Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Looks like I'm on a roll!

I frequently go back and read old journal entries, partially as an indicator of forward motion, a mile-marker of sorts for the emotional journey. It's helpful in seeing where I've grown and stayed the same, accomplished or not, come back around to where I was before, made it through one more crisis, had a good moment of insight, et al.

Here's a portion of one from April (I wish I was still thinking this way consistently):

I've been thinking a lot lately about redemption, how it really is the end goal, how it permeates all things - the reconciliation of all things. And I don't just mean spiritual redemption. We are all saving each other every day. But I do appreciate the perspective I have wherein this goodness exists in relation to a gracious God I don't understand. I love that we move in great mystery. Lately, I wonder a lot if I don't confess enough - although I'm regularly throwing out token apologies. And my deep confession is usually brief and centers around the same faults; I have not loved well and I have expected too much. And every once in a while I can't stand up under the weight of a grace that is so dense, so saturated, almost oppressively present. I feel close to my frailty - just as I should. Not guilty, per se, but broken down and so far from goodness. I love what Greg said about the way (he speculates and I agree) God relates to humanity. He said God's will is not like a vase that we can knock off a table and it's shattered and irreparable. God is always looking at the messes we've made and saying, "we can work with this."
I love that God is dynamic like this, that His will is never static, that it's not unaffected by the choices we make, that when He says "here is the way, walk in it," He knows we'll take the scenic route, has made provision for all the time we will spend hiding in caves and sleeping with the enemy and wandering into the valley of the shadow of death.
And not only does God make provision, but He sorrows with us over our brokenness - not like a distant and wrathful despot. He is here in the midst of us, dwelling among and within us. So inasmuch as we can't be separated from ourselves, we can't be separated from the One who dwells in us. I don't talk about these things much with people, except in general discussion at church. It's sticky and vague. People are sensitive. They don't want to be affected. Or they don't think they do. I know I don't. I make it too much of a priority to seem unaffected. But I see here how I'm softening - a necessary dissolution of a sometimes harsh exterior.

And one from early June:

Leaving my house this afternoon, I turned back toward the door to lock the deadbolt, happening to look up and notice the reflection of a most unexpected gift in the back yard. Nestled gloriously and furtively in an understated flower pot next to the hopelessly algae-ridding pond was a gardenia bush. The sight of it actually caught my breath for a second for surprise, and I had to wade carefully through kudzu in order to reach the blossoms with my nose - to ensure that this was, in fact, my favorite flower, right in my own back yard.

Instances like these are, to me, a statement of God's lovingkindness and good will toward me. I remember, again, that I have not been forgotten.

Welcome to the end of Summer, where everything moves in slow motion in the hot rain and fading light.


Sunday, July 19, 2009

Peace and Be Still

Found this last night and it brought me peace.


Another Sunday morning comes
And I resume the standard Sabbath
Of the woods, where the finest blooms
Of time return and where no path

Is worn but wears its maker out
At last and disappears in leaves
Of fallen seasons. The tracked rut
Fills and levels; here nothing grieves

In the risen season. Past life
Lives in the living. Resurrection
Is in the way each maple leaf
Commemorates its kind, by connection

Outreaching understanding. What rises
Rises into comprehension
And beyond. Even falling raises
In praise of light. What is begun

Is unfinished. And so the mind
That comes to rest among the bluebells
Comes to rest in motion, refined
By alteration. The bud swells,

Opens, makes seed, falls, is well,
Being becoming what it is:
Miracle and parable
Exceeding thought, because it is

Immeasurable; the understander
Encloses understanding, thus
Darkens the light. We can stand under
No ray that is not dimmed by us.

The mind that comes to rest is tended
In ways that it cannot intend:
Is borne, preserved, and comprehended
By what it cannot comprehend.

Your Sabbath, Lord, thus keeps us by
Your will, not ours. And it is fit
Our only choice should be to die
Into that rest or out of it.

-Wendell Berry, from A Timbered Choir: The Sabbath Poems 1979-1997

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Paradox. One of Many.

I don't really understand how or why, but these days it seems like I spend most of my time experiencing, simultaneously, the sense that I am shutting down completely and the sense that I am coming alive like never before.

Then again, I've always seemed to make myself quite at home in the house of paradox.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Hymn To Home

I haven't had much to say in the blogworld lately. I realize this, in fact, just looked at the date of my last post and cringed. All that to say, I have actually been writing, just not the rambling sort of prose I normally produce and occasionally stick here for you to do with it what you will. Lyrics have been my main stride lately.

So, if there's even anyone left who's still interested, here's a little of what's been washing over the floors of the Crescent music room (it kind of feels like cheating since this is a few months old...but it may be new to you). In case you want to get the feel of it, the music is uncomplicated and moves along in a hymn-like manner.

Hymn to Home (Sing to Me of Love and Home)

We'll hang pictures on the wall
The family tree that lines the hall
A forest of our history
Reminds us how we came to be

We'll pick out the hardwood floors
And build our dreams with two-by-fours
The table that your father made
And blankets for the window shades

So sing to me of love and home
So I will know I'm not alone
And we'll spin tales both loud and long
So we remain when we are gone

We'll hang laundry on the line
And pray it doesn't rain this time
And if clouds gather in the sky
We'll build a roof to keep us dry

I can play mom's old upright
And serenade you through the night
And once the stars are tucked away
Then hand in hand we'll greet the day

And we'll sing songs of love and home
Reminding us we're not alone
And we'll spin tales both loud and long
So we remain when we are gone.