i had the priviledge of returning to l’abri for my final three days in the UK…

i realized i’ll never find words to adequately describe…

these images tell parts of the story of the place that brought me to tears, joy, uncertainty, insecurity, laughter and peace.

images, rather than my feeble words, leave room for God to fill in the blanks, the spaces, with exactly what you need to know of Him and how He met me there…

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Everything sad is coming untrue.

I repeat this to myself often.  This truth gives me great comfort today and many days.  The truth is rooted in scripture, and given layer upon layer of beauty by a pastor, a fictional writer,  a musician and a tree:

Literature:  J.R.R. Tolkien, The Return of the King

Sam believes that Gandalph died.   At the very end, Sam having slept for quite a while and then coming to consciousness, Gandalf stands before Sam, robed in white, his face glistening in the sunlight, and says:

“Well, Master Samwise, how do you feel?”

But Sam lay back, and stared with open mouth, and for a moment, between bewilderment and great joy, he could not answer. At last he gasped: “Gandalf! I thought you were dead! But then I thought I was dead myself. Is everything sad going to come untrue? What’s happened to the world?”

“A great shadow has departed,” said Gandalf, and then he laughed, and the sound was like music, or like water in a parched land; and as he listened the thought came to Sam that he had not heard laughter, the pure sound of merriment, for days without count. It fell upon his ears like the echo of all the joys he had ever known. But he himself burst into tears. Then as a sweet rain will pass down a wind of spring and the sun will shine out the clearer, his tears ceased, and his laughter welled up, and laughing he sprang from bed… “How do I feel?” he cried.” Well, I don’t know how to say it. I feel, I feel” –he waved his arms in the air– “I feel like spring after winter, and sun on the leaves; and like trumpets and harps and all the songs I have ever heard!

All the host laughed and wept, and in the midst of their merriment and tears the clear voice of the minstrel rose like silver and gold, and all men were hushed. And he sang to them, now in the Elven-tongue, now in the speech of the West, until their hearts, wounded with sweet words, overflowed, and their joy was like swords, and they passed in thought out to regions where pain and delight flow together and tears are the very wine of blessedness.”

Pastor:  Tim Keller, The Reason for God

“Jesus spoke of his return to earth as the palingenesis. “I tell you the truth, at the renewal of all things (Greek palingenesis), the Son of Man will sit on his glorious throne.” This was a radically new concept. Jesus insisted that his return will be purged of all decay and brokenness. All will be healed and all might-have-beens will be.

Just after the climax of the trilogy The Lord of the Rings, Sam Gamgee discovers that his friend Gandalf was not dead (as he thought) but alive. He cries, “I thought you were dead! But then I thought I was dead myself! Is everything sad going to come untrue?” The answer of Christianity to that question is – yes. Everything sad is going to come untrue and it will somehow be greater for having once been broken and lost.

Embracing the Christian doctrines of the incarnation and Cross brings profound consolation in the face of suffering. The doctrine of the resurrection can instill us with a powerful hope. It promises that we will get the life we most longed for, but it will be an infinitely more glorious world than if there had never been the need for bravery, endurance, sacrifice, or salvation.”

Musician:  Jason Gray, song “Everything Sad is Coming Untrue, Part 2”

The winter can make us wonder
If spring was ever true
But every winter breaks upon
The Easter lily’s bloom
Could it be everything sad is coming untrue?
Could you believe everything sad is coming untrue?

Broken hearts are being unbroken
Bitter words are being unspoken
The curse undone, the veil is parted
The garden gate will be left unguarded

Could it be everything sad is coming untrue?
Oh I believe everything sad is coming untrue
In the hands of the One who is making all things new

When the storm leaves there’s a silence
That says you don’t have to fear anymore
The trees look greener, the sky’s an ocean
The world is washed and starting over

[Listen to and read more about the song here (i think the best of the song starts at 2 minutes):  The Rabbit Room]

The God of the universe, Revelation 21:

“Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. 2 And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. 3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. 4 He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”

5 And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” 6 And he said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give from the spring of the water of life without payment. 7 The one who conquers will have this heritage, and I will be his God and he will be my son.”

