Thursday, February 25, 2010

Need a Room

I'm going to a stranger's house this morning. An old friend invited me to a Bible study she's attended for years. It happens to be in a neighborhood really close to mine. I've not been in a weekly women's study for several years, opportunities have come up - but I've not felt that tug that it was what I should do. This time I feel that tug.
So, I'm going to a stranger's house this morning.
In Illinois, the couples Sunday School class some of us wanted to start needed a place to meet. Four of us couples, living near the church, opened our houses. Now, you think it's hard to get three small children ready for church, try getting the house ready for church at the same time. But what a blessing! How great to be able to fill such a concrete need - Need for a room.
In a reading this morning I was made aware for the first time that not only did Jesus need a room at the beginning of his life to be born in, he also needed a room at the end, in which to serve the last supper. At that point, the leaders were actively looking for an opportunity to kill Jesus. His followers were in danger and sides were being drawn. Yet, he needed a room.
This morning I'm going to a house that has offered room. Where people live and eat and sleep and make messes. Where carpets have to be vacuumed, bathrooms cleaned, coffee made - all so God can have some room. It's not a little thing to offer room for God to work. Room where he finds freedom, willingness, and servants. Servants ready to do what is asked, what is needed because God is in the house.
One thing I've learned when I've offered a room for God - you never hear, "God has left the building."
He tends to hang around.

Luxury of Trust

The ability to trust is an amazing luxury.
I shared in a small group recently that my ability to trust is great because I've not been betrayed. Their shock surprised me. I hadn't really meant for the focus to be on me not being betrayed, but rather on my ability to trust not being such a great accomplishment on my part. Those who have been hurt by people they love - them being able to trust is huge to me. But, when you've not been hurt by those close to you?
The more I looked at it the more I was able to see the self-fulfilling prophecy of trust. I am able to trust easily because my trust hasn't been betrayed. However, my trust probably hasn't been betrayed because I've been trained to look for trustworthy people. I also don't have a high tolerance for just hanging around waiting to be hurt. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice - you can try, but it ain't happenin' cause I got my eyes open.
There are just so many good, trust-worthy people out there wanting friends and wanting relationships - I never spent much time trying to turn the untrustworthy into people worthy of trust. Maybe that's bad, but that is why I can say I've not been betrayed.
Once when a youth had been betrayed and then he dumped the girl, another adult-leader said to me that the young man would need to lessen his standards and not be so hard. "Hard?" I said. "No, he's someone worth winning. Worth putting your heart and trust into. I know because I'm married to a man like that."
And I have parents like that. People who are who they say they are. No different at home than at church or work. And, yes, I know. I am blessed.
I hope my kids can say I'm the same at home as I am out in the world.
Now, that's a goal worth having.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Cost of Dreams

Anyone else think about this watching the Olympics?
What drives parents to give so much for their child to be a champion? Seriously. The heart touching stories of mothers who "wore clothes with holes in them to afford my skating lessons" - that's from last night. Fathers who live separated from their child so the child can train in a place where there's not a job for dad.
I think we're supposed to get all misty-eyed from this dedication and sacrifice and yet I can't find that in me. All I keep thinking is, "Really? In what dictionary did you find that definition of "Family"?
I've known families with top-notch skaters and seen the schedule. Even in Northern Illinois ice time is rare and for single ice skaters comes at about 5 am. And all those years of training happen before they are 16 and can drive themselves. I had a friend tell a coach who wanted her elementary age daughter to increase her gym time to five evenings a week that that wouldn't be fair to her other children. The coach accused her of not wanting her daughter to be all she could be. My friend still said, "No."
And the costs? I know what it cost to just be on a plain ol' high school basketball or track team. So the teams which lead to Olympic teams? I can't even imagine.
Lizzy didn't get either of the mission trips which would've been basically paid for by the sponsors. Her summer schedule is very limited due to her brother's wedding in June, so her choices were severely limited, anyway. Part of me wants to step in and make her dreams of overseas missions come true. She's put in the work and time and I truly believe she's passionate about this and called. It is her dream. But . . . that's just not the way we've raised our kids. We've provided ample opportunities and experiences, but there comes a point where it's their dream to pursue and work out.
And our dreams do not come in second to theirs.
I guess that's the thing I wonder about most - am I just selfish to not put my kids dreams higher on my priority list? Are these Olympic parents the one's who have it right?

