niche-less

Niche: 1. a recess or hollow in a wall, as for a statue, bust, or vase 2. a place or position particularly suitable to the person or thing in it 3. any small, specialized business market 4.b) the specific space occupied by an organism within its habitat

Niche-less.

That’s right and now I’ve said it.

“Arriving” is the lie, isn’t it?

Maybe all kinds of honest floundering is where it’s at.

Maybe it’s “lucky” for me that me and my ways aren’t beautiful

In an in-crowd, pretty and put-together kind of way.

I have been unsuccessful at remaining inĀ neat and tidy boxes.

I’m sort of a mess.

(So I guess I have arrivedĀ somewhere. See “mess.”)

Maybe it’s its own niche,

But I don’t think so.

‘Cause really, none of us has “arrived.”

Leastways not with any permanence.

(Not yet.)

Gettin’ er done? No, not really.

Floundering around under the illusion of control?

All of us: no matter how well the illusion paints otherwise.

So why not be an honest – to goodness? – mess?

Maybe this is where the progress is.

Not in a drowning sort of way, but in a

stop-trying-to-keep-up-and-compare-to

kind of way that admits need and begs help and seeks direction

and admits not-knowing and looks and believes

that healing inward to healthy outward means looking upward.

Anyways, niche-less does preclude collecting dust.

(And I really hate dusting.)

Messy, yes.

Dependent on the direction of Another, yes.

But for whatever reason, He seems not to want any

Do Not Touch signs.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Light of the World, Remember!

Floating through

Dragging my feet

Languishing and lazy

‘Til everyday feels like Saturday

With all its special gone.

Seeped and stuck in the sameness (and horror) of “status quo”

I settle.

Where’s my urgency?

Fight? (Not to mention “good fight”?)

Excellence-insistence?

Remembering – and repenting – paves for rallying*

                               (*rally – to rouse or recover from inactivity)

Takes energy, light.

 

Where the dark would have me still, stagnate, die off, smother, forget

Light’s instead remarkable: emitting only when electric’s current quickens the matter.

All these particles’ radiation could electrify, could be magnetic,

Push back the dark.

But only would I plug into life’s – light’s – Source

Oh, Lord, may it be so.

Only then will the scales fall

And dark and light’s difference recognized.

It’s there I’ll recognize Him:

There in Him where the real living is.

Where all the dark of wasted (death) days is forgotten and

Right remembrance and good days – enlivening, rich, beautiful, vital, and vibrant life-days are restored.

Like Paul, a blaze of light’s what’s needed, and now given.

Thank You.
Acts 26:12-18, Matthew 5:14

Mother’s Day: In Celebration

I waited.
A rare Sunday morning at home amp’d up by the knowledge that there was something special about the day, I waited. The question of going to church put to rest ’cause of health issues, I tried basking in the glow of a blissful morning in bed with no immediate requirements for getting up, a cup of coffee waiting on the bedside table graciously brought to me by my husband. 
Then, the sound of light exuberant footsteps down the hall, the eight year old (and only boy) in his Spider-Man jammies appeared around the corner waving a piece of paper. “Happy Mother’s Day!” He cheerfully said and handed me his card. And for a few minutes, I felt full with the acknowledgment of my self, my purpose, my vocation. Oohs and aahs uttered and every nook and cranny inspected, studied, discussed, and celebrated, the boy left, and the waiting resumed. Coffee sipped and returned to its bedside post, I think I may have actually folded my hands and pursed my lips, maintaining my station like some frozen, bitter, thin-lipped spinster.
See, I’m the mom here.
 There are five children in my care aged 8 to 17. I stay at home to care for and educate the younger ones, though my specs matter less than the role that ‘Mother’ does on this day. If you’ve acted as mother, been one, longed for one, longed to be one, need a gift for one, are wrestling with your thoughts towards one, Mother’s Day feels big. And for a few smug, lonely, self-righteous moments this morning, I felt cheated out of what I was owed. As though my title is what ought to have earned me accolades instead of my merit.

