Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Lines from June, Part 1

Thank you, Good Spirit. Obedience is always worth it.
Teach me to let You have authority over my schedule.

Please take tomorrow's new plans, with N & E. Help me also work hard, listen deeply, love well.
Thanks for S helping me take down the show. Our coffee and quiche and conversation. People who were courteous and appreciative. For Dad cutting the slats for the sign, for C's mixtape (and tea and music), for failing at recording Roma Termini, but for the hope of second chances.
Thanks for the cornbread. Cashing checks. Writing letters. Z's possible commission. Lavender blooming.
That miracle of Holy Spirit prompting me to go back to Mom, and to pray with her for MM's operation. Thanks for nobody responding visibly to my blogpost, and the way it reminds me where I find my identity.

Take today, Deus. Help me live it in such a way that we sing together, that You sharpen me like a whetstone.

Thank You for hearing me and responding.
Today was beautiful and overall productive.
But unquantifiably good. Hibernia with N. Catching up, singing. AW met us, coming down to our spot to be a recluse and play worship songs and get out of herself. So we ended up all talking and then playing songs together. "Good Good Father", "Blessed Be Your Name", "Amazing Grace", "Revelation Song", "Come, Now is the Time to Worship". It was funny and sweetly serendipitous.

E came over around 7:30 for a walk and ice cream and catching up. It was great to hear what You are doing. Oh God, thank You for a man who cherishes her, who loves You first.
Thank You for A's call on the walk back to N's car, and the perfect faithfulness You've shown her as she goes through CELTA. Thanks for J & K and their musical collaboration and support. Thanks for M, Q, & B in Portland and at Stumptown today.

You really must love me something awful. I can't grasp it. I can't understand Your reality.

The world bleeds when you push on it. What does that say about the great heart of God? If we don't notice it, maybe it's because it bleeds inwardly, and the bruise is so wide in circumference that it looks to us like nothing but the landscape.
The landscape of our own suffering: felt and inflicted.
But the world heals, too.
Heals to time and faith and kisses.
(And really, only by Your love).
I'd like to be asleep right now, Jesus. But keep me awake for as long as You want. For whatever You have to say.

It's still the 3rd, just barely.
I feel like I'm seeing today through carnival house mirrors. Those distorted things. I think I'm getting sick. Or maybe reading too much Dostoevsky (though those parts of the day sometimes feel the realest).
Yet, Lord, You meet even my absurd days with strange beauties. Beauties in incongruity and in serendipity. Calling C to sing Happy Birthday, writing cards, starting the sign, big lunches at Harry's with the E ladies, and returning here for tea, fruit, prayers, and tears. That uncomfortable but beautiful brush with raw need and love.
With messy humanity bearing a holy image and housing a Holy Ghost.
The way we sweat and get stiff and our minds wander when we pray embracing others, but we find ourselves saying the most beautiful unexpected words, and meaning them. And feeling, sometimes, with our eyes closed and our legs half asleep, that maybe we are disappearing.

You helped me paint past duty into joy, and past pleasure into obedience, and into acceptance.
You let me enjoy old cucumber poems and sketches. You brought K to the front door with Harvey, F's lost chihuahua, ancient and a little mad. And You gave us the pleasure of discovering where he belonged. A few moments to feel both neighborly and heroic.
You gave me enough grace to keep with Friday night tradition, and the nausea to keep me from work and make me crave your company. So I lit a candle and shook in the dark, slowly chewing sauerkraut and praying, much longer than I planned, because You love me. And You want me to be bigger than my own head. You want me to actually look at Your creation, the flame, and actually think about my friends and kin, to talk to You about them.