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

I love . . .

I love Cheerios. and Crocs, email, and candles. I love books and reading and talking about books. I love crocheting and gloves and football. Okay, baseball, too. Okay, basketball, too. I'd love to love NASCAR, but can't make it happen--and I've tried. I love the smell of lemon, soft rock music, icemakers, and diet coke. I love Summer, TV, chocolate ice cream, bonfires, and picnics. The smell of exhaust and gasoline and traveling in the car. Marigolds, talk radio, flannel sheets, Spring, and the National Anthem. I love college football starting and baseball season starting and March madness starting. I love calendars and Southern Living Magazine and St. Patrick's Day and yellow. I love lipstick, socks, and rain and Fall.
Standing by the sink, eating a bowl of Cheerios (I eat mine without sugar - so it's PURE Cheerio goodness) the thought popped into my head - "I love Cheerios." So I wrote it down. And kept going. I wrote before Valentines about how weird I am about the word "Love" with people. ( but I'm the exact opposite with inanimate objects. When I was a teenager a friend of our family asked me, "Kay, what don't you love?" Well, anyway, it was fun and a great way to start my morning.
What about you? What makes your list?

Monday, February 22, 2010

Get Your Hands Off My Plate!

Sure don't miss that!
A friend is leaving this morning to go see her grandson and I hadn't gotten his gift to her yet. So I drove it up there earlier this morning. It was prime school traffic time and raining. So I got to see lots of headlights, taillights, and school buses.
I do remember taking note of my last year to need to drive a kid to or from school or activities. That sitting in parking lots and dropoff/pickup lines. The waiting for a phone call when practice is over. Or the times when a kid troops back in the door when they should be at school saying, "I missed the bus."
And then the youngest was 16 and no longer in need of rides.
Out and about this morning made me appreciative that I didn't start this blogging thing until the kid phase of life was over. When I hear of authors (like Danielle Steel or Madeline L'engle) who wrote in the wee hours because their children would be asleep, or read the laments on twitter of authors working around snow days and carpooling; I appreciate I came to writing late. I'm not sure I'm the type that would have done well with all that on my plate at once.
Sometimes I wonder if we don't try to put too much on our plates these days. I watch friends struggle with all the items on their plates, but the thought never - never - arises to take something off. Give up a position, a duty, a pleasure? Nope, the thought is never even entertained.
What if I offered my plate to God and asked him to make some corrections? What would God do with my schedule? I can hear it now, "Sure, I'll give God my life, but my schedule? Now that would just be him meddlin' in stuff he don't understand."
Sure don't want God to go to meddlin'. You never know what all he'd mess up.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Missing Winter?

Is it too early to get excited about Spring?
I think not. Like one of those Olympic update spoiler alerts - If you still have any traces of snow in your yard - You may not want to read this. Okay, you've been warned.
We're supposed to hit 60 this weekend. Sunshine is flooding in the windows and my daffodils are budding. While hanging clothes on the line yesterday, I took a closer look at the forsythia bushes and the buds are plumping up.
Rolling the windows down while driving was possible yesterday. But not for very long and I had to keep the heat on too. So, I guess that doesn't really count.
What a gift to be excited about the next thing. To look forward to what lies around the bend. But managing that excitement can be tricky and requires thoughtful intention. And remembering.
What are the things about winter I looked forward too?
Fires in the fireplace, hot tub time, hot chocolate, hearing the heat kick on, stars shining through the naked tree branches, scarves, smell of woodsmoke, warm restaurants on cold nights, snow, baking cookies, open skies full of winter sunshine and no shade, flannel sheets, boots, luminaries in Marietta square, break from gardening.
Okay, that helped, but I'm not sure it quelled my desire for Spring. But I don't have a choice, do I? It's winter for as long as it's winter and spring won't come until it's time.
So, I'll wear a scarf out today, enjoy lunch in a warm restaurant, appreciate the wide, open blue sky and bare limbs, cuddle under an afghan while a fire burns tonight and fall asleep with the smell of woodsmoke tucked in my flannel sheets.
How about you? What about winter will you miss? I know it's work, but you can do it!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Tyranny of The Possible

