Monday, July 13, 2015

Hard Times Come Again NO MORE!

So this last week.....was miserable.
It really was.
As if the three-ring excrement show that is my family life is NOT ENOUGH, the DREAM JOB that I was convinced was my destiny crumbled to bits at the 11th hour because of MONEY... super tacky and nasty and....well...heart-breaking!
Wrapped in my own misery, I was holed up in my room with Netflix and tissues and diet ginger-ale wrasslin' the demons of self-doubt and the apparent reality of my total failure as a grown-up.

It was during a bitter swipe through Facebook that I caught a brief post that my dear friend Blake was holding his father's hand....whilst his father was in HOSPICE.

Oh my Lord! I was shocked. Could I have, in my last few difficult months, been told his father wasn't well, was terminal even, and forgotten? Forgotten something so huge, so life altering, so huge? Could that have happened? How hellish.
I really care for Blake, and although I haven't met his dad, feel I know him because of Blake and his fabulous storytelling and ability to connect.
So, I prayed and I reached out...but oh.
His father died.
A wonderful man who loved his family and was a delight, I am sure.
Blake will be different when he returns. A person can't have those big losses like losing a loving dad, without being altered. And I will be ready for Blake as he is...whenever...however.

I, on the other hand, am not altered. My week that was awful will always be remembered as an awful week, but not the same kind of life changing awful as one where there has been a death.

I am looking forward to being with my friend and hearing his story if he wants to tell it.
He is a great guy, and once again, without even knowing it, was able to help me find perspective!

There will always be those who seem like they have it easy....and those worse of than us. If we are only concerned with what's going on with OURSELVES, then we lose the focus, the perspective.
It's not all about us.

Hard times come...hard times go....we're in this together!

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Gentle on my mind.....

There could be no more perfect preparation for putting together an Ash Wednesday service than having a chance to see the film, "I'm Still Me", the documentary on Glen Campbell and his final concert tour with his family after the diagnosis of Alzheimers.
A couple of things you should know: Glen Campbell was my first big crush...well....truth be told I had two crushes at the same time, the other was Captain Kirk (yes...the Priceline Negotiator, William Shatner!) I was three years old! "Gentle on My Mind" was released right around my third birthday....the banjo brings me right back!
I would put the hassock directly in front of the television and totally be in the moment of the Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour. His amazing voice! He was funny! That guitar playing! He was adorable! I really had pretty good taste. The first "45" that I purchased was "Gentle on my Mind", the poetry of which is...well...strangely prophetic....

And it's knowing I'm not shackled by forgotten words and bonds
and the ink stains that have dried upon some lines
that keeps you on the backroads by the rivers of my memory
that keeps you ever gentle on my mind

We are our memories in a way. I guess. Or are we?
What do we take with us when we have shuffled off this mortal coyle? Do we get to take our memories? Who knows, right? It's a scary thought, yet it seems in talking to folk around here who have family members going through it, and in the further googling of Glen Campbell and his family and the current condition, folk know love.
What is there and the end of the day....anyone's day....than that?
The stuff we do, the places we go, are nothing without the relationships we have with others....and at the very core of those relationships is the level at which we are loved. Certainly, we are not loved by everyone. There are levels of fondness and concern...different kinds of relationships. One would hope that there are some who do love us; really love us, and those someones would still be coming to see us if we had Alzheimers. Or cancer. Or lost our way with addiction. Or were just crabby and old. 

Because unless we die young, we are going to be there. Having lost our faculties one by one, all we will have left is love. For some, love and memories, but with Alzheimers....just love.

Where is God in this? Where is this in the run up to the Pascal feast?...of Lent and Easter?...of us recognizing again that we are dust?  Dust in the wind, dude. All we are is dust in the wind!!!!!
Dust and God's breath, really. Dust can blow in the wind and not have thoughts or memories, or communicate. Is to love to communicate? To remember? Clearly not for Glen Campbell and his family and all the other families all over who struggle with that stage of life when the dust we inhabit wears out and dies.

