Tuesday, August 10, 2010

working in the space between the actual words.....'ve got to finish up my summer of reading James Loder.....and all the other dudes that Loder mentions....that I just had to read...because I just wanted to have to...and now I'm putting it all together in this watercolour poster type thing full of song lyrics and Shakespeare and puppy dog tails....oh yeah....and a very disjointed! I sometimes think it would be a lot easier if I was normal. Oh...wait....I always think that!

My hope is that the space between the words will help hold the words together....hmmm...

I'm getting happy that summer is nearly over and feeling some guilt over that. I can hear my sainted mother saying, "You'll wish your life away!" But.....this has just been a weird summer. A summer of wrestling with angels, jumping on trampolines with demons, peering into the void, finding the face of God in the craziest of places....not bad.....just hard work. The autumn might not be easier, but for the now, I'm just going to think towards the discipline and schedules with a cleansing breath. Discipline can be a very calming force in the chaos.

In the Celtic year, this is Lughnasa...Christianized to Lammas, or Loaf Mass...the first harvest...not summer any longer even though it still feels quite summery. There is a shift. It slows, you can hear it in the cicadas and the crickets. You see the first tinge of yellow to the leaf. It might be hotter 'n blazes during the day, but there's a tension in it. At night, you might be glad of a blanket! In the old religion, the god of the sun, of craft and poetry, the god Lugh, dies in his prime....I don't really remember why or how....I think it was heroic and unexpected, but the year dies with him. Then he gets reborn at the winter solstice....which is nice....because we get Jesus doing that, too. A convenient way to all celebrate together!
I didn't really mean to talk about Christmas...see how haphazard I am!
I meant to talk of the death of the summer. The death in the prime. The slowing of the system for a new system to be initiated.....

After this project, I'll wake up Thursday and, God willing, start to get my ducks in a row for the school year....I won't rush the season though....I'll appreciate the beauty in Lugh's death throes, the abundance of the harvest....although not in my garden...which ran out of cash and water weeks ago! I'll put in place what needs to happen for the nights to start drawin' in! I'll call on whatever it is that inspires craft and poetry... I'll work in the space between the seasons to draw the seasons together! Or something to that effect.....

Friday, August 6, 2010

synchronicity and all that.....

OK....this'll be a quick blog as I'm ditching Cub Scout camp to get to an air-conditioned haven with wifi....and a latte...and that means Doylestown, Pennsylvania!
Yes, I ditched for completely selfish reasons, but considering the rocky shape I've been in since my visit to Iona....I'm cutting myself some slack!

Bizarrely, or not really, Bucks County was once my home; For nine, long months, five long, long years ago. It was here that I got a job for myself at United Friends' School in Quakertown, and Russell a job at George School in Newtown. This was the nine month stopping off point on our return from the ill fated Scottish Parent/Macaulay Institute endeavour.
We licked our wounds and received other, new wounds. It was a year of hell for me here in Bucks; Too much commuting.....too many round holes into which my square peg jammed....I was evading the inevitable and I knew it.

As I drove down through Bucks County today, I passed through the idyllic, little towns I'd spent driving through that school year...the faces of the folk I knew who lived in them, surfacing in my memory... although the names mostly did not.....a collection of souls who touched me, supported me, inspired me, or kicked me when I was down....all there....such a short time in my life yet such an important one.

It was at a "meeting" at the Friends School, about half the way through my Bucks County stay, that Coll felt moved by the Spirit to speak, and spoke so eloquently for an eight year old on his petrifying fears (mostly stemming from the Egyptian god Enubis, for some reason....the jackal dude....creepy!)....on how Jesus put an arm around him, and stayed with him until the fears passed. As a mother, I was blown away by his honesty, by his faith, by the concise way in which he laid it all on the line, by him. Following this meeting, I was met with laughter and the politically correct ridicule that is allowed to occur towards Christians in this culture. My colleagues never realized I was such a "Bible Pounder", that I was such a "fundamentalist", that I was so "Right-wing", even though I didn't look it! How I had indoctrinated my child with such an outdated belief system. Worst though, was how patronizing they were towards sweet they thought it was that he concocted such a cute "coping mechanism".
I was speechless....for like... a micro-second! Because...this was the first time I was really demanded to claim "THIS IS MY GOD!" I stopped them. I told them. This is not a fairytale, coping mechanism, or magical superpower that I or Coll has concocted or bought into.....this is our deity. They could believe what they wanted, worship what they wanted, but it was not ok for them to poke fun at what I in that moment realized, was quite central to how we function.I knew that had my son said Buddha, or Mohammed, or Great Chief Eagle-Feather, they all would be like "Right on! Brother!" By saying Jesus, he was NOT cool.