This moment - right now at this moment I'm doing what I'm supposed to do. I don't know where it's leading or what's next but I'm listening and following - right now. And that really is all I CAN do. Sometimes I think we try and convince ourselves that if we do this, then that will happen and so we do things anticipating a certain outcome and completely miss the moment. Because this moment's not what's important - it's the outcome that is important, right?
But what if this moment IS the outcome?
What if everything I've done in the past was all to get me to THIS moment -where I am right now - who I'm impacting today?
How cool is that? The potential in every decision, every thought is electric to me.
I will not let the tyranny of a possible future, a possible outcome negate or water down this moment. This day.
Today is so bright, I gotta wear shades!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Frustrated - and now I know why!

Frustrated this morning because I don't know what to write here. I stayed up too late again watching the Olympics. Mike's not here so I slept in and now the morning is flying by - and I don't know what to write here.
Thoughts of Lent are mucking around in my head and they filled a blog post a minute ago, but I erased them. They sounded like a lecture or advice column.
I'm frustrated with folks who are frustrated with God, but honestly say they've never really taken the time to understand or know him. But I don't know what to write about that.
The new book is coming along fine but these late starts don't help me write. I am such a morning person with writing and as Mike travels, I have to stop sleeping in, apparently. Because it leads to me being frustrated and throws my day off. Funny, but I haven't really put that together until this moment. It's never occurred to me that I should set my alarm on days Mike's not here. I've always looked at the days he's gone, as days to not have to get up so early. But before, when the kids were home, I got up before them so I was up early-ish. Hmmm, this seems so obvious to me now.
Also, it tells me why I was so frustrated before.
God had something to show me and I wouldn't look in that direction. I was completely missing the point. Completely. Which leads to frustration.
So, when I'm feeling frustrated it's because I'm missing the point? Awesome!
I do believe God has a point when he talks to us - not always a correction - sometimes he just wants us to see the sunset we're turned away from cause we're facing a computer screen or the TV. But in not getting his point - due either to being obtuse, argumentative, or busy - we miss the connection and are left frustrated.
Hey - now I know what I was supposed to write this morning! And my frustration just melted away - how about yours?

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Fool Me Once . . .

"There's a bluebird on my shoulder. It's the truth. It's actual. Everything is satisfactual." Okay, unlike Uncle Remus in Disney's Song of the South, the bluebirds aren't sitting on my shoulder but they are sitting right outside my door on our bird feeders. Bright blue with peachy-red breasts. Like Uncle Remus said, "It's the truth. It's actual."
But in another area - the lack of truth is astounding me. The way the global warming "science" is falling apart. I'll admit I've always been skeptical about it. That's just the way my politics leans and I thought there were too many educated naysayers to not take a second look, yet taking a second look was thought to be blasphemous. Got to admit, anytime I'm told NOT to take a second look - I'm suspicious.
But what has shocked me is that the scientists - folks with degrees upon degrees who put their name and reputation on the line are being found to not have been fooled or misled in their research, but to have decided the cause was greater than the need for truth or hard data. (The quotes are out there, just google "climategate" and you'll get all you need.)
We're constantly told we are such a cynical, suspicious society - and yet obviously we're not cynical enough. Think of the life changes we made because of the Scientific Truths we were sold. One friend said to me last year about choosing paper over plastic grocery bags. "I know the research shows paper does as much damage as plastic, but I don't care. It makes me feel better."
Does it make us feel better to think we have more control in this world than we really do?
Are we more apt to believe what someone is selling when it give us power? Even when the power in question is such a colossal super power as the ability to control the planet's temperature?
Where in my life am I choosing power over truth? Where in my life am I more concerned with being right than seeing truth? I need to make sure truth invades every part of my life so I don't lead others astray in my desires.
Big thoughts for a Tuesday, but ones I know I need to keep in mind. You see - I really like power.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Advertise Here!!!

