Tuesday, August 31, 2010
So much beauty to notice...
as I have shared my spot in this world
with those around me this past month.
Almost unbearable delights of wonder,
and joyful surprise.
Goodbye to this month of August, and the summer delights God has blessed me with.
Tomorrow begins a new month; my favorite month of the year! I will awaken with high expectations tomorrow. September will surely be a month of Grace and Wonder!
Friday, August 27, 2010
"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God." John 1:1
I awoke in the middle of the night last night and could not get back to sleep. Words floated randomly through my mind, taking me here and there; anywhere but back to sleep, where I longed to be. So I decided to try to quiet my mind with meditation. The 'Book of the Month' at the congregation we have been attending is the gospel of John. As a child, I memorized the first verse of the book, so settled on that to guide my meditation.
I know that, later in the chapter, John identifies "the Word" as Christ. But why does he here, at the beginning of his own written word, begin with The WORD? It came to me that this short verse is John's version of the creation story. Before anything else existed, God had Word. In fact, in the Genesis creation story, God used Word to create everything else. He spoke it into being. "And God said, "Let there be light," and there was light." (Gen.1:3) Then He used Word to name what he had created: "God called the light 'day,' and the darkness He called 'night.'" (Gen 1:5)
Word. It is the basis of all that we are. The Word is in us. We use it to think, to communicate, even to emote to ourselves and to God. Without Word, we are but empty shells.
I have so often thanked God for words... for words from His inspired written word; for words of comfort, joy, encouragement, or love from my husband, friends and family; for precious words from the lips of my children and grandchildren; for the written words of Anne Lamont, Madeleine L'Engle or even Jane Austen. Words are a precious and large part of my life. Word is who I am and what I do. Even the images I create at my loom and easel are wrapped up in words, in Word.
The slang dictionary says that the use of "Word!" on the street derives from the shortening of the phrase, "My word is my bond" in prison usage. To say "Word" is to say something is true. Word is Truth.
"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God." John 1:1
Lord, thank You for the blessing of Word. Please remind me that my own words came to me as a gift from You. Help me to use them for Your purpose: to bless and not to curse; to promote peace, not dissension; to uplift and love, and never to degrade or hate.
Saturday, August 21, 2010
When you live in an old house, it is very easy to adopt it's history as your own history. Especially when you have met, in various ways, those who have lived there before you. Today, a woman from the historical society came by and gave me this fantastic photo of the woman who lived here for 50 years (above). The photo was taken before she was married and lived here. Her husband was a prominent physician, one who was instrumental in establishing the hospital here. The story is that he met her working in the dime-store, and that he then, wanting a more sophisticated mate, sent her to finishing school, then married her. They lived together in the house we now occupy for 50 years. We also have a photo of her husband, from the 'hallway of history' at the hospital.
This photo is of the daughter of the woman above. It is of her wedding day, coming down our stairway, before leaving on their wedding trip. Both photos will be enlarged and hung with our 'family pictures.' Isn't it funny how you can adopt people based on such shared experiences? I think of these women often; as I sweep up dog hair or dust the never-ending woodwork. They did the same things I now do, in the same places I do them. I recently rehung a clothesline, on the pole where theirs had hung. Hanging out sheets and towels, I think of them doing the same. I believe our connections to those who came before us, whether related by blood or proximity, keep us more aware of our place in the world.
Our connections give us continuity; help us see that we also have a place coming before, as well as after, others. It makes me want to leave 'clues' behind. Photos are good clues. I will so enjoy these two photos! When we moved to this house, I left some Honduran coins tucked into a closet, between the wall and the shelf of the house we left behind. I hoped someone would find them someday, and be curious enough to discover that a good man had lived there, who went frequently to help poor people in another country.
I know that, without trying, we do leave traces of who we are and were behind us. These photos ending up in my hands, with their stories attached, proves that. So I think its a Good Thing to be aware of that, and make our stories ones that will bless those who discover them, whenever and however that may be.
Wednesday, August 11, 2010
For the sake of his great name the LORD will not reject his people, because the LORD was pleased to make you his own. 1 Samuel 12:22
I have been dealing with the grief of rejection for some time now. I can take rejection from art exhibits; I expect some of that as a part of my business. But that is not the rejection I have been dealing with and grieving from. I have been feeling rejected by those whom I love and have expected to have received love from in return. When God's own people reject you, who can you turn to?
There is only one answer to that question. You can turn to God. I have come to realize that I have been in a period of grief from this rejection for quite some time. It is like going through a divorce to have to turn from people you have loved for a good percentage of your life, and accept that their rejection of you is not sanctioned by God. God will never forsake me. He is pleased with my worship and my love for Him and my love for His people, no matter how they may have treated me.
Without trying to be mysterious, we are in the process of 'moving churches,' having found that the congregation we have attended for well over 20 years is no longer a place we feel useful to His work. How difficult this process is! I grew up in this church. I truly love so many people there. I do not want to turn my back on them, or on the church there. But to feel so useless and so rejected is not how God wants any of us to feel when we gather to worship Him. So we have prayed for almost two years about this. And we have been led to another group of His saints. It is hard to begin again with people you don't know and have not yet made a bond with. But these are His people, too, and we pray that, because they love Him, they will accept us, use us, and make us a part of their portion of the body.
Help me, Lord, to not be bitter about this necessary change in our spiritual lives. Help me to know it is from you, and to know that following your lead will take me to green pastures, as I have been in dry fallow land for so long now. Help us to be a blessing to the body we work with in your name.
Tuesday, August 3, 2010
I often listen to audiobooks while I work or when I travel. Rather than distract me, it seems to help me focus on my task, and to not be distracted by other things. Lately I have been listening to a recently published and highly promoted book. I actually enjoyed the first few CDs, but things started to make me uncomfortable as the book progressed. The last CD I listened to (not the last one in the book, there are several more beyond this one) made me feel quite uncomfortable. It began glorifying things that felt evil to me. In fact, it even tried to make them seem Godly, which is the scariest kind of evil of all, I think.
I ended up having a horrible night. I have always been very sensitive to things with an aura of spiritual evil. I can not watch horror movies. Even when I was young, there were people whom I avoided, not for any specific reason, but because they 'felt wrong' to me. Generally, the progression of time proved that feeling to be an accurate one. I always encourage young people to listen to that inner voice. I know it kept me out of danger on several occasions.
But a book? Can books be evil? I mean, novels? Meant for our entertainment? I think they can. Books take me places I've never been before; they can even take me to different times, and to places that only exist in an author's and a reader's mind. I love that about books! But I do not want books to take me where I don't want to go. And I believe the power of the written word can take readers places from which they cannot easily return. I do not want or need to be gently led to believe that evil is good. I returned the audio book to the library this morning, without finishing it. I rarely do not finish a book I have begun; in fact, I have plowed my way through some really dreadful books, just to see if they got any better! But not books that are steering the reader towards evil. I am a strong believer that evil does exist. There IS a powerful dark side, and I have no desire to dwell there, even for the length of an audio book.
When I see the darkness coming towards me, I immediately look for the bit of light that will lead me away from it. There will always be that touch of blue sky to find, when you know in your heart it is there.