And You gave me that dream last night. That oddball, delicious dream. Hillary Clinton; the sugary, shrewd, and probably treacherous hairstylist; the man who left his baby (wonderful baby) in my care; and his brother, who humbly recounted his life to me, using the tattoo timeline on his arm. I held his arm, I remember (I don't know where the baby was at that point). I think I even kissed it. He had my loyalty and sympathy right away, because I sensed his sincerity and saw how You'd changed him. And I also appreciate arms, and he had a very nice arm.
But everything You touch is holy. Even our awkwardness, or my crazed efforts at patience when I begin to think, what is this demon anger? You give us the gift of being wrong. And of being more right than we dared to believe... because we thought we were following an outcast teacher, with prices on our heads, and we woke up to eternal love and a kingdom.

"You do not want to leave too, do you?" Jesus asked the Twelve.
Simon Peter answered him, "Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We believe and know that You are the Holy One of God."
-John 6:67-69 NIV

Exchange while walking...

Neighbor I haven't met before: "Ah, the infamous barefoot lady."
Me: (laughing) "I hope I'm not really infamous. Have a good day."
Him: "You too, dear."
Me: "Thanks."

I can't quite sleep yet. What, ho! Wot, ho! What, hoh! Mmm.

Today... friendly to my spirit. Genial Sabbath. Mi piace. Tanks. Oh, Daddy, thank You. Thank You for my Papa who drove me early, early, let me eat breakfast in the car and took home my dishes. Who picked me up late, late, because M and I got so carried away talking that we stayed an hour and a half past the cafe closing time. He was even willing to bring me back to church to sing in the old sanctuary, as I'd planned to do before getting swept up in blessed conversation.

But we went home, in order to catch J's Sunday call. And he did call. He commended Dad for his legacy of not giving up.
Help me entrust my brothers to You. We are all on our journeys...

Oh, to You. "Somewhere, anywhere we go, everywhere You are..." we finally recorded Roma Termini again, decently! That was a miracle. It was a miracle the first time, and the process of trying to re-record it was discouraging. It's a tough song to get all at once. The mood is so specific, but You helped. Thanks for giving that song to me and allowing it to carry weight years later, and have a depth and flexibility of meaning I couldn't have predicted.

Please quiet my mind and heart (T asked if I'd consider Costa Rica). Please keep being my only source of everything. Please keep the ants from crawling on me tonight. Carve up tomorrow and use all the scraps.

8.  Parker House
Here I am at Camp. Thank You, Lord.
For a day to ease in, meet people, reacquaint, count things (like those famous 626 pens).
Thanks for the letter Mom sent on Monday that was waiting for me on my desk this afternoon.
Please help me be excellent at this job. To bless others, not make more work for them. Please fill in all the gaps this summer. Fill it all, soak through everything that's "in-place" too. Nothing works without You. I'm picturing an aspic. :)
Make the work of all my brothers prosper. And their loves, too.
Thank You for loving me. For swinging and laughter and deep green goodness with You tonight, after dinner. And for this quiet haven I have for the next few days. Help me make the most of it. To pray. To rest. To be focused and prepared.

Lord, help me be prepared. To take care of myself SO THAT I can take good care of others and my work. I don't know, maybe it's an absolute good. Help me understand and retain, and be creative. Use me in people's lives. A lot of people are hurting. I am, too, but I'm not in a crisis. I know how it feels to be in one.
Thanks for L coming today, for her kindness and the M&Ms she left me. For J saying, "trash" like "tresche". His slightly lingering, gentle "sh" sound is delightful.
Thanks for putting me here, with these people, this year. Help me be myself. Ugh. I wish there'd be less of me.
(This is bringing to mind M's comment to D about the effect of eating Sank cake tonight: "More of me to love"). Thanks for the groundhog skull he put on my desk today, staring out from behind the phone. I put flowers in the eye sockets; I found forget-me-nots down by the creek. For some reason the image of flowers springing from a skull occurred to me; I must have seen it before.
And now I'm thinking of the parts of "The Idiot" that I'd heard about before reading: beauty saving the world, and the Holbein painting of the deposed Christ that could make one lose their faith. Or not... what a wildness that perhaps You made the earth just so You could show Your Son for everything He is.
"He must become greater, I must become less."

