Monday, March 18, 2013

Courage, grace and hope

Happy Dancing, Liz

       This week I’ve thought much about a church friend who passed away after battling Lou Gehrig’s disease. There are certain people who make Providence Baptist Church feel like home to me. One of those has always been Liz, a constant, caring force with a gentle soul that belied the passion for her faith, family and friends. I loved seeing the sweet love between her and her spouse and hearing her rave about learning her new Zumba moves. It always cracked me up - this mix she had of radiating calm and peace with an undercurrent of wild and mischievous. I loved if she said she was praying for you, you knew that she was.
       My heart aches that I had to learn how courageous she was. She had one of the most positive attitudes of anyone I know at church. Faced with such a daunting illness, she took it in stride and pushed herself to her maximum at each stage. I never felt her positivity was put on. It came from a grateful and loving heart. I will miss you, Liz. I just so glad you gave us at Providence the gift of your amazing soul. We always will carry you with us. It’s one reason I love church so, of being in a fold, witnesses to each others’ lives.


        Recently I saw the new movie "Oz the Great and Powerful." It is the story of how a huckster magician from Kansas ends up in a magical land and becomes the Wizard of Oz in that movie we all grew up watching. In an early scene not long after his arrival in Oz, the young magician meets a talking china doll. She is frightened and tearful. Her legs have been broken and she says there is no way to repair them. Thinking quickly, Oscar (the magician, who also goes by the nickname Oz) reaches into the bag he brought with him from Kansas. "What is that?" the china girl asks. "Magic in a bottle," he replies. With just a few drops, he repairs the broken pieces of her legs, and she is able to stand and walk again. Apparently, the land of Oz had no such thing as common glue! 
       The scene made me wonder, what do I have at my fingertips that may seem like magic to someone who needs it? And how often do I wish for miraculous powers to help those who are hurting, when maybe all the situation requires is something simple, something in my "bag of tricks" already? I'm no wizard, but I can offer a helping hand and whatever I have. Most of the time, by grace, it is enough.


The light shines in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it.  
                                                                                             John 1:5

     I love to watch the light change throughout the day.   The break of the early rays wake me up and beckon me to a new day.  The brightness of mid-day keeps me moving and working and the softness of early evening calls me to a time of rest.  Throughout the day, the light changes, sometimes gently, at other times with stormy energy .  The light of each day is a gift, a time to be cherished and shared.  LIght has long been a metaphor for hope, reminding us each morning that we have another day, a chance to try again.  Even in the darkest of times, in weeks where death has been close at hand, the light shines through. 


Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Colors and kisses

"For lack of attention, a thousand forms of loveliness elude us every day."
                                                                                    ~ Evelyn Underhill

The home renovations continue.  I’ve decided I want the job of naming paint colors. What thing of beauty does this small square of color bring to mind? 

willow wind 
summer mist
whipped apricot
cosmic cream
sand swept
tangerine zing
olive marinade
revere pewter
paris mint
morning zen
plum martini
grassy field

The walls are ready for a new coat of paint - a clean slate, sanded, spackled and primed with fresh white paint.  New loveliness is waiting ...  as soon as I decide if I want azure snow or green tea latte. 


I wear the right color,
In hopes that external sign
Will change internal reality.
If I cover all my laziness,
Selfishness, doubt, fear,
In layers of purple,
Can I come closer
To repentance?


Blowing Kisses
        My 9-year-old asked me recently what a stud was.
        I hate those kinds of questions. How to answer?
        “It’s a large nail,” I answer, trying to think of the less complicated response. His two older brothers look at me and smirk. Ah, yes, they know the other meaning, of course, and are waiting to see if I’ll be honest with him.
        “There’s also another meaning,” I start, but then begin to fumble. How to explain the words hot and sexy? Why is there this reluctance to have our children grow up - to be initiated into the land of adult lingo and understanding. I grew up without YouTube or MTV, without this early exposure to sexuality and violence. It is a part of my kids’ fabric of life, rushing the loss of innocence.
        My youngest son asking the stud question is the most independent, yet he still blows a kiss to me each day from the sidewalk where I drop him off to school. One of his brothers said he should stop - that other kids will start to tease him. I shake my head, and tell them to let him be. We have all the time in the world to grow up. We forget to be the age we are.
         He has all the time in the world to be a stud. Just not today. But still, I explain the word. He smiles slyly, nodding that’s the definition he sought. Then he lights into song, ‘I’m sexy and I know it.’     
        I can’t help but smile. I see the young man he’s becoming. I can only comfort myself by words from writer Anne Lamont describing her adjustment to her son’s maturity - that in his face she can see every age that he ever was. It’s the gift of motherhood that we were allowed in for all those peeks and that we can still see all those pieces and parts - even when they grow up and are well-masked by adulthood.