Pentecost, and all Things Richly to Enjoy

 

creek 2

Taking a walk in the cool not-quite-summer breezes the other morning an old question popped into my mind:  Which of the senses would you miss the most, were you to lose it?

Loss of sight would mean no more color, no more iridescent, translucent, sparkling, proof-of- God color.  No more looking into the eyes of my beloveds, no more laughing at a child’s guileless smile.

Not good.

Loss of smell would mean I couldn’t smell this sage I’m crushing in my fingers and thereby being lifted, transported.  Same for the juniper, pine, spruce, fir and cedar on the heavenly breeze.

Loss of smell would mean roast beef and vegetables and gravy and hot buttered homemade bread would be irrelevant.  Also not good.

Loss of smell would mean I wouldn’t notice the clove on John’s breath when he kissed me.

A kiss.  A touch.  Not being able to feel the kissing face, or hugged neck, or the touch of a hand of another of God’s children.

marmot

Hearing.  A marmot is sounding the alarm because the dogs are busy sniffing out his rock pile, and the spring snowmelt has made the creek practically roar as it rushes out of its banks, but not above my favorite creekside blessing rock.

And I couldn’t hear His praises sung from the depths of the hearts of His children in church this morning, on Pentecost Sunday.  This thought makes me catch my breath from the sudden glitch of alarm, the actual physical ache, in my spirit.  But, on this day of all days, I am choosing not to think about “what ifs” and possible losses.  I am thinking of my utter inability to even begin to grasp the magnitude of the Love of God.  This is the sense I want to exercise, increase, develop.  This is the realm into which I want to delve more deeply.  More richly.

He has given us all things richly to enjoy.  I call the dogs off and they happily dash off to the next thrill, all senses alert.  He has given us all things richly to enjoy.  This thought again wafts into my mind and I think of how all the senses will be alive and blessing me at once if I simply take this walk with a loved one, sit by the creek eating roast beef on homemade bread with also homemade mayo, and watch steam swirl up out of a thermos of tea as we sip and smile at each other.  And as we see on each others’ faces peace.  How beautiful, how marvelous.  Oh, Lord, our Lord, how majestic is Your Name in all the earth.

In all the earth.  He has given us so much to enjoy.  Let us not, in pursuits of manmade enjoyments and entertainments, forgo, forget, become blind to, the wonderful world He has made.  In all of our seeking, with all of our senses, let us tune into Him.  Let us daily live a life of Pentecost.  Amen.

 

 

 

 

Constrained by I Know Not What

rusty-chain

I am reading a lovely book on the creative process.  In it, I am told to do a half an hour of creative work “right now.”  Write a post?  Make cookies?  Work on my novel?  All of these sound like work, and I’m not afraid of work.  But at this moment in time they also sound like toil.

The Bible tells me His yoke is easy.  So, I ask, what can I do that is work, with all work’s inherent creativities and satisfactions, but without toil?

Laundry.  Dirty clothes in the wash, clean ones ironed.  It is a clearing of the mind exercise, which will pave the way for a more deeply creative endeavor.  Perhaps.

laundry

But alas, all this, all these tools I attempt to use, they leave me pretty much where I was, only with clean laundry.  Dull, constrained by I know not what.

I read the words of Jesus, telling me not to worry, which was what got me into this funk in the first place.  I go back for more of His words, put on Celtic Woman, diffuse lemon essential oil and make my bed – so lovely.  And yet.

“I will conquer this,” is a mantra no longer of any use.  “A smart girl like you oughtta be able to figure this out,” is yet another mantra gone by the wayside., at least for the time being.  It’s beginning to feel complicated.

Complication, I know, is the nasty covering over truth, which is always simple.

God never meant to be a formula.  He meant to be a friend.  Sought out, communed with, adored, enjoyed.  The author of all things lovely and right, acknowledged, experienced, loved.

As always, I will return to the Word.  Not for a get-by message, but to enter into His very presence.  Everything else can wait.  Even my book, the one that told me to go DO something.

