Thursday, March 29, 2012

No Joke

I recently was listening to a Christian radio station when the afternoon deejay posed the question of whether or not we, as Christians, should be willing to laugh at jokes regarding our faith. Is it taking ourselves too seriously if we get upset by GCB, or SNL skits about Jesus and Tim Tebow?

I get where he's coming from. I mean, who wants to be like the rigid Pharisees who were so worried about their personal honor that they totally missed out on grace, on joy, on God...and on His world of the lost.

But as I heard him hint at that "can't we all just get along" mentality, my heart broke. Not for me, but for someone I love.  Someone pure and joyous and selfless. Someone who never worries about tolerating people because He's so full of love that toleration would be a huge step backward. 

Who hangs out with all flavors of folks, who knows guys with tattoos and piercing and purple hair, people who could make Lady Gaga blush. Yet while He's with them he never becomes like them. Instead, at the end of the night, under the tats and paint, they're more like Him.

Someone who loves nature and personal time but will never turn away a sick person, even those who smell close to death. Someone who, no matter how many dumb questions are asked, never blows a gasket. Who, even when he knows he's being used for his connections and his mad skills, gives generously.

Someone who never demands his rights, not even once. Yet he is so crazy courageous He walked, knowingly and intently into a staged trial, accused of crimes I committed, and stoically, readily, lovingly accepted condemnation.

For me. For you. For all the people who laugh at him in the name of tolerance.

I won't be so crass as to actually create the scenario, but let me pose it.  Would we laugh at a joke about a soldier killed in Afghanistan?  What about a fireman who gave his life on 9/11? A holocaust victim?

What about the Son of the Most High, whose life was not taken, but given?

I don't think there's even time to answer that. My heart is overcome with love, with joy. Like a balloon overfull of water, my soul explodes with the boundlessness of that love that fills it.

My Dearest, my heart, my all. You are my love. You are my very heartbeat. Every moment I wander from you is agony. Every moment in your presence is right. I love you now and forever. For the debt I can never repay--and you would never ask me to--there are not words to express my response. But I give you all my love. I give you all my life.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

The Shelf-master

I totally get why Jesus was a carpenter. 

I ordered a bookshelf from Target last week and it came in a 60 lb. box. about the size of a vacuum cleaner.  I pulled out all the espresso colored boards and a nifty packet of cam screws, wood dowels, and normal screws sectioned off into numbered steps.  With a booklet and two screwdrivers, I went to town.

I laid out pieces of various shapes and sizes, and step by step the stack of  boards turned into furniture.

I felt pretty slick. I mean, I built something...kind of. Target helped. Once I did make a picture frame from scratch with the help of a master craftsmen. It took for-freaking-ever. but it was nice.

I imagine what it's like to really build something. You can't even make boards until the wood is seasoned.  Then, you have to have a design before you start. I guess if you think in 3D well, you wouldn't have to map it out, but you'd still have to know it.  Then, you plane your boards to make them flat. You have to cut, nail, and sand, sand, sand. 

When you're finished, what was once a tree with a lifespan is now a timeless piece of someone's home. It's useful, beautiful.

You know Jesus had a chuckle at the symbolism of it all while he was planing a scroll-shelf. I wonder if he made parables about furniture manufacturing and told them to Joseph. I know he sweated, and I'm sure he felt manly pride (in the Godliest way possible) when he ran his hand over a slick new design for a table, or carved Mary a uniquely beautiful chair.

Anyway, I'm grateful today for my bookshelf. It is lovely. I get a sense of manly pride (in girliest way possible) when I look at it. And soon it will be covered in books and Starbucks mugs, two of my favorite things. Because that is another thing about stuff Jesus makes. He dotes on it. He uses it. He covers it in his favorite things.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Fluid Moments

So, I was going to be grateful for the love of domestic animals today. My cats missed me so much this weekend that they felt the need to express through physical acts. I found puke and poop on the carpet and pee in the fireplace. 
Then I thought about being grateful that humans don't express emotions through these types of bodily emissions.

But really, it was eighty today. I spent the afternoon in the papassan with Famega white wine and Rachel Hauck's new book, The Wedding Dress.  The woman puts in words all those stirrings you feel in your soul but don't have the courage to express. 

So this, the experience of this stretch of time, that is what I find myself thanking God for today. For Rachel's crazy talent, and her heart-stirring story, for the press of warm sun on my skin tempered by sweet crisp white on my tongue. And for the watchful, fluid-free gaze of my sweet kitties from the window.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

It's the little things.

A pair of new peep-toes, and weather nice enough to wear them. Need I say more?

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Lost and Foundry

I went to a foundry this week. That's what you call an operation where metal is melted and poured into various shapes.
Foundries are not, how do you say...clean. They're dark and grimy, and everything has a sort of charcoal pallor.  I was careful not to touch anything, and still had a black smudge on my nose before I left.
I'm not opposed to a little dirt. I played in the sandbox last wee--I mean, when I was a child. I will probably have a mudbath someday when my spa budget grows.  So although I looked a little out of place in my kitten heels and scarlet button-front shirt, I didn't feel out of place. I was comfortable, safety glasses and all.
Then they opened the furnace, and I saw the liquid aluminum. It was brilliant silver with a warm glow around the edges. Faint variations in the shimmer undulated across the surface.
When the molten medal was poured it was one of the most beautiful things I've seen in a long time. A stream of completely pure, mirror-bright liquid streamed for minutes on end. In the middle of a dingy, gray setting, startling brilliance.
I was transfixed. I wanted it, a piece of that lovely to carry with me. I had to fight the urge to grab a scrap of aluminum off the floor and stuff it in my pocket. Of course that wasn't as pretty as the liquid metal, but it was a small taste of it.
It reminded me of this human experience in the following ways.

Things can seem terribly gray and dull. The dirt is everywhere, and you know, it gets comfortable. What's a little smudge on your face anyway, when everyone around you is in worn out coveralls? Then in a moment you see the brilliance. And you realize that you're not meant to be smudgy. That the dirt kind of itches. You long for the purity, the luminescence.  You long to be lovely. And you will do anything to feel it.

Even when you're surrounded by gray and you can't see how there will ever be a moment of joy again, there comes a shimmering blessing. It's prettier than you expected, unexpected, and it makes the gray sort of seem...irrelevant.

The best experiences in life are fluid. They can't be held on to, they must just be enjoyed as they flow.  The memories are strong, and have a similar sheen, but its the moment itself that is a treasure.

Dear Jesus, thank you for making all the elements of the periodic table, but especially--today--the metals. Thank you for a chance to see something unique and striking, and for all the fluid silvery moments you've given me, including this new one. Open my eyes to see you in the beauty everywhere.

Monday, March 5, 2012


You know how you think you're out of cereal, then you find just enough for breakfast one last morning? Or when you find a wadded up five dollar bill in a jacket pocket from last season? Or there is card in your wallet that you forgot about, and it still has some money on it?
Well, I have that feeling.
I recently was visiting some girlfriends, and over brunch we started talking about how much we all love Downton Abbey. (Shout out to PBS!)
I was mourning the brevity of the seasons, particularly season one, which was only FOUR episodes. Even at an hour a piece, that is sadly brief. Like a petit four. I don't get those things. I need at least a petit twelve to be satisfied.
At any rate, I found out during the conversation that there were two versions of season one. Gasp. While there are only four episodes in the American version, there are seven--count them, SEVEN--in the British version!
So, tonight, I'm grateful for an unexpected THREE additional episodes of the best British drama since Shakespeare.