5.04.2019

TGIF (with love to Brené)

I've been blogging in my head (and missing Mary Beth and Mindy and basically the sisterhood of bloggers), so when Brené Brown revived her "TGIF" habit from her old blogging days, I was in. A nice, mellow return by way of sharing a gratitude practice with one of my favorite women heroes.

T(rusting): I'm trusting that I can do a new (interim) job well, and that my family will find its footing in the chaos of me going back to work.

G(grateful): I'm SO FLIPPING GRATEFUL for the support I've had from generous, trusting bosses.  Cannot tell you how much it means to me to be trusted and backed up. Also, hugely, the friend who's helping with childcare and the many friends who are keeping me from losing my mind.  Oh, and the nurse practitioner who treated me with so much love this week.  And the warming weather. And the husband who gave me a sick day and looked at snails on the trail with the little Biscuit.

I(inspired): I've picked Thérèsa of Lisieux back up lately, because she's been calling to me for the last several weeks.  I learned about her years ago, and felt utterly bored by her "holiness of small things" kind of mysticism. Now, as I'm starting to accept the smallness of my own reach, I'm encouraged by her words.

How about you? What's your TGIF this week?

ETA: F!!! I forgot F(un)! Y'all, that is about exactly the state of things right now.  I am totally forgetting the F.  Um.  I have an ongoing pattern of seeing powerful lady movies with my best friend (remember, per Mindy Kaling, best friend is a tier, not an individual), and I'm wagging about getting a date for The Hustle on our calendars.


9.28.2018

You Always Have the Poor with You

While he was at Bethany in the house of Simon the leper, as he sat at the table, a woman came with an alabaster jar of very costly ointment of nard, and she broke open the jar and poured the ointment on his head. But some were there who said to one another in anger, “Why was the ointment wasted in this way? For this ointment could have been sold for more than three hundred denarii, and the money given to the poor.” And they scolded her. But Jesus said, “Let her alone; why do you trouble her? She has performed a good service for me. For you always have the poor with you, and you can show kindness to them whenever you wish; but you will not always have me. She has done what she could; she has anointed my body beforehand for its burial. Truly I tell you, wherever the good news is proclaimed in the whole world, what she has done will be told in remembrance of her.” - Mark 14:3-9

This week has been brutal.  This week has also been breathtaking.
My spouse took a couple of days off, and after the national horror of yesterday's Senate hearings, I decided to schedule a last-minute facial this morning. 
As the aesthetician massaged my face and hands with oils, I thought about the work to be done, the work of protection and justice and dignity. 
We always have survivors with us.
Jesus must have been bone-tired.  God alone knows how many people he'd healed by this point, how many hungry mouths he had already fed, how many powerful men he'd stood up to on behalf of maligned women.
And there were still more to be fed.  Still more to protect. Still more to heal.
If we think about the scope of the work to be done, we cannot carry it.  The woman with oil was anointing Jesus for his burial, but we need to be anointed and massaged and nurtured for our survival, too.
"Self-care" gives me the heebie-jeebies.  If your sleeves aren't rolled up and your hands aren't dirty, I don't want to hear a damn thing about the importance of self-care.  But if the poor are indeed among you, and if you're feeding and healing and standing firm? Be extravagantly nurtured.  Pour delicious oil on one another. Be profligate in the beauty you share and receive.
Tonya stroked my eyebrows and warmed my fingers.  Sarah, Molly, and Liz are sharing beautiful music this fall.  Dave makes me tea and soup and holds my hand.  I cannot stand without the oil they pour.
There is so much work to be done.  Only beauty and love will carry us.  

3.28.2018

Wednesday Prayers

Tenebrae service tonight; also deep worries about a friend's critical illness.

Kyrie Eleison.

And with you?

8.02.2017

Wednesday Prayers: Passes Understanding, Indeed

Someone walked into my apartment this morning and commented on how peaceful it felt.

Um.

That has definitely not been how it's felt to me, lately.  I mean, unless peaceful is just managing not to scream, "stop screwing around and go to the damn potty!" That's not really my definition.

