Saturday, December 31, 2011



What draws us to a place where we think we will fit in?
This desire to be accepted and welcomed drives us constantly.
It is an ache that wakes us in the middle of the night.
We may try to ignore it, but it drives us just the same.

Animals migrate, cyclically
Are we cyclical ?
Life is labyrinthine
There is a center destination
We think we are trapped in a pointless journey

We are not

The center is far better than any place we will find along the way

The center is the culmination of all we will experience

It is the starting point

The enemy has chosen our most vulnerable proclivity as his target to distort the plan
He has taken our fallen world, fallen families, fallen places
And convinced us they are home

We are victims of a false true north
A warped template
A broken compass

No matter how bad or broken our doppleganger may be, it still feels like home to us
To deviate is excruciating
A phantom pain

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Fall Forage

Fall Forage

You gather the acorn men
Tiny green recruits askew on the concrete steps
With brown tam o' shanters, and one eyed worm holes
Staring at the sky

Head first on the tree trunk, a squirrel sentinel pauses
You totter past through leaves and branches
Clutching your charges
Pinching the Stems
Lining them up just so

I am the new recruit
One, two, three, I count the green ones
Throw away the cracked fellows
Wonder when this game will end

I feel privileged when you place one in my palm
Dusty fingers on my hand, you jabber commands in secret code
And share with me your acorn men.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

The Journey

Do you discount your own journey because you have not done great things? Your inner struggle matters as much as any outward service. That is the kingdom of God. Do not suppose it is all up to you.

Saturday, October 1, 2011


 In the kingdom of God there is room for absolutes. People fear absolutes now, in our time. Absolutes exclude people, restrict others, offend some, or many. Absolutes create a dividing line. Or do they?

Jesus is the plumb line by which all other lives are measured. He is absolute love, and he asks for absolute obedience. Impossible? Ludicrous? Mabey not.

Sin is deviation from the absolute. It separates us from God, forever. We are sinners. Period. We do not need a little work, a little change…we need a new life. A life hidden in Christ. The work of the cross is absolute, complete. It does not cover us, it changes our very nature. The work of the cross was not substitutionary, it was transforming. Christ died, we died. Christ rose, we rose.

Absolutes repair the rift of our intended purpose: a life lived in perfect relationship to God. Absolutes offend us who have deviated from true north.  They challenge who we think we are. They are viewed in little pieces, not the whole. Do not murder, a piece. Do not commit adultery, a piece.

For God so loved the world, the whole, as revealed to little children by the Holy Spirit.

He who loves me will obey my commands. This is my command, love one another as I have loved you. And His commands are not burdensome. His yoke is easy and his burden is light.

Friday, September 23, 2011


Faith does not stay the same. I used to believe that the period when I first met Christ was the moment of my truest self, the way I was meant to be. That honeymoom period cannot not last. Sadly, I chastised myself for eventual my lack of fervor, my apathy, as if it depended on my motivation.
God indeed does become bigger as we grow older, as Lewis said. When I was young, my faith was a rubber courage a ever swelling place of devotion attentive. There was a place I found secure, and soon familiar, where we could talk about whatever was on my heart.  There were holy stretches of silence, and moments of inner sureity.
But God does not stay the same to my eyes. His leading is always asking me to look and look again, for he says, " I am This"..."but I am also This, and This, and This."  God does not change, not in the way we think of change, but the only way for us to know Him is to turn and turn, for He is too big for us to see Him entirely. And I wanted so to know that same place I had first found, to be able to rely on it, but I could not, and it was like sand. The purpose of any place with Him is to leave us thirsty, to watch it fade, lest we become lovers of place and not of a person.
And then there is the silence, the quiet, the vaccuum, the empty pause, with no indication of anything safe or sure, except that He is. That silence has a whole new meaning once our baby steps have turned to walking.
I still struggle as I dread the silence, knowing at times it is my noise which hides Him. But even in this I am not allowed to look inward in self condemnation, I must instead trust, and not think too much.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

September 11, 2011

Lists.  I think maybe this weekend has been about lists.

Our church had six feet of water in the basement from Hurricane Lee. Since I had cleaned up a flood before, when our townhouse was inundated in '96, I figured I had best go down and help out, but it was a challenge. I knew it would be bad.

The church: The kitchen and its contents, all the Head Start materials and furniture, the Brownies' supply closet, the five or so antique sewing machines we used to make quilts for charity, the quilting supplies and fabric, the quilting tables, the Youth Room and its contents...all destroyed. My first list.

The recall that followed was not so bad, but here it is. Our home: Our wedding cards in an album, all the living room furniture, books, a bookshelf made by my grandfather, carpeting, a picnic basket, cross stitch projects, photographs, various wedding gifts never used ( an electric skillet, a crock pot, who knows what else), framed pictures. My second list.
There was likely more, but you forget. We moved some of it before the water came in.

I had forgotten the smell, but not the piles of debris, the overturned furniture, the endless chore of moving the sludge,  yards of trash bags, the layers of gloves. I had also forgotten that flood mud does not come out. I'm pretty sure my boots are done. My work clothes, I had planned to throw out anyway.  My third list.

Enough about that. Do you remember what you were doing September 11th at 9:37 am?
I do, vividly. I was sitting across from one of my students in Autistic Support doing math with him.
Someone came into our room and whispered it to the teaching assistant. Her face went white.
She told us, not the kids. I kept on teaching, because I figured there was nothing else I could do. I prayed, too, without words.
Staff flocked to the library to watch the TV. I did not. I just wanted to focus on the kids. Soon enough parents came, and we shut down, and we went home. The import did not reach me until I saw the news that afternoon.
My co-worker had a neice who lived in Jersey. The neice lost her husband. She was five months pregnant with their second child.
We taught and cried in that classroom, over and over again, for about two months.
When I thought I was finished crying, I would cry again. And the tales of bravery and providence and grief just kept coming.
That was how it went.

I do not think our country will ever be finished with that list...the list of the dead, the list of the martyrs, the list of the stories that just keep appearing. Rubble settles, dust dissipates, and stories come to the surface.
I cannot link floods and 9/11, except that we each have stories to tell.

We go back to the places of pain, to honor or to help, risking the fresh bruising, trusting in another moment of strength. The strength that makes heroes of ordinary, anonymous people...the strength which pulls beauty from stories from debris...turns a cross into a crown.
Is there any other list? Any other story to tell?