Wednesday, March 04, 2015

1.2 Billion

My first Lent had a very personal feeling to it. I was very concerned with my responsibilities and Lenten offerings. I was a little terrified of doing it wrong. Each year I've grown to treasure Lent more, and to look forward to it's coming. This discipline has done much to move me from "I do this in fear" to "I do this for love"--love for God and now love for my fellow churchmen. 
I was not born a Catholic, but came late to the party, as a full grown adult and mother. Things my cradle Catholic friends take for granted still leave me speechless. I am always learning something new and magnificent, but what I love the most is the unified diversity. Growing up in a spiritual world that had a hard time drawing black and white Christians under the same roof, I delight in the knowledge that everywhere in the world the same mass is being celebrated as we all worship together, not just here on Earth, also in Heaven.
Lent is one more way to enjoy our global unity. It's the good-natured complaining, the sharing of tips and tricks, and the cringe when you realize you blew it and let the team down. We are all seeking his glory and to let go of the worldly attachments that mislead us and weigh us down. It's the best way I've found to discover all those things you'd never believe you can do without. I have yet to emerge from Lent the same person, and I know that among my 1.2 billion brethren and sisteren I am far from alone.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

The Hanging Tree

Are you, are you
Coming to the tree
Where they strung up a man they say murdered three.
Strange things did happen here
No stranger would it be
If we met up at midnight in the hanging tree.

Are you, are you
Coming to the tree
Where the dead man called out for his love to flee.
Strange things did happen here
No stranger would it be
If we met up at midnight in the hanging tree.

Are you, are you
Coming to the tree
Where I told you to run, so we’d both be free.
Strange things did happen here
No stranger would it be
If we met up at midnight in the hanging tree.

Are you, are you
Coming to the tree
Wear a necklace of rope, side by side with me.
Strange things did happen here
No stranger would it be
If we met up at midnight in the hanging tree.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Writer's Chair Views

Left


Center

Right


Out of Body

One of the greatest blessings in our new home is a sanctuary where I can read and write and think and talk and work and pray. It's tucked in over the garage and chopped into two rooms. The coziest room, where I imagine talking with friends over tea and indulging my appreciation for squishy furniture when I'm working, is toward the front of the house. I love being there with or without guests, but I'm all set up with tea and cookies should someone special drop by.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Singing Again


I am an ardent Hunger Games fan. The movie surprised me when I accompanied a child who wanted to see it. Powerful emotional experiences of that kind must either be rejected, thoroughly, permanently, or they must be worn out. I decided to wear Hunger Games out, reading the books, collecting fan magazines and seeing the new movie right away. I think it was the tribute to Appalachian culture that made it stick. One time when I asked my grandmother what I should say when asked about my roots, she said that I should say, "West Virginian." She was right, even though I grew up in Maryland.
Music was the most prized art form when I was growing up. We sang all day most days, and I loved it. Whether we were opening school, class, or church, whether we were messing around on the playground, bus, or park, whether we were in rehearsal learning how all those things we did naturally, worked and were written down, whether we were performing for church, nursing homes, or competitions, we sang. I took it for granted.
The part of Katniss' story that has surprised me the most is from the last book when she is recovering from it all. She begins to sing and sing and sing her way back to a shaky sanity. What a clever, Appalachian twist. Life carried me away from Appalachia kicking and screaming. This thing then that thing then the other thing separated me from singing, until I was only skipping through the little songs I sing my children, and whatever was on the board for Sunday.
I have started to sing. I haven't experienced an apocalyptic horror, but I have feared it. I've carried broken things too long, and it's time to sing. I've joined the church choir, and I'm trying to make time to practice more at home. It isn't as spectacular as Katniss, but I think I'm getting closer to home.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Real Work

Sometimes you need to practice in order to be ready for the happiness that is coming, especially when you know it will be from a sad gift. My children are growing up and leaving me--slowly, kindly, but steadily.  I feel like Wilbur crying at the fence, but not today. Today I sit at my desk in my new library, and even though I have real work to do I am just sitting and imagining the time when this work will be primary and the children will take care of themselves. I am practicing being happy about it. I'm staring out the window at the next chapter of my life. It tastes like an orange Sour Patch Kid.
And I am happy.

To quote my son

Today is a blog and nothing happened.