For us, without God we are without purpose....scared, useless, bits of joined up carbon in a dusty carbon-filled universe.

I didn't quit or anything, and I have no issue with the Society of Friends on the whole, or that tiny collection of Friends/friends, but at that moment we became a little bit more simply Christian. I actually really can think fondly on everyone there....their reality is for them. I needed that nine months. I needed the confrontation. I don't need to be cool in anyone's eyes.

That story now told, as I worked that through my memory I thought on all the great kids I had the pleasure of teaching at UFS.....despite my Waldorfy/Spirit-led style that often rocked the boat. I walk into the bookshop to blog and run straight into of my awesome 5th graders, now a beautiful, strong, confident George School sophomore! Syncronicity......transforming moment......Spirit amongst us.....because that's the lesson in all this really. My time in Bucks was a gift, difficult as it was....and the people I had the pleasure of knowing and working with are still, very much a part of who I am now. Bless them all!

I will celebrate all the way back up Route 611 and join the cubs....who probably haven't even missed me!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

A true Star of the County Down's only been a month and three days since my last post! Quite sadly, nothing at all exciting has happened in that time...really. You see, blogging on Scotland and the General Assembly is so much more exciting than blogging from home....unless, of course, you live in Scotland, when hearing about the Jersey Shore and the crazy antics and freak-show behaviour that goes with that becomes rather interesting.

I have been reading James Loder, T.F. Torrance, and Soren Kierkegaard all my typical Attention Deficit Disorder fashion, I don't stick with one book....I jump from one to the other when they refer to each other or when I sit down with a tea and the book is beside me. Clearly, this makes for a stressful time in writing a paper on my reading and pondering....paper due on Wednesday.....and between today (a Wednesday) and the due date, I have Webelo Camp in Bucks County, practice with Nae Breeks....packing Coll for Boy Scout camp in Maryland. (He should be old enough to do this himself......but if left to his own devices he would be in big trouble!)I'm thinking I should panic.....but what would that get me? Probably not a better paper.

Yesterday, I heard the sad news that a colleague of Russell's....who I really barely struggling with an inoperable tumour. Never a thing anyone wants to hear. He always seemed a nice guy. A prof at Glasgow Uni. He had a party one Christmas....must have been 1992 or so. It was fun. We had a meal with him at a conference in San Francisco....must have been 1997 or so....really, for me, he was just an acquaintance, for my husband perhaps a bit of a mentor. He is witty enough, clever and impressive enough. The few times I was with him I thought he was a nice guy. Only when we got the news, and in trying to google him to find a contact, did we come across his blog and see a bit more of what he's like. His blog was created to comment on his Bible reading. I was not aware how involved he was in his church....most Scottish folk being a bit pagan really. Well....he's actually from Northern Ireland...County Down, I think. After his recent diagnosis, the blog became both a commentary on his faith journey...and a commentary on his illness. We see clearly now what an amazing individual this bloke is. He is not only confronting the void, staring death in the face, but finding in his own weakness, the strength to encourage the faith of his readers. Simply. Concisely. Without any pretense of knowing anything but his own experience.
I sat in my sunroom of disarray... sweating... disorganized... unbalanced..par for the Jeanie course, and saw what effect a man in rainy Glasgow.....with hardly any life left in him.....young still, but ravaged with an illness that will be his earthly undoing....encouraging me in my faith. Encouraging me to put God first in my thinking and doing. I had no idea that Alan was so wise.....nor did I really think how much one person's story could reflect God's face so clearly. Yay for Alan....this situation stinks....yet he will not die... really. He died a long time ago with Christ, and his writing proves that he knows that.....beyond the pain he's in, the weakness he feels, the sorrow at leaving his wife and kid and friends.....Alan's in the best of hands. Pray for this Alan guy...this person you will probably never meet, whose research and writings, though pertinent enough, will probably never amount to anything other than effecting the circle of academics with whom he had contact, and the folk in his community that have always loved him. This is a sucky thing that's happening to him... but he is inspired. As I read his blog yesterday, I was so strengthened. We are nothing, yet in God we are everything.
For me.....more coffee....more Kierkegaard.....more Loder....more prayers for Alan. I hope that from his window in Glasgow he sees a rainbow today.