22 October 2005

when I remember to celebrate

Fall. A couple walks by hand in hand talking loudly, as if by sounding the alarm they can postpone the end of

sidewalk stargazing
strolls in the late warm dusk
windows down drives under the dazzling trees.

October's ending says: pile on those extra blankets and speak in softer voices.

16 October 2005

laundry dance

From dinnertime conversation:

Remember Jesse, doing the white man's overbite, dancing in a tub of nasty laundry to a funky tune on the back porch in the Sri Lanka house?

15 October 2005

Today I Want

I want to be peacefulness punctuated by laughter;
to be someone who radiates thankfulness;
to want more of the right things and less of the wrong things.

13 October 2005

Gopi and Raja

Neigbors. Calcutta, India. December, 2004

12 October 2005

Love's Object

Lately I have been walking a lot in my neighborhood. When I walk I think and pray, so in this time of both rest and confusion, I have covered a lot of miles on the city sidewalks. I was at house church tonight and someone prayed that we remember to "put on the garments of praise." I have been chewing on the phrase for a while, and I think one tiny aspect of putting on my garment of praise includes the simple but profound act of acknowledging who I am to God. I plan on taking that concept--putting on the garment of praise-- with me when I walk and seeing what it looks like in afternoon light. In the meantime, these words remind me again how only in God's love can I see myself and the world around me for what they truly are.

"Love is the revelation of our deepest personal meaning, value, and identity. But this revelation remains impossible as long as we are the prisoner of our own egoism. I cannot find myself in myself, but only in another.

My true meaning and worth are shown to me not in my estimate of myself, but in the eyes of the one who loves me; and that one must love me as I am, with my faults and limitations, revealing to me the truth that these faults and limitations cannot destroy my worth in their eyes; and that I am therefore valuable as a person, in spite of my shortcomings, in spite of the imperfections of my exterior ‘package.’ The package is totally unimportant.

What matters is this infinitely precious message which I can discover only in my love for another person. And this message, this secret, is not fully revealed to me unless at the same time I am able to see and understand the mysterious and unique worth of the one I love."

From Love and Living, by Thomas Merton

11 October 2005

My Very Own South Park Character

As a disclaimer to this random post, I haven't ever watched a full episode of South Park. But last night hanging out at Lindsey's, she showed us a website where you can choose different clothes, hairstyles, accessories and facial expressions and create your very own South Park character. She made one for me that was blond and short and chubby, wearing a pink sweater and scarf, sitting in heaven. They even have things like blood splatters, grisly cuts and black eyes that you can add to your replica to make it more authentic.

We messed around with it for a while, and all of us were slightly uncomfortable while our little flesh-toned character didn't have clothes on and was just standing there looking cold and exposed like a kid before their bath, waiting on the screen for us to put a boyscout uniform or santa jacket on him or her. It's a cartoon, for crying out loud, but it still somehow seemed obscene.

I was drivng home thinking about the fact that sometimes I really do behave like the worst cartoon character version of myself. Even though God promised us that he knit us together in our mother's wombs, sometimes I find it easier to recognize the parts of me that desire to uncontrolably blurt out expletives than the parts that reflect his glory and image, the fact that I am a beloved daughter. I guess part of being his child is learning to see the Father's goodness in our lives in spite of this most of the time and embarassing South Park version of ourselves.

07 October 2005

Beautiful Lilley Jane

I remember passing notes with my friends in junior high when we were thirteen years old and had the attitudes and quirky, self-conscious awkwardness of girls that age. Two of them are still my friends today, and I am constantly astounded by the fact that they now have kids. I watch them being moms and they are good at it, for all of the difficulties, fears, and insecurities that being a first time parent must entail. They love their kids and wrap them up in big hugs, they are patient with never-ending requests for that same book to be read over and over. We laugh and they roll their eyes about how they see themselves in their kids--in their humor and weirdness, in their sweet faces, and even sometimes in their stubbornness.

I just babysat one of those kids, whose name is Lilley and who I've claimed as my niece. She is 16 months old and about two feet tall. She loves dogs, even mine, which is two times her size. We walked around out in the front yard and as she was careening down the sidewalk (that's how she moves) she toppled over with me standing right next to her and got a scrape. My heart went into my throat and I decided we should hang out inside for a while.

Inside, she picked up the phone and was pretending to talk on it. "Ouh? Hehe. Shsh sh shs shh. Ah hah ah haa." She nodded her head and gestured with her hand as she tromped in her little white tennis shoes around the house imitating her mom talking and laughing on the phone. Spending time with her and watching this reminds me of God's grace--I'm not even sure why, but it does--which is always worth mentioning. She's this sweet little gift to all of us who know her.

01 October 2005

Autumn Day, Rilke

Lord: it is time. The summer was so immense.
Lay your shadow on the sundials,
And let loose the wind in the fields.

Bid the last fruits to be full;
Give them another two more southerly days,
Press them to ripeness, and chase
The last sweetnes into heavy wine.

Whoever has no house will not build one anymore.
Whoever is alone now will remain so for a long time,
Will stay up, read, write long letters,
And wander the avenues, up and down,
Restlessly, while the leaves are blowing.