Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Lines from December, Part 2

There are so many things to write about.
But first I ask You to bring peace to my own soul, which is not at ease. I think that vague, avoided doubts are more harmful than honest, addressed ones.
Are You there? Are You Who You say You are? Why is so much of life this waiting and persisting, thinking fleeting thoughts, and rarely finding that spark of sharing it with another?

Are we all so solitary? So alone? Why are moments of clarity and blood-singing beauty so hard to grasp, or to remember?
We are more than the sum of our parts.

There are two things I've decided I must cherish closely this season:
honor and joy.
Make it three: humility.
Make me honorable, merry, and meek. Meekness is not the same thing as humility, but they walk with arms linked.
And help me pray more these weeks, even in ways that seem abstract, or are silly, like praying for whatever catastrophe was causing all the sirens, only to find out that Santa was canvassing the neighborhood in a firetruck.

I moved the studio today. There's not enough space to do yoga in my room anymore, but I'll figure something out.

You work small miracles in domestic situations, and I'm asking You to do it again. Break down self-pity, pride, and insecurity. Bring out the best in us, the patient, gentle, faithful love that has no substitute, though it may have its mockers and skeptics.

Jesus. Be my God this weekend. Be God with us. Be praised in the perfection of Your goodness.

P.S. Psalm 73 was so perfectly timed. Thank You.

"Yo, I walked with God in the garden and it was good" - Sintax.the.terrific

We had an ice storm last night, which complicated matters today. J and I went to the party anyway, and it was the right choice. He got to ride in Wesley. We had a little time to talk.
Sobering to tell him, "None of my relationships really flourished this fall." That's only partly true. A few were maintained with adequacy. My weekly chat and prayer with A was actually very nourishing, deepening to our friendship. But for the most part, I either gave old friendships mere nods, or started new ones which, though positive, are yet green.
Remind me of this, when I am tempted to load my plate. I need space and margin to be the fully-present, invested, relational being I was meant to be. I'd like to feel again, with a grin, that I am a "professional friend". That my personal relationships are what fill most of my waking hours, and that I can care well, know and be known.

Please guide tomorrow, my last Christmas Sabbath before the whole gang is here. Bless Your Name, faithful one.

Thank You, Jesus, for such a sweet day with S.
Bulletproof coffee, cookie baking, a lunch of mushroom soup and marbled rye bread, tea and prayer.
Please heal my knee. Please stir my heart and mind, toward You, toward prayer. Help me care well for what/those who You have entrusted to me.

Guide me into a place of peace and overflow - even if it's an overflow that simply allows me to grieve and suffer, which I have often been too crowded to allow.
Bring more, true love into my life.
Help me be the seer and giver You meant me to be, without pride or bitterness. Help me to be secure in You. Firmly planted and fruitful in Truth.
Jesus, be glorified. Come.

Please help. I really need to paint. And I felt like I needed to sleep, so I slept in, but now I'm grouchy. This is stupid. Please put me to rights, and work through me, and get all the praise.

Mom just came in and prayed with me. Thank You.

You are answering prayer. You are like long looked-for rain, like the firm squeeze of a hand, like sleep after a tiring day. You constantly challenge my smallness, and ask my heart, "What are you living for?"
I am not free enough. And I am too loose as well. Train and temper me, please. Make me transparent and winsome. Help me to love You with every bit of myself, to fear You - and nothing else. Never let me slip into arrogance, flippancy, or complacency. With all the luxury I have, help me always feel my need for You. And always show me You are there, and enough.
Love is the best impetus.

Remind each of us of You. Help us pray. Awake our consciences, our spirits, our intellects, even as You (please) put our bodies to sleep. It is so sweet to have families.

What a Christmas. This was good. And the chaff blows away the longer it sits. Holidays have the unfortunate tendency to be idealized, stereotyped, and idolized - leading to disappointment. But with the reality we are given, I don't think you could get much better than this. The gift-giving was relaxed and warm, with a few lovely surprises. Breakfast was delightful, lunch was late but delicious. E joined us. I had a little afternoon time to sequester myself. Later I got to talk to Roomie, and over the past few hours we've been listening to "Hamilton" - all of it - in the living room. This was the best way to hear it. With attentive, engaged company, absorbing and responding together. Soaking in the art, following the nuances.

