The patience to wait

“Who said,” lashed out Isaac Penn, “that you,  a man, can always perceive justice? Who said that that justice is what you imagine? Can you be sure that you know it when you see it, that you will live long enough to recognize the decisive thunder of its occurrence, that it can be manifest within a generation, within ten generations, within the entire span of human existence? What you are talking about is common sense, not justice. Justice is higher and not as easy to understand– until it presents itself in unmistakable splendor. The design of which I speak is far more above our understanding. But we can sometimes feel its presence.

“No choreographer, no architect, engineer, or painter could plan more thoroughly and subtly. Every action and every scene has its purpose And the less power one has, the closer he is to the great waves that sweep through all tings, patiently preparing them for the approach of the future signified not by simple human equity (a child could think of that), but by luminous and surprising connections that we have not imagined, by illustrations terrifying and benevolent– a golden age that will show not what we wish, but some bare awkward truth upon which rests everything that ever was and everything that ever will be. There is justice in the world, Peter Lake, but it cannot be had without mystery. We try to bring it about without knowing exactly what it is, and only touch upon it. No matter, for all the flames and sparks of justice throughout all time reach to invigorate unseen epochs– like engines whose power glides on hidden lines to upwell against the dark in distant cities unaware.”

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I am not addressing ultimate justice; what happens when we die, to those who’ve been good or done ill. Only the things of life that sweep us up. Why do cruel people rise to the top, and why are the honest not always rewarded? Why was my heart allowed to break? Why did a child’s heartbeat cease to reverberate in it’s mother’s womb? Why?

And to claim injustice is to proclaim the knowledge of a universe I’ve only begun to glimpse with weakened eyes. To point my finger at God and cry out against Him would be to attempt grasping the past, present and future all at once, and to sing a melody of a song that has yet to finish, one who’s ending I have never heard. It would be to know the heart, path and design of every man under the sun.

I am in the center of a map of cosmic proportions, a traveler like yourself, and my story is being told by One who know knows the end of all things. Although the fruits of justice are not always made clear, I feel it’s presence. And it gives me the patience to wait, and have faith.

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I miss chocolate

I posted for 30 days. I finished what I started, just like I said I would, and it feels so good.

I think I’ll join an ultimate frisbee club, start rock climbing, and go to Utah and hike some mountain. Maybe then I’ll convince some people to hop on a plane with me and backpack Europe, but only after I dread my hair.

I’m seriously considering it. The hair part. Well, all of it really, but the hair would be the natural first step. But I kinda like my hair long and soft. Decisions, decisions…

I will make a list of things I can do that are impressive:

  • I know how to spin on a spinning wheel
  • I play piano and read music
  • I’ve done some beekeeping
  • I can garden
  • I have an impressive speaking vocabulary, and a decent reading comprehension.
  • I really like cats. A lot.
  • I can eat a lot of bread
  • I never get motion sickness
  • I have impeccable taste in movies and flowers

There, I think I got it all. Now for a list of foundwantings:

  • I can’t swim
  • I don’t ever get up early unless I have to for work
  • My spelling is abysmal
  • I’m not very good at making pancakes
  • I always feel like I’m doing everything wrong
  • I procrastinate
  • I don’t like the TV show The Big Bang Theory
  • I use too many commas
  • I forget everything, and I don’t forget anything.
  • I don’t have any friends in Seattle

Tonight has been quiet. I’m a nanny, now. I’m going to buy a camera so I can take soooo many pictures of my exciting life. Or be ready when it gets exciting, which will be soon. I have been so lonely of late. Not much has changed, but I’m starting to remember how it was like when I was going to college and friends were everywhere. Heck, I had to take off hiking 2 or 3 times a week to recover from all the people time I was indulging in, like too much chocolate. But lately my life has been full of sucking on carrots, and I miss it. Chocolate, that is.

This blows.

This blows.

 

So here’s to being nice to people and making new friends by actually doing things like ultimate frisbee and rock climbing. Where the heck do you even meet people, anyway? My job isn’t a good start, and I’m new at my church, not to mention I don’t even know if they have people my age there. But, Hey! God is the God of small and large things. I’ll keep you all posted on my friendship status. Because all I really want is to meet people who love and serve Jesus, so maybe I’ll start there.