He might not be able to access the backroads by the rivers of his memory....or communicate that he can, but the love that those lines conjure are real to us, therefore real. They are gentle on my mind anyway.

Blessings to all dust and the love that runs through it!

Monday, December 29, 2014

Nearly a NEW YEAR!

Preamble to this post:

NEW YEAR! Oh yes it is! And as is evidenced by the last few years, there's likely to be a spate of posts, and then, well, it'll run dry. Unless, of course, this year is different.

And it might be!

So much has changed! I have entered a new decade! I had my first cancer scare! I decided to really get my life organized! I am the mother of teens instead of "kids". That's a lot of change!
That's shift-worthy. Whether it equates to more frequent blogs remains to be seen! Ahahahaha!

I was brought up with a very idealized memory of the "auld ways" when Christmas was not the real celebration, but New Year (Hogmanay in Scots) was. We were a strange little pocket of the scottish diaspora recalling "first-footing", making foods that guarantee a happy, fruitful year, and opening the doors to kick the old year out. Completely unaware that nobody else did this anymore....just us. And we believed that across the sea, everybody was doing all this stuff to insure a good year for us despite our life on the frontier.

As it turns out, they had stopped. Sometime around when the British money changed I were carrying on with black bun and herring and arranging our first visitor to be a tall, dark haired, gorgeous man to bring us coal, shortbread, and whiskey. (We didn't want to take the chance of a bad luck a red haired female!) So we were strict with our adherence to the old country ways....unaware that we were the only ones doing it.

Try changing now though! I have, in the last several years, thought about ditching these traditions....but truth be told, I'm scared of the bad luck it might bring on me. Seriously.
My year was totally excremental even WITH the right foods, and the handsome I really going to risk bring bad down on me?! Am I really that superstitious....or am I only just a little stitious? ( Stole that gag from "The Office")

So back in Scotland, I think most of my peeps are having a quiet night in although some might be getting really, leglessly inebriated...and I shall be pulling out the stops to keep all these crazy traditions.

So my son then asks the question: "So do we REALLY believe that jack o'lanterns scare away evil spirits? Do we REALLY believe we'll be hungry if we don't eat herring at Hogmanay? Do we really?"

Do we? Do I? And the answer is.....quite possibly maybe....whilst firmly no! I don't really, yet I can't pull away from the romantic notion of a whole culture still doing this...and quite possibly believing this. How much of tradition, or even superstition, informs our theology?

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

How cool would it be to have a daily blog!

I write this rather tongue in cheek. The intention is always to write daily, and now that it's just about the start of the new liturgical year, it's another Auld Lang Syne!
Can she do it? Yes, she can! I go, commenting on this week's lectionary and , nae doubt, getting sidetracked.
Since I actually haven't spent much time with the text, i think I might get sidetracked first, just to get it out of the way!
This liturgical year has been a really tough one for me....not the liturgy.....just the year. It's been a tough year. Even as I write this i have my foot elevated higher than my heart and am thinking healing thoughts and awaiting stitch removal. It's been a one-thing-after-another kind of year.
So year B

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Roadtrip South! did ask for prayers for this journey! Travelling for days ina medium sized car with three stubborn men aged 13, 17.5, and 82 is not the average person's idea of a vacation. (and I am a middle-aged woman, so there is that dynamic, too!) but as it turns out, this is amazing! What fun! I am geeking out on watching the trees I am so accustomed to morph over the miles to trees that are not at all what I know! And Spanish Moss! And palms, and little lizards everywhere! Fabulous! Who would have thought this would be so full of wonder when I agreed to go to a wedding in the Land of Disney!
Truth be told, I was dreading it. Fighting, sweating, negative progeny who are not interested in all the educational and inspirational gifts of an iconic American roadtrip was what I expected, and not at all what I least today, two days in! 

The whole concept of a journey through wilderness and trusting is clearly a theme here....I'm not sure I'm good with Disney World being my shikinah cloud, that's taking the imagery too far, but wandering is scary and good at the same time....and that is a tension that God seems to know pretty's part of the whole story!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

The puppet takes a trip to Uganda!