I took Mike to pick up a rental car this morning for an out of town trip he has to make today. As I sat waiting for him to complete the paperwork I looked to see if I could tell which cars were rentals around me. Nope, not an Enterprise sticker anywhere. Several years ago, police realized folks driving rental cars were more likely to get robbed. Thieves figured they had more cash as they were traveling - and they had no weapons as rental companies frown on that. Also, if your rental car was from the airport - you just came through metal detectors & security which pretty much guaranteed you were unarmed. So, all the little rental company stickers disappeared. All that free advertising - down the drain.
But now, our private cars. Those we cover with advertising - mostly for schools (my van has a Tennessee "T" and then stickers for the 3 colleges our kids attend.) Lots of cars tell us which elementary school the children are excelling at or which high school they play either lacrosse or tuba for. We advertise political parties and politicians and opinions. Those door magnets allow us to turn a private vehicle into a company car in two minutes. We have a cross made of nails from Mike's summer mission trip hanging from our rearview mirror - that tells the world we are most likely of the Christian faith. And that's just our car - what about our house and our person. Jewelry, clothing, flags, tatoos?
So, people can tell a lot about us by looking at our, well, our advertising. The signs we place around us to say what we put value on.
But what about our actions? In Sunday School yesterday we talked about the Sabbath and God telling his people that keeping the Sabbath will be a sign to all that they share a special relationship with him.
Jesus talked about the Sabbath not being just a day, but a way of life. So, I guess that means when I have a lifestyle focused on God, it will show and will mean something to folks who notice - just like the signs on my car.
What an odd, but interesting thing to think about. What does my life advertise? What does your life advertise?
And are we okay with the answer?

Friday, February 12, 2010

I Needed to make Cookies

Tragedy befell some friends this week. Yesterday all I could think about was what they must be going through. All I could think about was them --- and making cut-out, heart-shaped cookies with pretty frosting and sprinkles.
Finally, I left the computer and what I was trying to work on and went to the kitchen. Measuring, mixing, and then working the dough with my hands took concentration and time. Rolling out the dough to a flat, buttery palette to work the heart cookie cutter on, I watched birds flit between the bird feeders on our deck. Usually cut-out cookies are done with the kids, but this time there were no discussions about which cookie cutter to use or which pan goes in first. It was very quiet. Very peaceful.
Out of the hot oven and off the cookie sheets, perfect hearts with lightly browned bottoms soon decorated my counter. They cooled and I let a stick of butter warm in the icing bowl. White icing smoothed on the hearts first, with pink sugar and red candies then sprinkled on top. Adding a few drops of red food color gave me pink icing to decorate the rest of the cookies.
I don't think I've ever had that feeling of needing to make something. Maybe I've written poems or essay's during hard times, but yesterday, the need to make something beautiful, simple, good drove me to the kitchen.
Making the cookies felt like praying and even seeing the platter full of hearts this morning, touched me with how life is good. And God is good, he knows what we need and will tell us - if we'll just listen.
Think I'll have a cookie, and a prayer, with my coffee this morning.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