I’ll just love and serve Jesus, and then look up to see who’s around when that happens.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Those were the days

I was listening to This American Life the other night. The topic of the week was middle school, and they interviewed an 11 year old boy who had just begun attending. Middle school sucks. I know that, and I’ve never been; that’s how bad it is:

Boy: “It’s harder to make friends now. It’s easier when your younger, but it’s harder now.”

Host: “Why do you say that?”

Boy: “When you’re older you judge people more, what they look like, stuff like that, and it’s harder. But when you’re younger you don’t think about that, you just meet someone and you’re friends.”

And I experienced the most poignant of moments where the crevices of some of life’s mysteries are suddenly illuminated, and you remember.

I say remember because I was young once. There was a time when I was knee high to a grasshopper, and I understood the world better. The world and I are better acquainted now, but that’s the catch; I can’t forget the things I’ve learned to judge. Nobody my age comes up to me in a public place, does something funny and ends up being my pal for the day. What I would do to have one day back as a kid and to remember how it was to boldly enter a sea of other faces, being confident that someone would be my friend no matter what. We would do everything together, because that’s what friends do. We would ignore the fact that the other chews loudly, or seems to suffer some sort of colorblindness that is revealed in their fashion choices, or if they’re ugly, or if their parent’s are poor. Because, heck, they don’t take a moment to notice those things about you, because you’re both mutually oblivious to the tiers of social standards that will soon eclipse your adult years. I remember having the nerve to walk up to people and be friends with them.

I think I was a lot wiser when I was small. . . not in the sense of the wisdom you gain from experience, or pain, but that wisdom that allows you to believe good things without exception. That people are fun. That they would never intend to hurt you, or do bad things. Believing someone else enjoys you just as much as you enjoy them.

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Day 19 (The Batwa Dance)

Do you remember what I wrote last night? While I was in my post-work stupor, feeling sentimental and wistful? I said I wanted to write beautiful things. I wanted my writing to point to beautiful things. I want to write little Batwa boys dressed in oversized, violet blue sweaters in Africa, dancing to the music of his tribe. If I could choose to write something, I would write this. But things like this can hardly be written. It makes my heart skip a beat to fathom all this entails.

Music, God created that. And He created family, and made our bodies capable of dancing, and made our hearts glad at the prospect of doing all of it together at once. He made the desire to know other peoples, the desire that provoked that man to travel across the ocean and film a remote pigmy tribe in Africa.

He made Africans, and He loves them, and I love Him and them.

And every time I think I’m over it, that I’m finally done with the heartache, I discover a rock. So I turn it over and find things underneath. Like this:

Day 6 (part 3)

Climb on my back, young one. We will find your heart.

His scales were smooth and warmed her to the bone as she climbed on. They made a path through the roof of the trees; she clung to his neck and pressed her face against it as she took her first breath of cool air in what seemed like an eternity. The moon was full, and she heard noises again that the forest had kept secret from her. Wings blackened the stars with their strokes, and she watched the glint of gold beneath her that escaped from the hold of giant talons.

All night they flew. The warmth of his scales and her weariness played against her, and whenever she wandered too far into a dream he would sing to her. It started deep within his chest and reverberated back into her spine, yet the melody rang surprisingly sweet. It made her think of places no one had ever seen, waiting to be discovered. It made her want home.

When the sun rose to hail the new day she looked down and spied a meadow, and in the center of that a well.

Here. 

Yes, she answered.

She slid off after he landed in a patch of cornflowers. When she turned around a man stood there. He was tall and young, not so unlike her brother, but still somehow old. He reached out both his hands and inside them lay the toadstool. She looked him in the eyes, now so dark she could barely discern between pupil and iris, and remembered green, and smiled suddenly. She took the glowing thing from him and held it close to herself. Her bloodstained, soil covered hand traced it’s lines as it hummed to her, drawing her closer as a sharp ache struck a spot where her heart used to reside. She looked up at the dragon, and he looked back at her, and she turned and began to run.

