Wednesday, August 20, 2014

know your why

"When you come to a place where you have to go right or left," says Sister Ruth, "go straight ahead."
-from Dakota, A Spiritual Geography by Kathleen Norris

It was our summer of rest. All summer, we didn't hurry. Truly, I can't think of one time.

A few years ago Sam was asked to describe each member in her family; Mom, she said, was "always in a hurry." Slowly, maybe, I am learning.

I've spent so much time addicted to hurry, creating hurry. I didn't know I needed rest, I didn't set out to create rest this summer, with some expectation of what rest should be. Rest simply came upon us, like a new season, and we lived in the season and let it be what it was.

Rest is uneasy, at first. We want to feel useful. I wonder if women struggle with this the most, there are so many ways to think about Mary and Martha and the inimitable Proverbs 31 woman.  What is it about obsessive busyness which makes us feel validated and worthy- of what?

Know your Why

This was the thought that started the summer, and I've followed it til the end so that here at the end of August I think I know some of my whys.

For example,

I am choosing to homeschool my kids because I believe I can give them a good education, and because I want to be the one to read the good books to my kids, this is why.

I choose not to work for now because I've decided my role is peacemaker, that every family needs one or at least this family does, and it is what I am called to for now, to create peace for the five of us and wherever else that peace can extend.

I am writing a novel because I believe there is a story to tell.

The one why I keep searching for and can't seem to find is why blog, what am I trying to say here, is it really necessary? And I have to tell you that I am dwindling on this one, that while I enjoy blogging I am often conflicted between wanting to write on the blog versus all of the other three: peacemaking. homeschooling. a novel.

I'm not sure where to go, I keep coming to the edge of shutting down and then backing away. I have been here for six years.

Instagram feels a little like blogging, but it's faster and maybe I need to just be there.

Maybe I will stick around this place, once I find my why.

Good things came out of rest this summer, good, productive things and nourishing, lovely things, and mostly just a sense of knowing where I am, who I am.

We began the summer learning about bees. Busy as a bee, we say, and yet isn't the work of a bee simply this: to be wholly attentive; to dive headlong into beauty and drink its sweetness and come up coated in it, unaware of the life-dust trailing from their feet.

There is some clue here of a good way to live.

Monday, August 4, 2014

so friends, every day do something that won't compute

So, friends, every day do something that won't compute...Give your approval to all you cannot understand...Ask the questions that have no answers. Put your faith in two inches of humus that will build under the trees every thousand years...Laugh. Be joyful though you have considered all the facts....Practice resurrection.” 

― Wendell BerryThe Country of Marriage

peace of wild things

When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free. -Wendell Berry

of my heart

"Some people I've forgotten but some are just stuck in me." 
-Annie, age six, referring to her friends, the friends of her heart. 

I think we take people and relationships much too lightly in this world, especially in the church. And at the same time we make far too much of love, turning it into something fragile and impossible.

As believers in Christ we are to love one another deeply; to fall in love over and over, in a thousand different ways. It requires soft skin and to be easily bruised and far too vulnerable. And yet love would pour out of us and fill up the gaps like light and grow in the cracks.

That's the theory. But it hurts and I fail all the time.

Throughout history churches attempt discipleship in all manner of ways, but none so effective, in my experience, as the people who came as a letter from Christ, and became written on my heart.

You yourselves are our letter, written on our hearts, known and read by everyone. You show that you are a letter from Christ, the result of our ministry, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts.  2 Cor.3:2-3

When you remember me, it means you have carried something of who I am with you, that I have left some mark of who I am on who you are. It means that you can summon me back to your mind even though countless years and miles may stand between us. It means that if we meet again, you will know me. It means that even after I die, you can still see my face and hear my voice and speak to me in your heart.Frederick Buechner

Related: The people who have influenced me

Recollections of Joy: the beautiful people I carry in my heart #26/36 

Sunday, August 3, 2014


Like anyone, most battles I fight are in my own mind. I am instructed to think on things above . .. whatever is  true, good, lovely . . . 

What, then, do I think about?

This is why I am glad for artists who pull back the curtain.

I am glad for stories which make me long for another world, and for poetry which helps me to "imagine what I know."

Art helps me see what is unseen, to believe in the true and lovely and good and see a vision of it. Imagination helps me to escape myself.

"An unimaginative person can never be reverent or kind" (John Ruskin)

"Thus the person who sneers at beauty 'can no longer pray and soon will no longer be able to love.' Prayer can only be motivated by a love that reveals the beauty we long for, denial of which cuts off at its roots the ability to pray." (*) 

*Beauty for Truth's Sake, Stratford Caldecott