Tuesday, December 26, 2017

What I Want, November 18

Claim Your children, Father. Snatch us like firebrands from the fire.
I can only self-destruct. And I need Your help to be open to You, and willing.
Help me to keep connecting.
God, please teach me. Tell me what You want.
Save me from myself, and my enemy.
Help me to tell You what I want...

Monday, December 25, 2017

Funeral Day, November 13

Today was M.E.'s funeral. I only went to the service, not the burial or reception.
It was a morning to absorb, to be a part of things, but also to observe and empathize with those who were grieving far more poignantly than I.
M was my main focus, to be honest. Some self-consciousness competed: I was the youngest person present by an easy 2 decades (apart from the pastor). But it was gratifying to see so many people come, and to hear Mom and Dad tell anecdotes, and to sing with Mom (rather better than any of our practices). I was really a small player in the day. But I'm glad I went, and did what I did.
M.E.'s body looked sweet and composed, if alien. Not wholly like her. I touched her hand - the firmness, not the coldness, surprised me. It felt like stiff wax.

Our own mixed CD played in the background, an eerie yet comforting sound. The room was pleasant enough, for that kind of thing. But pastel floral prints, stale perfume, and Life Savers gave it a closeness and ceremony that could have been well balanced by the graveside on a day like today: wet, sharp, newly cleansed and subdued by the first hard frost.

I came home early to hold class as usual. I finished Jane Eyre, painted more on "Apple Tree by Morning Light".
Mom and I are getting up early to shop, and I should sleep. But I want to say a few things:

Show me how my life can really count in this era, for racial justice, for refugees, for the unborn, the unwanted.
Give me real love for real people. Don't let my affections cool and retract. I must give, and touch, and trust others, and that's hard.
Help me to see Your heart. To understand Who You are, and the deep blissful goodness and rightness of Your ways. I don't.
Help me to trust You and obey You willingly and warmly even in my doubts.
Stir up a generous heart in me.

Back Porch, 1:23am, November 12

Last night
at 1:23am
I went out on the back porch
because I couldn't sleep. I figured
I should see the stars.
They were sharp
and still
and brilliant
even with the porch light on.
It was so quiet, except
for the brittle
intermittent sound
of frosty leaves

Blessed Be Death, November 5

Mom just called from the hospital.
M.E. is gone. Dad came to my door to tell me. It's so sudden - but I feel comforted already that she was surrounded by people who loved her over the last 24 hours. It was so quick. Mom and Dad came back from NY in time for Mom to be there.
When I turned back into my room, my eyes went instinctively to the plaque over my window:

be death -
birth of 


Wednesday, November 8, 2017

You, Yourself, October 27

Remind me that You finish what You start. You do no thing in halves.
Help me to trust my safety with You. Right now I feel, at least partially, like You're going to ask me to do things I don't want to do, become someone I don't want to be. Clear away the lies. Remind me that everything that has even given me delight has come from You. And that You, Yourself, are my desire.

Chanticleer, October 25

I'm so full of things I want to understand.
Why I have this gross heartburn, for instance. Why my car is running rough. Why I feel the way I do about my work, and about my future.
I'm inconsistent. I've been letting a lot drop.
But all is not lost.

Chanticleer was so delicious today. And the "soaking" wandering we did for the first 90 minutes was glorious. I nuzzled basil, touched a carp on the forehead (who had just gaped at my finger as if to swallow it), read Jane Eyre on a stone chair, watched chipmunks and a slug and 2 (mating? fighting?) dragonflies. Avoided the gossamer yardage of a spider's web only to blunder into it later, bringing a sassafras leaf to Mom.

I loved wandering alone, letting everything come to me as it would. 

It is Acceptable, October 22

Please redirect all this longing and purpose-hunting in me.
Please help me to keep all these things on the altar. To shout with joy and fall facedown as I see You flame out and consume my offering.
It is acceptable to You. And I am filthy.
Here we are: do I see You blazing in holiness on my behalf? And offering Your love, Your body, Your inheritance? You are a true husband to me.
Let me be Your wife. 

Keep Keeping it Simple, October 16

Did I do anything that mattered?
Do I think I MUST?
Here we are again.

I'm full of fears. Contradictions and fears. I need to keep painting even when I don't know what's going to happen. I need You. I am not in a good place mentally/emotionally/spiritually. I can tell, because I wouldn't do well in a hospital. Or 10 pounds heavier. Or giving up a day. I'm filling up my mind with distractions. So show me what I'm avoiding.
Teach me love for those right around me, who are easiest to overlook and judge. Help me pray. Purify the thoughts and intentions of my heart. Help me keep keeping it simple. 

Warm Rough Gentle, October 12

Give me Yourself.
I will never be satisfied otherwise. And nothing and no one can save me.
I could shriek. Hold my face in those warm rough gentle hands of Yours,
and look at me steady. 

