Wednesday, January 28, 2004

I think there are times in my life when I am more of an observer than a participant. I don't think this is weird or bad in any way. Just a different way of recording the moments; a different level of cognizance. You seem to know even as a moment transpires that it is different than others. It is being recorded differently, and you know you will always remember the most obscure details. It's as if certain moments occupy all of your senses at once, and that combination unlocks an area of your brain that secures it--locks it in.

In "An American Childhood", Annie Dillard wrote beautifully of the awakening cognitions of children. "Children 10 years old wake up and find themselves here, discover themselves to have been here all along; is this sad? They wake like little sleepwalkers, in full stride; they wake like people brought back from cardiac arrest or from drowning; in medias res, surrounded by familiar people and objects, equipped with a hundred skills. They know the neighborhood, they can read and write, they are old hands at the commonplace mysteries, and yet they feel themselves to have just stepped off the boat, just converged with their bodies, just flown down from a trance, to lodge in an eerily familiar life already well under way."

I feel like I float in and out of my spiritual development in this same way. There are moments in my life where the supernatural connects, rather breaks into, the concrete realities of my life--and I have to stop and stare. I wonder if it is much like Annie Dillard describes. Is this the nature of spiritual development? One day we will fully awaken into the spirit world, looking backward to these brief glimpses? Perhaps this will happen after we leave these bodies and move on?

My husband had a growth removed from his neck yesterday. It appeared out of nowhere and grew quickly to the size of golf ball. Turned out to be nothing; a painful, bloody, messy nothing in the end. The bandages are dramatic--huge and bloody. We had prayed for him before the doctor visit, but my 10 year old daughter wasn't alarmed until she saw the blood and bandages. Then she was visibly shaken. She spoke to me at length about this, and spent a lot of time in prayer. Before she went to sleep, she informed me that she told God it was okay if he took her fish, but that it wouldn't be okay for Him to take her Dad.

The fish died that night.

She was sad about her fish. She felt bad that she told God he could take the fish, but she also had the assurance of His advanced notice. I imagine He did tell her. "I don't think it was a trade", I mused. "I think God was letting you (us) know that it was time for the fish, but not time for Dad". "I know, Mom." Heavy sigh. (it's tough when the parents are as dumb as mud).

Last week, my cousin's 18 year old son and a number of his friends were pulled from a car at a stop light in Queens by a gang of boys. He was robbed (shoes, coat, cell phone, earring) and beaten with a pipe. His face has been rebuilt, wired together. He has been on morphine to control the pain. His family is wracked with anguish and he is not feeling so lucky to be alive right now. He needs our prayers. I will keep you updated on his progress.

As horrible as this is, I know this is a miracle. He lives. There is something supernatural in that knowledge for me right now.

I am sharing these moments in time because I am abnormally amazed by them. I feel like I am looking at them through a safety glass, like the Emperor Scorpion at the Wild Animal Park. I cannot look away. What an incredible creation that scorpion is. As long as he sits in his enclosure, I can observe him without fear. I am oddly not emotional. Not sad. Not angry. Just observing. Now the really weird thing: I see God here. I feel Him near. It's as if all my senses are tuned in and I can hear Him, smell Him. What is going on?

My cousin's son has lived through impossible circumstances. If he turned his head a certain way during the attack, or if he moved a fraction of an inch one way or another the news would be even more grim. A fraction of an inch. My friend's son Tim was playing on a residential street in a safe neighborhood where a car going 25-35 miles per hour hit and killed him. I still can't believe it. I can't understand. Since that day, another friend had a motorcycle accident on a notoriously treacherous road. He was in intensive care for a couple of days after hours of surgery saved his nearly severed leg. He is alive, against all odds. He lives.

