Sometimes I am the student

When I am angry it seems that God's presence evaporates, my delicate hold left grasping churning, throbbing emotions. But it felt righteous, this anger at my youngest son's father, and so I let myself feel it without letting it encompass me.

What mother wouldn't ache...for a child whose father says he'll call next week and make plans for Christmas Eve and take his son to see the grandparents he hasn't seen in years - and then doesn't call. What mother wouldn't ache...for a child who calls his father on Christmas Day and is told that the trip wasn't made after all, and then accidentally finds out that her child's father and half brothers went without him. What mother wouldn't feel anger...when her child's father says he'll call his son the day after Christmas and celebrate belatedly, but doesn't call. Again. He hasn't called in years, but he keeps saying he will, and my son keeps hoping.

Carman knew I was angry and hurt for him. Just as I decided to pick up the phone at work and apologize for my anger - an apology I knew he wouldn't think I should make -I had voice mail from my son.

"I've been thinking all morning about my dad," he said. "And I decided that it really doesn't matter to me now. I have other really good men in my life, like the men from Threads. Brian just called and he wants to take me out to breakfast and then come over and play guitar together."

No one would blame my 16-year-old son for feeling angry, or hurt or rejected. And yet he shows more wisdom then his mother. He lets go what he can't change. He turns his face towards what light he has been given in this world, the men who have shown him Christ in their kind words, the coffeehouse outings, testing the $150 car I bought him, stopping over and playing guitar for awhile.

So I will not give his father too much of my energy either, but focus instead on those who have brought such grace and love into my son's life. To all you men who say a few kind words and exchange a laugh or a hug with a fatherless boy, you have no idea how precious those brief encounters can be, or how grateful this mother is for you all.


On a quiet Christmas morning

I watch the rain slip into snow
and speak into my heart
the way of a gentle path.

Weighted drops of water thoughts
lightened by my Lord,
crystallized by Christ
into heart song.

Snowflakes of Spirit
softly enter in.
Soul metamorphosis
seen through a window pane
one quiet Christmas morn.

Christmas, 2005


Matthew 6:6

Bless Gaston, who sent me a link to a video by Father Thomas Keating. I had a powerful sense that this was the part of Matthew I was supposed to read.

"But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet", a metaphor for entering the inner room of self. "pray to thy Father which is in secret" - in stillness we find him within. This reminds me of Brian's (foxtrot_delta) "heart feelings".

He resides within and we participate in divinity - may I keep dying to self, stilling the chatter, and let him rise within my heart.


Holy Nudges

And so I awoke from a dream. Someone had said, "I need to remind you to read the book of Matthew". And minutes later an email quoting Matthew. And later still at church, quotes from Matthew, and a conversation afterwards with my pastor, who suggested another chapter in Matthew. I had to tell him my dream then.

I had been in such turmoil, questioning not only Christians, but dealing with strobe-thoughts of doubt about Christ being the son of God. I think perhaps I occasionally hear something in my dreams because God knows I need a two by four up the side of my head in order to get through to me.

I'm so grateful for holy nudges that have no rational explanation.


Holy Web Sites

Light a candle in a sacred cyberspace here in the guided, interactive ritual: http://www.gratefulness.org/candles/enter.cfm

And then visit the rest of the Gratefulness Web Site created by Brother David Steindl-Rast.

The Days of Waiting - 28 Thoughts for Advent Calendar.


Family Feud

My twin circles around me and approaches my daughter about the following holiday plans:

"Dear Kelly,
Thanks for the update. I'm trying hard to resolve a lot of different
schedules right now for Christmas Eve, but sincerely hope you and Gordon and Dave can make it. Your mom insists on going to church that night, which is presenting some big problems for the dinner. Linnell doesn't know if the dinner can be served that early, (6:00 pm), and today I found out that Grandpa and Marthe' can't make it for dinner, if it is that early. So, we'll likely have dinner at around 7-7:30 pm, so that they can be there, along with Linnell's parents.

If you are able to make it to Kalamazoo for Christmas, maybe we can both talk to your mom about the need to be somewhat flexible regarding the church service? Christmas is about Christ, but we can celebrate as a family so infrequently that it sure seems to me that on those occasions we could all be flexible to insure we'll be together."

Oh, Bill.

I love our family, I truly do. I wish that my desire to go to church wasn't mucking up all your Christmas Eve plans. I wish that you had talked to me directly instead of trying to circle around behind me and approaching me through my daughter. I must seem like some religious nut to you all, with my passion to be in church on Christmas Eve. Believe me, I want so much to be all together for awhile on Christmas Eve, and don't mind at all if we must leave before dinner, but you already told me how unacceptable you find that compromise.

What you haven't realized is that Kelly wants to be in church that evening as well, and Carman says he wants to be there more than anywhere else. You know I spent a lot of years out of church, but in those years I lived a more watered-down faith, and not that one that is so soaked in Christ as it is now, as it has been in great part because of the church I am a part of.

Yes, I could celebrate the birth of Christ with my own children later on that evening and not cause such divisiveness in our family, but the thought of it makes my heart feel so heavy. This place I go to has become so much more than a building I enter into on Sunday mornings. It has become a sacred place where I encounter God through teaching, worship and the people there. It is my family, just as all of you are my family. I am related by blood to this family, too. It's hard to explain how extraordinary it feels to me to be a part of a family that loves and desires God so passionately, a family that shows me Christ so often through their love, their generosity, their service to others.

If, God willing, all my children are with me this Christmas Eve, I want no other gift than to have them all with me at church that night, having the rare privilege of introducing my children to my other family, and most importantly, celebrating the birthday of the One who has become my passion, my heart, my all, my life.

I wish more than anything you could be where I am. Then you would understand.


Pr@yer Vigil

In the sanctuary, tealight candles placed on black cloths glowed all around the perimeter of the low stage, and pillows were scattered on the floor for those who wanted to kneel and pray. It was quite dark, except for the candles. Peaceful. A Gregorian chant recording bathed it all in a feeling of holiness. I went last night and again today during our 24 hour prayer vigil. There was such a feeling of common unity in seeing others silently enter in and out, kneeling nearby, sitting in chairs with heads bowed, seeking God's face. Our pastor wasn't a part of this endeavor to pray for our church. I'm sure Lee was a part of it in spirit and prayer, but the body initiated and organized this prayer time for our church.

As I knelt in prayer I felt filled with the Spirit, felt tears rise to the surface as I was overwhelmed by this incredible gift of faith in Jesus Christ, this gift of living this side by side with others whose hearts are turned more to eternity than to this world. Sometimes it's so hard to explain this walk of Love to others, to express the joy I feel sharing this journey. So many hearts and souls today yearning to be immersed in the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. What better life could I hope for?

So ironic...

Well, Carman's dad didn't call (again) and wish his son a happy birthday, though Carman never forgets to call his father when it's his birthday. My son says he doesn't care, but I think he must, deep down.

Carman's dad is a social worker for this agency, in a program called "Families First". Actually it made me laugh when I typed that. I should pray not to feel some bitterness.


Sweet Sixteen

I couldn't let today past without honoring the anniversary of my youngest child's birth! Just like his older brother and sister, he is growing up waaaay too fast. I've got a more recent picture of him on my blog, but I love the one below where he's standing with his sister, the homecoming queen. His loving nature and gentle spirit shines through.