 They’re not here right now. That’s big all by itself. I’ve joked the handful of times that the library or bank ladies have pointed out my lack of children-presence that, “I don’t know what to think about!” when the kids aren’t with me. I joke, but it’s true. And just now, with no one to think about, no one to consider but me as I’m hungry and in need of a meal, what in the heck would I do were I to sustain continuous days of such a lack of consideration? What would I think about were my thinking not continuously interrupted by a smaller, younger, newer person inevitably in need of something whether it was a meal, or a word, direction, or instruction? What would I produce were I left to think about anything I wanted for an unchecked length of time? I don’t know. And frankly? (I realized to my utter surprise and joy) I don’t care.
 Because it’s not time for that. Right now, I have the rare and blessed privilege of caring for others. It’s not optional (which is probably the only reason I’m still doing it). If I don’t show up, if I don’t figure out the meal, the schoolwork, yeah, maybe someone else could step in, but there’s only one me. There’s only one me who knows these children quite the way I do. And that’s pretty darn cool.
 I keep a journal for each of my children, and though I don’t write nearly as often as maybe I originally intended, I try and write at least once a year as a way of “checking in.” I’d planned to record in words all that I inevitably wouldn’t record in keepsakes or photos. Like all things motherhood (caring-for-anotherhood), it was an easier thing to think about than it was an actual keeping-up-with-in-real-life thing. But it turns out that as I write, I know things about these people in my care. If being a mom wasn’t so terribly humbling for all the mistakes, it might be terribly heady as a power trip. You know some things about some people. And if you don’t, you should. 
Maybe that’s the lesson. Mom’s? Celebrate knowing some things about some folks and in that, use that knowledge to build up and empower them in a way no one else on earth can do. Mom’s? Or those-acting-in-as-mom’s? Think about how much you know about those in your care. If there are some gaps, celebrate this Mother’s Day by getting closer… ‘Cause there ain’t no replacement for a mother’s love; unless it’s a damn fine substitute. Earn your “Happy Mother’s Day!”
‘Cause that’s all our opportunity. To be the thing-that-no-other’s-willing-to-be to another human being. A love that sets aside all its own agenda for the sake of another. Mom’s? Celebrate the opportunity. Mom’s? Celebrate looking forward to doing better. Not a mom but aware of Mom-Power? Celebrate getting to be a damn fine substitute. 
Ain’t nothing like a mother, people. Ain’t nothin’ like love. And if the two aren’t synonymous for you, they ought to be. Love like a mother. Love like you wanna be loved, wish you’d been loved, imagine being loved. And if you’re the mom wanting celebrated? Be celebration-worthy.
My kids are awesome. Did they deliver what I wanted? Maybe not in the way I wanted, but love isn’t about what we get. It’s about what we can give. 
A good mom celebrates what she can give. Not what she gets.

Enough

A kitchen clean up diatribe and its aftermath
Reminds me why flesh – mine or any other’s –

Is only good as far as it goes (which isn’t very far and not necessarily good).

Even if one who’d listen is faithful for a moment,

There’s loneliness at the end of the day.

But-

This may be the best news there is.

When I stop putting faith in these who are limited

I’m left with still needing to have faith in something.

All laid bare and unattached and independent

I’m left with You.

You who ought to have been sought outright and first.
First and last and always, YOU.

But there’s also you… and you… and you… and you… and you and

You, darling, loving husband.

And you too, there on the fringes and who-knows-in-what-form-of-needy needing helping.

There’s all these, Lord,

Who You seem to think I’m fit to care for, and who 

I expect You’d like very much for me to care for like You care for me.

I don’t get it, and I’m so inadequate to the whole crazy thing 

(Which, [see Moses] means nothing in the world of God’s capable Providence).

I fail you both: You up there and heavenly, and you down here so searching and lovely and trying and earthy still with all your own heavenly potential.

You – none of you – need me, I know.

And yet, here you all are, and I’m in your midst.

It occurs to me to stop wondering at this position I’m in and whether I’m up for it

And instead, 

Just meet the whole damn thing intact, unapologetic.

Pray and try and fail and repent and pray and try again and repeat.

Empowered in the power of being and present and loved and capable of choosing all these as enough and more than enough because You are. 

You are good and enough. 

Enough for light and love and life.
Enough and more than enough for them and me and here and there and everywhere…

Enough for all this.
Enough for light and love and life.

Enough and more than enough for them and me and here and there and everywhere…

Enlarge

Eternity stares down my borders.

Why hide my face

From such loving scrutiny?

All these dehydrated papery wrinkles

Need withering’s reversal.

Need filling with warmth and light and living water

Away from all this self-induced winter.

(Not the crisp, clean, bright, light, renewing sort of winter,

But the gray, damp, bleak, worse kind of winter void of snowy open spaces and full of miry pits, thorns, and sloughs.)

The strongman needs bound again:
And we both need reminded of

Who’s power reigns supreme.

Instead of diminishing,

My inheritance (wonder of wonders, gracious God) is an enlarging.

Though I’ve been showcasing my smallness by

Giving free reign to my less-than-bests, it’s time to look

Upward and outward,

Extend and unfurl in all this spring.

