My ego is like a fortress–I have built its walls stone by stone to hold out the invasion of the love of God.
But I have stayed here long enough.
There is light–over the barriers. Oh my God–
The darkness of my house forgive And overtake my soul. I relax the barriers.
I let go of the past, I withdraw my grasping hand from the future, and in the great silence of this moment,
I alertly rest my soul.
As the seagull lays in the wind current, so I laymyself into the Spirit of God.
My dearest human relationships, my most precious dreams, I surrender to his care.
All that I have called my own I give back. All my favorite things which I would withhold in my storehouse from his fearful tyranny.
I let go.
I give myself unto Thee, oh my God.
He’s crazy like that, you know.
Crazy enough to bring together a babysitter and a little girl, now in grown up bodies, to share story.
Stories of Harm, and stories of goodness, with silly stories of the every day mixed between.
History, we call it; the stories of Long Ago. This was a space for “her-story”. Infinitely more sacred, and raw and it’s beauty and pain.
These two crazy fishermen were talking one day. Probably the one was asking the other why in the world he had given up the business, when it had been in the family for generations. And all that, to follow a new guy in town that people said was crazy?! Definitely illegitimate at the very least. And in a place where bloodlines matter, that was unforgivable.
And what did the smelly fisherman say?
Come. And. See.
aspen circle near snow bowl, Flagstaff, Arizona
I don’t like mornings.
Never have. Never (?) will.
But I have two kids who have run cross country. And babies who like to greet their mamas (and the midwife) as the sun comes up.
I used to work nights, as a nurse. It wasn’t all bad. I would go to bed as other people got up. And on the off nights I could stay up as late as possible.
It generally takes me an hour to reconcile myself to the inevitable reality that the day has begun. Once I am past that, I feel quite cheerful.
Sone people like sunrises; I prefer sunsets. I would like sunrises, I think, if they showed up at a different time of day.
Today I walked while the kids ran. I am up to more than half a mile! If you know the long story, that in itself is a miracle.
I saw tiny purple flowers, unnoticed amidst the grass. Four raindrops hit me. (In the desert?!) And when I sat under a tree to rest, I saw this on the ground beneath my feet.
Enjoy your morning!
Yes, We stand alongside, lending support, and each one has to face her fears, find her courage and let go.
Wise words from my midwife sister and friend. Words for the midwife, although they sound like they are for the mama.
This is the work, isn’t it? Not just the work of having a baby; but the work of life. And I need others in this journey. To remind me of truth; to draw me back to trust.
Truly He taught us to love one another, His law is love and His gospel is peace. Chains he shall break, for the slave is our brother. And in his name all oppression shall cease.
The lyrics from Oh holy night are my heart cry this year. For myself, in this home; and in our land. Never have I been so aware of a time where fear and hatred rule the day.
I picked up tamales tonight from a dear one this afternoon and felt the terror looming for the uncertainty of the change if power in January. And so we eat them, recognizing that this gift is as sacred as the breaking of the bread. These are our brothers and sisters who awake each day in fear. This is My Body, broken….
And so tonight we remember an immigrant family long ago would flee to Egypt the day after the baby was born. Not what I would recommend for one day postpartum as a midwife!
I am deeply aware as well of my own need this year. The car accident a year ago represented for me the fragility of life. And the shockwaves that continue to move out from that day keep it in front of me.
And so for tonight, I will hold the goodness of the traditions that weave the years together. We are family, in the middle of.
And so, I will go to the airport and our nest will be full. And we will welcome the night with pajamas and the morning with cinnamon rolls, hot from the oven.
We will eat our tamales, and give thanks, and cry for mercy.
Darkness and Light.
Waiting and Coming.
Sorrow and Hope.
Death and …
We hold so much at Christmas. All of that not knowing, together with the not yet.
I am a desert girl, mostly. A turtleneck in the morning, just because. And then a/c when kids get in the car. Desert kids don’t understand winter. Therefore, they can’t know the mystery of spring, of green shoots pushing up through the snow. In Phoenix, we force bulbs. We put them in the refrigerator drawer for “winter” and then take them out to let them know it’s spring. A tiny shoot begins, stretching up bit by bit, reaching for the light.
The poem was born from a midwife (Advent, by Sister Christine Schenk).
With quickened hope
For crooked paths to straighten,
With tough-soul’d anguish,
Keepers of the keys
(If such a thing were possible).
And will not be
For tiny shoot
Of Jesse tree
Took root in me.
The tiny shoot.
Toward the light.
Hope is a fragile thing.
I was asked by my counselor (who specializes in disruptive questions): “Do you have hope?” My knee jerk response was, “I don’t want to jinx it.” I regretted that response. She pursued my heart in kind and bold ways, and I left that fall Phoenix day feeling small and very stirred.
At every turn that week the word jumped out at me, inviting me farther in. Ericka shared at Neighborhood that week from this passage about the longings of immigrants: for something better, for a home, for a place to belong.
Each one of these people of faith died not yet having in hand what was promised, but still believing. How did they do it? They saw it way off in the distance, waved their greeting, and accepted the fact that they were transients in this world. People who live this way make it plain that they are looking for their true home. If they were homesick for the old country, they could have gone back any time they wanted. But they were after a far better country than that—heaven country. You can see why God is so proud of them, and has a City waiting for them. (Hebrews 11:13-16)
Other translations say that God was not ashamed to be called their God. The alien, the stranger in the land. The ones who never got what they hoped for. Not ashamed.
One of those crazy passages on suffering that got a bit warped in my growing up years says something similar:
because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4 perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5 And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us. (Romans 5:3-5).
Hope. It doesn’t put me to shame. Shame I understand, the Journey Mate of a wounded child. Ca-Ching. God is not ashamed.
I got it.
Hope has nothing to do with getting what I hope for. That’s a terrifying relief. Over and over as I wrestle I see two resting places.
God is present. God is good.
And these I know. I have walked the inky blackness of suffering. I have plumbed the depths of these words.
Today we lit the light of the prophets, the candle of hope.
So yes, to answer the question,
I have hope.
My daughter wrote in her journal tonight. The idea she was chasing is that when I write I express the image of God.
It made me think. What does it mean when “Word” is used to express a name for God. Is writing part of that expression of the very reality of being made in His image?
When I began to write, I would sometimes say that I was writing because it was the only thing on my list of “things I will never do” that I had not done. Here is the list: foster care, adoption, homebirth, women’s groups, writing. (If you know me at all, you are probably laughing about now). 🙄
So on the light of that list, and the humor of God, sometimes I joked that I started to write because it was inevitable. But I think that this reflection calls to me in a tender way; in simplicity and truth.
There are words inside of me that long for expression. Perhaps that is part of how I am made, to express an Image. When I write, I am reflecting something bigger.
And so, I write.
I am seen. I am known. I am not alone. I am safe.
These are my core longings.
A friend sent me a text today with these words: “You are seen. You are not alone. You are known. Truth💜.”
And for tonight, that is enough. All the not knowing that I am asked to hold in my heart right now can just be. Or perhaps, it is being held. By love. By Love.