Friday, December 17, 2010

Legalism Defined

Maggie and I took a walk around the airport trail this morning. Around our public spaces, people are concerned about doing the right thing when their dog poops. Carrying a bag to pick it up is essential to good citizenship.

Beside the trail this morning was a small black poop bag with a knot tied in the top. The owner had followed the letter of the law but completely missed the point. In his case it would have been better to creatively disobey the rules. Using a stick to sweep the offensive mess into the bushes to decompose within a short time would have been better than the plastic bag left on the trail. It will still be there in a hundred years if nobody picks it up. But he followed the rules and thinks he did good.

Legalism always stinks and doesn't seem to ever go away. It trades packaging, that's all. Don't be fooled - it really is what you think it is. Shipoopi......

Thursday, December 9, 2010


No visions of sugar plums danced in his tiny head resting on remnants of hay stubble left over from night feeding. No 
candles welcomed in the windows ~ for stables don't have any. His mother most likely wrapped him with her head covering, leaving her all exposed. Sweat drenched. Unprepared, what did she use for after birth bleeding? Diapers for him? Did he latch on quickly and have a swollen milk blister on his upper lip afterwards? Where did Joseph find nourishment for her? Did he borrow the animal's drinking water to clean up the mess? Did she tear?  Without women to care for her, Joseph had to take the culturally unfamiliar role of midwife and doula for a wife with whom he hadn't been physically intimate with yet. His rough carpenter hands baby catching? The crown of thorns was waiting in the wings instead of a Nutcracker.  Maybe the tree was growing even then to be hewn into a cross as he cooed. The blacksmith who hammered the spikes into shape might have been a baby at the same time. A weaver's young apprentice  honed his skill making robes without seams. One this baby would someday wear ~ making men cast lots to own it ~ when they assumed he wouldn't need it anymore. He was laid in a stone manger swaddled with cloth at birth. He was laid on a borrowed limestone burial shelf after his death, wrapped in cloth once again, ministered to by women winding their love around him. Women who watched their love left in a heap, for he didn't stay a baby, nor did he stay dead. Instead he stayed God, wrapping us up ~ folding us into ~ a bundle of love, forever and ever. Amen. 

(Please don't judge this sketch harshly. I've been picking up a pencil for the first time in thirty five years. I never had lessons and wish I could express what I see in my head better. Until then, I will practice the uncomfortable, rough way. I have such a heart for Joseph. He is probably the most overlooked hero scripture mentions. I imagine his hands, so rough and tender. To me, his faith was the greatest of any. I imagined the pageantry of our present day Christmas and the lack thereof on that morning.)

This is for a prompt from L.L. Barkat: "This holiday season, we invite you to take the big things of Christmas - family, grief, Christ, celebration, laughter - and share them with us through something small." Join us by sharing your link here

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Dead Drunk Garden

Broken garden beds 
covered with lifeless husks 
lay brown down.
Their skeletal remains
used to be color spots,
pigmented petals 
wooing friends 
gathering nectar.
How do roots endure
soggy cold waiting? 
They huddle together 
thankful they aren't
 homeless or alone. 
their feet around each other
in the dark
they swallow great drunken 
gulps of the rain maker's 
honey mead 
waiting to burst out 
laughing again
when the sun's love
tickles them 

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Sucking on Succor

Succor means: to aid, assist, help, offer comfort, encouragement.

This last week, I was in the sludge of discouragement. I took the week off from the world wide web and connected with comfortable behaviors and uncomfortable ones. I didn't have the inclination or energy for too much eyeball to eyeball or skin to skin engagement. For introverts it can be exhausting at such times.

Many hours were spent reading. This activity included a dog curled up on the blanket corner at my feet and a hot mug of tea. It was restorative and inspirational reading. Contemplative. Nourishing. Quiet.

I dug out some dormant art supplies which haven't been used in years. Sitting down facing a blank white page paralyzed me for a while. I finally gave myself permission to be a kid and simply put color on the white paper. It didn't turn out very good. The next one not much better. The third? Pretty much the same. Each was whimsical and colorful, though. They will stay private or be gracefully laid in the garbage. The thing was - I needed to be creative in new ways. Make myself uncomfortable. The finished products weren't good, but they bushwhacked the brush, clearing some plugged trails. The exercise wasn't wasted or futile. Some times creative juices need some sort of laxative to start the flow again........creative constipation happens. Taking action is imperative for me to get unplugged. The momentum carries over into other areas.

Because I was so discouraged, I thought - maybe I'm not the only one. I determined to send personal, hand written encouragement to everyone on my address list who loves words and writes. To give what I needed most. Writers need to know that words do matter in our world. It is a lonely, solitary call. Most the time, the lack of feedback is crushing. We don't know if the void has ears, or if there is a soulish connection being made. As I put that batch of envelopes in the mail, I felt presumptuous and foolish. I have people on my mailing list who surely don't want or need my simple offering? They are VIP's! I heard a mocking cackle of derision gurgling up through the slimy pit below me.

One of the most profound books I've read is The Gift by Lewis Hyde. A gift has to move. In a circle. It has to be passed on. Today I was at the end of the receiving line and got all the abundant excess somehow. Could it be because I offered the little I had to another?  I don't know. Truly I don't.

This day has been so full of gifts being rained down on me. A blizzard of emotional goodness swirling me in loving eddies of affection and encouragement. I feel like I'm sucking on a succor cube of sweetness.

It came on a day that I thought I was going down gasping one last time - like Stevie Smith said, "Not waving but drowning."

Be strong and of good courage my friend. You are beloved. You are not alone.