Wednesday, May 29, 2013
On my desk is a picture of a dark haired, trim looking ,almost smiling young man with a red military coat.Braids,a white belt and epaulets adorn his shoulders.On the last day of his life, he walked down a street in London thinking of the groceries he would pick up to take home when his tour at the Army barracks was over.He is a handsome young man whose face shows no scars from his time at war in Afghanistan.He is home in England now so a slight smile greets the photographer;he is safe.
Moments later, a woman on a bus that is turning a corner, sees this man,.Lee Rigby, lying in a heap on the street.In the background are huddled strangers horrified at what they saw and now see. She gets off the bus and goes to him, he who has been slaughtered in seconds by a man with a meat cleaver. Another woman kneels by him, holding his hand as the blood pours from him and the huddled men stare. The woman from the bus took his pulse as a bloody handed man approached her and demanded she leave. She talked to him to calm him and stayed with the man on the ground so he would not die alone. Her name is Ingrid, ,this mother of two.She described why she got off the bus in this way: "I live my life as a Christian. I believe in thinking about others and loving thy neighbor.We all have a duty to look after each other." This scene,these women and their courage defies logic .It was a timeless moment.
I thought of Ingrid today when I read a wonderful quote from St.John of the Cross:...."in a situation where there is no love, you put in love and then love will be there."
Friday, May 24, 2013
This day is indescribable.Bluest of sky.Cool bluster that is moving the woods tableau constantly.The sunlight through the new tree growth is magically, undulating green.
A few minutes ago, a murder of crows started their shrieking to the right of the porch.They were furious;a minute later, a small reddish fox with a thin spare tail ,an impossible fluff at the end,crossed right in front of where I sat.The crows above followed him through the yard and then dismissed him as he left.
The turkeys have become close neighbors and a young grey deer had the nerve to enter from the woods to where they eat their corn.They chased her unceremoniously back to the woods.We are content here,my neighbors and I near the silent flowing river that enchants us all.
The movie "Green Mansions" comes to mind,seen when I was a young teenager.The mystery of the jungle;I even remember the girls name who lived in the trees-Rima.Anthony Perkins was her love interest and she,played, by Audrey Hepburn, was an innocent pure sprite of a girl.I recall wanting to be her in her jungle solitude surrounded by green life.I think that I am as close to Rima now as I ever was.Every window frames a swaying tree.The porch where I pray is part of the forest,so much so that a fox casually passes.
The day twenty one years ago when we came to look at this house ,to see if we wanted to buy it, I sat on the slab that is now the back porch.All I did was drink in the trees,their mystery, and when it was time to go, my spirits plummeted.There will be another day in the future when these green mansions will no longer be mine.The Native Americans know that no one owns the land,they borrow it and I have.I try to picture that day, not often but once in a while.This is why I have taken so many pictures of the river.I will hold them in my hands at another place and the Rima spirit in me will return to this holy ground.
Thursday, May 23, 2013
The concept of God is beyond what we are capable of describing.Energy,force,wind,love,none of these words tell even the slightest bit of what the Creator is and yet we try.
I have written often of the God sized hole in my center that called for me to do something about my non-existent spiritual life but now I see things differently.This is how I see the soul. As part of our humanity we have been made with a small fluffy ,smoke like piece of God.This vibrant life speck in us is meant to be reconnected to what it came from and left when we travelled to earth to be enfleshed. It is bigger in merit than any other part of our physical body and strains to be back connected to the Whole Mass that is God.It belongs connected and when it is, we become more like the Mass.Like a child that seeks with its small hands the face of its Mother and sighs with contentment when he reaches it.
We all have this tension, this straining even when we don't recognize what it is.it.So, we live and learn,seeking for that elusive something that will bring contentment and purpose to our lives.But what we seek is not here or there.As U-2 sang:"And I still haven't found what I am looking for."And the words discomfort us.As the psalmist said:"Like a deer yearns for flowing streams, so I long for you ,my God."
We will never find that stream here but searching is the key and we have many white slashes(trail markers) to help us.The Word, saints,writers,dreams and the whispers of the Whole Mass .We,these searching wisps of God stuff have been flung onto this blue Orb to find our way back to his heart carrying on our shoulders those who have been put in our paths.That is the grand adventure that we should whole-heartedly and with dance, grab with both hands:we should sing into existence a path for all the other wisps.
