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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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.

Value

Desperately trying to make right yesterdays’s lack of motivation and hence the resulting lack of real or meaningful work accomplished because of it, I started writing in my journal this morning about value. I felt guilty over yesterday’s ineffectiveness (and yet, how do I even know whether or not I’ve been? Why this constant bent towards quantifying everything that’s done/not done? How in the world can time spent possibly be measured? And yet, I torture myself with all this ridiculous energy on measuring my activity or self’s output.) so in trying to be gentle on myself (I’m calling that progress), I started reading Jesus’ words in Matthew, looking for words of affirmation to remind me of my value to Him. (And the fact that I was looking for something specific to feed my own ideas about things ought to have been a clue that I was already out of whack.) I needed to be reminded about how God feels about me really. Jesus’ perspective. The one that loves and sees me as precious (and likeable even!) regardless of how “good” or “effective” or “hardworking” or “cheerful” or “altruistic” or skinny, self-controlled, kind, selfless I’m being or have been on any given day. That is, I am loved and delighted in just by virtue of the fact that He chose to give me life.

It’s amazing to me how much I continue to quantify. And when I quantify and/or measure my value based on what I’m  doing, I fall short of any and all marks. Or, horror of horrors, if I happen to do something well or “right” (again, because I’ve quantified) I may just end up chalking myself up to alright. I may start believing that I’ve added something. Been worthy of credit or praise for a second. But regardless of whether what I’m doing is “good” or “bad,” “sinful” or “righteous” (depending on your persuasions or affiliations), none of it really matters at all, makes not one tiny scrap of difference. None of it either qualifies or disqualifies me from the value I get to enjoy because of what God’s done. For me. Without a single iota of participation from me. 

What Jesus came for was the redemption of the human family. Any and all of my (or anyone else’s) goodness (at least as far as God’s concerned which is the only opinion that matters) is from Him. His gift, for free, to me, for us. Regardless of whether or not we deserve it (which we don’t), all that glorious inheritance (that is, any and every good thing in the universe) is ours to enjoy when we get this Jesus guy. (I used “get” in place of “believe in,” “have faith in,” “accept as true.” Sometimes our words have all kinds of nasty churchy attachments that we need to forget in order to properly remember what God REALLY wants us know.) 

And by “get” all I really mean is that we believe that all He said and did for others – for us, ultimately – is true. That we can totally not just believe the hype surrounding Jesus, but we can even enjoy it for ourselves. Yeah. We could totally enjoy and bask in and savor Buddy the Elf’s compliment, “You look miraculous” if we accepted this Jesus guy as a close, personal friend, counselor, guide, helper. And it wouldn’t matter how good or bad, lazy, fat, effective, or relevant we thought we were. None of that would matter at all. In fact, what we think of ourselves matters very little. What God thinks is what matters… And He loves us A LOT.

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.

Hope

Seems an awful precarious vessel

By which would flow

All of You, any of You.

Even my wonder at Your goodness is

Too unreliable, too simple.

Part of and maybe the magic is

You’re to be hoped in:

No matter our fragility

Lack of dependability

Whimpering, stinking inadequacy.

You and all Your

Tendrils of light keep

Warming:

Teasing to hope.

Rally

“Lacking in nothing”

Oh, the wonder of this –

This puny puddle

Rallies a little

A slack everything

Perks up with the suggestion

And thrills

To think

It possible