Monday, June 29, 2009

praise song from the aegean

from the ends of the earth

from the depths of the sea

from the heights of the heavens

Your Name be praised

from the hearts of the weak

from the shouts of the strong

from the lips of all people

this song we raise, Lord

throughout the endless ages

You will be crowned with praises

Lord most high

exalted in every nation

Sovereign of all creation

Lord most high

be magnified

i see the depths of the sea.
i am at the far end of the earth, farther from home than i have ever been.
i have never seen skies so high, stretching from the vast horizon of the sea all the way to the heavens.
i cannot count the stars in an uninterrupted sky, though they loom so large I could almost touch one.
if only i could climb the mast, perhaps there i could reach.
perhaps there i could join in the music of the spheres, join in the heavenly chorus of the angels.

higher than the mountains on all sides that just barely avoid scraping the stars from the sky.
higher than the azure blue sea, filled with secrets of creation, is deep.
higher than this end of the earth is far from home.

Lord most high. Your Name be praised.
from the lips of all people.
from the spray of the sea.
from the roar of the wind.
from the roll of the waves.
from the shimmer of the stars.
from the sear of the sun.

be magnified.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

with the promise of tales to come

“When you're safe at home you wish you were having an adventure; when you're having an adventure you wish you were safe at home."
--thornton wilder

"There's nothing half so pleasant as coming home again."
--margaret elizabeth sangster

Monday, June 15, 2009

as i embark on an adventure (of a lifetime)

and in anticipation of lots to share when i return:

"Don't underestimate the value of Doing Nothing, of just going along, listening to all the things you can't hear, and not bothering." --winnie the pooh

Sunday, June 14, 2009

what you can learn in children's church

(if you pay attention)

says claymation Jesus in the movie the miracle maker: "there is a purpose in our grief. everything that is happening will be for the glory of our God."

amen. let it be so.

Friday, June 12, 2009

speaking of soundtracks

you'll remember it, i'm sure. you had pushed it as long as you reasonably could, beyond reasonable, even. your teeth were chattering, your lips were blue, you couldn't control the shivering. your fingers and toes were long past pruned. over and over you had blown off your mother's concerns: "aren't you freezing? do you want a snack? don't you want to take a break and warm up?" and the half-hour warnings, the ten-minute warnings, the one-more-jumps.

luke finally got out of the pool the other day, chattering and pruned and hungry and thirsty and chlorine-eyed and exhausted. (remember the great big beach towel? the warm, tight snuggle in the sun that finally exhausts the shivering?) and we headed up the dozen or so stairs toward the locker room, home of warm clothes and the after-you-get-dressed snack. i was a few steps ahead of him when he tripped over that great big beach towel, bare pool-softened knees catching the blow on the edge of the concrete stair.

"i hate my mama!" he screamed as i scooped him up, as he saw the blood (which he fears most of all) dripping from his knee, as he broke into hysterical sobs. and i put him right back down, with a stern word about that-is-never-okay and why-would-you-say-such-a-thing?

i put him right back down.

"because you tripped me! because it's your fault!" still sobbing hysterically.

just a few seconds and a short explanation (from me) of why that was impossible and why his misplaced expression of anger was not okay and a sobbing apology (from him) later, i scooped him back up again and we took care of the wound.

the knee, that is. and as for the wound inflicted when, in response to his anger, i put him back down?

How long, O Lord? Will you forget me forever?
How long will you hide your face from me?
How long must I wrestle with my thoughts
and every day have sorrow in my heart?
How long will my enemy triumph over me?
Look on me and answer, O Lord my God.
Give light to my eyes, or I will sleep in death;
my enemy will say, "I have overcome him,"
and my foes will rejoice when I fall. (Psalm 13:1-4)

no sign of You
feeling this short
Home...not even close
nerves left exposed
stumbling through the lines
feeling alone
it hurts when we fall
the wrong wall

and shake fists at the sky
i have my reasons why.

when the psalmist cried out in anger, did his Father set him back down, with a reproach and conditional comfort? get it right and then i'll love you? when the psalmist blamed his Creator for the brokenness of his life, for the bleeding wounds he had to bear, did El-Shaddai, He who is sufficient to meet every need, set him down and correct his raging? when the broken man pleaded and threatened defeat for his Alpha and Omega, did Jehovah-Jireh, the provider, give him a time-out before a band-aid?

big enough.

God is big enough even for my misplaced anger. He does not fear it. He who is a man of sorrows, acquainted with grief, does not withdraw from my raging. He does not set me down, bleeding wounds exposed, and require my apology before applying the salve.

i don't remember one jump or one leap. just quiet steps away from your lead.
with so much deception, it's hard not to wander away.

God does not change. whether i fall on my knees in tears or climb to the top rung to shake my fist at the sky, He is Abba. He is.

But I trust in your unfailing love;
my heart rejoices in your salvation.
I will sing to the Lord,
for he has been good to me. (Psalm 13:5-6)

Thursday, June 11, 2009

soundtrack for my week

(i have listened to this song--"reasons why" by nickel creek--at least thirty times in the past two days. find it online and listen to it sometime; it's really pretty great.)

Where am I today? I wish that I knew
'Cause looking around there's no sign of you
I don't remember one jump or one leap
Just quiet steps away from your lead

I'm holding my heart out, but clutching it too
Feeling this short of a love that we once knew
I'm calling this home when it's not even close
Playing the role with nerves left exposed

Standing on a darkened stage
Stumbling through the lines
Others have excuses
I have my reasons why

We get distracted by the dreams of our own
But nobody's happy while feeling alone
And knowing how hard it hurts when we fall
We lean another ladder against the wrong wall

And climb high to the highest rung
To shake fists at the sky
Others have excuses
I have my reasons why

With so much deception
It's hard not to wander away

Saturday, June 6, 2009

after my own heart

(beach baby)

because he loves the beach almost as much as i do

and because he's so cute, i couldn't pick just one

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Monday, June 1, 2009

to climb or not to climb

maybe it's not a matter of getting over it. maybe it's more like getting around it.

in the book from which i shared an excerpt in this post is also found this sentence: "I'm just beginning to understand why parents never really get over the death of their child." in the song from which i shared lyrics in this post, i've come back and back to this line: "Just show me the way around it."

i'm thinking that's a better goal. around.

what does it mean to "get around it"? to accept that it is too high for me to overcome, too big for me to surmount, too powerful for me to leave behind. which is not to say that there isn't a next-to. or an alongside. or an on-the-other-side-of.

it's just a question of how to get there.

i think, at least for me, that getting around it looks like engaging with what else is there. that is, seeing things other than the insurmountable mount. yes, it's there, and it will always be: whether straight ahead, in the side-view mirror, just behind, or right back in front again. but the things that surround it will always be there, too. is it averting my eyes, then? trying not to see it? no, i think it's something more like widening--very gradually--my view, without losing sight of the mount. because there is an important lesson in recognizing the un-overcome-able, at least for me. it keeps the rest of the scenery in perspective, i think, and the rest of the surmountable in its place, when the i'm-not-big-enough is still in view.

still in view, yes, but other things are, too.

is it escapism? or avoidance? to choose to engage with the all-around-it instead of the it? no, it is honest, i think, to admit that i am incapable of sustaining a constant struggle to engage it--to climb the mount, as it were--and that sometimes, it is a gift to negotiate the conquerable, that which, once passed, will continue to retreat in the rearview mirror.

unlike getting over it, then, it's not so much a once-and-for-all getting around it; it's more, i think, like a getting around it and around it and around it. because, after all, there is lots to see and do even at the foot of a mountain. even if i stay perpetually at the foot.