Saturday, February 27, 2010

Re-turning Every Day

I've been feeling spiritually "off" lately. Lost the spark. In the doldrums. Stuck inside my own skin and not liking the company in there. So last night I finally sighed, closed the Scrabble game I was playing on FB (after playing a Bingo worth 74 points, ahem), and opened my Bible.

Randomly. (Nothing is random.)

To Hosea. That ugly/beautiful story of God's unconditional, redeeming love. At the end of the book are scribbled sermon notes from a message Barb Mutch gave at our women's retreat last year:

"Daily returning. Not a big deal but the biggest deal in the world. Allow God to change us. A lifetime of turning. Daily disciplined work of spirituality. Connecting ourselves to God every day. Show up, each day, for God. Re-turn over and over."

I have re-turned, again. I plan to re-turn tomorrow too. I am amazed at how easy it is, how well it works, to simply hold my cold, blackened wick up to the fire for even a minute.

Hosea says, Return, O Israel, to the Lord your God. Your sins have been your downfall! Take words with you and return to the Lord.

The Lord says, I will heal their waywardness and love them freely, for my anger has turned away from them. I will be like the dew to Israel; he will blossom like a lily. Like a cedar of Lebanon he will send down his roots; his young shoots will grow. His splendor will be like an olive tree, his fragrance like a cedar of Lebanon. People will dwell again in his shade. He will flourish like the grain. He will blossom like a vine, and his fame will be like the wine from Lebanon.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Risky Business

I woke up this morning wondering what would happen if God managed to goad me into doing something before I had a chance to put up all the security checks and safety nets around it.

He'd have to act pretty darn fast.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

About Yesterday's Post

"A Thin Place" was an entry in an essay-writing contest I discovered yesterday. We were to write about a situation in our lives where the veil between heaven and earth was so thin that we seemed able to touch heaven in almost a tangible way. My grandmother's death was an incident like that.

Those incidents are more common than we realize. My mother experienced one when my father was killed at his workplace when I was a child. They brought her to the hospital and into the room where my father's body lay. She bent over to cry, but heaven spoke into her tear-filled heart: "Why are you standing here crying? The angels are singing."

She straightened up and turned to repeat the message to the doctor she supposed was still in the room. The doctor had left, but when she turned, the room was full of a light brighter than anything she had ever seen. That place was so thin that the glory of heaven shone through, erasing the tears for the moment, even though there would be more later on.

Heaven is so near. Joy is just around the corner for all of us. I look forward to the day there will be nothing between my grandmother, my father, my mother and myself.

Can you remember a thin place in your life? Will you comment about it?

You can read about the contest here:

Friday, February 12, 2010

A Thin Place

I hold her hand. It’s my turn. We do it in shifts. We know she is going soon.

“Walter came to me last night,” she said last week. My father, her first child and her only son, is already there, on the other side of the thinness, waiting. I have grown used to living without him. The grief has subsided into a gentle loneliness. But I still miss him, especially when the veil seems so paper-thin.

Subdued noises filter through the doorway from the living room. From the room where the living wait. My grandmother is not aware. Or is she? Do we know what people hear when they’re hovering between these two worlds? Perhaps she hears more than I do. Perhaps she hears things on both sides of the thinness.

I hear a sob. It’s my aunt Mary Ann. This is hardest on her, because she believes it is the end. I know it’s not. So does my grandmother. She settled her future years ago and now approaches it with anticipation. The real living will begin for her when she is gone from this place.

I look once more at her quiet face. I wonder if each breath will be her last.

One inhaled breath. Before it leaves her body, a vibrating hum sings from her hand into mine. I know, before it’s time, that the next breath will not come.

My father has taken her other hand. I feel his life flowing through her, touching me, loving me. Through the thinness I feel the touch of eternity.