Though surrounded by yesterday’s life-made-today’s-dead-patches,

Life courses through:

Ready for the realizing,

Suspended in anticipation,

Poised and ready for animation,

Radiating in slow simmer,

Spurred and graced with remembrance and thankfulness,

Restored to mirror, channel, vessel, servant, and

Resurrected in the power of

Chosen.

—————-

Praise and thanks, great and gracious God.

Puckered up 

Energy turned inward turns sour.

A relaxed grip

A look outward

Expended on these in my care

And all that wasted tension

Softens

Morphs

Spreads as something useful and

Warms outward in healing waves.

Love is an avalanche of healing fortitude.

 A mountain

 An ocean

 A steppe

 A fjord

 A forest.

Life’s entire ecosystem.

Not a locked up tension-puckered-toothless-soured littleton.

It’s vista?

Always breathtaking and

Further than the eye can see.

No cheap, temporary, quarter-paid-for-a-limited-view from some man made platform.

Every crevice, ultimate horizon, expansive silence and thundering roiling

Its claim.

Bringing belonging,

Springing forth,

Love changes everything.

All that’s worthy responsively?

Praise and thanks and glory remembered,

Celebrated, savored, taken in and poured back out. 

Dear, dear Jesus. All and every smallness and bigness. Deeds done and undone… To You, my Lord. All offerings to You. Praise!



“Send forth your light and your truth,

      let them guide me…

Then will I go to the altar of God, 

      to God, my joy and my delight…

Why are you downcast, O my soul?

      Why so disturbed within me?

Put your hope in God…”

                                        (Psalm 43:3a, 4a, 5a)

A Soul’s Dawn

Those expansive desolate saturated monoculture February fields
Might tempt me towards gray and soggy.

That dissonant electric guitar wail 

Could draw me closer to fear or discomfort or distrust.

But I know what’s above the clouds and beneath the surface. 

There’s plenty of evidence of what’s not seen too. 

A smidgen of belief catalyzes right vision: no airplane’s needed to remind me of light’s sunshiney warming horizon-presence.

Some remembrance goggles is all.

Seeing through a glass darkly

Isn’t the only way to see.

A day’s heaviness of soul

Can break to light.

“I can feel it/Comin’ back again” a fitting and timely song confession cry just now for 

Grace’s scandalous help and palpable presence.

Suddenly all this light amidst all this gray

Lights up everything

And I’m reawakened and

Woken to glory.

Glory’s in every song

Every word 

Every breath

Every thought and I’m

Opened up to the pleasure and profundity and nothing’s-left-untouch-ed-ness of Love:

I’m right saturated.

A soul’s dawn 

Testimony to Life given and repentance honored.

Your condescension is Your glory, and unexpectedly, remarkably, wonderingly, my benefit, Lord.

What a wonder that simply admitting wrong, desiring better, discontent with wasted time, resources, self is enough to turn it all upside down and back to glorious where before there was just muck and gray and a slough of despond. 

What a wonder that forgiveness looks more like liberation than penance.

That turning toward the light – even when it’s not in plain sight – is enough to dispel the dark. 
And that repenting – literally “turning away from” what’s wrong is all that’s needed to turn toward that light.

That the remedy that ushers in the right comes from a willingness to face where one’s wrong.

What a blessing to serve a God Who’s much more interested in my redemption than my wretchedness.

What a joy that He gives 2nd, billionth, zillionth chances to turn toward Him and that He honors such turning every. Single. Time.

Hallelujah that the prodigal son is me and the welcoming forgiving father is Him, and it’s all real and better than I could have imagined. That I’m not just in story, but the story because it’s His story, and wonder of wonders He invites me into it.
What an opportunity to get to live into love’s inheritance and come into “love’s discovery” as the Indigo Girls sing it. 
Husband’s air guitar and

Happy belting “free fallin'” and 

Radio crooning and on the way to grocery shopping in all this gray early February day and who knew it could all be alight with wonder?

Who knew that yesterday’s despair could be today’s joy? 

Ah, love. You’ll always surprise, won’t you? 

You’re the God of the new and the old, the tiny and the magnanimous, the God of the unexpected, the grays, the rainbows, and the everything in between. 

You’re in the mud puddles and the pure waters and the failures and the successes. 

Thank You. Thank You for being available and awesome and impossibly huge and big enough to come down to the tiny. And thank You that Your coming down enlarges rather than shrinks power and purpose and love and goodness.

I’m smiling and almost overwhelmed with the goodness and the happiness of being back in my Lord’s sight.

Thank You, repentance. Thank You, redemption. 

Thank You, Lord, for these, for You, for LOVE… In all Your parts and effects.