I Was Just Wondering – Because I Am Weird That Way

 ame churchI Was Just Wondering – Because I Am Weird That Way

If every church, every where, literally not figuratively
Speaking
Of church
Do you think every pew in every town everywhere
Has the quiet griever in its midst
The stranger suffering in our midst
We are too busy singing from the old blue hymnal
Traditional words could, no
Would help the one who has the quiet thoughts
I really miss my wife who died last month
Everyone is facing forward looking straight ahead
Of me
And behind me too
well, and to my right to be exact is one
Who has the silent prayer trapped inside
I hope my friend with cancer doesn’t die


But we watch our watch and wonder, tea or diet coke
At lunch when will this sermon end
Is it too much
To ask
The lady hunched over in her chair if she knows how lovely
She looks today
Barely hanging by a thread
Beside the man sitting worried in the pew
His insides churning
It’s hell, this recent divorce
Keeps him up at night
If you’d just ask he’d be happy to tell you
And if you even spoke in church
He might ask you to pray
I was just wondering because I am weird that way
Maybe the church
Could close the hymnal every now and then
I love music more than most
But let’s
Seek the hurting, silent ones in our midst
Faith without works is dead

We
Could pray and say and love
I don’t know anymore but somehow I don’t want to miss the boat

Perhaps a  little more love would
Cover a multitude of sins
And I was just wondering

Maybe we should love our neighbor
Literally

Speaking
Mine wept in church today

Quiet never saying a word until he was spoken to
And then he cried
And so did I
Strangers we until he voiced his pain
I am weird that way
I was just wondering.

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Slice of Life – Living In The Rain

tomatoe slice

Yesterday and the day before  revealed new mysteries of timing. And showed how life will unveil  tenderness and joy in the most unexpected moments. How the pulsing of a  day like any other, a breathing in and out day, can move from a cacophony of disharmonious clanging cymbals and banging drums to a sweet whispered lullaby of perfect harmony.

Yesterday we dodged the rain. It came in sheets, thunderous banging and torrential downpours. So we got into the rhythm of its dance. And moved with nature, less with self. Realized that circumstances and external conditions can change things and shape days, but won’t define us.  We longed for the sun and a day on the water, playing in the salt and sea.

Yesterday teased us with her starts and stops. So we synchronized our living around the rain. 

night on the water

We sought  breaks from the feeling of entrapment staged by  the downpours of rain, in torrents it came. We shifted Sunday paradigms and rhythms and kept holding out for a break in the storm.

So much of our lives is mirrored in these moments of stormy living. Seeking shelter from the down pours. Wondering when the gray will step aside and let the blues pick up their brushes and paint the skies a watercolor canvas of lapis and turquoise, sapphire and indigo.

Some days the passion feels dull and lifeless, the writing doesn’t come, the news is bleak, a wounding comes our way in the form of words, the deal doesn’t go through, the work is hard, relationships are bruised — thunder claps and ominous clouds roll in.

But in the midst of the  grays, I was given a gift. One of meeting my neighbor, an eighty year old poet. She and I chatted, I gave her a pie I had made. And as often happens when kindred spirits meet, we savored the common interests and threads in our lives. And laughed and talked writing and poetry and of gathering together often to just be and write.

I have a new friend.  A poet friend. A writing friend. And she came right in the midst of a storm. And I told her her house is my happy place. That when I look her way from my window, I smile. And know I am beginning  a new friendship with one who lives  her eightieth year of life. I expect we will be friends for life. And I hope it will be a very long friendship indeed.

Finally, there was a break. Yesterday. There always is  potential for hope. It came. Mercifully.  After the rain.

The wet and damp still  permeated our world. But hungry for the sun and a short boat ride, we made a break for it.

We adjusted. We shifted our expectations. Lowered them a bit. A glimpse of sunlight gave us new perspective.  So we launched and set off into the world. The way it was. The way it is. Accepting  imperfect conditions.

