Saturday, January 30, 2010

True North

Winter is banging my doors down. A friend emailed; Arkansas is encased in ice. Last I heard there were 130,000 people without power. Here in the US… I think we are invincible until things like this.

The wind is slamming through my street making the buildings shudder. I place my hand against the cold front door and demand the blast pass on, leave us unharmed. I pray for the homeless and hurt creatures in the woods, someone please cover them with leaves or something.

Now the temperatures have fallen. Wasn’t it the week before last that eighteen degrees was freezing? Eight degrees is in the offing now, and it will get colder the reporters say.

Suddenly I hear the words lilting in the back drop of the unsteady drum. An alto voice croons beautifully, rhythmically, “I’ll never leave you, always be with you, when you face the unknown”, as the shaking of the windows and whip of unseen force hits the doors yet again, making them reverberate in the quarter inch leeway of the jamb.

My heart melts.

How long have I been trapped in the icy depths of this life? When did I turn my gaze from the Creator to the created? I take out my spiritual compass, flicking it to find True North again. Ah, there He is, on the horizon. Warm, steady, calm; He’s sprinting now, welcoming me back to the island paradise of His Heart.

Baby, it’s cold outside.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Angels Across the Ocean

Relief efforts in Haiti are intense; our nation is mobilized. It’s been many days since the first quake hit and the time is short for rescuing folks alive.

The news is heartbreaking. Twenty six fat little faces turn hopefully to the camera and I want to reach through the television and pick them all up and sing them a lullaby. They survived in an orphanage on the outskirts of Port Au Prince, now waiting for their American adoptive parents to bring them home early. Relief workers haven’t reached them yet and they are out of formula. I'm praying for them to stay chubby and smiling, at least they are unharmed. Bless the hearts of their caretakers, they are not collecting an earthly paycheck.

A friend’s husband has been called to Haiti to provide medical services, thank God and that family.

A neighbor tells us the woman I said hello to last week is on the list of the dead. She was here laughing one day and the next on a plane to her homeland, the eternal one. I remember her face so clearly; calm, confident, happy. She couldn’t have known, or perhaps she did.

It seems silly to worry about dripping faucets in my house when blood is spilling in Haiti, just down the street from us really. Wasn’t it last week I was chatting with a Facebook friend in Port Au Prince?

I have to think God is feeding the survivors and bringing them water until they are rescued. He did it for Elijah, He will do it again.

My friend's husband is with Partners in Health which I've heard is very good if you want a place to donate, also the Salvation Army. Refugees are arriving in Boston - there will be many opportunities to serve locally.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Resonant Chord

I can still hear my mother weeping watching the news on television in 1968. In April it was Dr. King; eight weeks later, it was Bobby Kennedy. Gunned down men. What kind of a world did I live in? My innocence shattered with the emotional echo of a trigger held on a nation.

Years later I understood the magnitude of those moments in my childhood.

Walking through a school corridor as a young mother, my heart screamed within me as I rescued my child from a system that penalized her for thinking outside their box. The administrators thought I was insane as I did them. How could they not understand that free thought is incumbent upon following the Shepherd and not the herd?

I nabbed my darling from the bureaucrats and for one frightening moment stood in the halls listening to the other children studiously striving to achieve their own intellectual slaughter.

My heart reeled. I couldn’t save them all, but I could save one.

The principal eyed me with fury.

“Mrs. McGrath, this is the best place for your child!” She shouted.

“Martin Luther King Jr. would not have survived these walls.” I whispered to her astonished face.

She had no reply.

The death of freedom is not as immediate as a gun but it is just as horrific; seeds of indifference and resignation are sown early.

Freedom that is Bible-based and Spirit-won flourishes in my family now.

The legacy lives on.

Friday, January 8, 2010

When the Storm Comes...

Today is stormy inside my heart, tears well up over silly things. That’s the clue, time to sit with the Lord for his counsel I suppose. My feet drag, I haven’t liked his answers lately. A lover’s quarrel, still I listen.

I bring all my brokenness and ask again, why? Why do I have to take inventory after the theft and be left with the empty holes that glare at me, where the pretty things were?

His voice comforts me in the sadness. The storm comes and takes with it anything that isn’t tied down. Does that mean I had to tie it down or that I didn’t tie it down? Or is it that it takes with it that which was not necessary? Some things seem so indispensable, don’t they?

He shows me the landscape charred and smoking after the fire has purged the forest. What good can come from these ashes? Yet as I step through the blackened soil, my boots catching on smoldering stumps, I know new life is just below the dying brush. The wind came through and took with it everything that wasn’t tied down, the fire raged and burned all that was left.

And deep below the surface seeds are opening that will sprout soon.

Hope in the midst of loss is always present. New life belies and lessens death. What was before will come again, changed, renewed, different. For now I survey this darkened field and mourn the loss of life and limb. Tomorrow will bring a brighter day and I will see the beginning of a new forest that has been growing secretly, readying for birth.

My tears fall on fallow field watering the future.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Pivot 2010

The old year has gone out quietly if not chased out by most! General consensus holds the past year as one of grueling trials…

And now we begin anew. Hopefully the coming year will hold more good than naught!

We pivot, do we not? One moment may be bad, the next good. We wish, we dream, we hope. We fear, we scream, we mope. One moment pivots into the next. What does a moment hold? What good can come in a second?

In the twinkling of an eye the Lord will return.

Words spoken millennia ago will take shape in front of our very minds and hold eternity in its grasp, one second lost, the next everlasting.
Each moment is a pivot in time, becoming a collection of choreography making one grand ballet. A dancer takes center stage for a time and pirouettes out to another coming in, one shines bright and then fades as another lights.

Now is the time to pivot and pirouette, the finale is almost here and the party will soon begin;

may it be in 2010.