Tree:  The Beauty of the Former Things, Liss, EnglandIMG_7326

L’abri

10/01/2009

I just returned from ten days at L’abri, which is French for ‘the shelter’.  L’abri Fellowship was started by Francis and Edith Schaeffer at their home in Switzerland and now there are several L’abris all over the world.  I attended England L’abri in the small village of Gretham about an hour southwest of London.

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It’s hard to explain, and therefore comprehend, what L’abri is until you’ve experienced it.  I will say I had high expectations and reality was both different and more than I expected.

A major theme is space.  There are families who live there who make it their work to create space, shelter, saftey for people to come and be human.  At L’abri, being human includes physical work (gardening, cooking a meal for 25 people, cleaning toilets, dusting baseboards), mental exercise (reading, studying, thinking, asking questions, being challenged), recreation (volleyball and cricket at daily tea breaks, going on walks), being creative (arraging flowers, playing music) and relating to other humans in community (sharing a room with 10 other girls, eating meals together, serving meals, doing dishes).

So, it’s not a retreat center.  You don’t go to “get away” and be alone.  However, you do get to get away from some things we busy ourselves with that eat up our space- both physical and mental.  So, no internet (except on a shared computer and only a few times per week), no tv.  It’s amazing what our spirits do when left to wander…it really forces you to reckon with your emotions and thoughts and fallen natures of our hearts.  No hiding from others or from God…

So, here’s one day:

7:30 AM : Awake

8:00 AM:  Breakfast in the dining room with everyone.  Toast, jam and hard boiled eggs.  Tea.  Morning devotional reading by one of the workers from Dietrick Bonhoffer’s “Life Together”:

“The serious Christian, set down for the first time in a Christian community, is likely to bring with him a very definite idea of what Christian life together should be and to try to realize it. But God’s grace speedily shatters such dreams. Just as surely as God desires to lead us to a knowledge of genuine Christian fellowship, so surely must we be overwhelmed by a great disillusionment with others, with Christians in general, and, if we are fortunate, with ourselves. By sheer grace, God will not permit us to live even for a brief period in a dream world. He does not abandon us to those rapturous experiences and lofty moods that come over us like a dream. God is not a God of the emotions but the God of truth.

Only that fellowship which faces such disillusionment, with all its unhappy and ugly aspects, begins to be what it should in God’s sight, begins to grasp in faith the promise that is given to it. The sooner this shock of disillusionment comes to an individual and to a community the better for both. A community which cannot bear and cannot survive such a crisis, which insists upon keeping its illusion when it should be shattered, permanently loses in that moment the promise of Christian community. Sooner or later it will collapse. Every human wish dream that is injected into the Christian community is a hindrance to genuine community and must be banished if genuine community is to survive. He who loves his dream of community more than the Christian community itself becomes a destroyer of the latter, even though his personal intentions may be ever so honest and earnest and sacrificial.”

8:45 AM : Reading in the “Morning Room” (my favorite room in the house)

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9:30 – 11:00 AM :  Study time.  Here are things I read/listened to while I was there:

The Healing Path by Dan Allender

Beyond Identity by Dick Keyes

Are Women Human?  by Dorothy Sayers

Collected works of Emily Dickinson

Cash:  The Autobiography by Johnny Cash

Some Hemingway short stories

Mars Hill Review (a literary journal with essays, poems, short stories, music reviews.  all around goodness.)

Forgiveness:  Lecture series by Dick Keyes

“Ifs” by Amy Carmichael

11:00 :  Tea Break on the lawn.  Tea, volleyball, cricket, frisbee tossing or chatting.

11:30 – 1:00 PM Study/reading

1:00 PM:  Lunch with half of the students/workers (about 12 of us).  Anyone can introduce a topic.  Topics at lunches included:  How do Christians live out their gender/sexual humanity appropriately?,  What can we expect from God?,  Is it fair to generalize about people groups, gender, age, nationalities, etc?  What’s helpful/hurtful about generalizing?,  Considering the Levitical Jubilee law for modern society- what could we apply today?  How could we treat the poor?,

3:00 – 4:30 PM:  Work time.  Weeding the gravel driveway or helping cook dinner.

4:30 PM:  Tea break.

5:00:  Back to work.

6:30 PM:  Dinner with half of the group in a home.  No formal topic, just conversation.  My favorite meal was a butternut squash and red lentil stew with rice and fresh bread.  My favorite dessert were baked apples with crushed cardamom and sweetened yogurt.