You Can Be Too Careful, October 12

You CAN be too careful, I believe. Like the priest and the Levite. Like the Pharisees. Like David counting his fighting men. Sometimes faith is getting messy when you really don't know the outcome, just respond from love.

Hem me in. Remind me that even in my doubts You love and want me. Don't let me fall for this lie:
"Since I've doubted and struggled, 'even if' He is there He won't want me. I'll be a traitor, out of favor."
Remind me again of Your favor. 

Young Love, October 11

Give me a greater capacity for loving, the love that is not all fireworks and giddiness, but conscious self-giving and seeing and embracing the other, honoring and serving and respecting.

Sometimes "young" love seems so very boring to me. What has the person known and suffered? Who are they? What are their dreams, yes - but what are their sacrifices? I want to be willing to sink in my own thoughts.
To have You exalted.
"You tell me I will write poems about myself..."

Only a Rill, October 10

I was happy to be alive today. I was more aware of it than usual.

And even so, nothing was whole, nothing complete or satisfactory. Acceptable, but. Kick me with desire, again!
Sometimes I'm startled by the passion inside of me. Other times I'm appalled by my lack of passion, like Casaubon, who expected to let loose a river of emotion and desire, and found it only a rill.

I don't want to be dead, jaded, numb. But neither do I want to rely on my next emotional high. You delight in subtleties. And emotions are meant to move me toward You (either in embracing them or refusing them). Felt, then handed over.

Some things I won't even write down. But You will collect and sift it all, and You will make enduring whatever should endure. 

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Small Glories, October 5

I woke up a little after 5, to Dad's quiet shuffling, and realized he would probably move the car before the driveway sealers came at 8, and that when he did, Florence + the Machine would BLAST, so I got decent and tiptoed out to eject my CD. When I turned back: the moon.
FULL, white, gleaming over the forsythia, with an entourage of clouds. Tilted, as it's wont to be in the morning, but I forgot. A playful, cock-eyed expression.
After gazing a few moments, I went back to bed. Slept in, and made french toast for breakfast. 

Please Be My Friend, October 2

I need a friend right now. Please be my friend. Hear me out and speak some sense into me. Love me even though I'm off-kilter and contradictory.
Bring me somewhere I can run. 

Nuisance, October 1

Please help me to love. Too many people. For me. On my own. I'm not able. They sometimes feel like a nuisance, and that is sin.

Pantocrator, September 29

I painted/wrote "Christ, Pantocrator" today. And it's appropriate, I think, that it makes me uncomfortable. And that it's had so few responses online. I should expect this, not to be melodramatic. But You are divisive. And going to You outside the camp means becoming a weirdo, a fanatic. I think it must always come down to that. What, Who, will I allow to control me? To have authority over my life?
I tremble a little, with the thought of representing You. I never can. I looked through Orvieto photos again, to find that photo of the chapel, showing Marie's open book and the icon with the cobalt and almond eyes, and the expression I can't shake.
Your eyes two sunken canoes I drowned in...

I just want to say again, clearly, that there's no such thing as independence. And although, timshel, I have the terrible responsibility for myself (I and none other), I cannot even pretend that I could attain freedom in self-realization or power. I'm a puppet of Satan if I follow my own lead, what seems right to me.
Please help me.

Thank You also for the monarch on the zinnias. For helping me reply to R. For giving me food and water, for the wind in the trees, for a car that didn't break down, and for helping me call my Senators and Rep. about immigration allowances.
I actually got a PERSON at the Rep.'s number, which caught me off guard.

Keep showing up. Keep wooing me. Help me use the little faith I have. Take it as far as it'll go. And increase it. Be pleased. Delight in Your work. Be adored and honored. Keep me weak and broken at Your Name.

THIS is a Reminder, September 29

THIS is a reminder that 
is often to the smallest nudges, 
and is always worth it. Listen.
DO                   IT.

I woke up this morning with the slightly nauseating feeling that I should stop by the library on the way back. I considered it, and deliberated, but I knew that what my fear was telling me shouldn't win. Love made the choice. 
And was roundly, soundly rewarded. 

A Few Things, September 28

1. Today was utterly beautiful, and You deserve to be kissed.
2. My budget keeps working somehow.
3. Thanks for giving me a job I love.
4. The film was nearly perfect, so the imperfections are particularly distressing.
5. Today I know I'm beautiful.
6. Help me know how to respond to R.
7. Bring D a revival.
8. Please give me songs.
9. Teach me how to be sacrificed.
10. All glory to You, Lord Jesus Christ. 