My husband works with 2 men who survived accidents that by all accounts should have been fatal. One was hit in the head with a wooden pallet that was thrown from a roof 4 stories above him. He was standing near the dumpster that the pallet was intended for. He lives. Another accidentally drilled into the main power line, blowing up the bottom floor of the building they were working on. He was thrown back from the initial connection with the power main, but he too lives. No fatalities. No one in the area of the explosion. (My own husband had a similar accident last year -- hit the power main with a pick. The contact threw him backward several feet.) I am aware that accidents happen everyday. Some are fatal. Some are not. I am suddenly fascinated by those that are not.

In November, while thinking a dozen things at once, I forgot that I was parked on a busy street. I was rearranging stuff, trying to make room for another passenger. Without thinking I walked widely around the open driver side back door to get to the driver door. I felt the essence of the passing car long before I realized what had happened. It was an odd sensation -- I could feel the heat of it brush so near to me, it was as if it had gone through me. If I focus on this memory, I can recreate the sensation in my mind. It was surreal. I was confused at first, and I looked in the direction that it had gone, not completely sure it had really happened. All that was left of it was the tail lights growing smaller as the car barrelled down the hill. I was a breath away from that car. It all happened so fast, I was afraid to look at the street. For a moment, I felt completely made of spirit, as if I was separated from my body. I wouldn't have been surprised to see the carnage of what was once me splattered on the road. (too many movies: matrix, ghost -- are these sensations suggested?) I looked for witnesses. "am i really here?" i wondered. I felt the pure essence of that miracle -- I still feel it. I look back to that moment in time and know that there is no explanation for what I experienced. I live, because unlike the fish, it is not yet my time to go.

These moments have a common texture. The very essence of them connects them, like a certain fragrance lets you know that there is sage or jasmine nearby. I am observing them, and even as I look they transform. They are supernatural events. They are connected to the fabric of something bigger. They all seem to be a part of the same weird dream. What it is I don't know.

If you were trying to get my attention Lord, you have it. Undivided.

++Thank you for your many mercies, Lord, seen and unseen.

Sunday, January 25, 2004

I read Birgit's Blog -- and excerp from a book she read. (January 20--From "Nickel and Dimed - On (Not) Getting by in America" by Barbara Ehrenreich.) It reminded me of the experiences of an ex-waitress I love. You would love her, too. I'm sure of it. Today I would like to tell you some tales of the adventures of this incredible woman. A woman I admire.

She's no Mother Theresa -- she'd be the first to set you straight on that. (She'd probably use the F word in her response -- maybe more than once). No -- she's a real woman. Real woman, real world. She's on the move -- and don't get in her way -- she'll mow you down. She has bills to pay and life struggles to overcome. She lives in the No Whining Zone.

She has been known to gather over $100 or more in singles (after all, she's a waitress and has access to cash...) and travel into New York City in the winter to look for people begging in the subway or on the street. She looks for the infirm, women with small children and people willing to perform. When she finds these people she gives them money. She loves this tradition. Every once in a while she finds someone who looks able-bodied and down on their luck. She says, "Hey there. It looks to me like you want some money--I think I might give you some, but then what are you gonna do for me?" "Huh?" They usually ask, surprised that someone is actually addressing them directly. Most people work hard to avoid eye contact with the down-trodden. She tells them of the guy upstairs who played the flute, the guy on 48th street who sang Christmas carols. "What are YOU gonna do for ME?" They always come up with something. They dance. They recite poetry. They sing. She pays them. She laughs with them. And they are all happy for a moment.

Almost 20 years ago, this same woman sat at the bedside of countless dying men. AIDS, in the beginning. She’d meet them in theater productions and the gay bar where she worked part time. There was a time when they were dropping like flies – and people were sore afraid. "Stay away from them – you'll catch it!" they'd warn, "There is no cure." Some of these men were completely rejected by family, and all were rejected by the church. "They have no one else – they are my friends – I won’t let them die alone and unloved." And so she didn’t. She couldn't. After work and in between classes at school – every spare moment she could muster she visited, cried and loved the unlovable. They weren't unlovable to her. The Visible Christians-- now they were unlovable. So full of hate and self righteousness. They were unlovable -- but not her sick friends. (and if they weren't her friends, they would be before they breathed their last.) These guys were easy to love. She didn’t make a plan and determine a schedule. She didn’t ask permission of a church board or even do this in the name of Jesus – but do it she did. She laid her life down for her friends.

