Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Lines from December, Part 1

Here we are! We made it! After such a long long day. It is delicious to sit still, washed and fed, in soft light from the Christmas candle in my window.
You were so kind to help me to drive, and teach, and keep good temper (even after the palette was tracked around the room).

Thank You for all these students. For R. For the privilege of being part of something that matters, that takes all I can give, but gives back.
Thank You for R cleaning the rug, bringing me coffee. The time to talk and wash out stale thoughts. For all the cars that let me merge. A (mostly) working spark plug. Mama hugging me and telling me she was proud of me tonight.
Small quiet moments like this.

Today we had the party. As often happens, I was a brute beast during the prep, trying to overcome my sour spirit and and be sweet and helpful. The little tiffs that precede these events often make me question the worthwhileness of parties. But when they happen, I (sometimes) change my mind. This was a good party.
We need to be reminded more often than we need to be instructed, eh?
Please sift my mind. My thoughts retrogressing six years.
You can do quick work, Holy Spirit. Turn me around. Use me as an instrument of truth and love tomorrow.

It is really December; cool, not frigid. Today was sweet. The play was interesting; pretty murky and satirical, though poignant and engaging at points. The end was enigmatic. But it was good to spend time with L and see J.

Give me my heart's desire. Give me You.

Oh, but this is life! This is real living!
To wake early, sip tea and read and write and pray in the flowering light, to laugh over breakfast, complete small tasks, drink hot chocolate with whipped cream dimpling into foam on the surface.

To drive out to run errands and visit a mother and newborn (and hold the baby and make faces and kiss her tiny cheek), to come home just in time to walk arm-in-arm with parents around the neighborhood, to have a hot shower, to eat granola standing in the kitchen, and drive out to a meeting.
To listen to Handel's Messiah in the car, to plan efficiently and cheerfully, and from there to spend a few hours at a luxurious little spa night for mothers, giving them back massages, rubbing oil into tired shoulders, talking softly (or not) and praying rest into deserving muscles.

This is a blessed day.

P.S. Also, it was so sweet to have Dad call me over to hear Psalm 116:1-2:
"I love the LORD, for he heard my voice..."

I feel very useless. Please help me. I am nothing but gloves; put Your hands into me and use me.

Dear Jesus,
You deserve all my love and devotion. May this heart grow and bleat for You. I say "bleat" because it sounds like "bleed" and "beat", and "blaze" and "eat" as well. It's because my heart throbs for You. And because I am Your wee sheep.

This has been such a full day; last day at school, plus the seminar. So much richness. Gifts upon gifts. Words of affirmation. Hugs. Beautiful artwork. Frustrations, too. But my phone waited until after classes to finally bite the dust. THANK YOU.
John 12:24.

It frightens me a little to be so far into the month already.
Today was insightful. I am not certain of all my thoughts. I need more love, and with imperfect love I may see only half-truth. But I must learn to see and name... it is important. Even though (perhaps especially because) everything can change.

It felt like I had to bail us out multiple times, or at least tip up the prow.  I am a balancer - I could have done the opposite just as readily, but this felt novel and uncomfortable. It's a bit of a mirror to me - reminding me how incomplete and non-definitive my own social graces and compassion can be. I need to remember that it is not about me. Self-absorption, one way or the other, causes 85% of social distress. That's a statistic I just made up.

I know my own eyes must be somewhat biased, and personal impressions should be taken con sal.
Oh, for freedom from this feebleness and sin. Thanks be to Jesus Christ, my Lord, who knew this word before I wrote it, and knows when I will read it next.

You are my merciful and veryfunny God.
Tender mercies, trustworthy mercies, mercies like thunder and thick jam.
Today a light snow fell, cold but not profuse enough to stick. I recorded "Northumbrian Lullaby", and came up against vocal limitations and piano potential. What a gorgeous instrument. Melodic and responsive. I, on the other hand...

I ate turkey and peas for lunch. And an oatmeal cookie. I turned on all the window lights. I want to enjoy this Yuletide Sabbath. And so I'm also swaddled up in my pink blanket, on my bed. Just finished a rich cup of drinking chocolate.
In all this luxury, I want to ask, what next?
How can I hold all this lightly, give all this up? Where am I lazy, and need a good firing up? Where am I weary and wounded, and need rest and convalescence? Funny how all these things can be present in one little body.
Like baby R on Monday, crying so hard it makes you wonder how so much intense emotion can come from a tiny peanut of a human.

But I don't think I've been feeling enough. I'm trailing behind in the procession. You, Kingly One, swing around and walk slowly beside me, kindly, not blaming me, and put my shame to rest by Your disarming friendliness and genuine love.

When did I start thinking I could blame You for other people's shortcomings? When did I start believing gossip, rather than the look in Your eyes?
Help my unbelief.
I know something's right when I confess my lasciviousness in dreams, and wake shriven and serene. When circumstances don't crush me the way they should. When I don't really care about making a fool of myself (if I am an honest fool).
Your Spirit is alive in me. I will bear fruit. I will learn, inch by inch, stumbling as I go. You will give me all the help I need.

Today was strange, no sleep until ~3am, and then sleeping in until ~10am. Praise You that I can do that, at least. I did paint, finished 2 panels, so I'm back on track.

I want to be really present, but it's hard. Help me keep things simple. Help me choose what really matters, what I really love, the habits I really want to form.
Essentials are life-giving. Non-essentials may not be. I'm thankful, though, for the time You spent with me last night, keeping me aware of You. You gave the time, You took it.

It's the week before Christmas... far into it, now. Prayer this morning was lovely.
But I'm so tired, I'm pretty off. Center my mind and heart. Help me trust You.
Debt and Aleppo and an off-color nickname have me uneasy. And my lungs are heavy as it is. Be my hope and light.

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