Tuesday, February 27, 2007

As I was walking the block back from my running ending point a little while ago, I consciously yielded myself. I practiced this much while taking a small group where we studied Beth Moore's "Fruits of the Spirit". Many mornings, I forget or do so hurriedly. It felt good in the crisp air, on the quiet streets, with the geese flapping on in the distant sky, to relax my intensity and to be enfolded.

It feels like there's a new purpose brewing in my life, and I want to be surrendered to the will outside of my own. It truly doesn't take long for us to invite his fuller presence into us each morning. I need to do this more regularly, practicing the conscious act of releasing.

I went to the library yesterday to understand the Middle East, particularly one facet. As part of the stack of books I got, there's one I'm beginning called, "We just want to live here" which is a correspondence between two teenagers in Jerusalem. One is an Arab and one a Jew. Quite readable and a good primer on the perspectives of the youth on the hostilities between the two groups.

The Jewish teen recounts the story of MLK to the Arab girl, as a demonstration on how the two groups can get along without violence, through nonviolence. She wishes that she wouldn't have to worry about going to the mall without getting blown up. The Arab girl wishes that the children around her wouldn't have to live with the sights of guns and tanks and soldiers everywhere in the land which used to be their own. She wishes that she could have equal opportunity for education and work.

It's a wonderful small book. I hope to understand better the striving and the hope for peace among the youth, which we as adults are responsible for pursuing, I believe.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

It's quite bizarre to me.

As American Christians, we can talk about the suffering that we don't cause, such as the AIDS epidemic in Africa; or the lack of good clean water in the Sahara; or the lack of food and work in some parts of El Salvadore; or the tsunami rebuilding in Indonesia. My recent Samaritan's Purse Prayer Point magazine showcased such the world in need. I read it and felt sorrow for the unfortunate and gladness at the offering of hope through Christ which is given through necessary outreach work. Some of which I donate money towards.

Yet, I'm confused about our noncommittal quietness concerning Iraq where today a female suicide bomber blew herself up, along with 40 other people, mainly students, at a university. Between 34 and 52 thousand Iraqi civilians have died since we began the removal of Saddam Hussein with the replacement of democracy. The Christian groups I belong to rarely speak of these citizens. There just seems to be a resignation to the fact that if you're caught in the crossfires of a war, it's unfortunate. An unfortunate price one might have to pay for being under such a dictator, or being born in a land with extreme cultural ancient tensions between the different religious groups there. My parents would probably justify it by saying that God is reaping judgment upon these people for their sins.

I guess that means everyone that suffers in the Samaritan Purse booklet is reaping God's judgment too? Perhaps those children in Liberia who step on a land mine inadvertently deserve it?

I'm quite tired of the resignation or the judgment. And, as a Christian, I'm extremely concerned for the people who are dying in the pot that we've also boiled.

What should I do, God?

When she was walking somewhere, a "kid" came up to her and said he wanted to get together with her.
"So I took off my hood and said, 'Do you still want to date me?' And, he said, 'Yeah.' It don't matter if you got gray hair these days!" We laughed at her exasperation with the youth not leaving a granny with grey dreadlocks alone on the inner sidewalks of our town.

And then, she began talking about her heartbreak with a 42 year old son who has hardened his heart against God. She even wrote him a poem, which she pulled out of her nearby purse. The rhyme scheme was predictably abab, abab, all throughout. The matching words were predictable. Yet it was tight (the old meaning of this word): a powerful invocation for the prodigal son broadcasted through an adept writer mom's heart and fingertips. She's using her creativity to call out. I was quite impressed with the entire poem which is published in a high quality anthology in heaven, I'm sure. This mother is beautiful, beautiful.

I had many bluegrass jammers (or slammers as this is a beginning squawking group) in my living room the other night. My daughter's old boyfriend, the one who caused me high-point grief at times but has proven to be a constant concerned friend to her, sat beside me on my red couch and picked along with us.

"We've got ourselves a rocker here!" I said in introduction to the others there. The two squawkin' fiddle boys looked envious at his genre. The rocker tried to show off to them a couple of times which got him a string-deadening hand from me. He's been yelled at by me before; he obediently grinned and silenced himself. Isn't that where we want all potential in-laws when they approach through our own children? Amen, amen.


Monday, February 19, 2007

Last night, my daughter and I went out for dinner and then to the movie "Pan's Labryinth" at the independent film house here in town. It was enjoyable, quipping before the movie, hearing about her boyfriend, talking fashion and people. Like old times, our similar faces liking one another (harder than love at times). We saw her old Contemporary Thought teacher whose class she dropped during her renegade period. We saw a student co-editor in one of her current journalism classes. We saw random people and things to comment upon. I bought her popcorn and cream soda. And, then we snuggled into the old chairs as the cute-boy-movie-host rattled hither and forth as he described the upcoming films. The lights went down, and we began to hear Spanish and we began to read along even after the initial terrible image mangled our vision. As the film went on, the fantasy was fantastical, the reality abject, and we held on until the final image connected the first. And, a lullaby was hummed, and a girl twirled in new clothes. If you haven't seen it, consider it. The guerrila war aspects are worth enduring for the transcendence in the storyline, although the weightier of the two will become apparent. But, we must know both parts.

Life is knowing the parts, I suppose.

My guitar class today at the parent homeschool co-op was wild. Several guitars of the eight students appeared ill-tuned, and fighting this at the beginning took a while. In the meantime, one kid aspired to Clapton, and the other one who talks, talked and talked. The others "warmed up" and the discordance floated down through the hallway. It was fun, however, as well to conduct the sound once I got back into the room. We controlled our way into two or three songs, and those kids like to sing too. I think we'll be a hit at the recital in April!

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

That was last week, prior to the ice and snowfall again here in Missouri. It was an interesting trip. It was miraculous to be on the beach in the warmth. It was intriguing to walk along the Playa del Carmen avenue with the calling vendors and the Canadians and Europeans and South Americans, everyone babbling their languages. It was enlightening and sad to see the poverty in the Mexican countryside. It was interesting to see the ancient ruins and to contemplate the Mayan spiritual expression through temples, writings, sacrifices, attention. The spiritual consciousness being universal. I wondered if a Mayan woman wished that there were no rites, no consciousness to abide by, more freedom for the spirit. Did she think that way? Did she walk on the same path I stood on, wondering similar things? She probably worried for her children. She probably cared about her relations with others. She knew she was getting older.

As we were flying over Louisville, KY, on the return trip, I looked down and the city was beautiful, sparkly; the curvaceous Ohio river outlined the lights, the markers of abundance. We landed in St. Louis and the smell was good; the water could be chugged without severity (as we experienced down South). We took our tan skin into the freezing long term parking lot and reunited with our auto. We drove home, and I wondered if the futile quest for perfection would resume again in our daily lives.

But, for a little while, my 15 year commited husband and I were able to break from it, and to enjoy one another apart from it. That was essential and good.