8:00 PM:  Evening activity:  Lecture (topics included:  What is spirituality?, The gospel of Mark, The book of Job)  or film followed by discussion (Babette’s Feast).  OR free time:  going to local pub, painting/drawing/art time around a table while others played guitar/piano.

In the midst of all of this I was introduced to new places around the world:  Hungary, Norway, Romania, Slovakia, Canada, Brazil, and Scotland and enjoy the familiarities being around people from my neck of the woods:  South Carolina and Tennessee!

In summary, perspective was the theme of my time there.  My eyes were opened to the sheer enormity and amazingness of this Earth and every thing and every one in it.  Ultimately, a renewed sense of the enormity and glory of God.

I’ll never be able to convey the experience to you.  If there is even an inkling in your heart from reading this that you might enjoy or need time like this, you should go.

“Two things cannot be in one place.  Where you tend a rose, my lad, a thistle cannot grow.”

The Secret Garden

Sometime in my late elementary school days we read The Secret Garden.  I was enamored with the story.  I remember I poured over garden magazines and made a very detailed plan of my own secret garden on grid paper.  I even picked out a place in the yard for it.

Looking out at the garden of my home these next few months I am instantly transported to childlike wonder.  It really is magical.  It’s quite warm here right now (or, it was when I first wrote this.  Now it’s 68 and windy and raining.  See, only here a few days and already talking about the weather); at least a half dozen different types of bees hum and hover over the entirety.  They are so numerous their flight patterns and buzz give the garden, already alive, a visible and tangible pulse.

There are so many plants I am unable to identify and I’m taking it on as a learning project to figure out what they are and what I can do with them.  Thanks to our neighbor Stephanie, I do know there is a plum tree, a bay tree, a daisy patch… and lavender.  In Stephanie’s yard they have apple and pear trees, lettuce, basil, pole beans, rosemary, poppies, and ten times more lavender.  She is very clever in the garden and has already made jams and plans to harvest the poppy seeds!  I am excited to learn.

English gardens are quite different than American gardens.  They plants are stacked closely together and overall are a bit unruly and definitely asymmetrical.  A twenty foot tall tree/shrub on one side and a squared off 8ft hedge on the other.  Scattered throughout are small grassy spots, short walls, half-barrels filled with herbs and even a child’s “throne” seat out of cement.  These things bring life to children.  They stoke imagination and creativity.  I’ve never seen kids so excited and enthralled by a garden.  It’s beautiful, but it is meant to be lived in and run through.  It’s perfect for hide and seek, chase, stealing away to read, drinking tea, and listening for the church bells to chime the hour.

For all its wily goodness, the garden is a bit unkempt.   This garden did not just appear one day.  It was thoughtfully created.  At some time, someone loved this garden very much.  Right now, it needs a bit of care and weeding and cleaning up to tidy it up a bit.  No motorized weedeater needed, these are gentle plants in small places, gentle hands and small pruning shears will do fine.  The tiniest of changes someone would not specifically detect except in an overall assessment the garden looks healthier, more vibrant.  Clearing out the weeds so the flowers can show more glory.

It reminds me of our hearts a bit.  Like these plants, we were created to thrive in a perfectly wild garden.  However we spend much of our time, money and energy grooming and working and conforming to some sort of ideal or standard which simply is not attainable nor necessary for joy on Earth or in eternity.  In the name of growing up we prune ourselves harshly, not allowing God-given traits or joys to come and remain alive.  We even prune others harshly.

What does it look like for us to tend ours and others hearts in a way that lets the lavender grow lopsided to one side of the barrel, if that’s the way it wants to grow, and let the moss and mildew creep on the bricks in the back as a sign of character and age, rather than whitewashing it with harsh chemicals…  but still reach gently down and pull the choking thistle from the rose bush when it needs it?

I am hoping this garden will teach me much of this over these next few months.

ready or not, here i come!IMG_5772IMG_5732

IMG_5740IMG_5714IMG_5738photo by kate

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IMG_5726photo by kate

“True law is right reason in agreement with nature;

it summons to duty by its commands,

and averts from wrongdoing by its prohibitions.”

-Cicero-

i am puzzled.

i am going through my stack of mail from the past week (someone please fire my admin) and came across something from Fidelity, a company that serves as a glorified mattress of sorts for some savings of mine.

the notice is a voting proxy for shareholders on two items:

1)  board members.  joe schmoes.  i don’t know them.  maybe i should care, but i don’t.