Isn’t it beautiful when  we  are surprised by joy. And unexpected  beauty rides in on the black sky, singing a song of hope and new mercy. We met up with friends, laughed at the funny story our neighbor told me of taking her dog to church. He followed her there and  so they sat in the back together. She made an impromptu leash and allowed him to stay. Amos the silly white rescue dog, seeking companionship. And giving an otherwise  rainy day a whimsical and comical twist.

Aren’t we all little Amos’. Don’t we want to be nestled, included, held and loved.

my bike 2013

The storm brought cool new air  as the sky showed off  her  collection of grays. And an odd prevailing moodiness lifted. The tempest in the air brought gusts and wind currents rocked us as we leaned into the windsong of the dusk. We will always remember the night we took this ride which turned Maine cool on the eve of a Southern July day.

On Saturday a chilly word rode in on a telephone line, bringing a storm into my world. And I was met with a memory of how I had hurt another. The clouds moved in quickly and I wrestled with me and with my words and theirs.

What a mystery a well timed word can be.  Because a few hours later healing  came in the form of written  words  delivering  encouragement and hope and signaling a new beginning.

If you stand in the morning, at a certain time, you can catch the most glorious light. It hits the hydranga which have just come in to lighten the mood and spill some beauty on the counter where the soul of the house will always live. The kitchen. Stand and catch the perfect morning light. And see glory come down. There is a mystery to this falling, more like a liquid pouring into a room. Light  changes everything. It reveals, it transforms. Lifting our mood, changing the colors, waking us up.

And so often  spilling in at just the right time.

And aren’t we all like my neighbor  dog Amos, longing for love, perfectly timed words of encouragement and affirmation. For love to shine down and scoop us up. Forgiveness extended and grace revealed no matter how scraggly, lost and limping we appear. And don’t we hunger for  a place to sit in church, one that welcomes and invites, even the rescue dog, sweet Amos.

How beautiful the Holy mysteries of this perfectly imperfect life. In and out of storms. Always seeking the Light.

Thank you Lord for anchoring us through the storms and tethering us to You in the midst of all that rocks our fragile world.

And  help us love an Amos in our world today, with the Love that carries us through the storms. And to  seek  love,  cultivate love, nuture love  even  in the companionship of a wise new friend.

morning light on flowers hydrangae

Joining my friend Laura Boggess at Laura Boggess dot com for her Playdates at The Wellspring

Jesus and The Barefooted Man

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Jesus and The Barefooted Man

In the sixties she sat on red-velvet and stared at dead mink eyes
Staring back at her while she listened to the sermon
Teased hair, hats and some white gloves, confetti sprinkled among the faithful
The South, the  Methodists,
The pearls, sprinkled on a few
Folks listening or planning lunch at the Country Club later
Prime rib or fried chicken, thousand island or blue cheese, sweet tea or sweet tea

And now she wonders about the man with no shoes

He told me the day he went to the Episcopal church without me
I cocked my head and tried to get a visual on the thought
We walked to church a few Sundays later, together down a tree- lined street dripping with moss
On more than a few, old oaks
Passed him, smiling big, he not us
You’re going the wrong way aren’t you?
Headed away from church
He not us
Yeah, going to teach Sunday school
Cheshire cat grin on the barefooted man

And that was the man with no shoes
Seen through the eyes of of the lady who wears the pearls, sometimes
And we sat and rocked and smacked some jaws and asked some questions
Later with folks on the porch
Because this is our sometime home
Who was that man in the barefeet
We asked

And there were opinions and there were things said
And it is still the South
And that is good not bad, but true
Really, we all have a story
And this was an old Episcopal church, after all

Suits and ties, after all

The more I thought
And wondered and took myself down to the deep soul places
I had to dream and cry out to myself
Come Lord Jesus and teach us
Now, how to love all the barefooted souls
Who  sit among the mink and pearls

Show us how to love like you
And smile like we are all barefoot
Walking in the wrong direction

Heck, I think every man Jesus touched
Back in the dusty sandal days was barefooted
Walking

I want to walk beside
And wash and love

All the feet
And know the name of the barefooted man

I loathe labels
But I do love a Cheshire cat grin on a barefooted- man running after Jesus
In the “wrong” direction.