But lately my prayer has been that wherever we live, it's as welcoming as possible to as many people as possible.  It's how I'm (sort of) coming to terms with a few more years in a beige, cat-ravaged apartment.  For years and years, I used to joke (not joking) that all I wanted in a home was a ballroom and a library.  Most of our bookshelves are in the basement right now (because they make such tempting ladders), and beige carpet does not a dance floor make.

But.

In our homely little development, we have neighbors from all over.  Neighbors who wear hijab, and neighbors who grill very tasty smelling meats.  The kids play football in the huge field behind Sam's room.  I will always know people with PhDs and fancy jobs, but here I learn about what manufacturing jobs entail.  As much as I want my own charming little home, I can't imagine being more accessible to more people.  And when different people all come to my drab little domicile, they meet other people they might not meet otherwise.  (And for sure no one feels intimidated by the space.)

It's not where I want to be, but it sure functions how I want it to function.

So: prayers for my home, please.  That it grow in warmth and peace and security.  And maybe one day, in aesthetics.

And how about you? What's rattling through your brain when you wake at 3 a.m.? What are you thinking about when you're driving? What can I be taking to God for you?

7.29.2017

Wednesday Prayers on Saturday

Holy bananas, you guys. It's been one heck of a month to both weep with those who weep, and rejoice with those who rejoice. (Not a thing happening in our own household, for which I am immensely grateful.)

While I was thinking of dear ones, and their highs and lows, I realized I hadn't asked what you would like prayers for lately. Let me know, and I'll add you to my daily list.

And if you pray for me, I could use the wisdom and the generosity to hold all those highs and lows as well as possible.

5.11.2017

Petty Tyrants

What are you doing to overthrow tyranny?

Nope.  Not the tyrants ruling countries. The ones ruling offices, congregations, and families.  The ones who live on your block and rule their own tiny fiefdoms.  I want to know what you're doing to topple the regime of the office bully, of the parish despot who silences opposing viewpoints, of the teacher who publicly humiliates his students. I don't want to hear a damn word about the inaction of congressional Republicans until we practice taking down the autocracies in our neighborhoods.  (No, that's not true.  I still want congressional Republicans to step up...)

But I'm not kidding: what we tolerate small-scale is what we experience large-scale.  Courage is courage, and if we don't exercise it, it atrophies.  

A few weeks ago, I mostly kept my mouth shut when someone in power trounced a minority opinion.  I wish I'd had the presence of mind to speak up, and do it well.  I didn't want to sacrifice my standing for an un-winnable fight. I had no leverage in that group, and frankly had never met some of the players.  So, I probably wouldn't have changed the outcome. Also, no kidding, I got my ass handed to me the last time I spoke up in a situation with similar dynamics.

But I wouldn't have lost as much as I did the last time.  I'm older now, and jaded in a useful way.  I'd rather lose a fight than lose myself. (Truthfully, that's exactly what I concluded in Round One, but it hurt like hell and took too long to figure out.) A very smart Palestinian Christian observed in church on Sunday that we aren't necessarily called to fix, but to be faithful and obedient.  (And some of you know how I feel about "obedient.")  He's right, though: we're called to be obedient to what we understand to be the greatest good, whether that's God or a code of ethics.  

And hypocrisy isn't any prettier in us than in our elected officials.  
Stand up, dear ones.   


4.14.2017

Opportunities to Struggle

The Biscuit's bedtime has become madness.  Developmentally-appropriate madness, but still crazy.  Some days, I can handle it calmly.  When I forget to take a breath because I'm preoccupied by the things I'd like to do, the husband I miss, and worries about who the President is going to bomb next, I do not handle it calmly. Calm is not my default setting when frustrated.  (Humiliatingly, my default setting when frustrated looks a lot more like the President's.)

But here's the thing: I badly don't want the Biscuit to make his choices based on other people's anger.  I don't want him to chose out of fear.  Self-defeating as it might seem, I want the little dickens to keep popping out of bed for a while, so that he and I can practice working alongside each other, even when I feel angry.  I fervently hope that conflict and frustration continue, and that I handle myself in such a way that my child does not become submissive in response to it. 

The same struggle, over and over again, is a chance to practice.  I did not start out with much innate talent, but if I take the opportunity to use these drills, I might wind up a patience virtuoso.  Or at least finally catch up with average.