Posts Tagged ‘love



05
Nov
10

what sense does it make?

I am an Anabaptist/Mennonite, not by birth as many are, but by God’s leading and my choice. The Anabaptists were so named in the 16th century for their preference for believer’s baptism over infant baptism, but that is only one of the stances taken by these brave souls. Central to the faith are the teachings of Jesus and discipleship. Jesus spoke in love and taught peace and reconciliation. This is one of the core values of the Anabaptist belief. It is not a core value of the social system in which you and I live. The tension is obvious. Search the gospels. You will not find a word from his lips that support violence or retribution of any kind, nor do we.

This morning when I opened my email I found this letter from one of the members of my little church at the edge of the city. He is one of several in the church who are members of our denomination’s Christian Peacemakers Teams. He and his wife believe people can change. So do I. So did Jesus. So does God. That is what Grace is all about. If it were not so, how do we find ourselves still here, chugging along trying to be better people despite our many continued failings? I am not talking about leaving the toothpaste cap off the tube or grumbling about things. I am talking about attitudes, behaviors and actions that wound the spirit in other persons—abuse in all it’s many forms. I have done this many, many times.  I once was blind, but now I see….

Here is the letter that came by email to my congregation this morning:

Alabama killed Phil tonight, November 4, 2010, to my church…

Tonight the state of Alabama killed Phil who was on death row at the prison where our friend Glenn is also awaiting execution.

Earlier this year Glenn was originally scheduled to receive a ruling mid-October which would have set his execution date, possibly as early as mid-November.   And then in August, Phil was assigned a death-date of November 4, and Glenn knew he would live to see another Christmas and New Year, because Alabama only kills one inmate each month (Phil in November) and they don’t kill people in December (too close to Christmas — after all, it would be un-Christian to kill someone so close to Jesus’ birth.  Best to have a little distance…..).   And then, in addition, Glenn’s court ruling was postponed until later this month (at which time he will get an execution date).   But if things had fallen differently, Phil’s execution could have been Glenn’s.

I Googled Phil, and this is what I found.  Phil has been on death row for over two decades.  The information focuses on what he did many years ago; who knows who he is today.  I have learned from my conversations with Glenn that people can change in amazing ways while on death row.   The death penalty is wrong because it denies the possibility of God’s transforming love for victim and perpetrator.   More on that in a later email or other sharing in church.

I talked to Glenn tonight, he was somber, as were the rest of those on death row.

After I hung up with Glenn, I went to sing Eli songs as part of his good-night routine, and Eli asked to sing “Alleluia, the Great Storm is over.”

The thunder and lightning gave voice to the night;
the little lame child cried aloud in her fright. .
“Hush, little baby, a story I’ll tell,
of a love that has vanquished the powers of hell.

Alleluia, the great storm is over, lift up your wings and fly!
Alleluia, the great storm is over, lift up your wings and fly!

“Sweetness in the air, and justice on the wind,
laughter in the house where the mourners had been.
The deaf shall have music, the blind have new eyes,
the standards of death taken down by surprise.

Alleluia, the great storm is over, lift up your wings and fly!
Alleluia, the great storm is over, lift up your wings and fly!

“Release for the captives, an end to the wars,
new streams in the desert, new hope for the poor.
The little lame children will dance as they sing,
and play with the bears and the lions in spring.

Alleluia, the great storm is over, lift up your wings and fly!
Alleluia, the great storm is over, lift up your wings and fly!

20
Aug
10

thinking of you

Today I found a little drawing by a very talented young girl from the church Big Dawg, Adopted Daughter Bettina and I attended until June, 2009. It was given to Bettina shortly before she died last March. The drawing was of a beautiful horse with a coat of many colors. At the top of the drawing this little girl placed a perky little pink flower with green stem and leaves. At the bottom, beneath the colorfully happy horse she wrote: I’m thinking of you.

