Wednesday, November 25, 2015

I read more of Annie Dillard's book before falling asleep last night.

When I read Annie Dillard's writing I feel like I'm walking the in between world of waking up from a wonderful dream, floating in that first-awake moment. Consciousness begins for me as I stare deeply at the wrinkles of my sheets and at the freckles and tiny hairs on my arm while remembering those beautiful images that will fall into forgetfulness when I arise to dress and met the day. 

Her words go down to some place of wonder and joy in my heart, a place that often surprises me with emotion. Here is a quote from page 139 in her book Pilgrim at Tinker Creek. She is talking about the intricacies of this globe we inhabit:

"What do I make of all this texture? What does it mean about the kind of world in which I have been set down? The texture of the world, its filigree and scrollwork, means that there is the possibility for beauty here, a beauty inexhaustible in its complexity, which opens to my knock, which answers in me a call I do not remember calling, and which trains me to the wild and extravagant nature of the spirit I seek."

I have been let in on a fractal made of spoons and cups and lighted windows, a dizzying fractal of three pretzels sitting on a white paper plate, a fractal where I look forward to the sight of two pines trees at the end of Old Furnace road every Tuesday and Thursday evening at 5:27. The smallest piece has been blessed, the tiny diamond on my ring finger, the slant of light glinting on my pillow, and the cracks on my splintered phone. I'm so full of life today, and so full of the ache to bring others into this texture of joy.

This morning I prayed again for all those displaced by war. They are the ones I really wanted to write about today, and I've tried again and again to write something that would express how I feel for them, but all my words come out like cardboard. So instead, I turn to Annie Dillard's words and the hope that in all this complexity of our crushed, organic, and beautiful world the misplaced will find a place for hope. 

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Writing in my Astrostar --QM

As I promised, I've been writing at least 5 minutes every day. My words haven't made it onto this blog yet, but they are sitting in pencil in my Chinese notebook and in my head.

For the last 24 hours the refugee situation has been almost constantly on my mind and heart. I have a vivid imagination and can easily put myself in their shoes. I can also imagine and understand the fear that drives much of the attitudes that I hear about second-hand (I've been staying away from Facebook and the news because I hardly know how to handle some of America's responses).

I want to operate out of love, not fear. I would love to have a refugee family at my dinner table, resting at my home, helping them to learn English, and learning from them how to cook their amazing dishes. Today I sat in my car after dropping off my children at school and, instead of writing, I prayed. I pray every day for those misplaced and homeless by this war, but today I begged God to let me somehow do something for them--to practically show love and compassion and kindness.
The inside of the Statue of Liberty

In the 17th century Edmund Burke said something like:

Evil Triumphs when Good Men do Nothing

Another famous quote has been reverberating in my head these days:

34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’  
40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’ (Matthew 25 NIV)

I know this issue isn't simple or easy, that there are reason for fear and that it is complicated. But let us do everything we can do to avoid getting to the place where we xenophobic Americans need to take down this plaque, or maybe the whole green lady, in order to accurately reflect where our heart and practices are toward those in need of refuge.

The New Colossus
Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
"Keep ancient lands, your storied pomp!" cries she
With silent lips. "Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Sitting in the Driver's Seat for 5 Extra Minutes on a Rainy Tuesday--QM

I have been bemoaning the small margins in my life--where has the white space to write, draw, read, study for my PRAXIS exam, and even keep up with my laundry and dishes gone? This morning I had Thoughts to Capture on my way home from taking the kids to school. As luck would have it, a friend gave me a notebook a week ago which has been stashed in the pocket by my drivers seat. I wrote this journal entry, and thought "I could do this Monday through Friday--I have a predictable quiet 5 minutes every day if I want, out in the driveway." So friends, hold me to this for a month--I will sit in my car for just a few moments before the rush of the day, and write.

     Driving through my sleepy small town, I pass by the blur of the familiar houses and tidy porches. The rain mists on mailboxes and sidewalks I never notice but recognise keenly with my subconciuos.
     Then I cross the railroad tracks and my own dear house peeks around the corner of the Methodist church. My once bright yellow mums are now black circles against the white of my home, the garden has turned brown except for a few valiant red zinnias (on whose account I keep the tiller away), and the formerly cheerful jack-o-lanterns are now macabre with sagging, oozing black faces.
     I love my messy, untidy life. Moss grows from the edges of my garage door, my laundry room fills more quickly than it empties, and my bathroom--well, lets not even talk about it.
     I'm not perfect, but for the most part I believe I'm choosing well in how I spend my time, though sometimes I tremble at all I might do, but don't. Now, however, its time to leave this van--the windows decorated with beads of rain, the smell of coffee newly spilled on the rug--to leave my pencil and notebook, pick one of those brave flowers for my kitchen window sill, slip a rainy day music CD into the computer, and do the dishes.