Wednesday, February 25, 2009

You're my water, you're my wine...

Am home. Last night. Yesterday about five caught Marvin Window’s small corporate plane (our son works for them) down to Minneapolis. Stared out the window at the frozen lakes, hundreds, thousands of them as we flew low through the waning day. Post funeral. Post family. Post so many people and cups of Folgers. Post helping write thankyous for memorial gifts. Post staring out Mom’s living room windows across empty fields and pastures.

We drove home. Me talking nonstop. Like I was drugged, flying high. Telling everything that happened from the time he left on Friday morning. Couldn’t stop. Couldn’t edit.

How good is it to have someone who tolerates rough drafts? Or who brings you what you crave when you’re too tired to get it yourself?

Monday, February 16, 2009

Gone for awhile

This past weekend during the L’Abri conference where both Denis and I participated as speakers, I received news of my dad’s death early Saturday morning. He suffered much during the last few months of his life and so his departure was that mixed blessing people speak of. He was my mother’s second husband, so my step-father…my father was someone I never knew - he was killed in a plane crash a few months before I was born. After me came five more children. It’s been a comfort to me that some of my siblings who live near Mom have been helping, loving, keeping vigil with her and Dad these many weeks. Years, actually, as it was eight years ago when he had a stroke that disabled him and took away his ability to speak, though not his thinking.

Today, Denis and I are preparing to leave on the 8 hour drive that will take us north almost to Canada where much of my family still lives.

Unaware of what it might mean to me, Denis threw me a heart line during his plenary session when he reminded us of Samwise Gamgee from Lord of the Rings who, when he saw Gandalf after the last battle, asks in utter surprise and joy: “I thought you were dead! But then I thought I was dead myself! Is everything sad going to come untrue?”

Then, Denis quoted Tim Keller (I think.) who said: “The answer of Christianity to that question is – yes. Everything sad is going to come untrue and it will somehow be greater for having once been broken and lost.”

For my family who mourns this particular death, but for all who grieve, I pray God will give comfort. I look forward to that glorious time when Christ returns to regenerate and renew all things. Then perhaps, both my fathers will stand to bless me, my husband, my children, and grandchildren in a way they could not in this life.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

The God who stays

For those of us who are apt to conduct our lives and relationships, especially our relationship with God, based on how we feel, this is a good word:

Reality is what we notice on the surface – what we feel or see, what superficial perspectives we might gain, for example, from television’s evening news. Truth is much larger. It encompasses everything that genuinely is going on.
The reality might be that our world looks totally messed up, that war and economic chaos seem to control the globe. [I would add environmental breakdown.] But the truth is much deeper – that Jesus Christ is still (since His ascension) Lord of the cosmos, and the Holy Spirit is empowering many people to work for peacemaking and justice building as part of the Trinity’s purpose to bring the universe to its ultimate wholeness.
The reality might be that you do not feel God, but the truth is that God is always present with you, perpetually forgiving you, and unceasingly caring for you with extravagant grace and abundant mercy. Not only that, but the very process of dealing with our lack of feelings and our resultant doubts about God is one of the ways by which our trust in the Trinity is deepened. – Being Well When We’re Ill by Marva Dawn. P. 30

Thursday, February 5, 2009

This will make you feel better about yourself

I made a purchase at Barnes & Nobel today. When I stepped away from the counter, the man behind me, an older gentleman called out. "Mam? Mam?" As I paused, he said, "Turn around." And he peeled a piece of toilet paper off the back of my coat and handed it to me.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Candyfreak II

Yesterday Steve Almond autographed his book Candyfreak:

“Margie, Chocolate + Love = God. Steve.

Steve thinks about eating candy about once every hour and eats at least one piece every day. He stashes candy in the freezer, under his bed, and claims to have 14 cases of Kit Kat Limited Edition Dark stored in an undisclosed warehouse. He finally succumbed to writing a book about candy when he couldn’t find his favorite candies from childhood. Do you remember Caravelles, Choco-Lites, Atomic Fireballs, Sugar Daddies, and Star Bars? Almond does. He set out to explore why so many favorites have disappeared and to visit the last surviving little-guy candy producers around the country.

While researching this happy subject, it seems that he was, yes, depressed. It was noticeable in the book. In fact when I heard him lecture yesterday (he’s in town for Rochester Reads, and if you don’t get the irony of this, Rochester being the home of the Mayo Clinic where consuming fat, candy, and smokes are arrestable offenses…) anyway, he was down at the library with a basket of Pearson’s Salted Nut Rolls and Nut Goodies. (a small St. Paul, MN, candy company) by his side – payment I assume. So during Q&A someone asked, “It seemed like you were, well, kind of a sadsack when you were writing this book. It that true?” He replied that as he criss-crossed the country visiting little-guy candy producers who’re too frequently being bought out or closed, interviewing confectioners, watching the mixing, dipping, packaging process and departing with cases of chocolaty, carameled, nutted bars for his personal stash – the paradox was being deliriously happy during the day, while at night in his hotel room, as he reviewed notes and wrote, all he could think is “what an idiot on an idiotic search writing a stupid book no one will ever read. WHAT am I doing?”

I know. This could have something to do with blood sugar. Except that this is just how writing works for most writers. In the midst of writing you are alarmed, sick, and certain what you write is such drivel you’ll need to kill yourself tomorrow. I’ve promised once again, to Denis' skepticism, to quit the histrionics and be satisfied with having written at all.