My favorite story about this woman happens on dark winter night in New York City. Driving home from a bar, she comes upon a taxicab that had skidded into a snow drift. She stops to help the driver, a man who hardly speaks English. "Foolish girl," I say later, "that is a terrible neighborhood – anything could have happened to you" "Silly Kim", she answers patiently, "it WAS an AWFUL neighborhood, and that is why I couldn't leave him there alone…"

Frederick Buechner says, "Generally speaking, if you want to know who you really are, as distinct from who you like to think you are, keep and eye on where your feet take you." (Wishful Thinking -- a seeker's ABC) He references Isaiah 52:7, "How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him who brings good tidings."

This woman is my sister. My baby sister. She's got great feet. And how beautiful upon the city street, or hospital ward or snow bank are they? Regular Angel Feet, they are. Now, those feet won't go to church -- she doesn't like the Christians much. (Maybe one day...) She balks if you say she is doing God's work -- "God is big enough to do his own work -- I do this because it makes ME feel good. Besides, I could never really represent God." (Ah, but you do. "No good tree bears bad fruit, nor does a bad tree bear good fruit. Each tree is recognized by its own fruit.... Luke 6:43)

She recites a poem to me whenever I see her. She's been reciting it for about 30 years now. "My sister Kim is bigger than me, she lifts me up quite easily. I can't lift her -- I've tried and tried -- she must have something heavy inside." (What is that heavy thing? I feel it too...).

God Bless you, Sissy. I love you. I hope I can be like you when I grow up.

++Lord, lighten my heart, that I would be easier to lift.

Monday, January 19, 2004

The lovely Man From Iowa brought me home one dozen long-stemmed red roses for no apparent reason whatsoever. "Because they were there, " was his explanation.

As Birgit always says, "some moments are perfect."

(I know my "shout outs" are malfunctioning. I'm very sorry. I know how to link now, but that is the limit of my blogging expertise. I can't even figure out how to post my email address. Here it is, if you feel compelled to tell me what you think. I always love to hear your thoughts, so drop me a line. Thanks.)


Saturday, January 17, 2004

All this "Mayhem" in the blogs lately reminds me of an essay I wrote in October. (Since I finally learned how to link, I feel compelled to do so whenever possible...) I am often amazed by how different certain experiences are to my own. The reverse is also true: I always love when we see commonalities among the voices, despite how incredibly different we all are. It's like harmony. Music. (And sometimes noisy...)

I grew up in a house where certain more sordid American experiences simply did not occur, and in a community which for the most part reinforced what I learned in my home. Racism was never tolerated. Ever. My community was multi-cultural, multi-racial. We loved without exception. We judged people by the content of a person's character (and still do, I hope). My little church was also multi-cultural. (unfortunately with this link, you need to scroll down to the September 22 post -- still so much to learn, heavy sigh.) I believed that certain forms of bias and prejudice were prevalent "some place else" or in "some other time".

I never knew that it required great effort for me to see the world this way. My parents didn't allow certain points of view in our home. Not that people didn't have those points of view -- they just weren't allowed to express them in our home. I never ever felt that I could not acheive whatever I set my mind to acheive. I could do anything through Christ who strengthened me. Anything. I shared my religious beliefs with many people, and they shared theirs with me. I accepted that people worship God in a manner that was comfortable to them: Catholic, Episcopal, Lutheran, Presbyterian -- all different but the same. I knew as much about the Jewish traditions as I did my own. I went to Temple with a multitude of friends for Bat Mitzvah, Bar Mitzvah, Shivah. God is God. El Shaddai. El Adonai. And I aways understood that Jesus was bigger than our small understanding. He was the way and the truth and the light. He could overcome the differences and lead people to himself. He died for them. We just needed to take him with us everywhere we go. He could handle the rest. After all, some things are true whether you believe them or not...(i love that line -- 'city of angels'). He would work out the details. They weren't my worry.