Food, Fellowship and Healing – Letters From The Village

mcvl sunset and tree:puddles

mcvl sunset after rain

We sat down and it all began. The flow of life, the pulsing heart beats of woman, of writer, of friend, of fellow Christ-follower. And the synchronization of all the labels and titles and banners we wear meld into perfect harmony. And we are just two souls. Hungry.

We begin a marathon of interchange. And food may be the anchor but there is a long thread which forms a tether between her vessel and mine.

We have stories that are untold. Don’t we all. Life can find you storing up more than you know when you walk out your days at a decidedly quiet pace. Hours of parenting and wiving and mothering and living can fill a soul with much to peel back. Processing is an act of revealing. Sharing a meal can set the stage for sharing a life.

And food is our anchor.

When she brought it sur table it was if a painter unveiled the master’s most recent canvas, her soul work. Or that of the chef. Art as food. Food as art. Our beautiful anchor was photo-worthy. Fried green tomatoes and shrimp from a stone’s throw away, the bounty of the sea, from the very village where she and I meet for more than nourishment for the body. On a bed of greens, the pinks and greens laid out in perfect symmetry surrounded by slices of sun-burst orange slices dancing along the rim of the plate. And diamonds of pineapple slices popping up here and there for sweet delight.

The senses are delighted and the heart follows suit.

And this could be the story of a writer’s lunch. And it was. Or this could be a story of a girl’s lunch half-way between our island home and Charleston, the holy city, the port city, the city of stories and a gourmand’s haven. The heavenly delights of that place. (I met the Patient One there back in the 80’s. You should know this important piece of my story if you read here. Writer’s sigh inserted here.)

mary margaret mcclellanville

But this is a story with chapters of mother’s at lunch breathing words of their children between and over bites of fried green tomatoes. And one with pages of writers chewing on writing and words and the passions that stir line after line on blogs and beyond. Of poetry, story, redemption and grace. 

Of poetic prose. And of dreams cast with nets that reach beyond blogging.

But I know well that the only real story which I can rightly tell is the one which is mine. The one which I live. So  I will not speak for her. She does that well daily in her exquisite voice of redemption and story, blended and baked up with perfectly timed phrases, going heavy on heart.

So I bookmark the chapters that tell of healing. And I highlight the parts which taste like restoration to the delight of my tongue. I savor that we who have come from a storm, a schism and a breaking can come in peace. That we, who found ourselves on opposite sides of a whirlwind in our church community, can break bread over the table of wholeness. No strife. No division.

Simply lovers of Christ, lovers of words and lovers of life, lovers of peace.

Building a friendship and walking around the frayed edges of the broken places. Seeing the common ground and overlooking the differences, whatever they are. 

Tasting and seeing that He is good indeed. In all seasons. That the God of our lives is a lover of relationship. That wholeness and healing are good and fill the soul with nourishment of grace and mercy. 

That the fruits of the Spirit may be the most delectable of all there is to bring to the mouth of the soul for growth in Him.

So she and I hug and part ways and promise to do this more often. We lose track of time and lose track of more than that. All that division. And we focus on the hungry parts of all woman, the need for friendship, relationship. A longing for a listening ear and a shared understanding of the joy and the struggles of this messy living.

And we plan to come around the anchor again. The one that keeps us decidedly in community. See clearly that need to break bread, to feast on fellowship. To heal relationships.

The anchor of love.

wall of windows when love is hard

Joining Jennifer Dukes Lee  and Emily Wierenga today. The community of writers at Imperfect Prose of Thursday’s is writing on the word prompt, food.