writing has been so very hard this month of new beginnings. thoughts mingle with beautiful sentences inside my head, but when pen hits paper or fingers touch keys they fly away like ornery fireflies, refusing to be captured. snippets here and there, but nothing of length and so what better way to persevere than to gather the threads up and bring them to emily’s month end gathering. it seemed hopeful to me to do so, and doing something hopeful feels a little like winning don’t you think?
caroling, cancer and first and second things.
someone we love was too weak from her cancer fight to make it to Christmas eve services. when i heard the news the first thought that entered my ordinary small brain was this; “we should go caroling to her.” always so quick to deem my inner thoughts silly i left them there, but the Spirit had His way with another and the message made its way among the congregation. after worshiping in our church building, we took it outside and drove over in the dark to her front door to bring ‘tidings of comfort and joy, comfort and joy.’ singing to one so very weak and frail assaulted all of my senses and through tears i lifted my head up to heaven and cried out; “what is in fact the point of this? she will still have cancer in the morning.”
a few days later i’m stirring chicken soup on her stove listening to her family share how much the caroling ministered to their very souls. he says he will remember our singing for the rest of his days….days that will soon be spent learning how to live life without his dear beloved wife.
january 1st she went home
and the One who welcomed her into His arms whispered to my soul; “curing cancer is a secondary thing. ministering to the spirit of My beloved? that is a first thing work. singing at her door those tidings of comfort and joy brought My Kingdom Come. child, keep learning to trust Me.”
the parable of the merciful servant
he’s next to me in the car telling it all. “my friend wanted something i had. i said no. my friend was mad. my friend choked me and my neck got stuck in my zipper. ”
he keeps saying; “my friend, my friend.”
i know this ‘friend’ without my son ‘naming names.’ i am familiar with his ways. my son’s choice of words gives me pause, i know he means what he says but i don’t understand.
two days later i’m standing on the playground watching boys playing at football. my son waits for this friend of his to be open and throws the ball to him. i know it is intentional. he’s shared many a time how he just wants this boy to have success. to make a play, score a touchdown, have something to celebrate because he’s so often in trouble. he misses the ball and my son calls out encouragement and building up words. to the boy who choked him.
and the One who bled for these boys whispered to my soul “Kingdom come.”
who do you think you are?
there has been this inner struggle that i’ve not been able to put a name to. the One who knows my frame knows it, and knows just how to open my blind eyes and help me to see. i saw that emily freemon was hosting a webinair on how to write a book proposal and i was drawn to it which didn’t make any sense at all. i’m not writing a book or a book proposal. i signed up anyway. when she spoke the words naming a writer’s real fear; “who do you think you are?” the tears flowed freely.
one piece of the current struggle-not just in writing, but in being fully myself in the presence of others -has been exactly this. a subtle accusation whispered and payed attention to. what now, now that i see it?
well, the prayer went like this:
Lord, i still can’t do it, i still can’t write.
it doesn’t flow,
i still feel stuck.
a study in hope
Theologians talk about a prevenient grace that precedes grace itself and allows us to accept it. I think there must also be a prevenient courage that allows us to be brave-that is, to acknowledge that there is more beauty than our eyes can bear, that precious things have been put into our hands and to do nothing to honor them is to do great harm. And therefore, this courage allows us, as the old men said, to make ourselves useful. It allows us to be generous, which is another way of saying exactly the same thing.
Marilynne Robinson | Gilead: A Novel
There is a way in which the jesusy folk tend to write (I do it, too), and that way feels so disconnected from my real life that I could scream. I don’t feel disconnected with my Jesus, no, but I do feel disconnected with the pull inside me to sound this way or that – or with the pull of what others are doing so successfully to point to the kingdom of God. Maybe some perspectives are done; they’re processed, cooked up, and plated well. My perspective is still raw. I’ve barely cleaned these veggies.
Amber Haines | An Uncooked Story
People will tell you to put down your books and join the real world, for heaven’s sake. They will remind you that you live in a university dorm or an apartment reached by only a sliver of light or a temporary rental and do not even think of wasting time or money on land you do not own, but you would do well to smile and say nothing. Go on. Read. Read your books and dream your dreams. You are storing up treasures in heaven.
But after I tucked them in bed and in between her sobs and up the stairs and down, ushering children into jammies, I prayed a new kind of prayer. Prayer was no longer discipline, I was desperate. Tired and needy and confused. And weak. Really weak. There were no books to tell me what to expect from my child, with her particular history — her cocktail of losses and grief, who was wedged into our particular family. Even the best parenting strategies were not sufficient. I needed Him.
We were the kind of weak which many Christians spend their entire lives training themselves to not be.
Sara Haggerty | I Think I’ll Choose Weak, Today
thank you dear reader, for your gift of time spent here. let’s continue on in hope, shall we?
may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Melony, this is all gorgeous. I know those struggles from your first paragraph all too well, and the last month has felt the same to me. But what you articulated here is simply *good*. I am blessed by your words. Thank you.
Thank you so much Tresta, I’ve been clinging to hope that writing anyways really was a good idea and your words of encouragement have sent the blessing right back at me!