All You Gotta Do Is Call

Maybe it's because we moved many hours away from family upon Mike's graduation. Maybe it's because I like to be prepared. Maybe it's because I watch people and have seen needs met in hard times. Maybe it's because Mama seemed to operate on the same principle. There could be lots of reasons or impetus, but surrounding ourselves with friends has always been high priority in our lives.
I actually think about who I'd call if we got one of those awful calls. When we left Jacksonville for Tampa, I talked to a good friend in Jacksonville and said, "If you were to hear anything bad happened to me or the baby, you must get to Tampa for Mike as soon as possible." Our friend promised he would.
We've kept many kids in emergency situations. Four one night and we had met the parents only once. But they had an emergency and I was there when it happened. Another time I was with a friend when the doctor said their baby needed to be admitted to the hospital. So her three older kids came to our house for several days. When their dad came to bring them some clothes it was our first time to meet him. Others would end up staying when their mom or dad would call and ask if they could walk home from school with my kids just for an hour or two - and then that would become a day or two.
And everytime I thought, "One day I'll need this done for me." Yet we didn't. Our youngest is 19 and we never had to make special arrangements for the kids due to a crisis. But even now, I know who I'd call if I got awful news.
I have no illusions about getting through on my own. None.
Because I'm just not made that way - I want someone to lean on, count on, someone to be there when I need them. And it's not a morbid thing, or a worrisome thing. It's a comfort knowing who I'd call and knowing they'd drop whatever was going on in their lives at that moment.
Struggling on my own is not my way. Is it yours?

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

St. Teresa of Avila & Twitter

Last year at a Women's retreat prayer cards were given out with words from Teresa of Avila on them. (Thanks, Lauren). One caught my eye this morning and this is how it ends,
"It is true that I might stumble for trying to do too much too soon, but it is also certain that I will never succeed if I hope for too little, or, out of fear of failing, start not at all."
Also on the card are these words from Teresa,
"It is not pride to have great desires. It is the devil who makes us think that the lives and actions of the saints are to be admired but not imitated."
Saint Teresa lived in the 1500's, but I think she might've liked Twitter.
Now, for those not networking or promoting something, I'm not sure what the benefits of Twitter are - except by following the right folks you always know what's going on in whatever -whatever- field you are interested it. But for those networking, building a platform or following, or promoting an idea, product, or themselves - it's amazing.
It's a great big bunch of confident, dream-filled people. Really. And for the most part - they're cup-full kind of people who think the stars are their's for the reaching. Maybe not today, but certainly tomorrow.
Supportive friends and family are essential, but it's wonderful to have people living in the castle in the clouds next to yours.
So, guess what I'm trying to say is - Twitter and Teresa of Avila make me feel not quite so crazy.
Who, or what, keeps you from feeling crazy?

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Holding on with Style

Chicago is in the midst of a snowstorm this morning, their largest of the season apparently. Snow in February and March seemed just cruel to me when we lived there. In November, it was novel. In December, it was appropriate. In January, it was expected. But by time Feb. rolled around, my Southern blood would be warming up for Spring and the snow was cruel - it came anyway.
So I'd turn inside, decorating for Valentine's Day took my attention off Mother Nature's stupidity outside my windows. We'd cut out hearts and swathe everything in pink and red. There were cards to designate and sign for each class, card boxes to make and heart cookies to decorate. I'd buy rose scented candles from Yankee Candle - only time of year they aren't too strong. (I have one lit beside me right now.) And I'd pull out my silk wedding bouquet, our wedding champagne glasses and other romantic things to decorate the dining room buffet.
And when it was time for the Valentine's Decorations to go away, green would replace the pink, because March means St. Patrick's Day, which is also our anniversary. So the romantic stuff still worked.
I remember consciously focusing on these holidays so the outside wouldn't eat me alive. Snow and cold and slush and then frozen mud and unfreezing mud and snow and cold and. . .
Sure don't miss the weather, but I do remember with fondness the ways we kept the weather at bay until Spring arrived.
Then, just when I knew this was the year there would be no thaw, green sprouts would announce my daffodils imminent arrival.
Holding on - sometimes that's all we can do. Hold on until the hard time is past.
But holding on with style, now that's worth learning.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Going for the Participation Award!