2)  this matter:  “Shareholder proposal for Fidelity Freedom 2010 Fund [and a list of 10 other funds] concerning procedures to prevent holding investments in companies that, in the judgment of the Board, substantially contribute to genocide or crimes against humanity.

and the kicker?  the Board of Trustees recommends a vote AGAINST #2.

i don’t know about you, but this smells like blood diamonds to me…

i didn’t really know what to do here.  so i just read more specifically on the issue.  here’s the skinny:

  1. The shareholder proposal:  “Ordinary individuals, through their investments in Fidelity, may inadvertently invest in companies funding genocide because of investment decisions made on their behalf by Fidelity. With no policy to prevent these problem investments, Fidelity may at any time increase its holdings or involve new funds in such problem investments.We believe that this problem is not merely theoretical, since Fidelity was one of the largest holders of PetroChina, which, through its closely related parent, China National Petroleum Company, is providing funding that the Government of Sudan uses to conduct genocide in Darfur.We believe that in the face of the most extreme human rights crises investors share responsibility to act, individually and collectively, in addition to the role and responsibility of governments….We see no compelling reason to invest in companies that fund genocide.We believe there are ample competitive alternatives and flexibility of investment choices, even with index funds. As noted by Gary Brinson’s classic study, investment returns are affected much more by asset allocation than by individual security selections, so avoiding a small number of problem companies need not result in any significant effect on performance.
  2. The Board’s response:  “The Fidelity Funds Board of Trustees recommends that you vote AGAINST this proposal….The Fidelity Funds Board of Trustees recognizes and respects that investors, including those investing in this Fund, have other investment opportunities open to them should they wish to avoid investments in certain companies or countries.   Shareholders of the Fund, however, have chosen to invest in this Fund based on its specific stated investment policies. If adopted, this proposal would limit investments by the Fund that would be lawful under the laws of the United States. For this reason, the Board of Trustees recommends that you vote AGAINST this proposal.”

i just cast my vote FOR the proposal.

i might just be moving my cash soon.

i am no princess, but this is one pea under my mattress I would certainly lose sleep over.

true, we can’t always know or prevent how our decisions are linked and supplement the evil in this world.  when we do know though and are given a choice, we should exercise our right to chose justice and mercy for our fellow humans.  and we sleep well at night knowing our only hope for being blameless at the end of our days is the perfect obedience Christ secures for us.

“And there will not be different laws at Rome and at Athens, or different laws now and in the future, but one eternal and unchangeable law will be valid for all nations and all times,

and there will one master and ruler, that is, God, over us all,for he is the author of this law, its promulgator, and its enforcing judge.

Whoever is disobedient is fleeing from himself and denying his human nature, and by reason of this very fact he will suffer the worst penalties, even if he escapes what is commonly called punishment . . .”

-Cicero-


broadcast delay

05/28/2009

i have a delay.

it has up-sides, for ince, kitchen fires:

  • in college, while pulling something out of the oven, my oven mit caught on fire.  i calmly announced “my oven mit is on fire” while i held out my hand, fingers aflame, walked through the living room and out to the Berkeley Place concrete porch where i could stomp it out.
  • a few months ago while sitting in my living room reading, my roommate D calls out from the kitchen, “we have a small fire.  and it’s ok.  do you have an extinguisher?”  i call back, “yes, it’s under the sink, but just try keeping the oven closed.”  i finish the page i’m on and walk into the, now fire-less, kitchen.  then we have a good laugh because we realize how eerily calm we both were and wonder if it may be less than safe to have two of us quasi-stoics under the same roof.

so, basically:  if you get in a car accident, fall off a horse or become lost in the woods, i’m the gal you want with you.  i can count the times i’ve truly been scared to the point of not thinking clearly on one hand.  and it was terrifying to feel that way.  (i.e. clicking up the hill of my first roller coaster ride on the scream machine at six flags.  begging to get off, my dad calmly reminding me that it was too late for that.).

blessing as it may appear, there is always the other side of the coin.  if i go on a trip, though i know what i experienced, it may be weeks or months before i feel what i experienced.  and explain it?  certainly a few weeks or months more.  so back off, i’ll post pictures and tell you about it when i’m good and ready :)

or i may not miss you for months after you’re gone, so i certainly won’t tell you that i anticipate missing you.