I've noticed that old habit of muteness creeping in, but part of that is my tiredness. I didn't leave the house today. Better do so tomorrow. And paint...

Carry me through this week. It's up to You whether I finish or not. Anything is possible. Because of You. Help me live with that undaunted confidence in You again. To be willing to "kill my darlings", to let go.

These rare clan gatherings are so crucial; to reaffirm belonging, to establish context. May I never, ever take them for granted.

Who am I? What do I believe? What do I stand for?
Some things are crystalizing. What is my name? How can purity flame forth as beautiful and joyous as it really is? Help me hate what is evil and cling to what is good. Let there be no acceptable sins with me, as there are none with You.
Where will I draw the line? When will I pray and participate, when will I abstain? How can I live in truth, and not as a hypocrite?

Sex and alcohol and explosions and satire - they're all so overblown and out of proportion - so BORING! Give me something genuine and tender, something noble and mysterious.
I want to be a heroine, but help me want, more than that, to see You glorified. To always, always point back to You and Your finished work on the cross. To be content to be a sinner forgiven, a wretch made holy by no merit of her own. Name me again.

Win the battles, Lord. In me, in my family, in this community, in the world, the universe!
How small my language is. But I want everything to bend toward You. For You to show Yourself, and for this mangy heart to drown in worship.
Lead me away from false loves, by Your One True Love. Play a sweeter song than that of the sirens. But don't let me live in metaphor. Show me the actual, literal work in front of me, and help me do it. Help me know when to speak.

I'd like to paint a day for us. With ripe fields, gardens, woods, and hills - with lambs and kids, birdsong, fireflies. With light snow and a fireside, hot food and drink and measured talk. The best of every season, and You beside me. A swing, a run, a swim, a dance, a climb in the old magnolia. Sunset seen through branches. Berries picked from the brambles. Peepers and crickets and owls. Low singing, and the creak of stairs.

I ate my first passionfruit today. I almost liked it. Talk about a fruit that seems as if it were made for aliens.

E and J are gone. It feels so abrupt. Tomorrow night I'll be the sole "kid" again - and I'm not looking forward to it. To more time to work, yes, but not to the loneliness.
T sent Mom a book. Dad cried when she opened it. And then they both cried, missing my brothers. I sat down at Dad's knee and we all grieved gently together, and prayed. We had such precious time, and we don't know when it will happen again. More and more it feels rare. We can't take it for granted.

And I've been sitting here, thinking of children traumatized and killed in Aleppo, thinking of the murderousness in us all, hating all the sin and weakness and apathy in the world, needing Your comfort and perspective.
Remind me that caring is worth it. I want to love this year, remember?
Sometimes loving feels so painful, too hard, or like it's not enough. Remind me that it is enough. It carries a seed within it. If I tend it, it will inevitably yield good. My love is one small stitch, but stitch me tight and true. Connect my love to all the long and neverending spool of Yours.

"Look like a baby once again, 'cuz I'm shedding my old withered skin"
- Danielson

The year is almost over. 23 more hours. And what a lot to fit into them!
Today, despite some slower-than-anticipated aspects, was pleasant.

PLEASE help! All the photos to come out well. Me to drive safely and be present with the people I love. Me to pray. Me to know You. Me to see things for what they are...
Like my first bite of persimmon today. It helps to think, "It's a nectarine!" to block the thought, "It's a mutant tomato!" But no, it's a persimmon.
Help me trust You with all the pains I take, and all the grace I choose to rest in. You have called me to now, to this moment, and I don't want to miss it.

I feel so much better than I did 5 hours ago, leaving Verizon with no progress, driving to pick C up through tears. The shoot went so well, and I stopped by K's, so we got to talk, exchange gifts, and pray. And I'm home, and have eaten, and can PAINT now, for a while.
Thank You for this relief. For helping me make decisions even when I'm sick-tired and weary. You weave beauty, truth, and goodness into all this. DO.