Thursday, February 25, 2010

Mindful of Us

Journal for Christa—
 The breath and presence of God swirls in and through space and time,
knowing and touching all—
From the farthest reaches of the most distant galaxy and beyond
to the infinitesimal microscopic particle,
He sees all,
Knows all,
Is mindful of all.
Then somewhere in the great in between sits man.
“And what is man that Thou art mindful of him?”

Civilizations come. Civilizations go.
People plan their wars, build their mansions, consider what great works
they have done.
And yet, it amazes me that in the midst of it all, God’s ear is bent toward my call—
a simple woman’s plea—
And what art (woman) that Thou, (Almighty God) art mindful of (her)?
And it does not matter if one woman should wash her dishes in a sink or in the river. He is mindful of us.
And it does not matter if one should place her frame in a warm bed or a tent on Haiti’s shore.
He is mindful of us.
And as we each pull up the night cover under our chins,
(not so unlike a prayer shawl of old),
He is, indeed, mindful of us.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Crummy Week

Journal for Christa—
Since this has been an exceptionally crummy last few days (I started grading 64 research papers last Saturday, and I have a sinus infection again), I thought I’d send you a journal written years ago on another particularly crummy week. This just goes to show that some weeks are “simply crummy,” and things would probably go smoother if we could all just take it in stride, including the “parishioner who doesn’t do anything.”

Oh what a draining two days. The daily wearing down of life is getting to me. It seems as though there is closure to nothing. The title for the car is still in Kansas. We even had to get an extension for the license. Just when we thought everything was fine with Mel’s knee, the other one swelled up. And when, oh when, will Shakespeare ever end? Finally, there’s just one more act and the sophomores can twist the blades when Brutus and Cassius fall on their swords. But, Hamlet still has four acts to contemplate life and find it wanting. I’m afraid the only thing the seniors find wanting are their grades.

I am over my nose in physicians’ office policy. The simple request to switch to the woman rheumatologist just about took an act of Congress (and you know how difficult that can be). How it ends is that the man will drain the knee on Friday, and the woman will see Mel over Christmas break. The entire petty scenario was because I am breaching “office policy.” I fear we’re all half crazed Hamlets, walking on the brink of madness.

Now, since Mr. Gordon’s predicted day of doom did not arrive today, I suspect that each day will go on grinding away at our soul one petty grain at a time. Some days I just want to crawl out of my skin and shout, “Could we all just lighten up a little?”

Ha, Ha, who needed to “lighten up”? Written on November 17, 1998, this just shows that for me winter is long, and it’s still often hard to see the silver in a cloud that looks plain gray.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

A Fool's Hope

Journal for Christa—

While we wondered through the clearance section of Walmart the weekend after Christmas, I decided to purchase an amaryllis bulb that was half price. It wasn’t much of a risk, only $2.50. The long, cold winters tend to get me down, and I thought a real flower would be nice, if it bloomed at all. Expectations were low, but it was kind of a fool’s hope.

As the New Year started, I planted it in its container and watered it well and set it in the sunshine—where it did nothing, nothing at all. It sat there in its pot for weeks, and a more diligent housekeeper would have tossed it out.

I glared at it a couple of Saturdays and even said to myself, “That isn’t going to grow. I should just throw that away.” But I didn’t—not because I hadn’t given up, but because I was simply too lazy, and I did hope that maybe, just maybe it’d kick in—though logic told me that wasn’t likely. I think I even saw a little mold on the top of the dirt.

Then, one day it looked like maybe something was growing—just ever so slightly, so I watered it. And lo, the next day it looked as though it was alive after all, so I watered it again. (The directions did say to keep it well watered once it started growing.) It’s kind of cool because it grows an inch or so every day. So now, I check it each day when I come home from school, and it’s exciting because I can see it. I can see it, and I know that once it gets tall enough there will be 2 flowers. It will be pretty to see it bloom sometime in February.

I almost threw it away, but I didn’t because of a fool’s hope. It seemed as though nothing was happening. But, it really was, down there under the dirt where I couldn’t see. It was just a fool’s hope—but sometimes a fool’s hope is all it takes.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Journal for Christa—
When a hope deferred comes to fruition—
I’ve been thinking about that today because of two totally unrelated and quite different circumstances. Sometimes the very least expected comes out of nowhere at a time not at all looked for. It’s almost like being lifted from one world and dropped into another—the one you’d always dreamed of, the one you’ve always known you were made for. Then sometimes, a different world will open up before your eyes by closing one door softly, turning, and there it is—a new adventure, one you’d never been brave enough to actually choose on your own.

We all have dreams, and as life tends to fold itself away, we quite naturally set some of our hopes aside. We tell ourselves, “It just wasn’t meant to be.” “I don’t really have the ability to do that, not really.” “That might work if I were rich and didn’t have to work, raise a family, have these responsibilities, this illness, this depression—you fill in the blank.”

Then one day, quite unexpectedly, everything changes, seemingly by chance or others’ decisions. And there it is—the hope deferred. It’s true that life isn’t Disney: all our dreams won’t come true. But, there will be days when a hope deferred bounces off the shelf and into open hands. And those are the days—when hope deferred comes to fruition—to lift our hearts and laugh with joy. Don’t ever quite take your eye off the hopes on the shelf.