it blew my mind when i told a friend about my moving to england and, with misty eyes, her instant response was telling me she would miss me.  i completely believed her.  i felt so loved, even though i totally fumbled the response.  by fumbled, i mean i basically sat there with my jaw open, marveling at her ability to communicate emotion instantly.  (note:  find friends like her to have in your life!)  in my head/heart struggle, my head naturally overpowers my heart.  it’s just the way i was made.

we see this idea of head/heart and the outworking of love, related to loving God in Matthew, Mark and Luke.  i don’t think it’s a coincidence that in all of those accounts, the first vehicle for loving that’s listed is heartmind always comes later.

as most of my life thus far was spent exercising my thinking muscles,  i now find myself in a season of exercising my atrophied feeling muscles.   sometimes (ok, most of the time) it feels like too much.  like i’m clicking up that roller coaster again, looking for a way to get off.  but again, it’s too late…thankfully!

my training aids?  the trifecta:  poetry, music and art.

take something like Easter week, for example.  i know the events of palm sunday, passover, good friday, resurrection.  at one time, knowing was enough for me.  now i want to know and feel the events.  no longer am i content with head knowledge versus heart knowledge.  we all need both.

here is some good stuff i enjoyed around Easter:

“death be not proud” by john donne:

Death, be not proud, though some have called thee
Mighty and dreadful, for thou are not so;
For those whom thou think’st thou dost overthrow
Die not, poor Death, nor yet canst thou kill me.
From rest and sleep, which but thy pictures be,
Much pleasure; then from thee much more must flow,
And soonest our best men with thee do go,
Rest of their bones, and soul’s delivery.
Thou’art slave to fate, chance, kings, and desperate men,
And dost with poison, war, and sickness dwell,
And poppy’or charms can make us sleep as well
And better than thy stroke; why swell’st thou then?
One short sleep past, we wake eternally,
And death shall be no more; Death, thou shalt die.


“between worlds” by hyatt moore:

and it’s no coincidence i’m just getting around to sharing this with you…a full two-ish months after easter.

baby steps.

Oh the girls all dance with the boys from the city
And they don’t care to dance with me
Now it ain’t my fault that the fields are muddy
And the red clay stains my feet
And it’s under my nails
And it’s under my collar
And it shows on Sunday clothes
I’ll do my best with the soap and water
But the damned old dirt won’t go
But when I pass through the pearly gates
Will my gown be gold instead?
Or just a red clay robe
With red clay wings
And a red clay halo for my head?

-Gillian Welch-


Location:  Appalachain Trail, Section 23, the Roan Highlands

early in may, i headed out on the AT with some amazing women.  we planned the trip months in advance, as several of us will drift off in different directions with the quickly approaching summer…

any given minute, i’m both a wild dreamer and a cynnical realist.  so, sometimes when i plan something so far in advance, the build up and anticipation leads to disappointment in reality…

not this time.

it was amazing:

we hiked in friday night, smellin good and lookin pretty, and tent camped at the apple house shelter.

start

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amazing woman #1:  jane, on the trail at hump mountain.  jane is a friend of ktjo’s, so this is the first time i got to meet her.  from one weekend, i know she is a strong, yet gentle and cheerful lady.  she asks great questions.  she’s a counselor and i admire her ability to listen and care for students during the most stressful time of their lives.  plus, she has “miss” at the start of her email too, so she’s mad cool off the bat!

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saturday morning our hike started quick and steep, gaining 2k ft in the first mile.  one way to get the heart rate up in the AM!  we arrived at the top and were greeted by the mayor of hump mountain:

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amazing woman #2: julie, with the view from the bald of hump mountain.  julie is a caring listener; she has the gift of making you comfortable the moment you walk in her home.  she is my number one partner in crime when it comes to whimsical adventure:  buying plane and concert tickets or an impromptu pajama wearing, documentary viewing.  equally valuable in my repertiore!

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after hump mountain came little hump, and then the balds.  it was a cold, whipping wind and rain… but we were walking along, our only task for the day, silently in the clouds.  honestly, for me, it doesn’t get much better…

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a few more climbs and the sun came out.  we had the first view of our destination: (the aptly named little white roof in the distance) overmountain shelter.

apparently there is some good eatin’ up in the mountains because we saw (several) of the largest worms i have ever seen in my life!

