the Covenant to the Philistines. 1 Sam 4:1, 5:1.
So an Ebenezer is not only a witness to Israel’s ultimate triumph with God’s help, but a testimony to the presence of God even in their defeats.
Having been an agnostic at one stage of my life, there was for me a specific conscious moment in which I risked asking Jesus to be my Savior and Lord. I can, in hindsight, see God’s footprints in my life during my time of searching, so my moment of decision appears to me to be part of a process. It has also become obvious that letting Jesus actually be Lord of my life remains an ongoing challenge that involves being freed of idols.
At seventy-five I have collected a serious accumulation of both kind of Ebenezers, the victories and the defeats. I have come to the conclusion that the defeats are how we are stripped of our idols of self-sufficiency, so that the Kingdom of God can take root and grow within us. In fact, without the defeats, probably most of us would never die to self enough to accept our dependence on God’s grace, so that He can bring about spiritual victory in our lives.
Dying to self seems to be a protracted and recurring struggle in the spiritual journey.
I remember a local production of Agatha Christy’s play, Mouse Trap. It was my friend’s first part in a theatrical production. Unfortunately, her character was killed in the first scene. On opening night the killer was strangling her as she fell back onto a couch. But, caught up in the thrill of having her few minutes of fame, she simple refused to die. Each time she went limp and he started to let go, she revived, dramatically gasping and struggling to sit back up, prolonging the scene, until even the audience began to snicker.
I’m pretty sure many of our own dying to self scenes are similarly prolonged and oft repeated.
Our Ebenezers are our personal experiences of the presence of God in our life stories. We are different people, with diverse backgrounds and personalities, so in our relationships with God, He meets us however we are open to grace at any particular point. It’s a wonderful experience to find others with Ebenezers similar to ours, but sometimes we are disconcerted when we encounter people with very different experiences. Remember that God is not through with any of us while we are still breathing, and only God knows how to bring each of us to Himself. When we listen with open minds and hearts to each other’s Ebenezers , we can begin to create a Rosetta Stone for understanding each other’s spiritual languages. Then we can focus on opening to the grace of God in each challenge of our own journey, instead of wasting our time insisting that our way is the only way.

Top of the Morning

Sunshine spilling through the trees with peekaboo glimpses of it sparkling on the lake. The first sip of coffee. A hawk glides over the lake. Quiet. Lovely. Blessed.

Thankful for many things. Some truly peculiar things. We don’t have carpeting or rugs because of allergies. Our house is tucked into the woods, no real yard, so lots of leaves and pollen get tracked in regularly, particularly by my husband’s shoes that have some sort of pattern that grips the leaves even though he wipes his feet on the door mat. Last trip to Walmart, I found house slippers with cloth threads like a dust mop on the soles. I wore them yesterday and it’s like walking on pillows and my floors are soooo clean! I’m thinking of buying several sizes and leaving them at the door like they do in Japan. The grand kids will love sliding and dancing around in them and will be cleaning my floors instead of leaving scuff marks. So, this morning I’m thanking for Walmart and funky mop house slippers. Who knew?

Fear and Faith

I am definitely in God’s Learning Disabled Class. I am so afraid that I am letting God down, that it is hard for me to accept the challenge of people who have outgrown where I am.
I have admitted that I am a wus, a devout coward, a congenital worrier.
Yet, I experienced God’s gift of faith, when I was aware of panic in the operating room during my surgery and at the same time I experienced my energy level sinking rapidly, so assumed I might be dying. It was ok. God gave me faith and peace at that moment.
Several times my husband has had near death events and God gave me faith for the crises, even enough to drive him seven miles to the hospital in an ice storm dodging trees and downed power lines on ice encrusted back roads.
But, I still don’t manage to trust for dangers that I imagine in the future. These are not imaginary or unlikely dangers. They are real. But no matter how many times God has rescued me and my family, I still worry.
I have a friend who frequently cheerfully proclaims to one and all, that she has faith, so she doesn’t fear anything. I find that intimidating. It makes me feel like a failure, so I tell myself that she’s in denial.
Yesterday, I told her that and for a moment, we glared at each other across the abyss of my accusation.
I learned long ago that grace is for the moment, not worries about future possibilities, even probable ones. But, in reflecting on yesterday’s conversation, I finally let myself hear God challenging me to develop the habit of faith. He has shown me over and over that He is with me in every situation. I know He loves my family more than I ever could.
I don’t need to believe nothing painful will happen. I just need to believe He will be with me and them in those times and can give us the grace to not only endure them, but to persevere and grow from them.
I don’t need to just trust His words, “I will be with you always.” I have experienced that over and over and over.
And knowing that, even wus that I am, I don’t have to live in fear of my own weakness and inadequacies, for His grace is enough.
He knows I’m a wus. He accepts me as a wus. But He expects me to trust not in my own understanding or my own strength, but in His faithfulness, which He has proven over and over in my small life.