I Have You, September 24

Why are subway stations so lonely?
Why do I have such unreasonable fears when I ride public transportation, that maybe it isn't the right line after all, or they won't stop at my stop, or I'll miss it...
I never have.
Sometimes I think, "I'd be so much more confident/serene/safe if I had a man with me. Someone to lean against, to discourage comments, to back me up if a gesture of charity went wrong." But I have You. I have You. You are always there with me, and "the help of man is worthless".*

*Psalm 108:12

Suburban, September 23

I made it to my 7:43 train at Suburban with time to spare. There was a woman stretched out with blankets at the subway entrance, and I started to fumble in my bag for one of the granola bars I'd brought for the purpose, but gave up and kept moving down the steps.
I wondered afterward what I should have done. If giving the bar would have been more for my comfort or hers.

I don't simply have fun in the city, as I was telling Dad tonight. I'm too sensitive to the people around me, some that might as well be torn by shrapnel, their lives are so devastated. Should that ever become normal? Should I learn to ignore it? It's even hard to ignore the comments of solicitors. Are we ever free from responsibility to each other? We ARE our brother's keeper. What do I owe to the man with the cardboard sign, the sloppy-drunk 30-something on their way home to D-Town, the supercilious businessman on the phone behind me?

What do I owe You? How can I love You as I walk the streets of these cities where You are not absent, even in the stale hot air and industrial waste? I hope it means something to ask You, "Give me love, not fear, for every person I encounter." When people look at me, my face, my walk, my entire demeanor, may it point to You. May it be a sign of something holy and hope-filled, safe and convicting and right.
And may I be ready to give up myself, my "safety", my comfort and self-righteousness. May I see You as You are, and love You. 

Seasonal, September 20

We have to allow ourselves to be seasonal. Right now I'm making a lot of images, and not a lot of words or songs.
Don't even have them in me most of the time.
I would love the gift back, but for now it's OK. 

Sunday, September 18

It's Sunday. I had the afternoon at home, and now it's after dinner and I'm wondering if I still didn't do what I should have, to connect with You. Remind me that it's not all about me, or measurable, quantifiable. But help me do what I can to seek You. And chase me, Lord.

Piles, September 15

It was like what I expected. And I'm pretty good at adjusting to social things, thanks to You. The neighbors showed me the house, warned me about the conditions and smell. Three cats, and so much clutter and trash. I started on the bedroom. The cats had been there a lot. Apparently she'd made a path to the bed, and the rest of the room was floor-to-ceiling piles. It wasn't today, though. I helped clear out everything that remained. The cat hair and other leavings could have filled a salad bowl.

I was sneezing and runny-nosed, but enjoyed my work. I felt like singing. But I was ready to leave when it was time. I'm glad they were willing to tell me more of their story. A lot of things made sense. Cancer. Divorce. Multiple jobs. Exhaustion... we are so vulnerable.
But one thing I kept thinking was, "Grow your loving for the living...". I actually sang "Ace" on the ride home. Keepsakes of the past can literally suffocate you. And if they don't help you live, and love the living, they need to go. Let it go.

Her daughter came for a little while. I felt for her: it must have been embarrassing to find me there more or less "on charity". She was apologetic. She struck me before as painfully self-conscious. Flawless makeup and dress - and she is lovely. Really gorgeous. But not comfortable. Constantly trying to compliment others and be non-obtrusive, to the point that it's distracting. The darling. Lord, give her steadiness and freedom and release and boldness and fearlessness and an unshakable identity in You. 

Used, September 14

B reminded me what her husband tells her: "Someone else's poor planning does not constitute YOUR crisis."
I'm a little nervous going into this, not wanting to be used. But...weren't You?

Thanks for the winks and reminders that You're watching. You are SO MUCH MORE than watching. You are so patient with me, more patient than I am with myself. Help me know how to please You. Trusting You pleases You.
I show You honor by taking You at Your word. 

Friday, October 6, 2017

Maintenance Field in August

Twice, on my rounds,
I smelled the warm stink of death
and saw the vulture rise

Lucky. To have someone
to pick your bones.
Hidden by the tall grass,
my body could decay
discreetly, in a diaspora
of ants, worms, wasps, and larvae.

But let a burnished beak archive,
a bright eye survey,
this bald coroner, a cleric,
cross my body to enact the liturgy:
Dust you are,
and to dust you will return.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Artist's Date in the Cemetery, September 13

Today I went to the cemetery for my Artist's Date.
The idea came to me last night when I went to pick up L. It was rainy this morning, and I almost changed my mind about going, but then realized that my inner romantic would LOVE to walk barefoot in the cemetery in the rain. Under an umbrella or a shawl. In a long dark skirt.

It was worthwhile. Nothing epochal, but thoughtful and good. Seeing old gravestones (18th-19th cent.) and new (the earth still raw and ruddy). Walking in the quiet solitude, but surrounded by stories. Minnie, who lived to be ~97 and was buried with her husband, who had passed on 41 years before. In the old section, lots of babies and young children, with lambs on the tops of the gravestones.
I was impressed by the number of veterans, with flags marking their graves. And struck anew with the pathos of wet, sun-bleached plastic flowers on solemn headstones.
Rebuke and denial. Manifested in Galadriel's gesture toward the East and the Eye. Our response to death, to evil?
There was a gravitas, but a sweetness, to this cemetery. I'll probably go back.
"...Up the long delirious burning blue..."