My parents led the Youth Group (and the choir) in our church for a long time. Eventually another family took it over. (We were very small -- there weren't any special pastors for children's ministry -- parents volunteered.) For the most part, it was always good. I had awesome experiences, great memories. It was with this group I went to the Franciscan Friary for work retreats and met the Cloistered Sisters of the neighboring convent. We had outings, Sunday School, sleep overs. There weren't that many of us. We really got to know each other. It was good.

Sometime after I became a teenager, a new parent took over our youth group. Not a family, I don't think, a single Dad (?). (I know he didn't like having his wife around, but I think he was married...?). Perhaps he didn't think it was biblical for his wife to help in leadership. (Now, I have some opinions about this today. When you marry, 2 are supposed to become 1. It's like plumbing -- one cold water pipe plus one hot water pipe = one warm shower. If one pipe is restricted, your shower will be too hot or too get the analogy...) This guy was definitely too cold. (don't go jumping to the verse about being hot or cold and if you're luke warm you'll get spit out -- I'm talking shower here, not drinking water...) He gave us an assignment (the cold water guy) to bring in something that inspired us. I chose an excerp from Henry David Thoreau's "On Walden Pond".

He rejected my piece loudly and sarchastically. "This is unacceptable -- the man is an atheist!" he mocked. "And so..?" "I told you to bring in something inspirational" "If the words inspire me to connect to God, then they are inspirational," I argued. "He clearly defines his journey, and the path is leading toward God -- He finds comfort in God's creation -- and so do I!" It is at this point that an older, wiser person would have realized that there would be no talking to this man. He couldn't hear what I had to say. He couldn't listen to the words. He had an agenda. I was outspoken, rude (in his opinion) and female. How dare I speak out at him in this manner. They wrote bible verses about people like me. "This is the bus we're on," he finally stated, "You're either with us or against us."

Wow. Splash that cold water in my face. Clearly all my education and good upbringing didn't prepare me for ignorance. Nothing can prepare you for that. "Then I'm against you, " I shrugged, comforted by the knowledge that I was right and he was wrong. You couldn't pay me to get on a bus with him.

But my legs sure get tired from all the walking.

A great friend once told me that if everyone sharing my point of view got off the bus, there would be nobody on the bus like me. I see the truth in this. Some things are worth the fight. Think of Rosa Parks -- It required way more courage to stay seated than it would have taken to get up and get off. But this is the sad truth about me: I'm a get up and get off kind of girl. Some arguments are just not worth my time. I've heard it said you can't argue with a drunk -- well I'd take drunkenness over ignorance any time. At least the drunk will sober up eventually...

And all this about busses. I don't think we're supposed to be on any bus. I think we're supposed to be walking. (...walkin' down freedom road...) How can you meet anybody if you're always cooped up in a bus?

God has the last laugh in all of this, (as God always will). If you flash forward quite a few years, I am now married to The Man from Iowa. (Imagine how his family shudders at the thought of that pure corn fed white boy in the hands of the New Yorker. Well, trust me, my family shuddered too..."Cornell Graduate from NYC to wed Enlisted Marine from Iowa farm town". "NY Liberal to marry Redneck". "CIA Protestor marries Marine".)

My family overlooked their preconceptions and accepted my husband without hesitation, as is their way. And they love him like their own. I can't really speak for his family. I think they love me, too. Against all odds. More amazing is that I love them -- and trust me it hasn't been easy for any of us.

Did you ever see the movie "Footloose" with Kevin Bacon? I thought it was a work of pure fiction. In my ignorance, I never believed for a second that life went on like it did in that town. Imagine my surprise. There is a world of people who keep track of sins like on a grocery list. They make their home a fall-out shelter and keep all the bad stuff out. They are so busy adhering to all the rules that they don't have time to live. And here is the thing that is the most surprising to me: Despite all that effort and energy they do not feel any more assured of the hope of heaven. Not really. Because if you miss something, one bad thing, one speck of dust -- the fall-out of sinfulness will get in and you will perish from the exposure to the radiation.

