Monday, February 07, 2011

fat snowflakes

Putting thoughts down while the laundry dries is as good a time as any. Writing with a pencil on paper while watching fat snowflakes fall lazy out of the sky is a nice change from punching thoughts out on a keyboard (even though I've done just that by the time you read this, so you could share in these thoughts with me...). I like quiet afternoons at work, in between laundry and clean-up and the kids :)

Lately, the thought of blogging has felt daunting. There's too much to try to put down, get out, share with you...but then I'm eventually always unable to keep it in. Eventually I have to write.

I've been caught--frequently--in the moment of "now but not yet," the "on earth as it is in heaven" utterance that lingers on my lips when eternity unexpectedly breaks into moments down here. I guess it couldn't happen any other way. He interrupts us, doesn't He? He has to...otherwise we'd be forever tied to our ongoing routines, our patterns of thought and behavior, our entangling questions, pursuits, and ponderings.

For the first time I watched the Superbowl. Our family is one of recreational sports, not so much organized (/professional) sports. Put us in canoes on a lone river over the stadium--we're more comfortable there. This isn't for good or bad, it just is. So it was fun, for a change, to be around people who also appreciate the thrill and excitement of "the game." But...enthusiasm for the game and team pride aside (elements I definitely appreciate)...there was something about it all that I couldn't quite stomach.

We were watching the news coverage in Cairo--talk of the political, economic, and religious unrest, with all the video coverage included--when the newscaster said, "...and the eyes of the world are also on Dallas Texas, where preparations are being made for Sunday's big game..." and just like that the streets of Cairo became the streets of Dallas and I was dazed and confused and a little unsettled. Did those two stories really just fall back to back (not that surprising, i guess, it happens all the time)? But did he really just make the transition like that? Yeah, he did. And then I learned all about how we cater to our appetite for entertainment: a trophy that costs $25,000; extreme cases of people spending $4,000 on tickets to the game; consideration of player salaries; and a discussion of how much it will cost to melt, clean, and clear the snow/ice from the stadium. There are some things I will never understand (in this instance, how much money we can invest in a sport)...because sometimes I still see the eyes of hunger, need, and loneliness looking at me from the face of a small child in charge of himself...and 4 others...because the world has taken everything else...and sometimes I really struggle with the fact that I come from a country that sometimes so carelessly banners comfort, success, pleasure, and possessions (because i feel it in myself, too, and it unsettles me. sometimes i don't fight the tendencies in me first...)

Hear me: I'm not saying that entertainment is wrong. I'm not saying pleasure is wrong. I'm not saying that spending time, money, and energy on "fun things" is wrong. It can be, obviously, but it doesn't have to be. So don't think I'm sending out a general condemnation of all things pleasurable, enjoyable, entertaining, etc. That would be ridiculous. It's just that, sometimes there seems to be an imbalance, doesn't there?...and we aren't always willing to notice it responsibly. This weekend I noticed it--in myself, in all of us, in our country, and in the world...

So here I am, delighting in these fat snowflakes, thinking about the Egyptian people...and I keep picturing that $25,000 trophy...and I guess my heart hurts a little. Because I don't understand. I don't really know what to do. I pray. Sometimes I can't pray. And I realize that earth is behind heaven but we were taught to ask, " it is in heaven" and so I do...with what feels like such weak faith but with certain hope because even in this small short life I've lived I've seen how He's with us--getting messy right alongside; feeling the pain and acknowledging the imbalance.

Redemption is tied up with patience, I think (and patience with faith). Persistent patience. The journey. The process. Patience for healing, wholeness, peace, right order, reconciliation, shalom. We are people becoming. He makes all things new (but he doesn't always tell us how long it will take). I find myself living this with something of a dedicated curiosity. My heart, mind, and soul hold on but that doesn't mean I don't have questions or wonder.

Well, the fat snowflakes are falling out of an even darker sky, which means it's later--time to take the clothes out of the dryer and get the kids from school.
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And now, the newsy stuff :)
I had a lovely weekend. I absolutely reveled in the wonder of the Wisconsin winter woods. They were beautiful--long, dark shadows of the bare trees breaking up the snow all bright with sun! Gah, I wanted a pair of snowshoes so bad. But I got to go cross country skiing for the first time with Jake's mom. It was fun...and funny...and just really great. haha. I could definitely get used to winter with the sports included. yep.
Watching the Packers win with Wisconsin natives was also really fun...and funny...i thoroughly enjoyed it. I even got some of the game explained to me. Woo!! Learn something new every time :)

This morning Mariah and I had coffee with our pastor. It was great. So great. Encouraging, insightful, invigorating...yes, one of those times that makes you so grateful for good conversations and getting to know new people. We learn so much with and from one another, you know? It reminds me of something someone told me when I was in Swaziland: "everyone i ever meet has something to teach me." I've been learning fresh lately how blessed we are to live life with others. None of this solo-action crap. We keep setting ourselves up to be our most important project but we eventually tire, weary, and fall apart. Faith, for one thing, requires community. We believe for one another and with one another as we believe for goes the journey.

As you can tell, lot's of conversations and interactions over the past several days have made me think a lot...and God's been putting some pieces together in my heart and mind...pieces of questions, doubts, ideas, fears, etc...I'm grateful. A friend has said many times recently, "we count on His presence more than we know..." to which I say "yes, yes we do!"

Goodnight, everyone. I hope you are pushing through the grey and dark of winter. Spring will come. I remind myself of that often on these consecutively grey days :)

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