Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Easters past

So I've been thinking a bit about past Easter sunrise (or sometime after) services with our little community. It seems like we have ended up with one particular sentence that kind of summed up each. Last year was: "If you can't count on dead people staying dead, what can you count on?" I may mix the order of others a bit. One was "Christmas is about God with us (Emmanuel), but Easter is about God in us (the hope of glory)." I think that was the year Emma painted a sun for us to hang in our living room since it was snowing at the lake. Before that: "Who are you in the Easter story? Maybe you're the rock." And before that: "Our God does impossible things--let's act like it."
And this Easter . . . is still a few weeks away.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

pecanning again

It is spring break, and I am blessed to get to spend at least a chunk of it harvesting pecans! Hooray! (Truly no sarcasm there.) I am realizing that perhaps one reason this seems such a right thing to do during Lent is that I spend most of the time on my knees. And I know that most people say they can't do that because of back issues or knee issues, but I think the part of us that extended time in this position most hurts is our pride. It is definitely a worker's position and one of submission. While I feel a bit achey in back and legs in the evenings, the only spot of my body that really hurts is my left wrist. This is actually quite telling. I constantly lean on my left arm in order to reach with my right hand to grab that "one more pecan" that is slightly out of reach. Regardless of the fact that I will in moments move my little boogie board forward (where they would easily be in reach), I cannot seem to stop the urge to lean and reach--just a few more.
I am reading one of Nouwen's books called "Reaching Out." The firs third is about solitude. There's something to make you say Hmmmm. ( I have sadly just revealed to a handful of you just what a big fan I was of a certain late night talk show when I was in college.) Now, I find myself surrounded by things that make me say Hmmmm. I don't think the world is more full of Hmmm-worthy stuff. I think I am more capable of Hmmmming.
I recall very clearly during those college years a single line spoken by the Holly Hunter character in Broadcast News. (Can't tell you anything else about that movie at all.) She has just made a rather strong suggestion about how to fix a problem and someone looks at her and says, "It must be nice to know better than everyone else in the world." She says, completely serious, "No, it's awful." I totally identified with that line for years.
One of the joys of getting older is knowing that you know very very little, and not being worried about that. Knowing everything is not my job. And on the days when it feels like it is, I have to admit that I'm sure it is not a task God assigned me. Which begs the questions, Who did assign me that task, and why am I taking assignments from them anyway?
Long enough inside though--back to my knees with the trees.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Ash Wednesday Again

Here we are at the beginning of Lent again. How life can change in a year.
I'm not giving up silence this year. I'm giving up the guilt about how much solitude I need at this point in my life. I'm also giving up TV for Lent, which is kind of funny since we are such non-TV people around here. I'm not against all TV as entertainment--I'm against mindless drivel, trash, time waste, and addiction. I hadn't watched much TV for quite a while before I realized that I can watch what I want to at the time that's convenient for me (i.e., when I have to be in bed resting anyway) online. A couple of years of life with toddlers destroyed my attention span for full-length movies--a gift, I'll add, that was absolutely 100% completely worth that destruction! Last year, I started watching 3 shows regularly (One has been canceled and one's fate is yet to be determined). Then as I've been sick a lot the past few months, I realized that has gone up to about 8 or 9 shows that I pretty much keep up with. Less good. But my two abstinences are connected because I realize that while I have been taking more time alone (My current tolerance for time with people seems to be a period between 2 and 3 hours these days.), I feel so guilty about choosing to be alone rather than with people that I escape by focusing my attention on something far from me--like a good story on a TV show. Thus, I still haven't been getting the actual solitude that my heart was starving for. Sounds stupid now, but that's part of the point of Lent, right?--realizing that our pacifiers aren't giving us any nourishment.

One of the twenty-somethings living with us asked me the other day: "So are you the kind of person who says little things all along out of frustration and anger, or are you the kind of person who saves it all up for one big explosion?" Uhmm, no. Raised eyebrows. I'd never really explained this side of who I am before, so it was actually good to put it into words: I'm the kind of person who believes that words matter, that words have power. So I'm the kind of person who will use all my self-control to try not to let harmful words enter the world through my mouth. That's an aspect of silence I'm not giving up.