Ref. to Tolkien's "The Fellowship of the Ring"
Quote from a poem on a cemetery monument, by John Gillespie Magee, Jr. 

A Joke, September 11

Isn't it amazing that you are a living thing? That you stir the air, and change the motion of atoms when you look at them? Isn't it incredible that your lungs expand, and compress, and that the air you exhale is different from the air you inhaled? And your heart has been beating for hours and days and years and decades, without your instruction or consent?
Isn't it noteworthy that your fingers aren't raw, after all you've touched this week?

I don't understand. And I have so much - so much freedom and goodness and capacity to enjoy, to assimilate and cultivate. But I can be blighted by things as slight as moods. Or the amorphous, generalized concern that others are suffering, and what right have I to enjoy - anything?

Heaven forbid I laugh when hell is screaming.

Part of me believes this. Believes that for my faith to mean anything at all, suffering (especially eternal damnation) is so deadly serious that I should be willing to drop everything to save those in its path.
But part of me also believes that death is a joke. That I don't understand the matter at all, to look at it so drawn and wide-eyed. Methinks I saw the mask wink; a joke was played on hell, and Heaven still rolls with the wit of it.
What creeps up my esophagus is a sob that chokes on its own freakish laughter. I've gone mad and wild somewhere - but the sense and sanity is all on the side of love. On the moth blown off the hand outside, the woolly bear avoided on the road. On the quick kiss and the glass of water and the smile at the tired stranger. On the cheerful cleaning up of things, even the trash and the public toilet.
A joke has been played on hell, and the clang of Heaven's bells rings down and drowns my fear with joy, if I will let it.

Today at dinner Mom said, "God loves you," and I absently said, "I hope so." She said, "I KNOW so." And I realized how morose my inner thoughts had become. How circumstantial, or not: based on the most impersonal abstractions. The things I can't control or even experience, to say with authority that God was there or not. Lord, help me.

Clouds and thick darkness surround him; 
righteousness and justice are
the foundation of his throne.
-Psalm 97:2

Let me love You
and be obedient,
and leave what only You can do
in Your hands.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Little Bird II, September 5

Settle my spirit, Lord Jesus. A couple of days ago I was prepared to find a dead body. Yesterday I was a hostess. And today an artist. But make me Yours. Your little bird, Your child, Your love.

I dreamed last night that I had married a Chinese man. And he was very lovable and touchable, and our little boy was just like him. The other night I dreamt I was fighting and tearing apart a wolverine with my bare hands. Last week I dreamt I was racing a guy friend to get a seat in a van, and running with everything I had and saying fiercely to myself, "I WILL win!"
And I actually pulled ahead...

Rejection, September 1

I really don't have any updates. What I'm feeling now is that small uncomfortable pocket of rejection - the nothingness that hurts, like air bubbles inside. Like gas. It's embarrassing, and you hope it ends soon and nobody has to know. So that's my update: I've been swallowing air, and ended up with gas.

No, that's too simple. Too ultimate. No ultimatums allowed. Except that one.
I must be allowed to change, because I am only human. And things are not always what they seem.

Help me, Jesus, to rest in You. To trust Your mercy over all my slovenly housekeeping/bookkeeping/heartkeeping. Help me to be a lover. For a while now I've grown wary of the words. But that's not what I want. I want to mean them and SAY THEM if I mean them. 

Edible Day, September 1

It was an edible day. The air was cool and decidedly autumnal, like the two ends of the month met and kissed. I woke before my alarm, rested and edged
with a chill.
I relished my sweeping and mopping - it felt like such an intimate, sacramental way to close out my time in the store. Cleaning out its corners and washing it, inch by inch.

Pull, August 29

Why is there so much in me that wants to pull away from You right now?
And yet, the You in me keeps pulling me toward You. What a mercy.

Help me to be a friend like Job's friends weren't.
"Anyone who withholds kindness from a friend 
forsakes the fear of the Almighty." (6:14)
Make Your love undeniable to these hurting people.

Lord, make me willing. Break me.
Because I don't want to be broken. I'm afraid of being useless. But You have to break me to use me.
Let me feel Your hands, without a doubt. 

Open Wide Your Mouth, August 26

I'm struggling with this, Lord. I don't know if I can celebrate being Yours if I believe that others are irrevocably damned. Damnation itself is so terrible a thought, and right now it's hard to want heaven. What I know is what I have for context. I'm too touchy-feely, I know, but I can't be excited about what feels artificial and confusing to me right now. Please help me trust your patience on this, because if I'm too rushed I could snap. Could shut down, turn away.