This artwork had been amongst a pile of things collecting for months on the table next to my computer desk. Why I saw it today and not yesterday, or the day before, I don’t know. I saw it today—early this morning as I booted up and began my electronic day. Looking at it—its simple beauty took me by surprise as though I hadn’t seen it months ago, when it first came to Bettina’s bedside. She was always so happy to have these gifts from children. From child to child is how it went. I’m thinking of you, it said; and so I am, and do, and did all day long.

I decided to add another posting to her blog, Longing for Light. I called it Hovering, and published the drawing with it. Afterward, I worked again at thinning down her last few belongings…the ones most difficult to deal with. The most difficult thing was reading through the letters she had written…remembering all of the good and all of the painful things that ran through our knowing each other. I made some progress, mostly organizing and separating things for final distribution. There isn’t a lot, just a couple of small boxes, but it was difficult and I thought about her all day long.

I’m thinking of you, Tina…and the sadness returned.

Hovering: Tina promised to hover. She told everyone she would learn to hover. I don’t know if she has learned, or is learning, or maybe flunked 101. I don’t dream about her, don’t have visions, don’t feel her presence…except when my little cat Bella jumps up to sleep with me at night. At that moment I feel Tina…as though Bella brings her to me. I am especially glad when Bella chooses to come right up to my chest, settles down and stretches out there. I say, “Hi, Tina, where have you been?”

So this is Bella…or Tina…or just a pretty orange tabby. You can decide.

11
Aug
10

alone together at last

Remember our lovebirds? Here’s where they were last time we peeked into their story.

Four weeks and 11 days later, the newly weds are finally off to their honeymoon cottage. They had a few things to attend to first…like house and home for 2 little squirts and 2 funny cats.

These two little lovely Misses stay with Grandpa and Grandma while Darling and #1 Son (the Captain) go not too far away…just far enough to be alone and in love together.

The cats, Pablo and Toulouse stay home to guard the house, eat, sleep and watch the birds. 🙂

07
Jul
10

a very good day

Five days ago Darling Daughter and #1 son—the Captain—tossed aside their butterflies and wed. The ceremony began as Darling, preceded by Miss Green and Miss Pink, floated down the beautiful 19th century staircase to the sonorous tones of the Pachelbel Canon, and into the waiting arms of—the Captain. It was a perfect day for a wedding and a perfect day to be back in the home and company of Virgil and Joan Vogt of Reba Place Fellowship, where Darling and I began our Christian journey decades ago—a single parent and an only child, at the edge of our rope (so to speak). Who would have thought then that one day Darling would walk down those stairs? I learned recently that as a child she imagined herself being a bride and doing just that! It was paper dolls and dress-ups then. On July 3, 2010 it was for real. Time flies, buttered or not and our journeys take us through many nooks and crannies. This was definitely neither nook nor cranny. It was sunlit tips of sparrow wings and wispy breath, blue skies. It was a very good day to say… I do.

The Captain escorted Darling and the Misses Green and Pink into the living room. The immediate family followed and took their places in a circle of chairs. The pastor spoke a greeting and the candles were lit. It was a mesmerizing experience of hope and love and unity. The scripture was read, the words were spoken, the vows were uttered and voices in song filled the air.

After toasting the bride and groom with champagne and greeting each other, we watched as they walked out the door to the porch, where flower petals had been lovingly strewn by two of Darling’s  dear friends. We threw the ecologically correct birdseed and thanked God for blessings yet to come as they walked down the stairs and toward their car.

Then came the wedding luncheon at the Persian restaurant, Noon-O-Kabab, where the chef served us personally as honored guests, and we all ate more than we should have. But who can refuse a beautiful and most delicious piece of wedding cake? None of us did and I wish I had a piece right now! It was quite a banquet and quite a day. I have a lovely new family of four and an extended family of ten. That makes sixteen…a very good number.

