Friday, July 23, 2010

Friday Five I can Actually Do...

...given my short attention span.

SONGBIRD WRITES: Since I've been in the midst of a discernment process, I've done a lot of reflecting on how we make decisions. But don't worry, I'm not going to ask you to reveal a dark story about a poor decision, or a self-flagellating story about an embarrassing one. Let's keep it simple and go with five word pairs. Tell us which word in the pair appeals to you most, and after you've done all five, give us the reason why for one of them.

Here they are:

1) Cake or Pie - Pie
2) Train or Airplane - Train
3) Mac or PC - Mac
4) Univocal or Equivocal - I dont even know what these words mean...
5) Peter or Paul - Peter

LOVE riding the train, and since I just came off an airplane ride, that love was reconfirmed again. Too bad is so expensive now....

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Message in a bottle

"It was nice to have you in church today," he says, "There you were, just grinning away..."

"Oh, well," I respond lamely, "I really enjoyed your sermon, so thanks." I do not out myself as a pastor, but I am not lying. I did enjoy the sermon. There is a slight chance that I went to church on vacation (visiting J's side of our Minnesota family) in order to take notes and make comparisons. But, as an example of how God can use even our worst intentions for good, I actually had a kind of great time.

Maybe it was because we started out with this translation of "You Have Come to the Lakeshore" which I'd never heard which contained the lines
You need the caring of my hands
Through my tiredness, may others find resting
You need a love that just goes on loving.
I cant remember the words I actually know and I'm too lazy to look them up now, but after two nights (well three really if you count the night before and our day-before-flight jitters) anyway after several nights of interrupted sleep, I was thinking my tiredness wasn't good for anything much. So it was better than good to think that it might have a purpose, you know?

And the sermon was local in a good way. Yes, I am in Minnesota and I do expect the sermon to mention Kirby Puckett, so thank you for that. And it was thoughtful, too. My dad's best sermon prep advice is "pray. and get out of the way." It was a smart sermon, and had moments of lightness, but it felt like the preacher had followed my dad's advice, so we could connect with God in Christ, instead of his cleverness or funny-ness.

So, I guess I was grinning with gratitude for these things, but also because during the offering, when I opened the little green pew envelope to put my money in, I found a small piece of paper folded into four and carefully sealed in there. On one side, under "prayer joys/concerns and reasons to give thanks" a rainbow picture. And then, on the other side, a phone number, address, name and in a child's careful printing "Send me this Please look at the adres."

So naturally, I saved it so I could send it back to her. And I was grinning, because isnt that why we come to church, all of us? Because we want to create something beautiful? Because we want to know we are part of something bigger than we are? Because we want to reach out, and we are praying all the time that someone will reach back?

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Should have behaved better

We have noticed that our kindly and congenial next door neighbor hasn't been around much. Saw his wife tonight, and learned that he's moved out.

After 42 years of marriage.

And turns out, as sometimes is revealed in the suburbs, that more was happening over there than met the eye.

Remember when I asked a writer I know about writing about other people? And she said "If grown ups are ashamed of what you write about them, they should have behaved better." ?

There are things I am ashamed of, and I have to say if people wrote about them, I would have wished they wouldn't. But they are mostly private and really not all that interesting. Like, being pleased that my new (so-called) sophisticated hair-do was noticed, and right after that having to pick a big smear of dried banana off my purse. Or blah blah blah spending so much time on facebook. Or making a child cry for the seven hundred and twenty eighth time by saying, "no, we are not stopping for ice cream on the way home." Or maybe for being the kind of mother who has a child who cries over a thing like that.

Anyway, those are all small and silly. But I think next door it started small too. And I wonder at what point the small things would start to add up, start to create a whole secret life that was so shameful that in the end all a guy could do was run away from it. At what point could "shouldnt" become "shouldnt have"?

Wish I had a snappy ending here, but dont. There are no answers, and this is not nearly the end. It's the middle of a sad mess and I'm watching, and wishing grownups would behave better.

Monday, July 12, 2010


Lately, I've noticed several times acquaintances or friends of a more evangelical frame of mind than I use the phrase "if the Lord tarries..." and then describing a future goal or activity.

Meaning, I am to suppose (although my tradition doesn't really linger over this kind of theology) that if the end time is not imminent, then we can get down to making some plans.


Where does this word come from? Is it from the Bible?


I chew over it. It just sounds wrong and funny (funny peculiar, not funny ha ha) to me, although at first I cant think why. I guess tarrying just sounds a little more lackadaisical or lazy or carefree than I imagine Our Lord and Savior to be. Too much, my husband opines, like dilly-dallying, tarrying is. Like, He was on his way, but got distracted by a really astonishing field of wild flowers and had to go lie down for awhile and watch the clouds float by.

Which, now that I think about it, is maybe just what the Risen and Returned Christ should be be doing after all.

All righty then. Tarry away, dear Jesus. We'll be ready when you are.

Thursday, July 08, 2010


I'm not much of a numbers rememberer. Ask my husband, for example, how after nearly 10 (see I DID remember that one!) years of marriage, I still have to pause for a moment to think when someone asks me his birth date.

But every now and then I hear a statistic or number that sticks.

For example, when the statue of liberty turned 200, they had 200 Elvis impersonators at the celebration, I remember hearing on the Morning Show (which, look! had its final broadcast on MY birthday! maybe I'll remember that one,too). Anyway, as I was saying before I was so rudely interrupted by my own train of thought, I remember hearing that number, and then hearing that if the number of people claiming "Elvis impersonation" as their first occupation continued to grow at the current rate, by the year 2015, one in twenty persons would be an Elvis impersonator. I probably remember it because it made me laugh hysterically every one of the approximately (to use another statistic) 659 times I repeated it.

This week, I met with a little group that gathers every couple of weeks, and we were talking about some numbers (Easter Island is only 14 miles long and 7 miles wide and there about 1000 people and 600 statues that live there!) it reminded me of a statistic that I heard last time we met which keeps coming back to me. We were talking about a city festival, how it didnt used to be so crowded, and one of the group, a woman in her upper 80's, remarked, "Well there were just less people then. I mean, when I was a kid, there were only a billion people in the whole world."

And, suddenly, it was like all the times I'd ever heard stats about population growth came right to life. Here is a person I actually KNOW who has seen the population of the world grow 6 TIMES in her LIFETIME! Since I heard it, I think about that number all the time - when I'm sitting in traffic, or on fourth of July trying to get home from a baseball game, or tonight at the park at a concert. There are SIX TIMES more of us than there were 80 years ago.

So, for those of you who remember numbers, does this level of grokking lead you to action of some kind? Of so, what should mine be?