This one thing I can and will do:  Be still and know that He is God.  Shhh.  Listen.  Be still.

Ah, and Heaven is helping.  It’s beginning to rain.  What could be better than rain to reestablish rhythms of grace?  Perhaps a walk in the rain?

little-girl-in-puddle

Constraints?  What constraints?

“Well, who do you think is pretty?”

mannequin2

When my daughter Jane was ten and carrying on about the latest Hollywood sensations, John pulled a face at her taste.  “Well, who do you think is pretty?” she demanded.

“You.  Your mother.  My mother, my granny, my sister,” he replied.  Out of all the brilliant things John has said, that was one of the most brilliant.

That was years ago, but this morning I awoke thinking about how our society makes heroes out of quite and very unheroic women, at least as compared to those near and dear to me.  What, I wondered, would I say to anyone asking me, not who was pretty, but who was beautiful, heroic, worthy of praise and emulation in my life?

“My mother, my grandmother, my mother-in-law, my sisters-in-law, my friends, my daughters, daughter-in-law, and granddaughters.”

I remember my dad talking about my grandmother chasing a poisonous snake who was trying to escape under their house.  “You’ll not get near these children,” she shouted as she brought a garden hoe down on it, severing it’s head.  When I was little she used to put The Happy Goodmans on to play for me.  She deftly peeled what may have been the world’s best tomatoes (grown in her weedless garden) with her ever sharp paring knife, sliced them into thick, fat, juicy slices and served them to me with salt.   One day, I vowed, I would do that for someone.

tomatoes

But how would I ever emulate my momI’ll never be as strong as she is was my silent concern.  She never stopped moving except maybe once on “slow” days for a cup of coffee and a Lucky Strike.  She was up before us to put a fantastic breakfast (a platter full of meat, eggs, biscuits, gravy) on the table, to starch our jeans, and then off (for the second time) to her many-thousand chickens.  She was up waiting when I got home from basketball games (once it was 2:00 a.m. and there she stood, leaning on the kitchen counter for support, smoking her Lucky Strike).  She didn’t say “I love you” she did love.

coffee

And then there’s my mother-in-law who taught my manly man husband to cook, can, sew, clean, iron, and to always be clean, neat, and presentable.  So when our youngest, Seth, was born, John brought the older three to the hospital looking like little dolls.  The nurses went on about it.  “Who dressed those kids?” one asked.  I was bewildered.  Who do you think? 

“John did,” I told her.  “Well, I never!” she said.  “Just look at them.  All spit and polish!”  And so I looked.  Their clothes were ironed, Benjamin’s hair parted perfectly, the girls’ hair curled, their eyes shining.  In other words, looking like kids should look when they’re coming to see their new sibling and their mother.  Did other dads bring the kids to see mom looking any other way?  Evidently.  Talk about dumb as a post.

And who was to thank for that?  My mother-in-law.  Well, and John being smarter than a post.

And then there are my sisters-in-law (brothers’ wives) who stayed with my brothers through thick and thin, who are excellent mothers, citizens, and friends.  As for John’s sister, even when her life was falling COMPLETELY apart, she was fun, kind, and positive.  How many women “leaders” can say that?  These sisters of mine!  All of them are absolutely indispensable to the welfare of all of us blessed by their presences in our lives.  I really could never say enough about any of them.

I won’t even start with my friends, except to say that my dad was right when he said to me years ago, “Bev, you’ve always had truly good friends.”  Indeed I have.  They have filled gaps, dried tears, inspired, listened, commiserated, advised, and loved me through some pretty dark days.  Real women, that’s what they are.

And then there are my daughters, daughter-in-law, and granddaughters.  Let me just say right here that there aren’t a handful of movie stars in history as lovely as these young women, as brilliant, funny, kind, or true.

I’ve said all this to say that we might stop taking note of celebrities who we’ll most likely never even meet, and start celebrating those women near and dear.

little girl praying