I know that part of this is my own idolatry - wanting You to be what I want. Wanting praise from men. Wanting to be secure. Wanting, perhaps, an excuse to take more "liberties" - to indulge in sin. Don't let me become a slave again. You Yourself know who took me out of Egypt. Who made me brave. Who gave me a heart to love others in the first place. Who gave me any love I possess for the pure and noble and good.

Help me to hear what YOU are saying, and to be obedient to it.
Tonight You are saying,
"Open wide your mouth and I will fill it."

Monday, August 28, 2017

The Mirror, August 23

I don't feel very lovable right now. Not horrible, or in some depressed stew, but tired, needy.
Yesterday a character at the post office said to me, "Have you looked in the mirror lately? You're pretty." And I told him the mirror had told me I was tired, but thanks, I'd take it.
I feel super irritated/threatened by comments like that, but Dad was right behind us. Then I also felt mad that I was relying on the presence of a man to save me if things got "actually bad". Couldn't I stand up for myself? Do I always need a savior? (The answer is yes).
I eventually added Dad into the interchange by saying that he could take half the credit for me, but then it bothered me that I'd done it. And at the same time, it bothered me that Dad hadn't spoken up for me of his own volition.

Poor us. We put ourselves in these lose-lose situations, we stupid humans. If I had been a Brit, would I have patiently explained to this creep how to actually treat an unknown woman? How there's almost nothing you can do to become her "friend" on first acquaintance? We are on guard, for better or worse.
God, make my heart hospitable, but shrewd. 

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Spine, August 15

There’s a shuddering weight of things pressing up against my spine.
I feel all right. But my eyes are looking tired. I’m home. Spent most of the morning cleaning, which WAS good for my soul. And did a little final work in the store; I was there in time to “fix” the dishwasher – remove a fork that was obstructing the plug. I left gifts. Packed up and drove home on precisely a quarter-tank of gas.

So behind. That’s OK, babe. Take it a step at a time. R just said to be good to my heart, my family, and my work.
I need to let You be good to me, Lover-Lord. Yikes. That sounds either saccharine or ominous. You’re right there, already ahead of me, ready to welcome me, ready to speak to me. You will not let me fall.

Mostly I just don’t want to lose You. I care too much about what people think. And I don’t understand, or like, everything about You, God. Yet I’m married to You. This is it. You’re stuck with me now, forever, so You’ve got to help me. This was Your idea. But I know You’re too much of a gentleman to manipulate me. Just keep being Yourself. And don’t leave me alone.

Little Bird, August 14

I remember reading once how baby birds, when they are young, have droppings that harden quickly, in a lump, so that parents can dispose of them outside the nest and keep things tidy within. But as the chicks mature their excrement softens, so that by the time they are old enough to leave the nest it is a messy and unpleasant place. They have an added incentive to leave the safety they’ve known and enter the wide world.

I feel something like a little bird right now. I’ve been taking things down and packing them up incrementally, until now there are very few corners that feel homey and cozy. The loneliness is still sweet, but the cold anonymity of bare walls and the clutter of bags and boxes are unbearable.
How do refugees stand it?  There are people in the world who want nothing more right now than to stand still in one place for a while, and be safe.

Remind me I am a pilgrim.

Muchness, August 11

So much today. Much of a muchness. The last store time. It went pretty well, all things considered. The fritzy iPad felt like predictable calamity, but it could have been worse. We finished well. You DID give me love and sweetness for the girls. And the chance to do kind things for people, give little gifts. I got to give 3 ½ back massages, and take dressy photos, and give lots of hugs.

But there is such a sadness today, and not all of it is the sweet sorrow of finishing the summer.
They lost the baby.
Lord Jesus, they need Your truth and comfort so much right now. Protect them as they grieve. Help this bring them closer to each other, to bring others around them, and to bring them deeper into fellowship with You. You, who have also lost a child.

Lord, I praise You. For giving and taking away. For acting out of Your perfect wisdom, love, and power. In Your righteousness.
I feel Your tender care tonight. In the way You orchestrated my time and energies. The beautiful bonfire, music and dance and baby-holding and singing in rounds, and the nudge that it was time to leave.
I prayed. You brought me where I needed to be, with what I needed. Keep my ears attuned and my eyes open to You. Keep me resting as I go along; things may not slow down too much between now and death.

Take tonight. Tomorrow. Keep me following You, moment by moment.

Disappointing, July 25

Lord, I’m so annoyed. I want Your help. I want this to be over. I don’t have patience or love. I’m as disappointing as a brown avocado.

Save me.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Splendor, August 8

Such a good day. Store time was smooth and fun (I actually helped scoop ice cream for most of it). I had enough time in the morning to spray off the recyclables and cull them (gross) and consolidate merch. It felt good. No more orders. But I called Nelson's and thanked them. Counted soda machine $. Ate baked ziti while manning the office, and there were no calls.