Well. VBS is full of wonderful surprises....but this summer takes the cake! The adorable, colorful, live wire puppet known as "Rivet the Ant" has....departed! Err.....yeah....he's gone alright!

Yes. Somebody stole the VBS mascot! Nothing else. No candles or crosses or sound equipment (thankfully)....Just the mascot that we use for the openings and closings.....weird.
It couldn't have been a kid...I don't think.....Rivet is like 20 inches tall, he's not a puppet easily stuffed under a size 8 t-shirt. So, we made do with pretending he went on a quick trip to Uganda where the church funds a school which we were going to talk about anyway. So we managed to cover up his absence. We had the "voice of Rivet" call in on the cell phone which we pretended to put on speaker. Funny. We can be pretty creative, but still. This is super sad. We kind of miss Rivet. And I find myself wondering. Just wondering.

A Rivet replacement is being shipped overnight, so tomorrow we can just pretend it never happened. But it did. My only hope at this point is maybe this situation will work out to be like that great 1953, Victor Mature, Richard Burton classic "The Robe"! Which was about how, at Christ's crucifiction, when the soldiers cast lots for his robe, the owner of said robe was converted....and each successive owner also was strangely moved to acts of love and eventual conversion to Christianity! My hope is that whoever is in possession of Rivet will mystically come the God! Let's pray for that! Blessings on Rivet and whoever holds him! We love you Rivet!

Sunday, July 20, 2014

It's VBS eve!

Well! There is nothing like knowing people are looking to read your blog to motivate writing!

This is a tough night...Tomorrow begins the marathon that is Vacation Bible School. So, the week has involved a lot of coloring and cutting and pasting and memorizing with the anticipation of the little darlings having such a fun time, and learning songs that will be, for most, the theology that carries them through their life (sorry to be so negative....just being realistic)

And this joyful preparation is happening half a globe away from war; from cultures killing for control of land, and passenger planes shot out of the air.

I have always, and will always, find this tension difficult. How do I act like there is nothing wrong, yet what could I possible do to change events so far away and so much bigger than me?

This week's lectionary text tells us the story of God choosing Jacob: "Heel Grabber", hang-out-in-tent-whilst-your-brother-does-all-the-work, sneaky trickster Jacob is who God speaks to in a dream....a dream of the very gate of heaven with angels coming and going....God likes the broken characters. Go figure.

Psalm 139 that reminds us how this God of Abraham and Isaac, and Jacob knows us...from the very start of us...all around and through and totally there in it all.

Of  Paul reminding us in the Letter to the Roman church that we are adopted by this same God. So Jesus is our brother....and like equals to Jesus, we are inheritors of all God has. Wow. Equal with the Divine. Wow.

And then....there's the Matthew text! Of Jesus' parable about the wheat and the weeds, the explanation involving burning and gnashing of teeth for the weeds. Ouch. We don't want to be the weeds, right?!?! This is sort of an icky text. It's violent. It feels uncomfortable. Did the seed ask to be bad? Or good? Yikes. But, we are told not to separate the weeds and the weed. We're not to worry.

Not to worry?! We hear the news and we worry. We want to know why God let's all this bad stuff happen. Evil. War. Violence. Injustice. Why? If God can do anything, then why is there any bad?
Who is the wheat, and who are the weeds? 

Well. That theme runs throughout the Bible, the story of this Relational God and us stiff-necked people, and still we wonder and we write, and we worry.

With the weeds and the wheat parable we have let God deal with that in God's time.
I don't know how that applies to Israel and Palestine and Russia and The Ukraine. I really honestly can not even BEGIN to know the politics of those places. Tempers here flare at discussion of those places.
There is evil and there is righteousness and the weeds and the wheat look the same.

As always I have to simplify and look to what Jesus thought was the most important thing:
Love God, love neighbor, love self.

I cannot effect the middle east tomorrow, but I can effect my community's kids.

And through my prayers, I can love. Because prayer is how we relate to this Relational God.
Let your wondering and worrying be known!

Pray has power and changes things....and so does VBS!