Books

Monthly Archives: March 2005

Art of Broken Pieces

Child of mine,
You of the lithe body
And swift feet,
I wanted to save you
From these deaths of potential
From these experiences of adulthood
That should not be for you – yet.

Now it seems too late.

Trapped in the snare
Of choices poorly made,
The demons come with glee
To suck away your youth
And trip your dancing feet.
You were a work of art
To stir their jealousy.

A smashed jar cannot be filled.

My child
You know I’d willingly
Pick up the shards of soul,
To help restore.
‘T would be crudely done.
But there is one who waits
Who with his art of broken pieces, recreates.

A vessel fashioned by his hands,
Dropped in the roughness of life,
Will not be broken again.

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My emotional surface

Today was a difficult one for me emotionally.  I had no idea that I would wear my emotions so close to the surface.  I usually hide them – or rather, I would say, I am in control of them pretty well.  Today they kind of got in the way of everything.  It was even hard to play my recorder this morning during worship and usually music for me is a good reliever of those kinds of feelings. 

As I sat and talked with God before the service a friend joined me – a friend who understands exactly what I am going through.  I have gone through rough stuff with my kids before and it was an extremely lonely experience.  This onslaught of trouble is not finding me struggling on my own.  It will be tough but I will have company through this dark time.

It is painful to be the mother of a seventeen year old young woman being thrust by her choices into adulthood.

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More from Yancey

Christians best influence the world by sacrificial love, the most effective way truly to change the world.  Parents express love by staying up all night with their sick children, working two jobs to pay school expenses, sacrificing their own desires for the sake of their children’s.  And every person who follows Jesus learns a similar pattern.  God’s kingdom gives itself away, in love, for that is precisely what God did for us.
…No one can grasp how to be a parent by reading books before the birth of a child.  You learn the role by doing a thousand mundane acts: calling the doctor during illness, preparing for the first day of school, playing catch in the backyard, consoling hurts and defusing tantrums.  A spiritual parent goes through the same process.  In the end, Jesus’ prediction – “Whoever loses his life will preserve it” – proves true, for the downward surrender leads upward. (p 245,246 Yancey, Reaching for the Invisible God, Zondervan, 2000)

 

Somehow I know this is true.  But experience tells me this is also a good way to get hurt.  It seems as if in the process of learning to love you give parts of yourself away – maybe you could say that you make investments into the other person with pieces of yourself.  And there are no guarantees that the investment will pay off in your lifetime.  But the surrender of yourself to the child or the other person must be done.  It is the way we were shown by Jesus and really there is no other way.  That is just how love is.

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Getting vaccinated

And we are back in business and virus free.  For the moment.  These crazy viruses are so sneaky and seem to be able to sneak by a whole bunch of anti- virus and anti-spyware protection.  So I am taking Jordon’s advice and downloading the programs he suggested. 

Getting the computer back was maybe the best thing that happened today.  Some of the other stuff wasn’t so good – from the strained back all day to getting some other news that left me fairly numb.  So I have had my fill of ibuprofen for the day and need to get a bit of sleep, if possible, tonight.  I will probably blog more later when I can.

Life will go on, I suspect.  God will still be with me.  The troubles of this place and time are overwhelming right now.  My mind can’t quite understand it all – it is numb.   I know God is here and he is good.  That is maybe all I know right now. 

From the Compline for this night (Northumbria)

Lighten my darkness, Lord.
Let the light of Your presence
dispel the shadows of night.

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Reaching For The Invisible God

Maybe I just like Yancey’s style of writing but I think it is more than that.  He has written some books that have spoken profoundly to my situation.  This book is one that for me right now was just what I needed to read.  And now I have finished it.  I find myself flipping back to reread some pages where he said just what I needed to hear.

Sometimes I find myself yearning for the glorious self-indulgence of infancy, when the world revolved around me, when a whimper or a cry brought attention, when others met my needs with no effort on my part.  Sometimes I look back, too, on an early stage in my spiritual pilgrimage when God seemed close and faith seemed easy and irrefutable – a stage before testing and disappointment, a stage before weaning.  And then at church or in the supermarket I come across a  baby, helpless, immobile, with little comprehension, and I realize anew the wisdom of creation that presses us on toward maturity, our growth fueled by a diet of solid food, not milk.

While I still bear the scars of growing pains, I am learning to identify and avoid some seductions of childish faith:  unrealistic expectations, legalism, and unhealthy dependance.

Several times I have alluded to the danger of unrealistic expectations.  A child must, at some point, learn to accept the world as it is rather than as he or she wants it to be.  “It’s not fair!”  the foot-stamping lament of a child, mellows into “Life is not fair,”  the wisdom of adulthood.  People vary in beauty, family background, athletic skill, intelligence, health,and wealth, and anyone who expects perfect fairness in this world will end up bitterly disappointed.  Likewise, a Christian who expects God to solve all family problems, heal all diseases, and thwart baldness, graying, wrinkling, presbyopia, osteoporosis, senility and the other effects of aging is pursuing childish magic, not mature religion. (p 215)

The above quote is from Reaching For The Invisible God by Philip Yancey, Zondervan, 2000. 

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Another year older – and wiser? Who knows?

It is my birthday today.  It seems pretty crazy being closer to 60 than to 50 now.  Mostly it was just another work day for me except for all the nice things people did for me.  I did have to tell a couple people that no, this has not yet been declared a national holiday.  So I was definitely at work.

Today was also a milestone of another sort too.  My grandson, Kieran, came in to see me for his first dental check-up.  No cavities!  Only has about 2/3 of his teethe so far.  But I know he has the greatest parents who really do brush his teeth for him.  And when he came in he brought me a birthday present.  So it was doubly special.  He was pretty much like any self respecting kid though – he did not appreciate the dental chair at all. 

Some of the nice things – flowers, which I love.  A bottle of chokecherry wine – a red wine I do not react to; special too because it was made by a friend. A new printer so that I can hopefully print streak free photos.  And a really good quality alto recorder – a Moeck.  And I treated myself to a new pair of blue jeans and shirt as well as a few new books.  I think I may have to start up a lending library in order to justify the expense and space required to store them all.  I do love books.

Sad news is that I am having to write this from the computer at work.  That means coming back after hours.  But at least I have somewhere accessible.  Our home computer is in the hospital with some sort of virus that none of our anti-virus software detected or would remove.  So it pretty much froze every time we wanted to do something.  Hope it is well soon.  I depend on e-mail for some of my communication and on keeping up with my blogging friends.

 

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Another move – a good one

In the midst of transition, another answer to prayer comes, providing an even better placement for my dad.  I just got a call from Sharon telling me that he not only does not have to be kept confined to the restricted exit area (I called it the SHU) but that with a new assessment comes an opening for a place at Mount St. Joseph’s Home.  So he will be moving again.  All these moves can’t be good but this should be the last one.  Then we can get him settled in to his new place and set up some things he will be familiar with. 

The new place has more available in the way of therapy and recreation.  It is also a newer facility and, well, I think the care is provided with just a bit more of a personal touch. 

I must say that I am glad.  The last time I went to visit him, he was in this confined area and I felt a bit depressed.  If I felt a bit depressed, I have to wonder what my dad was feeling.  If nothing else, I think it will be more normal going to visit him without having to go through doors that lock behind me. 

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