Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Lines from September, Part 1

Still the 1st, by minutes.
This was a triumph day for You. Gloria in excelsis Deo.

Such a long day, even more complicated with the rental car, but so good.
I do enjoy teaching. These kids are great. So is R. So are the families.
Please replenish us tonight.

Lord, teach me to fear You. I want You to be my first thought.
Grazie, You carried us all through today. So good to see both E and A. So hard to grasp what's happened.
Thanks for helping me drive my 5th car ever. Thanks for the time with Dad, and the butter pecan ice cream we got at High's Dairy tonight, on the way home.
There was a woman at High's, an employee, sloppy drunk. The gentleman who served us was trying to make the best of it, care for her and contain her in the back. Noting Dad, he said to me jocularly,
"A real gentleman who opens doors! You don't see that every day."
I replied,
"Actually I do...but I know I'm one of the privileged few."
He scooped us very generous servings.

Oh Lord. I want tomorrow to be fruitful. Here and in NY. I want You to make Your Name glorious.

Lord, show me the truth. Reveal the lies, within and without. Help me to love and desire You more than anything or anyone else. And help me love others.

Sometimes I think I must not love other people very much at all. And right now I feel so stretched still, it's like I make a habit of being too busy for everyone.
A habit of looking to the next thing, the next person - never being wholly there. It's a cowardly and despicable habit. There is no real pleasure in it, though there is a cheap and hollow safety.
Show me where to invest. I know I can't be everywhere at once, be everyone's best friend. But I had better watch myself, or I'll have no close friendships, no fully-invested commitments. Like Dad said today, "What you put into it is what you'll get out of it."
We did have a lovely day.
Being out in Your world is so good. Thank You for cooler, still-bright weather and a breeze.
Thank You for K's hard words. For the truth You spoke through him. Thank You for the Holy Spirit. For helping me pray a little.

O God,
Show me Who You Are. I have been half-worshipping a tired image. I must have You, as You really are. Help me find You. Chase me, catch me up out of this irritation and doubt. Depression. You are tried & true. I am tired. Help me fall onto You.

Lord, save me. I'm so antsy. Maybe it's the coffee, but it's not just the coffee. And I feel like I could do something very wrong, or forget something very important.
Help me worship You in the midst of this fever, in Spirit and Truth.
Help me spit out this irritable abhorrence. This abhorrent irritation.
My prayers themselves are wimpy. Fight for me, King. Prince of Peace, Lord of the Universe, Lover of my soul.

I feel like saying, "forgive me, forgive me, I don't know what got into me..."
For now I feel so different. In between a meeting (sitting among the clover with M while we waited for C), 90 minutes under the sky as it turned pearl to dusk, a lyrical ride there and back, tasty pork baking while I biked and showered, words from Marilynne Robinson, H's photos and flattering benediction, feeling tidy and ready for tomorrow... somewhere in between, the beast slipped off my back.

That is, annoyingly, how it feels. Like the cloud simply lifted, the demon fleeted away. And I'm left relieved, and confused at the memory of my own emotion, and wary of the damage I may have done under its influence. Am I a creature of circumstance? Is my will so brittle? Are You proving a point, and what is it?
I am perhaps too complicated to understand Your staring simplicity. Your constant love. Like a hand held so long that the pressure feels imaginary. Squeeze me a little.

Please help me trust You for tomorrow. Glorify Your Name. Help each one of us taste and see that You are good. Use me.

"For need can blossom into all the compensation it requires. To crave and to have are as like as a thing and its shadow..."
-Marilynne Robinsoon, Housekeeping p. 152

15 years have passed. I still remember how it felt, and Mom gasping, "All those people!" as the towers fell. I'd never seen a death before, but I was watching it live, people jumping. Terry Moran's expression.
Today, as I paced the deck reading "A Theology as Big as the City" under a bifurcated sky (gibbous moon in blue, sun behind trees striping the sky with pink above), I realized what a deep hold this place has on me. All the familiar things. And even though life often seems the same, the same and always the same, it has changed, and it will change. Perhaps dramatically.

Perhaps in a year I'll be riding across dirt roads, breathing hot air and feeling the dust hit my face, and perhaps I'll think wryly how simple I was the year before, and how I took everything for granted and wasted so much.
Don't let me waste it. Don't let me be distracted.

I feel fake, and like a hypocrite, because I know she needs a friend, but I'm keeping myself at arm's length. I don't think I can be the friend she needs, but I don't think evasive, half-hearted friendship is right, either. And that's how I feel I'm behaving, with most people. With almost everyone. Even Mom and Dad, sometimes.
Jesus. I need Your help to focus. To be present and secure enough to love others "deeply, from the heart". Right now my heart wants to shove people away, even while it aches to be known. I'm tired of making excuses. Of being constantly full, stretched. I need stillness and silence and safety, and I need people. I need Your help to love and be loved, to know and be known.

Please do use my words. But keep me independent of them, as well. Or maybe not. Just put me in right relationship to words, including my own.

And Lord, I want Your clarity. I need Your truth. Prove Your words. Give me faith. I am such a doubter, and I'm not used to feeling this way. Not used to remembering what it was like to see, rather than seeing.
Prevail for us, for me.

Thank You. I say this a lot, but I mean it. You showed me, tonight, through Your people. Earlier I felt like screaming, facing darkness that looked like despair and didn't seem to budge. But it did.
Thank You for those who came early to pray. For an encouraging and convicting lesson. Refreshing group time. And a swift return home.
It's good to be home.

"But let all who take refuge in you be glad;
let them ever sing for joy.
Spread your protection over them,
that those who love you may rejoice in you.
For surely, O LORD, you bless the righteous;
you surround them with your favor as with a shield."

-Ps. 5:11-12 NIV

Help me believe what You told the sisters in John 11.
Help me to understand hell. I still don't. It makes me feel betrayed and angry. Forever? Conscious? I am sure I do not understand Your holiness. Help me understand both Your mercy and Your justice.
Please go before me today. You'll have to help me. Guide me. Fix my thoughts on You and what is good and noble. Fructify me.

Thank You for making today so sweet. Classes were the best yet.

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