One could go on and on forever talking about anything, but I'll just touch on it here.

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Count Your Blessings

"Counting Every Blessing," by Rend Collective swelled on the car radio as my son and I drove through town. Kinda listening to the music and mostly lost in my thoughts, I zoned in when the voice in the backseat asked,"Why don't we count our blessings?"

"Good idea, buddy. We definitely should. Want to count some now?"

"Yeah," he answered.

"OK, what do we have? Let's see, friends are a blessing." We were on our way to join friends for some fun at the revamped historical museum.

"Candy!" yelled out the boisterous boy. "I'm thankful for candy."

"OK, candy is nice but is it something you just want or something that is really a blessing?" I tried to get us on track. "How about a nice warm house to sleep in?"

"Yeah, I hope we don't move," my son sounded concerned. "How would we move everything?"

"Well, we might move someday, but not now. We'd just pack stuff in boxes. And put stuff in a big truck. Remember the moving truck that your grandparents packed?"

"It was a big truck."

"We also have clean water to drink," I continued. "That's a blessing."

"It doesn't have leaves in it," came the confirmation.

"Right, and no nasty chemicals," I hoped. "So, I guess I haven't been counting. How many blessings did we say?" We went back and counted. Then it was quiet for a little bit.

"I liked when I was three and Daddy could pick me up and walk me on the ceiling."

I smiled as we turned into the parking lot. "That was very fun, wasn't it? I bet you could ask him if he could still do that."

"But he isn't feeling good right now," my boy replied thoughtfully. His daddy had a headache. "I don't want him to walk me on the ceiling because he needs more rest. Is that a nice thing?"

"Yes, buddy, that's very kind of you."

As we got out of the car I made sure to count one more blessing: this boy.



Tuesday, September 18, 2018

What I'll Miss

When you're grown, I'll miss you riding in the shopping cart, arranging all the cans in towers, boxes in rows. I'll miss you asking to visit the cookie and bread aisle for a free sample.

When you're too big, I'll miss you leaping into my arms from the couch, wrapping your limbs around me and saying you'll never let go.

When the preschool days are far behind, I'll miss you saying you love to hear me laugh. You telling knock knock jokes again and again, hoping to get me chuckling.

I'll miss you back there in your car seat telling me the trees, the signs, the cars, and the clouds are singing as we zip along to the YMCA.

I'll miss the sweaty smell of your head as you crawl into bed between Daddy and me, diving beneath the blankets to hide from the shadows.

I'll miss your strong voice, at the top of your power, singing the classic "Spiderman" theme song as we head out the front door, eyes looking around to see if you have an audience.

When you're too cool I'll miss coming downstairs to see you dancing wildly in the living room, the radio blasting whatever song fits your beat.

I'll miss how you love to record yourself singing ABBA: "Monday, Monday, Monday; in a rich man's squirrel."

When you're moved out, I'll miss checking on you before I go to bed, hearing you ask me questions in your sleep, waking abruptly in the night to you asking the time.

It might not seem so, but I'll miss wiping the jam from your nose, cleaning the honey from your fingers, trimming your toenails.

It's in the moment, in the magic, in the ordinary; what I'll miss is side by side with little you.


Thursday, April 26, 2018

Morning Prayer

Each morning the light reminds me of Your Light, and I sip the crispness of it, letting the warm glow slide down my throat and dismantle the darkness that kept me from sleep.

Though my eyes remain heavy and my heart fretful over what I cannot control, I seek Your promised hope. Please create a change in me that shines outward like a blessing so all will notice Your Peace on my countenance.

The darkness lost already, though I fight on in Your armor. Carry the weight and lighten my load, Dear Lord. But if not now, show me how to lead others to Your Rest.



Saturday, March 17, 2018

Choices

If every person on earth looked exactly the same—same height, same weight, same hair and eye color, same skin tone, same number of fingers and toes, same curve of hip and shape of nose, same twitch of smile, same dimples and moles—would people still find ways to hate and abuse each other?

We're a messed up crowd never without a reason to pick at, squash, and topple our fellow humans. If we looked the same, we'd still ridicule one another for how we talked. If we spoke the same, we'd scoff at how others walked or danced or ran. If we moved the same, we'd still tear each other apart for having different ideas. If we thought and created the same we'd be dull, dull, dull. We'd have few choices for food on the menu at a restaurant, a limited song list for our ear buds, a lack of patterns for our clothing or designs for our buildings. Life would be a sameness that gave us no meaning. We'd have nothing to talk about, nothing to celebrate, nothing to dream.