Sometimes Mondays come with a whole lot to think about. This is one of those Mondays.
I spent the weekend on a women's retreat from our new church - so lots of new faces and names and stories. I agreed to step into a new area of ministry, unknown and vague, but step I did. Then last night I met our friends new daughters from Ethiopia and got to eat dinner with living dreams-come-true. Mike is in Wisconsin doing a presentation this morning and in the next few weeks projects will be won, or lost, and all that will affect where Mike spends a lot of time in the near future. Robert is a newlywed, Ryan's wedding is around the corner and Lizzy finds out this month if she'll be in S. Korea, Russia or Alabama this summer. And then there's my writing. A friend asked last night if it was hard to wait on hearing something from a publisher.
Wait? Doesn't feel much like I'm waiting, feels more like I'm barely hanging on to a horse at a full gallop. This. This moment is so full, I can't imagine anything more.
Sure, a step forward means a dream, a desire is closer. But it also means something behind me grows more faint, less real. I can't hold onto the past and also reach for the future. I know that, I know that, but moving from just knowing it and fully living it requires a shift, a move and I want to acknowledge that shift and make it intentionally.
Time advances, things change whether I want them to or not, but it happening without my awareness is a choice. I choose to be aware, to pay attention. Like watching the February ground for daffodil leaves pushing the dirt aside or knowing the day the willow branches take on that first tinge of green. I choose to participate in creation - Spring's - and my own.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Remember Where You Come From

Sure is going to be a rainy day in Georgia. Last night the rain and wind beat at our windows and doors and it's still beating as I sit down to write this. My coffee is hot and I don't have to go anywhere until later, but my neck aches as it holds onto to stress I'm feeling for worried friends. Friends, who I believe, have too much on their plate. However, I'm not the one dishing things out, so my opinion doesn't count.
When I have worried friends, my mind constantly goes to imagining how they feel, what they're thinking, how they keep putting one foot in front of the other.
I go to sleep with their concerns on my lips as I ask God to do something. Every story of heartache brings their pain to mind. And, this morning, the rain doesn't help.
The first time I heard the word "empathy", I was standing at the counter of the Woolworth's store in Oak Ridge, TN with Mama and I was elementary school age. Mama was telling me that earlier that day, with a group of her friends, one said to her that Mama was the most empathetic person they'd ever known. Mama then said, she didn't know what empathy meant. She said they explained it was the ability to feel anothers feelings. Not like sympathy, but put yourself in their place.
I don't know why I remember that so clearly, except it resonated in me. I think it put a definition on a part of me which I'd identified, but not understood.
We are all so different - I'm not a very sympathetic person, I don't feel sorry for people much. I just don't. However, I do think I can tap into how others are feeling. I know I use that in writing and that's what makes it feel like a gift.
But this morning, it doesn't feel like a gift, so I have to remember and lean in to the knowledge that God doesn't bestow his traits to us on a whim.
"Being made in his image" doesn't feel like a throw away line.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

God's got this bucket, see . . .

Getting a late start on here because I was working on something else. Something involving the word "may". Not the month, in case you're wondering.
Tomorrow night I'll be speaking at a women's retreat and the verse I'm speaking about begins with the word, May. I'm covering the first part of Romans 15:13
"May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace." is my part. Here's the whole verse - "May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit."
The word "May" implies permission being granted, and yet everything I know and believe about God is that he has plenty of joy and peace to give us and desires to give it to us. So does that mean the permission to be granted is from us, from me? God wants to fill me, but is waiting on me giving the go?
I'm picturing God walking around behind me with a bucket, brimming to the top. Waiting for me to stop long enough to let him pour it in and over me. Or waiting on me to take the time to empty myself of bitterness, anger, worry so there's room for all that joy and peace in his bucket. Or waiting for me to realize it's his bucket and he gets to pour it like he wants to, not how I think he should pour it. Or, or, or . . .
I just know there is a bunch of folks wandering around who are not filled with "All Joy and Peace" and we've got our reasons for not granting permission for a good dose of it.
Wow, doesn't seem too smart, does it?

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Just Wait

"So, do live and be happy, children dear to my heart, and never forget that, until the day when God deigns to unveil the future to mankind, all human wisdom is contained in these two words: 'wait' and 'hope'!"