We have had a long rainy Spring and only now is my screened in porch inviting. My lush irises are purple and proud lit from behind by the morning sun.At their feet are small bright red lilies blooming early with their spring cousins,the irises.The roses,stunning coral, deep red,innocent pink,and white are cascading over the garden rocks and the white daisies that I carried on my wedding day, add whimsy and memories to my garden.
The grey wooden garden fence holds red honeysuckle which lures a family of hummingbirds.Strong shoots of day lilies lift buds of many colors.I go out each morning to see what the light has brought.
In this Eden, I say my morning prayers.At church the other day, I spoke to a man who has struggled mightily with alcohol addiction.He used to live under a bridge near our church.Somehow, he found his way to us and now he has an apartment and is leading a healthier life.He told me that if he misses his morning prayers, his day feels empty.Yes.
Yesterday, the morning reading leaped off the page.I read :"May Christ dwell in your hearts through faith,and may charity be the root and foundation of your life."Eph 3:17.
An image came to my mind that looks like this:there is a gentle looking figure at a door .He stands with an open shining face,a lantern in his hand, waiting for me to open the door and to acknowledge his presence. His knock is soft, one must really listen to hear it. Many years ago, I heard that knock, opened the door and invited him in.Without proof, I said::"I believe."
Without that, Christ would be an historical figure to me ,one I could admire and hope to emulate but who would always reamin outside.Not dwelling in my heart, he could not do his work of making love my foundation as it is his.
So ,what is my root,my first thought, my default mode? I want to tell you what I think Christ does with our puny humanness.I was at Goodwill the other day, searching ,always searching for the perfect book.The checkout girl had a scowl on her unattractive face, her hair in dirty strings and I made no attempt to engage her.As I walked to the car,she came running out with the purse that I had left in the cart.I thanked her profusely and told her that she was the best.Her smile was beautiful.Since then, when I see her,I tell her she's my best friend and then I just relish that smile.You see, that smile was there all along but I almost missed it.
I have a long way to go for my foundation to be what it should be but slowly, the work gets done.
How would you describe your foundation ?
".....To Him whose power now at work in us can do immeasurably more than we ask or imagine-to him be glory..."Eph 3.
Thursday, May 2, 2013
It's a blustery, cold day in Georgia.Weather perfect for a funeral which we attended this morning.This was a Mass for a church friend who we have known for over thirty years.He had battled cancer for years ,miraculously surviving pancreatic cancer, only to see it return five years later in another form.It was a sad but hopeful ceremony as Christian funerals are.My thoughts went back to another time and another death.
It was a bright April day in 1965 and as I was driving past the college I attended ,on my way to student teach,when something strange happened.It was a warm spring day and I had my car windows down when the strong scent of Canoe, an after-shave lotion, filled the car.This happened a few months after the end of a tumultous reIationship.Once a month however, my former boyfriend would come by and we'd go out for the evening.There was a connection.It was his aftershave that I smelled.The scent seemed so strong that I looked around the area I was driving past to see if anyone had just walked by.No one.Later that day,a mutual friend came to my door to tell me that my beautiful Irish former boyfriend had died the previous evening in an auto accident on Sunrise Highway. He was 21.
So many memories of the wake and funeral.One thing stood out.In the thank you note sent by the family for my presence throughout that hard April week, my boyfriend's sister wrote this."We would not call him back if we could.He is where we all long to be."What faith, which I did not then have.
Soon after the burial,I was to write a paper for a Sociology class about the customs of a tribe we were studying.I focused on funerals and how this tribe(which I cannot recall) honored their dead by stabbing themselves,shrieking for days and various despairing rituals.I compared this to the dignity and hope of those who believe in Christ as evidenced by the Sullivan family.I knew that I was being extraordinarily subjective but I wanted to honor what I saw in some way.It was not a scientific paper but the professor must have sensed my deep feeling about what I wrote and gave me an A.
And so I observed again the sadness,the loss ,the family holding each other together but also the
surety in their eyes of this:"This world is the land of the dying;the next is the land of living".Tryon Edwards