Little one, she felt in her mind, take heart. 

Yes. I will take it.

Day 3

You know when something defeats you time and time again, and you end up just feeling worthless even though it might be something small–like not screwing up at work, for instance. And you get so frustrated because the world is a big place with people figuring out much more difficult things with every passing moment, fighting real battles and dying for worthier names and causes, and you just can’t get your crap together at work. And you feel lame and helpless as you watch people be patient with you.

Every. Day.

And you can’t seem to pull your act together or be who you know you ought to be, and suddenly your inadequacies at work snowball into who you are as a person and the trajectory of your life, and you become lost as you internalize every emotion and are consumed by illness that is introspective obsession. So before work you finally remember to simply bow before God and ask for help.You send a simple prayer asking him to make you a servant, to make you salt and light and useful. And then you drive to work and get there early, and you don’t forget anything. In fact, you follow up on things that are actually helpful and your captain notices and the whole night runs smoothly. Not just you, but your entire team and section magically seems to always start and finish first while the others are scrambling or forgetting things, and your clients are complimentary and friendly, and the only time you thought you messed up because you spilled wine on someone turned out just to be him teasing you, and it makes you laugh. So you head to the kitchen to clock out, say goodnight to the people who you discover are slowly turning into friends, snag an extra bouquet or two of white flowers, and waltz out like it was all a walk in the park.

And then you sit in the car and think about it, and you thank God. Because when God said   ‘He who is faithful in small things will also be faithful in great things,’ He wasn’t referring only to men, but to Himself. And if He can take time to remember you, and hear your prayer about such a small thing, imagine what He could do with the great things. And then you ask God to never let you forget that, because you do that. you forget. It’s not God who is not moving, it’s you who’s always forgotten how many times He’s moved before. And the next time you slip that fetching forrest green catering shirt over your head, and adjust your black shoes, and are handed a plate of pan-seared prime rib with crab stuffed halibut, you better remember. Remember that God of small things. And don’t lose heart. Don’t forget.

Something not lacking

It’s freakin’ 3  in the morning and I can’t sleep.

Ugh. I’m sure you would just love to listen to me complain about this forever, right? Right.

Words. Words. Words. Though a horse is a mighty creature it is controlled by a single piece of metal in it’s mouth, and whoever checks his mouth masters his entire body.

I go and ask God for something, anything, and He always gives it to me. Always. Not in ways that I would expect, but He answers powerfully.

Sometimes I get tired of talking about God. God says this, He does this, He thinks this, on and on. It’s like boasting of things you know of your best friend all the time, they just happen to be creator and king of the universe to boot. I’ve noticed I’ve been doing a lot of “God is this” lately, and honestly I don’t think I feel comfortable with it. I mean, they’re true. I’m not spreading slander or heresy. For goodness sake, no. The things I espouse can be found easily by a glance through the Bible, not just by unearthing the private recesses of my mind. But…Ah yes, a but…I feel like I spend a lot more time saying God this and God that than I do listening to Him, being silent, still, and waiting. Only speaking when it is necessary, not just to fill a void of space.

I am so wholly and completely tired of myself, and how much I have yet to go. I can see the miles stretching on through the years, and what scares me is that I know God will let me grow, and I know I usually learn things the hard way. Why must I always make things so much more complicated than they need to be, and why am I always dissatisfied with myself?

Probably because I forget it’s not about me.

So…in even griping about not paying attention to God, I shift the focus to myself. God cannot be slighted by me, He’s too big for that. He is I AM.

And I’m left staring at all these inane words. Lucy, what are you going to do with yourself? You’re blabbing; be a good steward of peoples’ time. It doesn’t matter that you fall short or that you can’t find the perfect words, (oh, those elusive creatures), or even that you’re dissatisfied with not listening to God or listening to God. Fine, you screw up and you get on your computer and ramble for no good reason other than that you can’t sleep, so you write to keep your mind and hands occupied while the world is dark and resting. You don’t know what you’re going to do tomorrow when you’re faced with a question that will shape the course of your life. You don’t even know what you’re going to type next. You’re just pressing keys until they make words that crawl and push into sentences that you can cap off with punctuation.

