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

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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…

Being a Housewife is Hot (or, Blog Post titled by your husband)

Recently as I was putting clothes in the dryer, I found myself  basking unexpectedly in domestic bliss. During the previous few minutes I’d scooped stray Legos into my shirt pockets (the domestic uniform has to include pockets as one’s hands are inevitably full of one’s charges’ stray bits, laundry baskets, errant shoes, homeless papers, and the like), deposited them in the Lego bin, put the 8 loaves of cooled bread in bags and put them in the freezer before getting the dinner’s meat out of the freezer, given instructions for dishwasher emptying, tidied the dining room, wiped the counters, stopped to listen to and then cogently answer the 8 year old’s question, and put away the ironing board and cooled iron from the morning’s wrinkle-eradicating. In the ruminating I enjoyed a measure of satisfaction that I seem to enjoy only occasionally in midst of my work. I am more often thinking about the next thing, worrying over the last thing, wondering over done or undone things. NOT basking in the present or remembering the Divine-in-it thing. 

 That such contentment may be had as a stay-at-home, homeschooling mother of 5 still surprises me. In younger days I fancied myself a Peace Corps worker, author, orphanage builder, professional musician, college professor, hippy, rock climbing instructor… You get the drift. Whatever my aspirations were, suffice it to say they could be construed as slightly  more dynamic than my present station.

Now. It’s hard to say whether such moments come as a result of something I’m doing or as a result of an “up” mood swing, but at that moment, the good feelings in my work felt to be the result of better working. The rhythm of things and my functions – unremarkable though they may seem in this endless cycle of maintaining/restoring order – felt in that moment like they’d been choreographed, practiced, and then executed with epiphany generating precision. The moment was profound enough – and I’d had it before – but this time it translated to something potentially tangible as something worth sharing. Improved ways of doing things after 18 years of cooking, cleaning, mothering, wife-ing (new verb?), living, seemed worth sharing all of a sudden. So my bright idea was to start a new blog called “What Works.” It could include any day to day helps I may enjoy in the hopes that such bliss wouldn’t be lost on just me but extended to others. It occurred to me that maybe others struggle too to enjoy strings of domestic bliss. That it pleasantly surprises me when I’m pleasantly surprised amidst the day-to-day functioning… I don’t know. Just seemed/seems worth talking about, worth improving upon.

Somebody has to do the mundane. Not everybody gets to be the Pope, a professional athlete or an actor. Somebody has to go to work and  collect a paycheck to support the missionary who has all their bills paid by somebody else. Somebody has to turn the 6 year old’s underwear right side out, sit at the desk and answer the phone for a mind numbing 8 hours, teach the thankless students in a classroom day after day, pound nails in the sweltering heat or freezing cold. And though many of our spaces may not seem big, bold, or beautiful, I hold that there are enough tinges of quality that we can tease out beauty. It’s everywhere. It’s my eyes that don’t see often enough, and I’ve noticed that how I see translates directly to how I live

And I live forgetful. I live like I haven’t tasted beauty, and it both shames and frustrates me. And then I just give up trying like the Sesame Street guy banging his head on the keys bemoaning, “I’ll never get it! I’ll never get it!” or distract or anesthetize myself away from fresh starts. I want to see better. Be better that I may then do better. This sounds like an inside job, and one in which I have not historically succeeded .

I got to thinking that maybe domestic – or any – contentment has less to do with mechanics  and more to do with my state of mind which I also tend to think is inextricably bound to the state of my heart, er, soul, if that word’s more comfortable for you (I think they mean the same thing?). What I mean is, it occurred to me that the world does NOT need another blog about homeschooling or how to remove soap scum from the shower. These things are constantly evolving and being improved upon by others waaaaay more capable than me. But living better from being better.. This extends to all. It’s the red satin ribbon that weaves through all the muck. 

Not everyone has the eyes or the inclination to hunt for it. God gives that. For any and all the improvements I may enjoy in terms of my day to day functions, I still struggle woefully and tragically to live a life free of regret and full of joy and overflowing with love. But God has given me Himself – wonder of wonders – and I want to honor His gift better. The only contribution of mine worth sharing is that He’s chosen to share Himself with me. And that means everything.
I have not posted much in recent months, and though perhaps the reasons matter, what’s been matters less than what will be. Maybe what I’m going to try is in honor of the new year, or maybe this is a tiny step toward maturity. I’m (for once) actually acting on an idea. I am notorious for enjoying great flashes of light but am woefully poor at follow-through. So in honor of the new year, and in honor of trusting Him more in it, I am going to try something of an experiment. 
I’m going to keep the notion of “what works,” but under the old umbrella of wordskeepmesane. Because in the telling of my struggle with desolations and enjoyment of consolations, words may do just that: help to keep this otherwise struggling person a little more intact, a little more effective, a little more joyful, and hopefully, a lot more loving. 

