Monday, May 27, 2013

Concrete Words: The Afternoon

With the breeze blowing, the shade felt so refreshing. It was an ideal moment on this Sunday afternoon. We were basking in the warmth of the May sun and the light of a grace filled church service. Two families melted into one around the pool and throughout the house. 8 kids and 4 adults shared life for a few hours that seemed too short.

Laughter was good medicine for the hard week we all dragged out of. There was plenty of it. These are comfortable friends, so we laughed out loud and we laughed at ourselves. We laughed with the 4 year old monster terrorizing the deck. We laughed just because it felt good.

We stretched our minds around meaning. The sermon was on grace. Actually, it was on recognizing the Pharisee in our own hearts. Grace was the plumb line. Grace is very difficult to see sometimes. We need each other to seek it out and help tie it down to our understanding. On the other hand, perfectionism is a hard nut to crack. We helped each other out on that one too. I’m so thankful for the afternoon ease that released us to draw out meaning from those well aimed, well timed words from the morning.
We talked about “the old days”. Our lives had intersected at a few points before we even knew to look for each others hearts. We explored those intersections some more today. We saw each other more clearly too. I love that about the stories of our past. I realize it’s the common things that we discover in our lives that offer another leg of stability into the friendship. I walk away feeling stronger, less likely to fall.

We talked about interests too. We are so diverse in our tastes in movies and experiences. We see each other more clearly here as well. That’s when I realize it’s these diversities that keep the friendship fresh. We learn more, and are challenged to explore new corners of life that we hadn’t considered.

I find myself rooted in our shared words, our shared experiences, our shared fears and struggles. I find myself watered deeply in our shared faith. I find my face stretching towards the life giving sun as my wilted stem finds strength and lifts towards the warmth again.

The youngest of us is approaching “that” birthday soon. We’re all in the afternoon of our experience in this temporary home. So we have perspective, we have experience that has ripened and wizened us. We have courage to look deeper. We have an outlook that helps us realize the value of transparency and true vulnerability.

Another week approaches too quickly. I’m not dragging anymore. I’m smiling. I’m remembering. I’m rejoicing and laughing. This afternoon will last me for some time.

I'm linking up this week on Concrete Words at Nacole's sight:

Hope to see you there!

Friday, May 24, 2013

Five Minute Friday: View

Every Friday a bunch of us take the challenge. With a common prompt, we take 5 minutes to paint a mosaic of faith, life, love and struggle. Here is my tile. I invite you to read. Then write. And link it up. You never know what view God can open up to you till you let it all go and let it all out for five simple minutes.

How do I write about view when mine is so dark? How can I speak of how to see things when my lens is shattered and my vision is blurry? I don’t. I stop speaking. I start walking. I must find a new vantage point so I make my feet travel a well-worn path. There are foot prints and tear stains and blood stains that mark the pilgrimage of others. I see my own there too. It’s not the first time I’ve had to drag myself up this hill. At the top is a view… It seems to reach through time. As I cast my eyes over the landscape below I feel like it is the whole world I see. There was another set of eyes that scanned this view and I believe they did see the whole world in all times. But his vision was dark too. Darkened by pain. His vision blurry from sweat and blood pouring into his eyes. So this is where I settle. Until my vision can become his. And I wait. I rest. I weep. And I know. He sees me. In this I find hope.

Five Minute Friday

Sunday, May 19, 2013

The Cup

I have a handful of crystal glasses that came with a matching pitcher from my Grandma. They are rimmed in gold and etched beautifully with a vine and clusters of grapes. I often admired them as a child running my fingers across the roughness of the images. I thought they were magnificent. I was happy to receive them as my parents cleared her house when they moved her to the rest home.

I wish I had more memories of her that warmed my heart. She was a hard woman of hard words and one did not drink of grace in her presence. I do remember, though, how her chocolate cake spoke deeply of her commitment to her family and her endless service to them. That was the sweetness I remember from my Grandma.

If every family possessed a cup filled to the brim that they passed on to the next generation, I wonder what drink they would share? Would it bitter or sweet? Would they drink of life or death? Would there be a cup of sorrow or would joy be what flowed from one person to the next?

From that crystal cup that passed from my Grandmother’s hand, to my father’s, to mine, I drank of the elixir that defined my family. It called forth the fruit we were known by. It was a strong drink and produced hard workers who were expected to earn good standing from diligent work. But it burned on the way down and hit the gut with a punch. You did not disappoint your Mother or Father because they kept track and had a long memory.

That cup was more than I could keep up with. I put it away in my cabinet. It burned me out and left me empty knowing I was a disappointment. It left me feeling disconnected from my heritage. I could not take it up, but I felt empty handed without it.

Six years ago, nearly to the day, the Lord spoke to me a longing of his. “I want to restore my purpose to your family.” Restoration. That stirred me deeply. But, I only knew one way to respond to this. I got to work. I diligently began to look for every opportunity to restore God’s purpose to my family. I was still drinking from that family cup. Work hard. Earn Good Standing. Don’t disappoint the one who I thought expected so much from me. I failed. I failed again. And again. But I could not stand to let God down so I couldn’t let myself stop.  He allowed me to burn out. Completely.

Then, as I explored this prompt, he spoke to me.

I gave you a cup six years ago. Why did you not drink from it.  

You did, Lord? I don’t know. What was in it? What did I miss?  

Take a look. 

It’s grace Lord. I thought it was that strong stuff. I thought I had to work hard.  

No. That was not my plan for you. I wish you could have seen it then. It would have saved you so much effort. 

Oh, Lord. Have mercy.

Six years of hard labor. I am way beyond weary. I can’t even begin to tell you all the Lord had to do to get me to this point. But now, my beloved has his hand stretched forth and beckons me to rest from my effort. In this seventh year of God's relentless pursuit of me, of my family, it is a relief to be able to accept permission to rest and enter a sabbath season.

So, I will take that crystal glass with vines and fruit. I will pour out that strong liquid and I will lift it to The Vine. Grace will fill it and I will allow myself to drink deeply of that sweetness. It will be the cup I choose to share with my loved ones. It holds the grace that will restore the Lord’s purpose to my family.

Concrete Words offers weekly prompts and this weeks is The Cup. You can try it yourself and link up with me on Monday at:

I also linked up on:

Friday, May 17, 2013

Five Minute Friday: Song

I am jumping into Five Minute Friday. You might want to too. You read the prompt. Type for 5 minutes and post it. Then go comment on the posts before yours. It's a lot of fun. Here is this weeks prompt: song

Songs drift. That’s their nature. They have always found a way into my thoughts, my heart. Songs are God’s language to me and often my language to him. Sorrow gets found when a melody gently digs in spots I’ve avoided for so many years. Joy is tossed high in the air when beats and notes melt together in a celebration that becomes confetti drifting in the wind of the Spirit that blows upon my heart. Songs.

There were many moments as a child, alone in her world of pain, before I even knew what that pain was, that song and music kept me company. A gift from a most generous giver.

My expression is often released most freely in song as I make my way through the house and that song is loud. They often wonder where my children get their volume. It is me. When I am free.

Silence reigns too often, though. And in those corners of my heart, I still search for the song that will bring release. And in that moment when it is found, I will write it down, as I have so many others. It will become part of my collection of melodies that turned the locks of my heart. And they will be my testimony, as well, of God’s song, of God’s love. A precious gift.

Five Minute Friday