Game Night was fun. Spoons (which only gained momentum, increasing in pitch & danger & foul spoonfuls of food for losers), Dutch Blitz, Picture-Down-The-Lane, Uno.
I went to Traber afterward, to swing, and the moon... it was full, golden, rising above the trees in a special show of splendor. What I mean is that it felt important, and made me want to cry and open my mouth to receive the Eucharist. 

Monday, August 14, 2017

Hope, July 13

Here in bed. It's been a hopeful day. At least, a day of moving out
of crisis mode (you can't live there forever, even when the crisis
continues). A quiet-inside day.

Lord, I'm aching over her. And I'm sad and sorry that "peace and
harmony" sound hollow.
Keep my hands open.
Help me not try to take on all these burdens that I can't handle.

Thank You for the sweetness of friends visiting.
God, I want You. 

Comatose, July 12

I need to feel Your grace in all this madness. What feels like madness,
chaos, mess.
Please show her Yourself.
Please take all the broken, helpless pieces of me.
Thank You for "The Broken Way", and for kindness, and for a comatose few minutes on the office floor. For sustaining me time and time again.
Help me pray. Help me love.
Make me willing to be broken open by You, and use me. 

Monday, August 7, 2017

But Today. Now.

Another bless├ęd day. Punctually clothed. 
Receiver of all Your Fatherly 
Your furs
and wings
and iridescent petals.

Universal donor. Is it all there, in the details? 
In what we are embarrassed, in our own sophistication, to name? 
But I want to be wowed.
Not just at the altar, in a wedding dress, 
but today. Now.

(July 21)
Ref. "Love Calls Us to the Things of This World", by Richard Wilbur

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Chalk, June 30/July 1

I feel like a soft piece of chalk, scraped along the macadam. There’s a nub of me left. I thought maybe a full night of sleep would sweep up my crumbs into a mound and help me reabsorb myself, reform, be who I think I am (so much of me is scattered over the last few weeks…). But that’s not how it works. I don’t lose myself that easily, and the only way to gain myself is in You. And no number of kisses can satisfy a supernatural pica. So steer me from navel-gazing and sensuousness. And feed me Your flesh. Eucharisteo.

Insomnia, June 27

It seems You are giving me a second lease on this night. One of the girls was sleep-talking, and it shook me out of my drift toward unconsciousness. So I’m very awake now, and sick with exhaustion, but grateful (or trying to be) for the way you fish my soul of deep waters with the elusive bait of sleep.  No matter how I may dissemble, I cannot remain agnostic when You call me out into starlight. I could wake an atheist, but I cannot sleep that way. THANK YOU for Your mercy. Forgive me of my pride and anxiousness to control, label, settle matters, and be safe. You are my only safety. 
You surround me on every side.

Oikonomia, June 19

Lord, I’ve already been talking to You, but help me talk more. And listen. Help me to pour out my complaints to You so they don’t grow into me and stunt me. This is a turning point. I want to grow. But I am hurt.
Why?! Why all these back taxes, complications, time Dad has spent, time we’ll both have to spend? Why did You let me go wrong for 4 years? Why debt?
Why have I been buying underwear at the thrift store, scrimping on groceries, saying no to social events, carpooling, budgeting, making old supplies stretch, eating expired food, tithing extra? 

I’m trusting You to be gracious with my complaints. I think I need to see them on paper to remember how easy I’ve got it.

But it hurts to count the dollars every time I drive, to be relieved when I can’t go to an event, to count it a sacrifice to go to prayer meeting. To be afraid of seeming needy and dependent. God, I want to bless my parents. I want to send care packages whenever. I want to buy fresh fruit. I want to take friends out for coffee on their birthdays. I want an easel, and new brushes, and to be able to afford a haircut on occasion. Or to buy a new pair of shoes. I’m ridiculous.

God, I want to go out to the movies sometimes. Or buy a friend’s artwork. Or sponsor someone in a significant way. I want to own a house someday. I don’t want a man to save me. I want You to save me. I don’t want to be rescued out of ineptitude and a victim complex. I want to be strong and mature, to have something to offer. Not to be proud, but to be capable and confident. I’m afraid. I don’t know what I need. And I don’t want to decide for You what You are doing, but I want You to do it, whatever it is, and move in me, however You will, and make me able to trust You and worship You when it would be easier to curse and cry and give up.
Work a miracle here. Don’t let anything (me) get in the way of Your power and glory, of Your redemptive display. Have Your way in me.
Your kingdom come.
I am the Lord’s servant.
May it be to me as You will.

Banks, June 7

It’s lonely here. And so
w o n d e r f u l .
It’s Handi*Camp, and the place is alive with sweetness and the powerful transparency of need and care. This is partly why I love Handi*Camp and praise You for the “disabled”. The disguises are stripped away and what remains is humble and glorious. Also, they can sing and dance to Disney. This strikes me as a prophetic freedom. It was also what made me start to choke up, wiping out the shelves.