In past years, around January 1st there’s been a word that’s stuck out as something needful for me to grow in, understand, be a little more aware of. This year, and in keeping with the above, that word is… Jesus. The word that keeps us sane. As models go? None better. What works? Jesus. I can’t imagine a more worthwhile pursuit than trying to more wholly follow Him, be like Him. He’s the only person ever to have been above reproach by pretty much everybody. (Except the religious uptights which no one takes seriously anyway.)

If you’re a person who finds yourself frustrated too often, dead-ending, not living a life you’re proud of or satisfied in as frequently as you’d hoped, I hope you’ll join in the conversation (with me would be great, but I just hope you’ll join in with anyone!) about what it might look like, this “how-to of better being”, so to speak. It’s a new day/It’s a new dawn/It’s a new life for me/and I’m feeling good” as Michael Buble croons (maybe a little more lightheartedly than I mean, but I’m not opposed to that).

So wordskeepmesane will remain true, but the delivery may look a little different. Thanks for being here – ever. And may we all improve upon that which matters most. I hope you’ll walk with me as I desperately try and walk with Him… And I hope you’ll enjoy your own steps towards the light that’ll purify all the spaces.

All Help Is Here

“Prayer should take up and turn towards the spiritual order all the powers of our mental, emotional, and volitional life. Prayers should be the highest exercise of these powers; for here they are directed to the only adequate object of thought, of love, and of desire. It should, as it were, lift us to the top of our condition, and represent the fullest flowering of our consciousness. For here we breathe the air of the supernatural order, and attain according to our measure that communion with Reality for which we were made.” Evelyn Underhill

Look at the empty, wealthy night

The pilgrim moon!

I am the appointed hour,

The “now” that cuts

Time like a blade.

I am the unexpected flash

Beyond “yes,” beyond “no,”

The forerunner of the Word of God.

Follow my ways and I will lead you

To golden-haired Suns,

Logos and music, blameless joys,

Innocent of questions

And beyond answers:


For I, Solitude, am thine own self:

I, Nothingness, am thy All.

I, Silence, am thy Amen!           

Thomas Merton

Help! (Don’t worry… Think: road trip playlist. Good and fun helping.)

Hey, WordPress friends. 

I’m looking ahead to a 9+ hour car trip. 

That means lots of time to listen to music. 

Because I’ve been cultivating all things mom and wife for the last 16 years, I’m a little outta touch with all things new and music. It used to be the center of my universe – and it’s gaining momentum again since the kids are older – but there’s been something of a new-music lag in recent years. 

I’ve been racking my brain for my old favorites, but since I’m also a lover of the new and the old-but-forgotten, I was wondering if you’d be willing and/or interested in passing along your favorite songs? With the exception of polka and Sourthern gospel, I’ll listen to just about anything (and my kids will be in the car, so it can’t be explicit either.) I love a good lyric (Y’know, ’cause words keep me sane), but love all things melodic, harmonic, rhythmic, etc. and so forth. 

In other words, if you were anticipating a road trip in these days of the amazing and practically automatic playlist what tunes would you include? 

Bring it, people! Let’s make the best play list EVER! I promise I’ll think of you when I hear the song, but if that’s not incentive enough, please include your blog address with your song title(s). In keeping with the driving theme, at least we could make traffic (as in “traffic to your blog” and any driving traffic I may run into) pleasant, palatable, and productive!

Thanks in advance for sweetening some spaces!

Crumbs

Feed me, Word of life.
I don’t mean to sound demanding –

Just desperate.

So much to think about 

Yet nothing too 

All these little lives 

Need filled right up

By You who has compassion 

Who leads beside springs of water* Is. 49:10

Otherwise we’d be left alone

To salvage and scrabble

In all this wide world

For some semblance of satiation

To at least fill these bellies

(Never mind nourish)

From all the shiny garbage heap-

So utterly much on the surface

But stinking underneath

‘Cause that’s the thing about all 

These many amusements:

Without Him

Nothing satisfies

All’s little more than a smoke screen distraction

Belying the true nature of life, of meaning, of real, of good.

So, Lord, please free the captives from all these many (false) warriors

Your plunder retrieved from the fierce.

Contend with all these many false gods

And please save these children.

May all mankind know that You, Lord,

Are THE Savior.

And in the meantime,

Thank You for (nourishing) crumbs

That constantly – consistently –

Keep the path blessedly illuminated 

With constant promise of fullness and expectation.

Thank You.

Time

Pendulum swings

Talk of time as a precious commodity

Then fritter it away

With all this worry

Like I’ve an endless supply

Some people fill their spaces with everything, nothing

My only option (to stay sane)

S’to forsake all I see

(At least for a little: such violence is blessedly seasonal… in part)

Empty out,

-Heck, not  fill up on anything –

Save Him.

Wait.

Ask.

Praise God 

He doesn’t leave me to myself

And all this time.