Imagine going to a zoo that only had giant anteaters. Fascinating animals, yes, but would people want to keep going back to the zoo all the time just to look at anteaters? How fun would it be to visit an art museum that only displayed paintings with the color red? They would never get any new artwork; it would always be the same canvas pieces with red paint. What if the only type of flower that existed was a yellow rose? My grandmother's favorite flowers were yellow roses. It's comforting and joyful to have a favorite color or flower, but if there were no other options, I'm not sure if would feel as great.

One might argue that if all we ever knew was sameness, we'd be fine with it. But would we be kind? Can we have no purpose yet treat each other well? Why would we choose kindness simply because we were the same? Would it still be a choice? If we didn't have choices, would we be happy?

It's all hypothetical, to imagine a world lacking diversity. What's real are the choices we make. If we really desire sameness, let's all choose to be kind.




Sunday, February 18, 2018

Nighttime I Love Yous

"I love you to the moon and back!"

"And I love you to the moon and back!"

"I love you more!"

"I love you more!"

"I love you most!"

"I love you most!"

Geddy and I go back and forth like this as I snuggle him to sleep. Last night he chimed in with a new one.

"I love you to freedom and back!"

"What is freedom?"

"Freedom is the mostest loveness."

My heart is full like the moon.




Thursday, February 15, 2018

In the Words

Songs that came to mind this morning:

"When the Children Cry," by White Lion

"Give Me Something to Believe In," by Poison

"Mad World," by Tears for Fears

"Show Me the Way," by Styx

"The Sound of Silence," covered by Disturbed (fresh in my soul after the French couple in the pairs figure skating competition rocked the tears down my face last night)

The list grows as I listen to the music. From my childhood, from now, the poetry in the words addresses several levels of pain we inflict on the world and the world on us. Right now our nation is drowning in the pain. What do we offer for healing? All we have are words.

I remarked to a friend yesterday that I remember exactly where I was and what I was doing when I heard about Columbine, but every mass shooting after is getting lost in the wicked smear of familiarity. I'm still crying but worried my tears will dry up. Will I succumb to the numb response, "My thoughts and prayers are with you" but in the normalcy of terror forget to pray? Will I type these words, wipe my tears, and forget this Valentine's Day?

What comes to mind: The pen is mightier than the sword; however, Actions speak louder than words.

What can we do?

Christians believe the madness will only get worse. The end has a light, but until then do we sit by and wait, saying it's just how it's meant to be?

Jesus said Go, do, love. What would he do with all of this? What is he doing? If we are his hands and feet, what will we do? What are we doing?

Arguing about rights and freedoms and equality and inequality and government hands off and government responsibility and rules and laws and fairness and unfairness all ends up just being more words.

I'm stuck. The sadness, the fear, the blaming, the hatred stir sickness inside me, and I want to hide or leave.

But I won't, because it's not all about me. It's about my child, your child, everyone's child. In my bewildered state I don't have answers for what to do, but I don't want to be a person "hearing without listening." We've got to work together "to a better day for all the young," or artists will keep singing the tragedies as we "turn on the news to find we've so far to go."











Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Winter's Apology

Winter tiptoed in this year, afraid she'd be unwelcome after last year's frozen fairy tale turned ugly. She asked forgiveness for ice-capped streets and cars stranded in driveways and roofs caving in or leaking. All dressed in white for Christmas, she showed us her best side. We welcomed her with tongues lifted to catch all the flakes and arms and legs in jumping-jack form to make angels. The little red sled learned to bobsled and luge and carry snowmen home. Snowballs sailed over snowfort walls, and the shovel happily scooped up fluff instead of chipping away at ice in the street gutters. Winter waltzed around, relieved to see we weren't holding a grudge.

But something went wrong because Winter left abruptly. 

She left in tears, melting all but the tiniest of snow piles. She took the snowmen, Snowy and Brian, sphere by sphere, until they were nothing but memories. She took the icicles, drip by drip, as if a hairdryer burned them out. She took it all, dance over, song done. She took it well before Spring.

Did we step on her toes? Did we say something rude or sarcastic? Did we get nervous that she was settling in to stay too long? Did she get scared we'd remember running out of ice melt, falling on our backs, breaking down on a friend's street?

Maybe it was part of her apology to leave while we had only laughter and celebration on our cold cheeks. Or maybe she'll return before the tulips to give us another dusting of beauty, deciding that we like her best in short visits. We hope she comes again this season, because we aren't ready to pack up the sweaters, stow away the scarves, push the boots to the back of the closet, and hang the sled in the rafters. Our dance card isn't full, and we've got some new steps to try.