 

 

I AM.

 

 

Hmm. Can I add to that? Should anything be added to that? I think not. I thank God that I must not. It is enough. 

And that, my dear friends, is what gives me peace.

 

Let the little children come to me

Time for some therapeutic writing, I think.

Does anyone else ever struggle with having plenty to write about, but when you pull up your blog webpage–poof. It’s gone. Forever. Until, that is, you’re in your car driving to the store to buy some milk. That’s when my brain likes to kick in. Right now all I’m left with is the dregs of the past few months, the stuff that didn’t quite make it through the strainer.

I was reading 1st Samuel tonight. I like to take advantage of a silent, empty house when I can. Empty houses are great for reading, especially the Bible. I decided to start with a book that I didn’t read all the time, like I do Romans (I LOVE Romans), and was surprised (the Bible will never cease to do that to me) by its idiosyncrasies. This guy, Elkanah, had two wives, Hannah and Peninah. Peninah was the one who had borne children, yet Hannah was beloved by her husband. Not an unusual story for the Old Testament. Peninah, as is the case with most fertile, undervalued 2nd wives, taunts Hannah, and goads her with the fact that her barren womb is the one slight that Hannah can never overcome, regardless of their husband’s adoration and attention. To Pininah he gave enough; to Hannah he gave a worthy portion. But a child was indeed something Pininah could crow about.

So  Hannah, weeping sorely, goes to the house of God on her own and pleads for a child. She vowed, earnestly, that if God would bless her womb that the child would belong to the Lord all his days.

Meanwhile, Eli, the priest, accuses her of being drunk, because so great was her grief that no sound followed her words, and she could only mime what she spoke in her heart. After she explained everything to Eli, he revealed to her that she would indeed bear a son.

But there was something about this whole story that bothered my from the very beginning…Why wasn’t I told this story as a child. Why, in fact, are all tales similar to this one kept from young ears? I would have soaked up every word when I was young, and my vernal heart would have something substantial to ruminate over.

I think what adults don’t understand, what they somehow forgot along the way, is that kids don’t think things are more complicated than they really are. They’re far more accepting of situations than grown-ups. That’s why you always see the slave children in photos from far of places, hair dingy and ratty, face caked with dust, with a sparkling grin for the camera. They don’t know what they deserve, because things are the way they are. Children are rarely bitter. And those that are, and are aware of their rights, are fearsome creatures to behold.

So while the grown-up is going through the Bible, selecting and editing stories with a censorious eye, the human being who is yet too young to form egotistical opinions and doubts and criticisms, a being who is fresh enough to absorb without bias and just listen and ponder, is being kept from developing a more well rounded comprehension of God.

It reminds me of when I was young, and I assertively informed a black woman that her skin looked like dirt, and my skin looked like sand. She nodded understandingly, and told me yes, it does. My mother was, of course, appalled, and I had no grasp on racism, equality of every man, and being discreet, so I had no idea why she was upset. Her skin WAS brown, and mine WAS tan. Grown-ups had never explained to me the importance of that yet, so I didn’t know it was such a deep rooted issue. It was like telling me that it was bad to draw attention to the distinction between green and blue eyes (grown-ups seemed so overly fussy with all that when I was young). It wasn’t until I was scolded that I realized something might be wrong. My mother, bless her heart (I was a spirited child) could have said something like, “Yes, that’s true. Aren’t they both beautiful?” and I would have nodded my head, pleased at my observation.

Children can be, and often times are, the greatest observers. Without the troublesome build-up of biases, culture and expectations filming their eyes, I wonder why we are afraid to show them Scripture. In doing so, we underestimate both the child, and the Word. A child would not think twice of running to Jesus with a big smile, and slipping their grubby fingers  into his hand. An adult would believe that we do not deserve that right. They would believe it improper for the God of the universe, of space and time, to bend over to tend to their needs. A child would only tug at his hand and show Him their treasures, knowing that, because He loves them, He also loves the things they love, too.