Seems to me you've already perished when you live this way.

You see, no matter how much effort you put into controlling stuff, (the world around you, people's thoughts and actions, culture) the outside always gets in. You can't stop it any more than you can stop air. My parents couldn't protect me from ignorance -- they could only teach me about it and send me out into it. You can't protect yourself from sin -- it's not outside of you, it's IN YOU. You can only recognize it and hand it to Jesus, one minute to the next. Jesus said, "For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander. These are what make a man unclean;" (Matt 15). Take a lesson from Jesus, who didn't ask the permission of men to do God's will, but acted in the authority of his father in heaven. He didn't do it by their rules. (And boy were they tweaked). "Thus you nullify the word of God for the sake of your tradition. You hypocrites! Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you: 'These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. They worship me in vain; their teachings are but rules taught by men.'" (Jesus said that -- I love that guy!)

You know something? I went to Walden Pond eventually, still inspired by Henry David Thoreau. Often, actually. I lived "down the road" for a time (route 128). I prayed there. In fact, it was near here that I re-committed my life to Christ in a new way: Framingham Vineyard, Framingham, Mass. (Thanks for the connection, Lord. I'd forgotten.) Do you see that? Do you see how He did that? God used the words of an atheist to draw nearer to me, a sinner. Maybe those words were originally inspired in Thoreau to draw him closer, too. I hope he recognized his Creator eventually. (I really don't know if he did or not -- the writer didn't interest me as much as his words...I am curious now...) This truth in my life, my Walden Pond experience, is evidence of God's love for me. He desired me. He wooed me, in the same way a guy takes a girl to a chick flick -- it's what she wants to see, and he just wants to be with her. How cool is that? God wanted me. Still wants me. He wants you, too.

++ Thank you that you wanted me, Jesus. Just as I was. Just as I am. Naive. Outspoken. Female. Me.

I want You, too. Always. It's okay if I have to walk. I'll never walk alone.

Friday, January 16, 2004

Happy Birthday, Mom. (And you, too, sis)

(January 16 has always been like a national holiday for me: my mom, sister and grandmother all share the same birthday. Yes, that's right, 3 generations on the same day. Mother, daughter and granddaughter...)

Is it a lonely birthday with just the two of you now that Nana has moved on? (Died in the year 2000, after her 94th birthday. Not too shabby...) I wondered what you did to celebrate. I thought of all of you all day. Miss you always.

I hope you like your stars ... (I couldn't resist!) Yes, I admit it. I am a capitalist pig. (and a romantic...) Can't wait to look for them through sissy's big ass telescope. :) I'm looking up there tonight, wondering...

"Star Light, Star Bright, First Star I see tonight. I wish I may, I wish I might, have the wish I wish tonight..." (Maybe the wishes will have more clout now that we own some of the stars....)

Much love to you both. So much to write. I'll catch you up later. Love from me.

PS: "Enter His gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise: give thanks to him and praise his name. For the Lord is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations..." Psalm 100 4-5

Thanks for your faithfulness Lord, to all our generations -- let it continue in the generations to come. Help us pass it on...:)

Thursday, January 15, 2004

Do birds contemplate flying? or do they just do it? I know they struggle at first. But do they ever doubt they are built for flight? "Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them..."Matt 6:26

I am filled with troubled thoughts -- Do you think Mother Teresa would have stopped helping people if the Catholic Church decided that they weren't going to endorse her ministry? Do you really think she would have cared? She worked for Jesus. Not for money. Not for title. And not to accumulate crowns in heaven, either I dare say. No - she loved the people she served and she would have died serving them whether the church "permitted" her to or not. Maybe I'm idealizing her, but I really don't think so. She made a difference, one person at a time. Did she demand that they turn from their sinful ways and become Christians? No. She loved them, and told them that her Jesus loved them, and sent her to care for them. I don't think she ever wanted to be a saint when she grew up. It never occurred to her.

