3.26.2008

quiet

It is a quiet week this week. No children popping in the offices to sing someone happy birthday. No teachers whirring about in a grading fury. Coworkers on vacation, releasing a lent's worth of stress.

I am quiet, too.

There is much ahead of me. Mid-spring is always busier than early and late spring. Retreats to plan. Servant events to finalize. Vacation Bible Schools to prepare. April is one of my most stressful months. Traveling, presenting, retreating, and so much more seems to fall into April like an endless abyss.

But this week is a quiet week. A week of sitting in my dimmed office over a cup of tea, praying over all that is to come. A week of savoring silence, the proverbial calm before the storm. Instead of looking to the next weeks with dreaded anticipation, I can sit in this week and know this is a good place, a quiet place.

3.24.2008

resurrect

For several years after my brother died, he would visit my dreams. I'm not sure, but I think this is a fairly common occurrence.

In some dreams, he would return from the dead, still dead. I would ask him why he died. I would tell him about life without him (making it sound a little better than it was so not to make him sad). I would ask him about heaven.

The conversation was easy. It flowed. I didn't push any of his buttons. He didn't push any of mine. We had mature adolescent conversation, if such a thing exists.

In other dreams, he would return from the dead alive. My family would get a message from the hospital stating some horrible mistake combined with an amazing miracle would be bringing my brother back after months or years of death. In preparation for his return, no one quite knew how to appropriately celebrate his resurrection. Family gathering, celebrations with friends, clean homes, and 7000 helium balloons didn't seem to capture the spirit of our joy. We were incredulous but firm in our hope. It strikes me that even in my subconscious, in my sleep, I am limited in my expression of my joy. It is as though I have an underdeveloped vocabulary for joy expression.

Easter, in it deepest emotional meaning, reminds me of that second dream. I don't even have to see Christ to be simultaneously incredulous and certain. Yet again, the expression of my joy seems limited to good food and fantastic renditions of my favorite hymns. I'm not fully capable of communicating the deep shift in perspective that this resurrection brings to my life.

I suspect that this inability will stick with me until my humanity is perfected in heaven. For now I can only imagine what freedom to truly celebrate is like.

3.20.2008

deep cleanse

As a woman, I think about what the women who loved Jesus might have done on the day he was crucified. For some they sat at the cross praying, pleading, crying. I'm sure there were many others who were listless, distraught, pacing from wall to wall in anxiety.

I clean when I am listless, distraught, and pacing from wall to wall. Tomorrow is a cleanse of the inside, on the surface, and the outside. It is fasting out a year's worth of physical build-up. Not eating until the sun has set. It is trimming my fingernails and combing my hair. It is reevaluating the contents of my closet and knocking cobwebs off of the ceiling.

But Good Friday isn't just about those physical manifestations of cleansing. Sure I will be doing those things tomorrow, but they symbolize something more profound to me. There will prayer through each of these things. A prayer of contrition. A prayer seeking absolution. A prayer
that brings a spiritual cleansing far deeper than any bleaching agent could reach.

3.17.2008

st. patrick's breastplate

St. Patrick's Breastplate, a prayer historically attributed to St. Patrick upon his defeat over paganism, is one of my all-time favorite historical prayers. The portion below is particularly important to me.

Christ be with me, Christ within me,
Christ behind me, Christ before me,
Christ beside me, Christ to win me,
Christ to comfort and restore me.
Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ in quiet, Christ in danger,
Christ in hearts of all that love me,
Christ in mouth of friend and stranger.

I bind unto myself the Name,
The strong Name of the Trinity,
By invocation of the same,
The Three in One and One in Three.
By Whom all nature hath creation,
Eternal Father, Spirit, Word:
Praise to the Lord of my salvation,
Salvation is of Christ the Lord.

You can read more about St. Patrick and his Breastplate here.

3.11.2008

bad grammar is body odor

U is a letter, it does not mean you. Ur is Abraham's first home, not an acceptable way of writing your. Spell check is a necessity in all emails. No exceptions.

Typos are one thing and can be forgiven. Texting on your phone is also different as writing words is annoying on a 9 key pad and there is no spell check.

But in an email, the inability to spell words and use spell check and the unnecessary abbreviation of pronouns is a transgression in which forgiveness could be questionable.

Misspelling words in an email to someone you don't know/barely know/want to impress/ask a favor of/communicate with in a socially acceptable way is like urging the recipient of said poorly written email to dismiss you like the smelly kid in math class.

That's right kids, bad grammar is the B.O. of internet land.

Happy spell checking.

3.04.2008

the kitchen table

One of my favorite places in my house is my kitchen table. I eat breakfast there while reading my morning prayers and scripture. I sit there for hours on my day off reading revisionist histories of Rome and listening through the many hours of music still unplayed on my playlists. I make dinners and eat them with friends there. I stare out the window and estimate how many snowflakes I've watched there (maybe in the 100 trillions today alone).

It is also my favorite place in my house because when friends are over we can sit at that table for hours simply laughing and enjoying each other's company. That is my favorite way to spend an evening. And when we do, everyone simply looks beautiful.