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life at overmountain shelter:

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our loft:

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well deserved afternoon tea:

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yummy camp food:

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nutella smores!  (ok, aside here to single guys:  you can’t bring your cute chick-magnet dogs on this portion of the trail, sorry.  however, you can do the following:  quit your job, begin life as a thru hiker, meet up with your 10ish year old nephew at the stop previous to join you for a few days and have him bring homemade brownies, smore supplies, chili, etc. to the shelter.  you will be an instant lady killer and every other thru-hiker’s hero of the day.  and no, we wouldn’t have accepted “special, homemade brownies” on the trail from anyone over the age of 15.)

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we met a lot of thru hikers and heard bits of their stories.  oddly to me, the AT shelters recreate their own kind of high school cafeteria segregation.  i observed two groups of people:  the silent-serious-snobby and the contemplative-candid-calm.  most of the young twenty-somethings fell into the first group (note to my generation:  i’m disappointed in you).  so, we gladly hung out with the old timers.  they were worn and wise.  one man seventy year old man had already walked the entire trail in segments over his life, so he just decided he’d start again.  every year he comes out and does a couple of weeks.   hmm… tempting thought.

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amazing woman #3:  ktjo, with the view of the valley from the shelter.  i love that ktjo is incredibly introspective and also wide open.  she is free spirited yet grounded.  she is one of the most wildly peaceful people i’ve ever met.  she’s shown me it’s possible to be both.  she shares her thoughts of the weekend here.

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we slept in the shelter with a few mouse friends and about 20 other hikers.  we hiked out the next day in the rain, over another bald and ended through a high country pine forest.  the smell of the heavy wet pine flirted with the air, but it was too early in the spring to reveal its full power.  i knew we were nearing the end because the trail turned to gravel…

i’d walked in the back most of the trip, and it was no different now.  we got to where we could see the car at carver’s gap, my heart dulled and i just stopped walking.

i called out to ktjo in front of me, “you guys go ahead, i’m just going to turn around now.”  and i was more than half serious.

backpacking is funny like that… all day, my only task is to walk.  very simple.  and the end reward is reaching the destination, setting down the pack and getting a hot meal.  inevitably though, when i finally get to the end of the trail, i just want to turn around…

i think heaven will be just that, the turning around and getting to go back.

over and over and over again.

and in that case, a red clay halo and wings will suit me just fine!

tillman just threw up his dinner.  as i peer over to inspect contents before cleaning up (like any good mom), i think “are those feathers?  and a beak?  ugh… and i think that’s the eye.”  confirmed:  another baby bird bites the dust.

it’s springtime here on woodside and the street name rings true as the trees are in full splendor, limbs straddling each side of the avenue.  even my sickly fifty year old oak in the back yard is bustling with vicarious life;  most mornings i sit at the kitchen window, watching all the animals come and go amongst its juxtaposed leafy and barren limbs.  with all of its temporary residences, squabbles and mixed up love affairs, this tree is the melrose place of my backyard.  ok, not just of my backyard, my entire yard.  including the house.    i may or may not have names for the animals that live there… but i shall save that for another day…

this aviary provides countless hours of entertainment for our dogs.  in the winter, the leafless limbs allow them to watch as the nests are built.  in the spring, the chirping, and the hunt, begins.  ferocious hunters that they are, their prey are the baby birds which are shoved from their nest too soon.  several times this week, i’ve watched them take off across the yard and gulp down one of these little fellas the instant they hit the ground.  one of those times, tillman actually tried to get into the house with one still in his mouth.  i saw him pick it up and run towards me so i knew it was in there.  short of having a foot or feather hanging out of his mouth, dude was guilty.  we battled it out on the step for a minute until he finally “dropped it”.  then he picked it right back up and looked at me.  i shut the door in his face until he decided he wanted to come in the house enough to “leave it” outside.  i win.  obviously the bird he caught today, which i am now wiping up, made it farther down the esophagus.

cleaning up this dog barf is the low point of my day.  right now i’m supposed to be at a free outdoor concert.  i love all three of those nouns, but combine them?  it is against everything in me to miss it.  alas, i am tired.  that “my brain is all swimmy in my head tired”.  and i have 2/3 of a paper to write tomorrow.  of course i procrasitnated.  so i’ve hunkered down for the night, committed to going to bed by sundown.

