Thursday, October 30, 2014

Wednesdays

  There are so many times I have wished to have an audio recording of our sanctuary choir rehearsals on Wednesday nights. Recently we did start recording and posting them so that people who are away on business or other travel can listen later to hear what they missed and catch up on what we worked on. But some days, even just the rehearsal of the music is so overwhelmingly beautiful to me that I wish I could capture and share it right that moment. I have on occasion shared lyrics here of something we've sung, but that nowhere near does it justice. The myriad of imperfect voices that belong to imperfect people blending together to create something beautiful is what gives those lyrics life and breath and thus communicates the gospel to those who listen. And those who sing too. Sometimes what I experience on Wednesday is the thing that gets me through the week, especially if it is a difficult one emotionally, physically, or spiritually. For me, our Wednesday night rituals and rehearsals are much like a sacrament of sorts. They are not on the level of a baptism or Lord's supper of course, but they are a regular returning to the table of the Lord for me. They are the means by which I enter true community in my church, maybe even more than Sundays. They are a reminder, one in which I both give and receive. In the ritual of carrying my babies (and all their various accoutrements!) into the church, and feeding hungry little mouths, one at the table with fork and spoon and one from my own body--we both experience and act as the church. When the sweet 12 year old friend does not ask but simply sweeps in and picks T.Mark up and carries him on her hip through the supper line and to our table because she sees how much I have to carry, my family receives His gifts through community. When T.Mark asks, every Wednesday, to see his 95 year old friend who takes the supper tickets, and then stops to talk to her--we give that gift of community back, as the tonic of youthful exuberance to an aged soul. When a dear friend helps feed one of my children so I can eat too. And then to go into the choir room and rehearse, which, for me, is certainly a time of worship. The church is a beautiful give and take, a living organism that grows and changes and is ever adopting new life in, making it continually more beautiful as she is sanctified. Preparing herself for the Wedding Day, to the perfect Bridegroom. 

I love my church. I love The Church. Can you tell? 

Here are a few pics from the last couple of days: 

My little fireman in his preschool Halloween parade: 

Naptime:

Excited to pick out some pull-ups and "Cars" big boy underwear! 

 We started two days ago into the world of potty training. Scary stuff. I am not above bribery. I.e., chocolate. And this coming from a dentist! 

Wish me luck!! 

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Mirrors

  Sometimes I wish life and relationships were more predictable. Like the post-op conditions I explain to my patients. "When the anesthesia wears off, you will be very sore. We had to go deep with this one and I know you will have some pain. Usually the pain and swelling are at their worst at 48 hours post-op. It's all downhill from there." Barring any bizarre complications it is all nice, normal, predictable. Cut and dried. Perfect for type A control freaks like me. I'm in the right field. 

But life and relationships are not like that. Much to my (self-centered) dismay at times, people do not react to my actions exactly as I expect or wish. I have been working through my issues with this a lot lately but I imagine it will be a lifetime struggle. 

In life, if you are lucky, there will be precious gifts--and by gifts I mean people--who hold up a proverbial mirror directly in front of your face. In the light. Without your makeup on. Reality and that mirror will show you things you don't like. That laugh line above the corner of your mouth that has gotten a little too deep. That little mole that gets darker every year. The little uglies. And the big ones. Your selfishness. 

  Here are two of my little mirrors: 

And I imagine as they get older that the reflection of myself I see in them will get sweeter and much more painful all at once. 

Someone close to me recently in a very loving way explained that my demanding nature is unfair to others and may sometimes be hurtful. While this broke my heart to hear, mainly because the thought of hurting someone I love by my own brokenness is hard to bear, I appreciated the honesty and the light it shone, though it perhaps felt harsh at the time. 

  A couple days ago I picked T.Mark up a little early from his preschool class to attend his school's book fair. When we had purchased our books I walked him back to his class so that he could tell his teacher and friends bye-bye. When he walked into the room, his teacher (whom he adores) was occupied with the other children, and they were all sitting in a circle singing a song together. He walked in and said goodbye but no one heard him.  He said it a second time and still no one heard. He stood there for a moment and then turned around and looked at me. His lip was poked out and he walked hurriedly to me and said "will you hold me mama?", which is not something he asks very often anymore. It was not a pouty moment, but a truly sad and unsure one in his little heart. For a moment I couldn't figure out why he was suddenly so sad. But then it hit me. Because I knew the feeling he was experiencing. In that instant I recognized more of myself in my little boy than I have thus far in his little life. Life was going on without his help in the classroom, and it made him feel very uncertain and insecure. I now recognize that he has the same deep seated need that I do to be needed, and appreciated, and perhaps even admired on some level. But most of all, to be secure in his place in the hearts of others. And that when he is not given this attention fully he is suddenly sad and may not even know why. What he does not know, but unfortunately I do, is how that aspect of his personality has the potential to put pressure and unrealistic expectations on other people. 

It can be quite difficult to see your faults and sinfulness so clearly reflected. Especially when you realize that it is a part of your nature, not always simply something you choose to do. Sometimes it is more depressing to know that this weight and these faults will follow you wherever you go. A thorn in the flesh. 

And in a quick treatment of one of my many other faults, since we are on the subject--it is my tendency to always want the answers, to all the questions. And want them right NOW, dangit. I try to have patience, truly I do. But it is so hard. I have always loved this Rainer Maria Rilke quote: "Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves, like locked rooms and like books that are now written in a very foreign tongue. Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer."

I hope that I can teach my babies that their security, and the answers to all the questions, are found in Christ. 

And because you know I love ending on a happy note:  

This guy has been smiling at me today. A lot.