Helpless and human
Deity in the dirt
Spirit married with flesh
We couldn’t make it to you,
But you come to us.
You always come to us.
In our stubbornness and desire,
Entitlement and shame
Remind us that we need you,
Merge your untamed spirit with our flesh.
We try to forget those
Years of wandering.
Shackles and masters,
An eternity of doubting
And still, you come to us.
A divine intrusion
Through our scheming and chaos–
Coats of armor, angels and armies.
Do some wrecking here, and gently come to us.
Disturb us on this day
Through sorrow and through dancing,
The bliss of joy and sting of death
Past hands that would threaten and tear,
You come to us extravagantly.
From Your manger lonely,
Mighty and mysterious
You come to us, Seed of Heaven
Spirit wed with flesh,
These broken hearts to mend.
~ The Disarming Child by Charlie Lowell
~by Hannah Wilder
And the Mystery comes.
In the middle of.
In the disruption.
The Spirit hovers Over the chaos. “Do some wrecking here, and gently come. Disturb us this day….”. So do you really want to pray that?
This has been an autumn of disruption.
A long labor.
New things are being birthed.
In my heart, in my home.
In the midst of chaos.
For Advent this year I am wanting to create space. Space to write. Space to listen. Space to be still.
At Neighborhood, we are being challenged to snap pictures of peace. Not peace in the traditional way it is pictured. Sometimes photos look so tranquil, of sunsets or a bubbling brook. The good news of Advent doesn’t look like that. No picture perfect photo here.
It’s a crazy story…
Once upon a time there was a woman, a girl really, who was out doing her chores. She had this wild experience; a conversation with someone she couldn’t see. This someone told her she was pregnant. The townspeople were not so easily fooled. Whether or not her folks told her about the facts of life, they knew them. You don’t get pregnant in the field by yourself.
And so the story begins.
I’ll be sitting with bits and pieces of it this season. I’m looking for the kind of peace that comes in the middle of situations like that. There’s a bigger story being written here, and we get the gift of reading it. But this gal didn’t. She just had to live life in the middle.
Howard Thurman says that we have to have a theology for those with their backs against the wall, or we have nothing at all.
I’ve been there. I am there sometimes. How about you?
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 abandon all that I think I am, all that I hope to be, all that I believe I possess.
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 lay
myself 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.
I found myself saying this phrase today. It was couched in an afternoon so thick with redemption that you could smell Jesus.
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
A lament for our Dream Act kids…We were the immigrants once. We are the immigrants today. We are the they.
What if…we stopped drawing lines in the sand between us.
What if…we stopped building walls.
What if…we stopped throwing words like grenades.
What if…we stopped using fear to form laws.
What if…we started daring to turn over Temple tables.
What if…we started with the scroll of good news to the poor.
What if…we started to break our Samaritan neighbor world view.
What if…we started to love our neighbor.
Would justice roll down?
Would swords get repurposed as plowshares?
Would children who took a long trip keep their papers?
Would old sheriffs have to keep the law?
What if the kingdom were to come.
As it is in heaven.
Home where you belong.
I am starting a course in herbal medicine for women.
In typical recovering Baptist fashion, tonight I dove into the first assignment. I looked at the objectives, read the key words, and made sure I understood how to turn in the homework. I had signed up for this to add to my knowledge of herbs, after all. And it was a chunk of cash! I even set up a study group to hold myself accountable.
It was a curious thing to notice there were reflective assignments that went along with the lessons. I added "get a new sketchbook" to my list.
The first chapter started with history. I settled in, pens in hand. The author, Aviva Romm, had suggested we write in the book; she gave her permission, she said. (The good girl lives in me still, but since I had permission…)
As she began to explore women's ways of knowing, I could feel myself settle deeply into my chair, tea forgotten. Yes! My heart resonated with the words. This is what women long for, to have deep meaningful relationship with a provider; to be heard. The work of a provider includes to learn to trust intuition and internal wisdom.
When someone begins to speak about "trusting the gut" and "listening to the body" I pay attention. These are themes that are woven deeply into the tapestry of my journey of recovery and healing. Radical phrases, in the context of my black and white upbringing, nearly tantamount to heresy. And yet here I am, taking another step farther in: learning about herbs. Steeping in the herbs, it sounds like, is the path ahead for the next 18-36 months.
I have been drawn to plants these last few months. I always thought I had a brown thumb. My mom never let me touch her plants, except to rub mayonnaise (Miracle Whip I think, as it was the 70's) on the leaves to make them shiny. I think she read it in a women's magazine in a doctor's office. My dad kept the garden, but he had lived on a farm off and on growing up, so of course he knew these things. My roommate in college said I could buy the plants and she would take care of them. That sounded good to me. Even when I put a few plants in the dirt, my husband always dug the bed for me. I bought well established plants, and he watered them. That seemed wise, because I had a brown thumb.
This morning I was out with a lightweight shovel I bought especially for myself, digging in the dirt. It is still 104 here in the desert, but fall is in the air. You can feel it in the first cool of the morning, in the breeze late at night.
And now here I am, deeply still as the words unfold on the page, aware somehow that I am entering another layer of redemption.
Maybe I will even start some seeds this year.
And you know what? My thumb looks to be just the right color for this season of life.
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.
And so for today, I am grateful.
To be up. To be able to walk. To be alive. To see.
Enjoy your morning!
When we talk about the healthcare crisis or legislation and its potential impact, we must remember faces and stories of people. Real people, people with real needs.
I hear the stories all the time. Women with a Medicaid plan that doesn’t cover prenatal care, only the birth. Women who are told they can’t get care unless they can pay a deposit bigger than a week’s income. Women who are told they can’t pick up records to change care unless they pay hundreds of dollars. Women who are told that their birth will be $20,000 cash. Women told they can’t be discharged from the hospital until they pay five or $10,000.
I could go on. These are just stories that I’ve heard this month. Legal? Yes. And no. But common, nonetheless.
As a healthcare provider in this community in this time in history, how do I show up?
Showing up has to look like bold justice, gift wrapped in creativity.
For me, it looks like a radical sliding scale, with births from $500 to 4000 depending on income. It looks like forgetting about what I’m “supposed” to be doing in my practice, and wrapping women around with the kinds of services I think they deserve. It looks like finding ways to nurture them, bringing in Wise and caring birthworkers who support Lactation, encapsulate placentas, give massages, do acupuncture. It looks like providing birth supplies and pools. It looks like five or six postpartum visits, maybe in the home if that’s what’s needed. It looks like herbs, lovingly crafted into teas and baths.
I’m not saying this to promote my practice. I’m saying this is what every single one of us needs to do in some manner. Call the legislators yes. Yes and….
And come up with creative solutions within our sphere of influence, solutions that empower women. Solutions that treat them with dignity. Solutions that create safe spaces for their babies to be born. Solutions that hold space for trauma to be healed, for redemption to occur.
Maybe that’s what’s required. To do justice. To love mercy. To walk humbly.
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.