This is the kind of Christian I want to be.

I am reminded lately of a scene from Jesus Christ Superstar. The disciples are lounging together -- they had arrived. They were the inner circle. The cool dudes. "Always thought that I'd be an apostle, Knew that I would make it if I tried. Then when we retire we can write the gospel so they'll still talk about us when we die..." (Ouch--do we look like that...?)

Life here will never be fair. But it will always be beautiful. So beautiful that we will do everything in our power to generate just one more breath out of our tired bones. I hope before I leave this world, I will have touched my circle of influence (no matter how small) with a little more hope, a little more happiness, a little more love. I don't have time to wait for people to decide what is the "right" path for me -- even if I have 80 years left. I don't care if you know my name or if you invite me to be a leader in your church -- those trappings are so small compared to what we can accomplish without them.

++Feed us wisdom and courage to do your will in our world. Let us make a difference, one person at a time. ++ "ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find..." matt 7:7

Hold Fast To Dreams

Hold fast to dreams
For if dreams die
Life is a broken-winged bird
That cannot fly
Hold fast to dreams
For when dreams go
Life is a barren field
Frozen with snow

...Langston Hughs

++Lord, I am surrounded by the squawking of broken-winged birds. Heal our wings, and let us fly.++

Blackbird (Lennon/McCarthy)

Blackbird singing in the dead of night
Take these broken wings and learn to fly
All your life
You were only waiting for this moment to arise

Blackbird singing in the dead of night
Take these sunken eyes and learn to see
All your life
You were only waiting for this moment to be free

"the eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are good, your whole body will be full of light. but if your eyes are bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. Matt 22 Take these sunken eyes, Lord. We want to really see...

Wednesday, January 14, 2004

"...there were so many fewer questions
when stars were still the holes to heaven..."
jack johnson/ "on and on" cd

I got an email today, spam really, offering to sell me a star (or at least the rights to a star). It turns out they are on special this week -- only $39.95. "Don't miss out on this great opportunity," (you know we may run out...) "A great Valentine's Day gift for your loved ones..."

Tuesday, January 13, 2004

Ouch! I lost an entire post. Where did it go? Is it floating around in cyber space? How do you seasoned bloggers avoid this travesty? Big Bummer. Send me your best wisdom -- I can't let this happen again....

Saturday, January 10, 2004

I am slowly taking down my Christmas decorations. I feel a little robbed of Christmas this year as you may have noticed in previous posts -- and I have decided to share some of my Christmas thoughts as I pack away my lovely things.

This Longfellow poem is one of my favorites. It translates into a beautiful, non-traditional, haunting melody when sung by an artist whose name I have lost (Windam Hill Winter's Soltice III, I think -- lost the CD, too.) It's playing in my head today, so I thought I'd share it with you.

I heard the bells on Christmas day
Their old familiar carols play,
And wild and sweet the words repeat
Of peace on earth, good will to men.

And thought how, as the day had come,
The belfries of all Christendom
Had rolled along the unbroken song
Of peace on earth, good will to men.

Till ringing, singing on its way
The world revolved from night to day,
A voice, a chime, a chant sublime
Of peace on earth, good will to men.

And in despair I bowed my head
"There is no peace on earth," I said,
"For hate is strong and mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good will to men."

Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
"God is not dead, nor doth He sleep;
The wrong shall fail, the right prevail
With peace on earth, good will to men."

Longfellow wrote this one Christmas during the Civil War. It has always haunted me, but this year moreso than ever before. I long for a blizzard. I feel my soul is snowed in.

I visited Tim's parents today. We had coffee and shared lingering grief and disbelief. In a poem he wrote when he was all of 10 years old, Tim had said "...I feel the wind in my face, I touch the sky when I'm dreaming". His mom told me she found comfort in those words when she stood on a hillside near her home and felt the wind in her face. I stood outside and felt it, too.

