Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Italy Journals: February

February 24 2012
10:13pm US ET

In the air over the Atlantic Ocean - and hitting turbulence.
Jesus, help me pray and sleep. Help me know how to be a blessing to others, rely on them, be vulnerable.

Some thoughts/impressions:

> Dad hugging me and rubbing my back last evening before he left, saying, "Remember this".

> This morning, the line of three mugs of tea and three plates of muffins.

> The delicious homey loving flavor of chapatis.

> The gold-pink sunlight glittering though the water droplets on the plane windows.

> Mom and Dad kissing and embracing before Dad left in the rental car to be with Grandpa. I averted my eyes, but it was one of those times when I saw them as friends and lovers, not just my parents.

> J's terribly sweet fondness for the gerbil and reluctance to part with him or even say goodnight.

> C brushing his eyebrows while Skyping with J and me, and laughing when J commented on it - because he forgot we could see him.

> D telling me that he never really forgot me: he doesn't usually forget good things or people in his life.

> Dancing in the guest room. Dancing in the living room, schoolroom, bedroom. Sometimes with Mom. Once with C. Occasionally with a few moves from J.

> Watching The Tree of Life

> Starting to use Facebook.

> Buying luggage with Mom, Mom telling me several times that she's proud of me.

> Grandpa's last rites. Stroking his sparse oily hair, holding his hands, then smiling at him as he recognized me, trying to express love.

> Roomie's call last night before I left.

> E and K bringing all those cookies.

> K inviting me to look at dresses, to be a bridesmaid.

> Cleaning J's room and folding and putting away all his clothes. His surprise and happiness.

> Almost passing out when I was having my blood taken.

> Finishing The Brothers Karamazov, Real Love for Real Life, The Summer of the Great-Grandmother, The Time Quartet. Copying quotes.

> Hiding in J's room with a rubber band.

10:06 Orvieto Time

What a full day. Praise You, Jesus. Please help us all rest, be well. Give us strength for tomorrow, energy, patience, love, joy. Hearts fixed on You, not our pitiable shocked selves. I love You. 

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Garden Day, April 13 2018

This was a rare day. It was finally, really warm. And I decided it was time to shave. It had been 4 1/2 months. I wish body hair was as optional for women as facial hair is for men. It would make a lot more sense.

I just broke off a piece of aloe from the plant beside my bed and applied the gel to my neck and cheeks, where the sun got a little too friendly today. I was GARDENING. Finally! But in the morning I visited S&R, and read lots of board books and watched a film. I had lunch here alone, ate up leftovers, savoring the last salty bits of tortilla chips on the back deck, in the sun.

I washed my sheets, vacuumed, cleaned the bathroom, gardened. Gardened! Glory. Planted my little spinach babies, and seeded some flowers. I showered, made cornbread, went to the forum downtown. It was good, especially because I talked with C afterward, and K came, and I drove her back with me.
Thanks for being so good and so patient with me.

The Greenest Grass, April 4, 2018

The bitter voice inside me wants me to list all my grievances and limitations, and stew on them. Or let them fuel me, like anger is fuel. But anger is not the best fuel. Nor is ambition, covetousness. "If you run away, you can eat potato chips and have Barbie dolls..."
It's the same old story of the greenest grass.

The place to work things out is here, now. With grace and gratitude. But that is impossible without You. Jesus Christ, Lord, save me. Save me from my sin and my stupidity. Deliver me from evil. I choose to obey You. 

God Who Got Your Hands Dirty, March 24 2018

I'm at the Cove - the COVE! And relishing it.
I would be relishing it more, but have just thrown up my supper in the toilet, and am still feeling nauseous. I'm afraid even fresh haddock isn't going to work for me. I look rather peeled. Scraped. Shucked. Anyway.
What a beautiful thing is proper digestion. Chesterton was right.

Man, there is so much going on in our world and country right now. The March for Our Lives campaign, for instance. And I feel stuck there. Because I truly think we need to reform our gun laws, but I know it's a complex issue. And I have friends on both sides. What is really going to prevent those intent on evil from procuring means to their ends? Not much. Thankfully, these things go both ways. What can stop the person who is doing your will? If God is for us, who can be against us?

Father, please calm me tonight. Please fill this house with Your peace. Please show me Your love even in my blood and vomit. You are the God Who Got Your Hands Dirty.

From silken self, O Captain, free
Thy soldier who would follow Thee.

- Amy Carmichael 

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

About Wonder, March 21 2018

I'm thankful for these Artist Date days, but I struggle with them, too. For various reasons. For one thing, I can start to think that it's all about self-love, which drifts into selfishness and navel-gazing and feeling dead-ended and rotten.

It's supposed to be about wonder. About looking outside myself, to my creative Creator. To my Lover. Yes, to enjoy, and to delight the senses. But not to wrap myself up in myself. Some self-examination is good, but let it be straightforward, and move on.

I'm having a hard time seeing either tree or forest. I don't think I've done even many small things with great love. Weak lust, perhaps. Or duty. Or moderate inclination. I need Your help.

"Mine, O thou Lord of life, send my roots rain."

Quote: Gerard Manley Hopkins

Selfish Shelter, March 14 2018

I've been angry - ever since I was a kid - at women who selfishly ask to be sheltered, rather than believing in something better than safety: honor and courage and the right.

Women who stand back trembling while their men do the work.

Yes, I want to be spared, but no, I don't want to be spared. And I'd like to avoid making enemies, but I don't know how that's possible.

How can I be teachable? Humble, but bold in conviction? I'm coming to You because I still believe You care, You are listening, You love me and will answer. I still trust You. And I think that refusing to make peace with sin and injustice and depravity is a way of honoring You, even if seeing these things makes me want to blame You. Don't let me be deceived. Open my eyes. Set me before the essentials. Help me to love, and to keep myself open to love, and to be patient. And fight. Please keep fighting for me. Strip me of everything if You need to, because I'm foremost Yours. "This is one battle I can fight naked."
Clothed by You.

Quote: Dorothy Sayers, "Busman's Honeymoon"

The Procession of Fantastic Wealth, March 14 2018

But it's not a reason to brag. It's all grace. I have received so much in my life that I didn't deserve, by a long shot. I'm remembering the generosity of A's Indiana cousins. How they gave us a bag of road snacks so varied and excellent as to reach almost Biblical proportions. Dates, raisins, new wine, 500 goats, 200 sheep, 50 cows, 10 bulls, fine spices, and gold of Ophir... you get the idea. Where eventually it ceases to feel real, and you're watching the procession of fantastic wealth enter your ranks as if in a dream.
God, please fill my open mouth.