Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Lines from the Months of This Last Year: December

Finished "Braveheart" today. Sobbed.
Took off my hat in class.

Help these baby wings grow large & strong with use.
Please kiss my tired zitty face.
I don't want to keep asking for relief -
give us strength to bear it.

Thank You for the miracle of comfort. Of safety there - here.

It's dumb how often I look forward to flaky things to satisfy me. Not bad. Not worth my time.
But thanks, oh Jesus, stop me, make me look. His Mom died last night.

Today a stranger offered me her clothes. In the canned goods aisle, I complimented a lady on her knit vest (her whole outfit was simple, tasteful, autumnal). She told me where she got it, and the next thing I knew she asked me my size and offered it to me. I hope she saw how moved and delighted I was, through my surprise. Of course I didn't take it.
Another lady spilled some Fruit Loops she'd been tasting for staleness, and I helped her clean them up. She was really embarrassed, both for spilling, and for snacking, and because I helped her clean up. But I think it would have been more embarrassing if she'd done it alone.

Thanks for the miracle of yesterday. Helping us talk. That was hard and awkward but clearly a gift from You.
We'd just finished watching a film. So, I mostly wanted to watch it to be titillated. That's really lame. I felt shallow and cheap, trying to squeeze all the excitement and longing I could out of their looks and kisses. I'm writing this in part to be truthful, in part as warning, as confession, as reminder of what I want - and don't want - to be.
Purity of heart, to will one thing, can't ever come from me. I can't wrassle it up. I can't fake it. But I can hanker for it more than I hanker after sin (AKA cheap substitutes) if You help me. If I'm willing to be helped. Please.

My soul needed this. Needs. Keep wooing my whole heart, stir up all Your jealousy. Enemies surround me, waving feathers and fruit, or chanting dark songs - whatever will serve to either lure me away or cover me with fear and mistrust.
I do adore You. Thank You for those soft shadowy trees, bare and glowing in warm diffused light. For dear friends. And for the deep loneliness that remains, that You understand. That You meet with utter completion, with simplicity.
So envelop us in Your love that even stale days tingle at the edges, even loneliness cannot split us into squares and wrap us separately.
I say all these prune-colored things about us, but I'd like more.
Say something.

Kindest. My attention is so scattered. Even fasting today was lame, I felt a little more controlled, but not still. It was more for me than for You. Now I'm lying here looking across my room at so many bright and arresting things. Things calling for attention. Things I've been busy with, expecting You to be around later, hoping You were watching. And You were, but did You slip out early? Leave the party for a cold night walk, and I was still warm inside, making smalltalk and wishing I'd spoken to You while I had the chance?
The lovely thing about You is, You're everywhere. But this sort of attitude is real. Sometimes I'd rather talk about You, read about You, than deal with You face to face. Here I am now.

I should have written at 10:11. Apparently this is the last consecutive day of my lifetime. Actually, for a very long time! Although: 1/23/45? I might be around.
Lord, I am getting the memo. I'm trying to be queen.
But what was Mary? A servant. Help me have honesty to look at myself squarely, and then look to You. To not be so terribly worried about whether there'll be a place for me in the world. Or if I'm OK. I am. I'm a twisted and pathetic mess alone, but I am Yours, and so I'm not. I am bought, released. Owned for life, free!

I don't have to prove anything to anyone. I don't have to prove anything to anyone. I don't even have to be liked (scary). But I am free to love without fear or strings attached. Free to be underwhelming. Free to laugh like a loon as You wink at me from around corners and swish Your tail. Free to hum childishly or write ballads under Your silver wings.

Dear Jesus,
Thank You that You can use anything.
The margin...that is the best part. I still feel reclusive and weak, but more human now. More able to think, feel, listen, be.
Protect me. I could, I can, be very susceptible in these moods.
Too enamored with a particular "deep" feeling, too ready to float in it till it sucks me in and drowns me.
Move me gently from strength to strength.
Help me hear Your voice only.

Today Mom and I listened to Les Mis as we drove to thrift stores and BB's. Almost every song made my throat rise. It's not hormonal, I don't think, just...I finished "The Small Rain" today, and I feel, as I said, more human, more artist, and I want to cry out, "I am ALIVE! I too will blaze out in beauty, with all these suffering broken precious humans! I'm small, but I'm here!"
Sometimes that's all we're trying to say, I think, with our art.
But it can be so much more. Like talking with You. Like tonight, walking out in the fog, exhaling my own small clouds into its vastness - it was as if You had bent down and breathed over our hilly little county, dotted with Christmas lights, breathed Your smoke-and-pine edged breath, the very essence of clean, so much better than my garlic-and-coffee.

The other night J asked me how I liked my hair, and tried to make me admit I didn't. I confessed it's frustrating sometimes. But I do like it. It is sharply sinner or saint. It makes me feel bolder, like I have to live up to it.
Winter stretches out so far ahead of me. Months and half inches. Cups of scalding tea, cold fingers as I paint with the window open. But there is what comes me believe there are tadpoles and schoolbooks, milk caps rolling under the table, small hands on my neck. There are years when flowers will be beautiful, and I will take the train for fun, and sing in Gaelic in the shower just so he'll hear.
The candles will burn low. I'll watch that last orange dot, the swaying thread of acrid smoke.
Will it be painful, when our eyes open?
Will it be instantaneous epiphany, or a cultivated knowing, like life here? Finally the touch we "touched" but couldn't touch? We're trying to steal our birthday gift. Shame on us. Mercy on us. Grace.
Kick in me, baby Jesus. I know You're inside.

T wrote today about rape/violence against women. And how even You, God, announced Your way... in effect, You asked permission. Thank You that she said yes.

"This is my sun, with which I am well pleased."

Your strange and unlovely, but love. I wonder what it would do to me to paint Your crucifixion every day. It comes more easily to me than facsimiles, I suppose because it matters to me. I can paint angels more easily than the front door. This is also strange. 

Our peaceful last two weeks. They have been so good for me. Thank You. Our secret retreat. I feel able to think again...though I still balk at the thought of commotion. 

Frame my mind in grace.

We're gonna have to stand up to this. With a wit and brilliance and good humor so winsome it's irresistible. Brainstorm with me? 
Make me the kind of lady who can do that?

Prude - pride + love = spicy goodness.

One of the very best parts of today was our evening walk, the fog, the houses bright with lights, many parties. How damp and fresh the air was. Wet dangling crabapples against my hair and face, my tired eyes. 
Feeling good with the sibs. And even feeling's OK. Just remind me You're here. Help me not force anything. Help me notice, and be grateful. Help me be true to myself, and especially to You.

Perhaps the ocean terrifies me because it keeps calling me, "come in, come in," even in winter, on the New England coast.
Do You do the same? I want us to get the very most pleasure from each other, for You, so help me do the impossible. Help me not hold back. What matters in the end? You do.

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