Thursday, March 31, 2011

New Life

Journal for Christa—
Sadness often creeps over our world and soul and nearly sucks the breath right out of us. But, have you ever noticed the effect of new life—the very hope that children exude? It’s as if they dance to elfin music—eyes sparkling, with an impish grin.
I’ve witnessed the birth of two babies—my daughters’ firstborns. Both were preceded by long vigils—vigils of different sorts.
For Melody it was a long trek all through a stormy night. As I drove through the starless, moonless night, amidst sheets of rain—at times my only visual the tail lights of the semi I followed for endless miles—an urgency that only a mother can sense for a daughter in labor stood every nerve and fiber on edge in my body.
Three weeks ago as Jay and I left school at midday for the short drive across town, we laughed at how quickly this baby would come—but it was not to be. Joy labored through the afternoon and evening. Jay finally went home to await my call, and I sacked out on a couch in the lobby—a vigil once more—until about midnight.
Now, pushing out babies is a lot of hard work—woman’s work. And it’s an arena where women kind of arise in camaraderie. Between two of Joy’s contractions, her doctor looked around and stated, “Can we get any more nurses in here?” And one perky nurse of the seven said, “Nope, we’re all here!” And, why wouldn’t they be? For every birth where a baby takes his first breath is a miracle. And who doesn’t want to see a miracle?
There are no words to describe my fear and urgency with each of their pushes, and the relief and joy of those babies’ first cries. A mix of feelings that escape words.
There’s something about life—new life—that reminds us that
life itself is a miracle—
a wonder beyond compare—
and all the reason we need to walk through the saddest of days—
Look into a little one’s face today. It will make you smile. It will give you strength.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Thought for the Day: Jn. 15:9-13

As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father's commands and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.

To remain in Christ is to obey His commandments. The result is joy. (Boy, could I use some of that today.)

The command: "Love each other as I have loved you"...even to lay down one's life. Well, that cetainly puts selfishness in the backseat. It's one thing to love your family like that; it's another to love just all others like that. (Wonder how I will do today?)

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Let in the Light

Journal for Christa—
Joel was born in March. And all that long Tennessee winter that I carried him, we lived in the little yellow house. The little yellow house was heated by electric wall units, which were very expensive to run. So, we closed off the entire front half of the house. The long wide doorway into the dining/living room-for-the-winter was draped with large blankets to stave off the cold from the adjoining rooms. Winter was cozy, if tiny (space-wise), as we were nearly confined to one darkly paneled, windowless room and a small bedroom. I mainly spent the winter sewing and cross-stitching in a rocking chair. Some evenings Yvette would arrive with baby Timothy for me to babysit, a blast of cold from the unheated rooms entering with her. Baby Tim mainly slept, and Joy played contentedly around him and was always delighted when he awoke for a bottle.
Then, with the coming of March, something suddenly switched inside me. Call it nesting or cabin fever—but one March day I’d had enough of winter confinement. The sun was shining, the daffodils were blooming, and I wasn’t having a baby in that darkness.  I still remember the feeling of exhilaration when I lifted down the bedding that let in the chilled but fresh air from the front of the house. Light flooded the room, and it was spring.
Sometimes it’s not just winter outside; sometimes it’s winter in our souls. But there, too, will come a day to let in the light. And when the fresh air and warmth of the sun hits your face, you will know that there also…it is spring.
By the next winter, Jay had installed a gas floor furnace—to chase away my winter cold.
Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin. Mt. 6:28 (KJV)

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Taking Pause

Journal for Christa—
Most disasters, from our personal ones to global affairs, are of our own doing—the result of depravity to simple foolishness.
But, when I consider the moving plates that bear up earth and ocean alike and the sheer force of elements far stronger than you, me, and us—I must face our utter lack of control.
This week’s devastation of Japan’s coast—a half a world away—forces us all to pause. We forget each day how volatile every step we take. We are reminded of J. R. R. Tolkien’s warning of the “dangerous business going out your front door.”
Yet, we do…get up each day and venture forth to do our work in this wide world. Some are molders and shakers of great armies. Some of us only mold Jello and shake up the plans of a toddler’s conniving—yet all believe the risks have purpose—that in the face of odds, each day is worth the pursuing.
Of all the images I’ve seen on TV this week, one of the most poignant is of an older couple, in the throes of chaos and destruction, shoveling out muck around their business door—to take up life once more.
Why? Why would one bother? Some dismiss it as the human spirit—that drive that just grits and goes on in spite of it all. But, I think it’s more—something at the very core of our being.
I think, it’s love.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

The Dance Lesson

Journal for Christa—
Smiling broadly, Kathy exclaimed, “Yes, you’ve got it, and it looks beautiful!” Jay and I stared back in disbelief, suspended in time. It was like hitting pause on the DVD player. Beautiful? In all the years we’ve danced, no one (who would know) has ever said that to us. “Beautiful” to a dance instructor means one thing: good technique. Our technique is generally not good. As a matter of fact our poor technique has been a plight to every teacher who’s attempted to teach us.
In the beginning technique simply overwhelmed us, and it bit into our enjoyment factor—which was why we’d decided to dance in the first place. It wasn’t that we wanted to look totally ridiculous. It was simply too much.
But, there were always the reminders each week: “Stand up straight.” “Set your gaze across the room.”  “Balance your weight over the balls of your feet.”  “Take longer strides.” And slowly the waltz became our favorite dance.
If we’re having a particularly good evening—where Jay is leading well and I’m following well—it’s fun to close my eyes through some of the familiar patterns—which Jay says I should never do. But it’s fun to just feel the motion and imagine we’re far far away. (It also helps me to not get dizzy.)
It had been a week with some frustrating moments. It had worn on me. It was a good night to work on something that totally takes my mind away from the rest of my world.
As Kathy went on to pontificate the effects of our rise and fall, I had to wonder if her satisfaction had come from our accomplishment or hers in teaching us the difficult sequence. Being a teacher myself—I think it was probably both.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Hidden Light

Journal for Christa—
I believe there is always a light. Don’t call me a romantic, because really I’m not. I am, however, an optimist. And as an optimist, I naturally expect to find the light in a dark place—sometimes veiled, but I’m confident it’s there.
In the darkness,
she closed her fingers
around the orb of

And still seeing the
glow between her fingers,
she stuffed the orb into
 her pocket—
For she didn’t want to see
the light.
Her heart felt dark.
in darkness,
She felt safe.

From a distance
in the dimness—
My eyes, too,
accustomed to the dark—
Does she see a
when I glance her way?
a shimmer
in this fog?

we stumble in the darkness
Orbs of light
tucked away—

“Thy word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path”—Ps. 119:105 KJV