At the end of The Count of Monte Cristo, this line ends a letter written by the Count to a young couple. The line has stayed with me.
Is it true? Is wisdom found in waiting and hoping? In this long book (have I mentioned how long it is?) I would've never imagined this to be the ending thought. Filled with action, evil, revenge, regret, diabolical planning, manuvering, greed, betrayal and constant striving on everyone's part - some for good some for evil - well, wait and hope seem small and weak. And yet . . .
It kind of reminds me of Solomon saying in Ecclesiastes that after everything he'd seen and done and thought of - nothing is new under the sun and we should fear & respect God, keep his commandments and trust him for justice.
So how am I at waiting and hoping? Do I practice them or just endure them? Am I better at waiting now because I've learned to lean into waiting and learn from the time? Or am I better only because I'm older and had to do it more? Does hope fill me with peace or worry? When I hope for something - can I hope AND trust or do I hope AND fret?
And, another thing - I've never heard this listed as a quote of any importance. Wonder why that is? Is it because discovering the answer to anything revolves around waiting and hoping doesn't please us? Doesn't answer our human need to do something, anything?
Do I want someone at my funeral to say, "Kay was amazing at waiting."? Would anyone ever say, "That person changed my life because he showed me how to truly wait."?
Isn't it funny that something we do every day is something we don't seem to have much peace with or a desire to do it better? hmmm - lots to think about today.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Love is Weird, isn't it?

I'm kinda weird about the word "Love".
Mike and I met at a Christmas Party on Dec. 7 1982. We both then left for the Christmas break - he to Philly and me to East Tenn. We exchanged a couple letters and then had our first date on Jan. 2. So we were in that weird time of just figuring things out when Valentines day rolled around. Don't want to ignore the day, but don't want to make it too big. But then what if the other person does something big? - you know.
So I bought a box of those little message hearts and trekked across campus to his apartment when I knew he'd be in class and I taped the box of candy hearts and a card onto the outside of his door. Here's the weird part - I first went through the box and took out any heart with the word Love on it. Yeah, I did.
It was just too important of a word to be tossed around on little candy hearts - especially when things were feeling so right. And maybe some of it has to do with my passion for words - they mean things to me. But mostly I think it was because I'd seen Love up close in my family. I knew it was a serious word, with serious implications and serious responsibilities. A word which encompassed only a few. I still give Love a lot of thought. Even writing "Love, Kay" on a card, isn't something I do lightly.
I put up my Valentine's decorations yesterday and that's what got me thinking about all this. I've saved the nice cards Mike and I exchanged or the hand made ones the kids gave us through the years and they serve as the bulk of my decorations. Every last one of 'em says, "Love."
And means it.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Let's go Surreal, okay?

Anyone else have those surreal moments in their past that you find - well - surreal? Things you know happened, but really? Did they really happen? And why didn't I find it completely odd at the time?
Yesterday at church, the worship leader (Hi Trish) led into a song describing it as an "old spiritual". When the music started, I knew the song immediately because I once sang it at a burial.
On top of a little Illinois hill, in a copse of trees a small crowd gathered around the burial plot. There were no relatives of the deceased. No other headstones marked the site. We didn't even know the name of the person we were there to honor. And I guess I use the word "person" a little loosely. It was his bones we were burying. Bones which had been in the ground for around a hundred years already.
Excavation for a new barn had uncovered the original burial site. And research led investigators to decide the bones belonged to a young farm hand who had died of illness and been buried decades before. There were some records of the happening, but no name was left behind.
Community leaders decided to hold a re-burial. A preacher was called, the press alerted and I was asked to sing. So on that windy hill top I sang, "Precious Lord" acapella for the burial of hundred year old bones. See where the term "surreal" comes in?
I hope I'm open to participate in the unusual. I hope I exude a demeanor of - count me in. Because that's where the opportunity for the surreal begins - someone thinking you won't think they are crazy when they tell you their idea. I know I've had ideas shot down dead due to the look of disdain and incredulity in someone's eye.
So here's to jumping in and opening up to a surreal moment happening today to think about later in life.
You in with me?