28
Jun
10

6 days

In 6 days Darling Daughter and #1 Son, the Captain, will exchange wedding vows. The very next day 40 relatives and friends will descend upon my sister’s home where she is hosting a reception for the happy couple. I am not much thinking about any of this just now. I have too many vicissitudes of life sprouting on my shoulders. What happened to the golden years? I am now in that time period when life is supposed to be easy and pleasant. That is what was promised back when I was growing up. My body says it should be so, but the news and the mail and the world says something very different. Ten years ago I expected to live to be 90+ and not skip a beat. Today I am wondering what happened to the beat. I think the rhythm is completely different. There are days when I do not even understand the beat, let alone want to skip along with it.

Darling and Captain will begin a new song. I pray their lyrics do not lose their sweetness…that the God who dwells within them always has a place at their table.

And to Miss Green and Miss Pink, my new grandchildren…you are the sunshine on a cloudy day.

10
Jun
10

family plan

Many, many months ago, while Darling Daughter was grieving over the break-up of a year long romance (a handsome man with commitment aversion). I gave her my best advice which was to pray for the right person to come into her life. I had done this myself 30 some years before with positive results. It was the best I had to offer. So what happened? One Sunday at her church, during the passing of the peace, the man sitting in front of her turned around to perform the accustomed handshake, hug or whatever, and both were smitten: love at first sight. Very romantic, I would say.

Now this is no ordinary answer to prayer because DD is in her early 40s. The baby clock had ticked itself down to unlikely and she had given up all hope of ever having her own family. I in concert with her, had entirely given up hope of ever being a grandmother. Young readers will not understand this granny thing. I didn’t until I entered my 7th decade, when I began to sense that grandchildren would be even better than cats. And that’s saying a lot!

Well, to make this story a bit shorter…this man turned out to be a widower with 2 young daughters—not divorced—widowed. Dear God, how kind of you to bring an entire family into Darling’s life. Just add water, stir gently and set in the sun to bloom. This is all very exciting for DD, the children (Miss Green and Miss Pink) and the prince…not a frog…whom I shall call #1 Son until I come upon a better name. I have several favorite youngish male friends who are dear to me, but no actual sons, so clearly he is the first and receives a crown or something.

Wedding preparations are underway for July 3. Ms. will turn into Mrs. Big Dawg and I will become grannies and except for the messed up world we live in, shall live happily ever after. We are off and running. Last week, Saturday, the girls came over for the first granny visit. We had mac and cheese in bunny shapes which they loved…“Can we have more?” Then BD and I did arts and crafts with them and had a lovely time. Immediately after they left BD and I went out shopping for supplies for the next visit and set up their own cabinet in my studio. Are we crazy or what? I will not be able to resist showing pictures, so stand by. Here we go…

Miss Pink on the left—5 1/2

Miss Green on the right—8 1/2

#1 Son (a.k.a. the Captain)

Darling Daughter

Balloons have no names

This photo was taken after Miss Green’s violin recital.  Great, huh?

And here is Miss Green in a pensive pose after playing Perpetual Motion brilliantly.

19
Feb
10

long ago and yesterday

Today is Friday and I am waiting for the hospice nurse to come visit AD. I look forward to her visits because they are informative and stabilizing for me as a (novice) care-giver. While I wait I think about my friend, adopted daughter, cancer buddy and teammate. This latter description is one we came to recently as we realized the synchronicity of the dance we are doing together. I am learning so much from standing back and standing by, trusting my intuition while ready to give it up when I am off course. This is a truly sacred space we are occupying together. I don’t think about the end, although I know it is not terribly far off and I am somewhat familiar with what it looks like. I think about now and sometimes I think about a few of the yesterdays, but if I do too much of the latter I get weepy and that is not helpful except when I am alone and private.

AD was diagnosed with ovarian cancer two months after my own diagnosis of non-Hodgkin lymphoma. A month prior to my diagnosis I had fallen down the basement stairs and fractured my right foot. By September, just after my first chemo session, and before her diagnosis, she took me in a wheel chair to buy a few items of clothing that I needed. I was very weak and still short of breath. It was tiring and we weren’t out very long, but the memory comes to me now that the roles are reversing. I want to share photographs with you that in my heart, speak of the relationship we have together. These are from October,  2006, after her surgery and first chemo session.

So long ago and just yesterday…..




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