It is almost noon. I'm stretched across the bed, by the open window, and it's becoming a warm day. Layers of birdsong... though fewer than there were this morning, when I drank tea downstairs.
I had brunch at the Mill, and sat with I and T. Both of them have been heavily influenced by Camp. They plan to do it long-term.
I also got to talk with the Ms and Ss. The rest of the day is pretty much mine to do with as I please. Oh, what a terrible phrase. Now I feel hardly motivated for anything. Please... us. This day is ours, is Yours.
You are my greatest pleasure, so please Yourself in me.
Reawaken my sensitivity to You. Help me make the most of this, to rest and work and savor. Thank You for helping me do three small things I was afraid of in the last 3 days: use the propane stove, ride my bike, sit with I and T. Thank You that each instance had a joyful reward.

Last night miserable. Today was livable, all in all.
I suppose every day ought to be, though it doesn't feel like it.

Orlando... that happened today. And a baby bat, "lamb-faced frog" as B and J called it, languished on the pavement. It seemed too viable to justify the shovel, so I put it in the attic on a damp paper towel. D gave me Motrin. It's helping a lot. So, I think, are the many cups of decaf coffee I drank tonight. And the liquified cocoa+coconut oil I've been slathering on the schnoz.

Ugh. I had such horrible dreams, doubtless influenced by "The Mask You Live In", even though I blocked out the screen for whole minutes.
Please take me somewhere I can breathe.
Purify my innards.
"Please! Close the door,"
That sign always bothered me, and yet it is endearing. I hear it as the punctuation suggests.
A warming smokehouse
"A veil for a cupful of the world."

How did it happen that I am in a green room again? A room to "inspire" me, according to L. How is it that today I felt so much better? 80-85%, not 50%?
You, again, answer.
Why are You so kind, so kind to me? When I'm constantly blind to Your generosity?

God bless this home. And this room. Make it a place of rest, of vitality, of nourishment. Make it a place of real conversation, small acts of kindness, illumination.

Thank You for all the pretty things that seem to fit here so perfectly - even the tambourine and the hula hoop.
Thanks for the hotdog with "the works" in the M's fridge for me. And D buying Tylenol for the ladies. And all the laughter at our table tonight.
Please help me settle and process today.
Killing the baby bat between two stones, down by the creek (it appeared to have fallen down the attic stairs, was no closer to recovery). That kind of violence really does something to you - it calls for decisiveness, precision, callousness. And all in a moment the tender, naked, squeaking brown thing became a little mess of blood and crushed bone. Strange kind of mercy.
Thanks for helping me through my first day of ordering, without too much trauma. The Lance lady was nice, even though the credit card didn't go through and B had to fix things for me.
Help me know how to love everyone, even the people I've unconsciously (or consciously) decided aren't like me, don't like me, or I don't like. Your directions on this issue are very clear.
Keep me malleable. Also faithful.
Thank You for Dad's letter with a family photo today. For helping me dust the ceiling, with a scarf wrapped around my face like a bandit.
Thanks for L helping me sweep.
Thanks for the hushing of the creek, audible through my open window.
Make me a blessing.

Miss Elisabeth came home to You a year ago today. I called B, but only
left a message. It's so hard to think about anything but Camp once things get going, but tonight I left the grounds for the first time in a week, to Chili's with the ladies. I was worried about being treated like a teenager here, but this, this was special. Obviously I'm much younger, and in a different place in life, but it was sweet to be included. I need to remember that, for others too. Pass on the welcome.
Thank You for carrying me through today, and making it enjoyable. Thanks for my first ever ICE CREAM DELIVERY.
Please keep the focus on Yourself this summer. Help us perfectly, lovingly chip the edges off of each other. God, we need grace. Kindness ain't easy.
Please help me be less awkward. Or at least more loving. That.
Then it won't matter.
Keep giving Your Spirit without limit.

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