He used to greet me with the abandon and devotion of a puppy. "I knew you would come, " he'd say as if he'd been waiting eagerly for days. So loving. He told his dad, "I'm so glad Mrs. Johnson is in our (Scout Group). We're so lucky to have her." My personal fan club. I always believed he would outgrow that delightful enthusiasm. I wonder if he ever did.

The last time I saw him, he interacted more with my daughter than with me. He told her how pretty she was becoming. She told him he was gross. (she's 10, and for the moment finds boys to be completely abhorrent.) She doesn't feel bad about that. "I mean, how dis-GUST-ing! As if!" (the word "if" somehow takes on 2 syllables in that sentence...) We all are able to smile about that.

One day, she'll remember him telling her of her beauty -- and I think she'll cherish the memory. I know I will.

Time rolls on for us -- but not for Tim. He is our own Peter Pan -- locked forever in Never Land. A boy who will never grow up. He will never graduate, never fall in love, never marry, never have sex, never have children of his own. On the other hand he will always be the boy chasing his shadow, fighting pirates, laughing out loud at silly movies, loving and accepting with reckless abandon.

I find it amazing that time doesn't change the essence of despair. Generations of grieving, despairing people have felt the same things though the times were completely different. The human experience transcends technology and progress. People despair. It was no different for Longfellow as he observed that Christmas 160 years ago -- "Till ringing, singing on its way, The world revolved from night to day" -- Just like I felt at the basketball games -- I am standing still here, but the world is revolving from night to day, night to day. And just like me, he cries out to the heavens, "And in despair I bowed my head, "There is no peace on earth," I said, "For hate is strong and mocks the song Of peace on earth, good will to men." The war that caused Longfellow's despair is quite akin to my own personal battle today. My own civil war.

Tim's family went to see Lord of the Rings, Return of the King -- without him. He had waited all year for its release. His mother said his absence in the theatre was all that the film lacked. "He would have loved it, " she smiled. "What makes you think he missed it?" her other son, Tim's little brother asked. He sees with a child's eyes the release of Tim's spirit into the air. He knows his brother is unencumbered by the constraints of the body now. He knows things we can't imagine. Later, they visited Grandma who suffers from the early stages of Altzheimer's disease. She cannot remember the tragedy. They decide not to remind her. "Where's Tim?" "He's with a friend", they tell her. Tim's little brother smiles wide and adds, "He's with his BEST friend." (Sigh). Later, the boy tells his parents, "Won't Grandma be surprised when she gets to heaven and finds out Tim's made it there before her?" Amazing.

God is not dead, nor doth he sleep.

Wednesday, January 07, 2004

Well, I'm back in that weird place from which I began blogging. It's as if this solution that is my life has been jarred or mixed, and all the insoluble bits are spinning around, clouding my vision.

They will eventually sink to the bottom again, but they won't go away. I know that now.

I have that same sense of urgency -- so much to say, so little time to say it. The same anger, same frustrations. Same sense of futility. Same lack of focus. Where should I begin? What thoughts should I share?

I am realizing that grief accumulates (at least in me.) Little griefs collect like scars (or wrinkles..?) -- They mount up in the course of your life and although they seem to go away with time, they all reappear in a resurgence of pain. All the griefs. All the disappointments. All the pain. Like an old war wound. It flares up when you add another.

I've read that this is a dysfunction. I know about "inner healing". But I must say I don't think it applies. I think it's the scars that make us us. The marks of the refiner's fire.

I am also realizing how much of this is unresolved. Unfinished. Will it ever be finished, or is this "as good as it gets?" I cannot believe that people simply move on. People do not get over losses that easily. They go on. But they are changed. I know I am.

We got on with life this week. The Schedule has returned. There is comfort in that -- but at the second basketball game of the day it occurred to me that although life was going on as usual--the wheel was turning--I was changed. Disfigured. Quasimodo.

I am becoming the handicapped man of my dream, only I'm broken on the inside. The man I met was an inspiration-- incomplete body, complete man. He glorifies God in his brokenness. Will I?