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Falling in Love, June 5

Thanks for writing a romance that will not let me down, even though I might think I’ve lost everything, myself, even love in the process. This is bigger than me and my conceptions, and I will not be lost. Or if I am, I am leaning out over You, and I will fall into my greatest passion, purest desire, and truest dream. There are worse ways to extinguish.

Rely, June 5

Help me rely on You heavily this weekend. Because I am vulnerable and stupid. I might try to do this alone. Or I might forget to let You speak to me, love me. Save me from my waywardness. Continue to blow on the coals of my love, of my appetite for the holy.

These Pieces, May 25

Keep me fresh and sensitive to You, skin to skin. Keep me aware of all the ways You are wooing me, and shrewd to the wiles of evil. Do not let me be overcome. Unite my heart in awe, in worship, in obedience and love for You. In desire for Your fame and pleasure. 
Please strengthen my hands, and imbue my arms with power. 
And help me let go more often. Feed a multitude from these pieces

Insistence, May 21

I feel this strange insistence. That each day and moment is precious. Not so that I should rush, but so that I should pay attention. And be wise. 
The rest is just as important as the action.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

I Am Won, May 13

Build up my trust and security in You, so that I can be a safe place and a welcomer to others, and not ever have to rely on them (one way or another) for my worth or justification. 
I am won. 
I am Yours. 
Thank You for all this green, for food, for beauty, for babies, for books. For a future and a hope. For history, and written language, and friendship, and prayer.

Do Not Spare Me, May 10

I was thinking today how little real suffering I have know. O God, don’t let me fritter my life away. Make me strong for whatever comes. Pull me into the thick of life, of what You are doing. Do not spare me from what will bring me to You.

The Arsenal, April 28

As we drove to the Arsenal, I caught my first glimpse of prairie dogs and fairly had a conniption – I’d forgotten about them completely! They were all over the preserve. At one point on the drive I looked behind me… and saw the Rockies. 
I don’t know how to describe the sensation. 
It was like some quieter, grander version of being surprised by someone you love who you thought was 400 miles away.

Smelling Breath, April 27

I had strange dreams that involved being here and my friends and 2 men and a pet dog and an Indian man I was meeting. We went through a ritualistic series of greetings that progressed in physicality – one of which was to smell each other’s breath. His was fresh and dewy, but he was disappointed that mine was all gum. Cloaked with mint.

Airplane, April 26

I was shot with joy a few times yesterday, thinking of the travel. Flying requires surrender, utter abandon… I’m always newborn with I fly, and in wonder and awe. It helps that a dear friend will be at the end of it! Goodness.

Living Fire, April 25

Lord, please inspire and empower me and fill me with love and peace and energy. I don’t have the stores in myself today to love as I should love. I’d much rather sleep or read to scroll around online. Fill me with living fire. 
Thank You for waking me and giving me life.

Good Listeners, April 24

Talking with R the other day was so good. 
She was painting, I could just talk. I could even contradict myself in the course of an hour, and it was not a problem.

Monday, May 29, 2017

I Want to Know My Own Strength, April 18

I want to know my own strength. Perhaps
it is very small. But I want to know it.
God, I want to feel Your flames lick around
my living. I want to burn on Your altar. 

Dayenu, April 16

Dayenu, it would have sufficed us. If You had not killed the first-born.
Lord, help me understand Your holiness and Your justice. Surely the one who gave the heart the ability to love and forgive, the capacity for generosity and compassion, will be more tenderly and more powerfully merciful than we can comprehend. 

Blackberry Jam, April 14

Yesterday our eucharist was three peanut butter and jelly sandwiches
made with P's last jar of blackberry jam from the farm.
Mom started crying when P gave it to her. 

Carrying Feathers, April 12

Help me carry my friends
as a bird carries its feathers.

Traveling Mercies, April 12

What a rich life I lead.
Traveling, painting, reading, eating (mostly) well, seeing beautiful things and enjoying lovely people. Ugh, but I'm full of fears.
God, remind me that You've got this. That You're not about to drop me, like I dropped my pants yesterday when I thought I felt a big spider dart along my leg. It was so convincing, a quick ticklish movement. But it was a knot of loose thread in the inner leg that slid down my thigh as I was reading. 

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

My Farmhouse, April 6

Oh Lord. Please give me Your peace.
I'm not ready for the cogs of travel to chew me up just yet. I am too easily fractured by worry and anxiety. And I want to know how to claim Your order and harmony and shalom over every aspect of my life, of this day. Not that it will be perfect, but that I will be closer to You in it, fully Yours, fully used by You for Your purposes. Make use of my feeble life, to bring people to Jesus.

Quench my thirst in Yourself, only. Keep me dissatisfied with anything less than you. And help me pray, and care well for what You've given me, and LOVE well.
I still picture that farmhouse, that little, white-walled, sun-filled, peaceful, flourishing place, as the epitome of home-peace. You are my farmhouse. You are every person in it, and my chores, my lamb, and the strength in my arms.
Dress me in muslin. Kiss me. 