as i take out the pukey-monster trash, i pass by my little garden.  on march 7th i started 12 seedlings each of:  roma tomatoes, basil, cilantro, peppers, broccoli and lavender.  i had medium to great success with all of them, except the lavender.

i knew when i  planted it it the lavender was a luxury.  it was purely for my enjoyment.  i love lavender.  shower gel:  lavender.  lotion:  lavender.  drawer sachets:  lavender.  dryer sheets: lavender.  i discovered it my freshman year of college, when the girl next door to me had a lavender eye pillow.  i remember we would stay up late in her room analyzing bob dylan albums and audrey hepburn movies.  i’d sit in her papasan chair with her lavender pillow.  we laughed, we cried.  it turned out later that she was a little bit crazy… still, good times.  come to find out, my nanny (grandmother) also loves lavender.  so, maybe it’s genetic and i was always meant to love it.

now these little seedlings.  i started them before the danger of frost was over.  so, they were wrapped in plastic, carted out of the house for warm sunshine and in during cold rain.  it was so exciting to see their little sprouts pop up one by one by one.  except the lavender.  for weeks this went on.  i had 95% germination rate with everything but the lavender.  so, i rechecked the seed packet and found it had a germination time of up to 28 days.  so, i keep caring for them… water, sun, protection until i transplanted the rest of my seedlings to their permanent home.  this was two weeks ago, a full 68 days since planting.  i discarded all 12 lifeless lavender pods into the compost rubble of remains.  disappointed, but comforted by the fact they weren’t providing any food anyway.  they were my splurge.  a bonus.  my neighbor has a huge lavender plant that hangs over my driveway, i can just cut some of hers when i’d like to.  thankful for what i have.  moving on.

so, as i’m taking out the trash tonight, a little green sprout in this heap of remains catches my eye:

there he is:

a lavender seedling.

toppled over, shoved askew and growing strong.  and not just one… but at least 4 others in the heap.

i cared so much for these silly little things.  why in the world would they only grow once discarded in a rubbage pile?  why the moment i tossed them aside, neglect them, give up did they finally decide they were ready to greet me? why was i still letting that bin of dirt sit in my driveway- why hadn’t i thrown it away?  and if i was really “ok” with them not sprouting, why in the world am i teary eyed now?

hope.

johnny

02/26/2009

the great Johnny Cash was born 77 years ago today.  i am just beginning to understand more of his life story and am certain it is one worth examining.  there is much to be learned with how he integrated his faith into his work for his country and the world.  

playing for president Richard Nixon in 1972, Johnny decided to play the following song, ‘what is truth’, instead of the requested song ‘welfare cadillac’; a classy move indeed.  it’s lyrics are still ring true today, do they not?

“What is Truth?”  by Johnny Cash

The old man turned off the radio
Said, “Where did all of the old songs go
Kids sure play funny music these days
They play it in the strangest ways”
Said, “it looks to me like they’ve all gone wild
It was peaceful back when I was a child”
Well, man, could it be that the girls and boys
Are trying to be heard above your noise?
And the lonely voice of youth cries “What is truth?”

A little boy of three sittin’ on the floor
Looks up and says, “Daddy, what is war?”
“son, that’s when people fight and die”
The little boy of three says “Daddy, why?”
A young man of seventeen in Sunday school
Being taught the golden rule
And by the time another year has gone around
It may be his turn to lay his life down
Can you blame the voice of youth for asking
“What is truth?”

A young man sittin’ on the witness stand
The man with the book says “Raise your hand”
“Repeat after me, I solemnly swear”
The man looked down at his long hair
And although the young man solemnly swore
Nobody seems to hear anymore
And it didn’t really matter if the truth was there
It was the cut of his clothes and the length of his hair
And the lonely voice of youth cries
“What is truth?”

The young girl dancing to the latest beat
Has found new ways to move her feet
The young man speaking in the city square
Is trying to tell somebody that he cares
Yeah, the ones that you’re calling wild
Are going to be the leaders in a little while
This old world’s wakin’ to a new born day
And I solemnly swear that it’ll be their way
You better help the voice of youth find
“What is truth”