Saturday, November 26, 2011


I don’t post much on my facebook status. When you’re traveling, they say not to publicize it or someone’s sure to rob you; and frankly during the school year, nobody really wants to know what I’m up to. But, last week (having crossed the half way mark of grading essays), I joyfully posted “31 down and 29 to go” and commented on the boring life of an English teacher.
The next day a former student responded with, “Yes, Mrs. Borkert, your life is boring, but….” Though sincerely and ingenuously meant, I just had to laugh, literally—because it is true, absolutely true. Most of life is filled with the mundane.
Just consider all the things that women clean just to see them dirty again—cups, clothes, carpets, kids… So, this Thanksgiving I decided to be consciously grateful for my boring life:
—for dishes that are dirty because there is food to eat.
—for laundry because it reminds me that God dresses us “like the lilies of the field.”
—for cleaning a house because it’s indicative of a home.
—and for graded essays that sit in 60 students’ inboxes. And today, that just might be my favorite of all!
Seriously though, today was for Geri’s wedding: for dreams, for beauty, for faith. And there’s nothing mundane about the hand of God, which directs our every boring step.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Let the Countdown Begin!

The countdown has begun! In less than a week, we’ll get to join the crowd of witnesses to celebrate the marriage of a dear friend. Watching Geri fall in love has been a true experience in “rejoicing with those who rejoice.”
For me, the shower was like reaching back to old friends and experiences from our earliest days in the Springs to recent graduates—each one holding a special place in my heart all these 20 plus years, which reminded me of just how very blest I am.
There were boxes and boxes—white, tied with purple ribbons—and such fun to watch her open every one! Each gift resonated with “I love you”; “I’m so happy for you”; “I wish you great joy.”
So, in anticipation, I ponder marriage—
Weddings are solemn because each is promising to love the other above himself and herself.
Weddings are holy because vows are taken before a righteous and stern God.
Weddings are beautiful because the very face of love is reflected in the couple.
Weddings are precious—like a rare stone—because relationships are both fragile and strong.
Weddings are exciting because we envision all sorts of adventures for them.
Weddings are intimate because the vows will be consummated with the very act that intertwines two souls.
And in some way each spectator, married or single, superimposes himself or herself on the wedding couple, looking back or looking forward, and thereby truly participating in joy.
I say again, let the countdown begin! We’re going to a wedding! There will be laughter. There will be joy. There will be celebration. There will be love—
And, I intend to relish every second.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

A Broken World

I was thinking of my cousin last night when I broke the humidifier. She grieves the death of her dad just weeks ago and now has received word that her son won’t return from Iraq by Christmas as was expected, but will go to Kuwait until July. I was thinking of her and her hurt when the humidifier slipped from my hand as easily as a slick piece of fruit. Indeed, our world is broken, broken as surely as the humidifier that looks fine on the outside but leaks like a sieve from the bottom when plugged in.
We seem to float on a sea of highs and lows—joy and pain. And for many the suffering is great, and the evil of our fallen natures wreak havoc on ourselves and others. For all the beauty and inspiration of nature and song, there’s an underside of turmoil, oppression, forsakenness. Where do we search? Where do we find relief? Where is there security?
In our desperation a good God does look down on us. I love the illustration of James Weldon Johnson’s poem “The Creation” where he portrays God in His creation of man as a “mammy bending over her baby.” Could there be a more tender analogy? Yet, often that image is so hard to see. Sometimes in our frustration we even push it aside and refuse to believe it.
Yes, this is a broken world—filled with pain and suffering. I suppose we could cast a condemning eye on Eve, but really anyone of us, I’m convinced, would have eventually made her choice—and broken a perfect world as easily, and perhaps as inadvertently, as a piece of wet plastic slipping from our hands.

Thursday, November 3, 2011


The following is a conversation between our eldest grandson and his cousin when they were four while playing at their grandparents, where both families were spending the summer. 
Breck: “Let’s make a vampire house with bats and spiders and really dark.”
Thad: “Yeah, like a church!”
To put their conversation into context, Thad lives in Vienna, Austria, and even at age four, he’d been shuffled through a plethora of old European cathedrals of the Middle Ages. Their moms just laughed as they overheard them, just as I did when I read it on facebook. But, even now that they are a few years older, Thad’s four-year-old perception of church still intrigues me—maybe even more so because we’ve shuffled through our own share of old cathedrals the last two summers while vacationing with Joel’s family in Europe.

From Strasbourg's to Canterbury’s Cathedral, most of the churches we visited were dimly lit. Though the sun filters through astounding stained glass, it presents a mood of somberness. The vast expanse of the ceilings can make one feel small, and the flickering light of the candles and the hushed voices of the masses give the feeling of a place too holy. Though awed by the architectural mastery of each cathedral, I think I understand Thad’s perception of “church.”
And since the church actually is people, I have pondered frequently these last three years the condition of the church I carry around in my own soul. Is it dressed up on the outside with the stained glass of all the Bible stories and verses I’ve learned over the years, yet the only light is in the small flicker of candles in a corner? I sometimes wonder how cold and distant perhaps I feel to those around me?
Though I’ve been taken in by the swell of Canterbury’s organ and the magnificence of the flying buttresses of Notre Dame, I think one of my favorite churches is in Heidelberg, kind of off the beaten path. Entering, I was struck by the brilliance of the light reflected in the white and brightly painted walls. It had a freshness about it.
But perhaps, best of all may be a small chapel in the heart of a Tuscan village. Kim had been there before, and when I walked in some time after her, she stood alone amidst its small simplicity. As I approached, she whispered, “This is my favorite church.” I could understand why. It was a place where a woman could rest her soul, a place of peace and solitude, hidden away from the cares of high expectations and life’s disappointments—where one could set aside all pretenses, fall before an alter as old as time itself and worship the God who sees beyond all human frailty and covers us with His hand.