Skazka Morosko, April 2

"Are you cold?"

It is better in life to accept and be content than rant and complain about your lot. The treasures of the patient, meek, forbearing will not melt.
Lord, help us to be honest, especially with You, about our feelings - but prevent us from falling into grumbling and bitterness.

Even You admitted, "I thirst."

Live Wire, April 1

I'm sick of these twisted romances. I want You, Jesus, and I want to love You. Forgive my heart its spurious affections. Make a fusion of us. Show me how to seek You, and how to meditate on Your law, and how to delight in You.
Fill me to the brim with Your romance, which is really all around me.
Cleanse me and protect me from unfaithfulness. 

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Thankful Thursday

It seems fitting to take part in Thankful Thursday with my friend Allison, since we're visiting together this week. :)

I'm thankful for...

Lots of sleep
Back massages
Honest conversations
Riding in the backseat of a car with the windows down (and going so fast that my earrings dance against my neck and tears trickle back to my earlobes)
Tall trees
Rainbow trout
Goofy sibling antics
Peaceful afternoons
Several dozen chocolate chip cookies
Countless written resources at my disposal
Cold pizza
Chaim Potok
The Artist's Way
God, who doesn't give up on me
Not sneezing
Mismatched china
Getting old(er)

Sunday, May 7, 2017

The Sun is a Peach, March 23

The sun is a peach. The sun in a lion on the front lawn.
The sun is a man with a laughing heart
                            a screaming heart
            a heart of spun sugar.
A heart like a lightbulb
a heart
where his brain should be. 

Maple Syrup, March 22

I asked what he would charge,
and he said,
"A smile and a sunny disposition."
Mom said, "A song!"
And so I sang "Dear Theodosia"
to pay for maple syrup for my french toast.
And my parents sat with me, although they had eaten,
and talked about how much
they had wanted a little girl. 

Panic, March 22

I've been in bed over an hour, but I just had a sensation like fear, of desperation for Jesus. Like I hadn't fully addressed Him at all before. It came so quickly, shockingly, like the clang of a bell, like calamity. It almost feels like a panic attack - like I need to run, or sob hysterically, or shake something vigorously out of my chest. It's not endearing. 

Spiritual Warfare ~ Seeing Germs, March 21

I have such a struggle, Lord. Between common sense and faith that You honor the plans of those who commit themselves to You. Between active concern, and curiosity to see, will the world actually work differently for you? As if she sees germs. Or the cosmic dance.
But there was even part of me, I discovered, that wanted to see her put in her place. Wanted confirmation that her agony was unnecessary. It would be some kind of liberation for me, permission to keep living at my "comfortable" level of "spirituality", and not feel compelled to acknowledge or operate within such an intense level of spiritual warfare.
This is a humiliating and condemning thing to admit.
I was tempted to rein in credulity. I did, I still do. We are not so in-tune with You that we can know Your purposes in all things, and call all things by their right names. So help us.
Purify my heart.
Give me love.
Help me pray.
Intercede on our behalf. 

Neighborhood Walk, March 20

I took a walk with Mama. I was barefoot, which I love, but which does look peculiar in a coat, and while there is snow on the ground.
It is also less comfortable when you can't walk in the grass.
I need to figure out when my liberties become trespasses.

Ah, the lovely punctuation of horses' hooves. A buggy just passed. The combination of whirring wheels and sharp clops reminds me of bagpipes. 

Teacup, March 20

Mom thought it was mine, I thought it was hers, Dad broke it, and no one is heartbroken. 

I Said in Dreams, March 19

"Do you know that He loves you? That's half - no, more than half - the equation."

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Nuns, March 18

I've been thinking about how I've had this interest in nuns for years.
And somehow I'd forgotten that Marie Dominique looked at me and thought, "Nun". That she wanted me to see that option, to go to vespers and to watch the ceremony for the young woman at Buon Gesu.

Lord, I don't want to be a nun, officially. But I want my life to be one of devotion and intention, of passionate and spousal love for You. These are things You can grow in me. I have not felt very hopeful or zealous about them lately. There are too many ghosts of other things and people. But keep my eyes on You, on Your face, and help me turn toward the dream You have planted in me.

Today is a good day to write letters. And to sing around the house. And choose a few small tasks for my attention. Flood me with Your grace, because I'm going to fail. Use me as a blessing. Let's keep talking.

Lioness, March 18

I fall back into fear again and again.
But I'm thankful for the courage You give me. Yesterday, when B suggested we meet close to home, I was awash with relief, but also felt cowardly and flat.
In the end, I'm glad You helped me desire the challenge and offer the farther option (with trepidation, but willingly).
That is what You do. You turn me into a lioness. 

5 Things I Am Not Allowed to Do

1. Watch bad movies
2. Jump upstairs
3. Scrub the printing off the Henckel knife
4. Put food down the drain
5. Elope