Monthly Archives: March 2010

my friend

Some people just get under your skin.  Distance and distraction don’t shake them free. I went home this week. That always stirs up memories and thoughts about where friends might be and how they might be. I drove College Station Road and felt one of those ghosts stir in me.

This friend of mine so made me laugh. And she made me feel something better than respect which was the currency of most of my peer relationships: that something was pursuit. She showed me the power of pursuit, what it could do in a life. I was truly cool, distracted and intimidating in my focus. But this girl…she wasn’t afraid of me. She wasn’t put off by all that was designed to cover my many weaknesses. She chose to be my friend, not because we had classes together; we didn’t. Not because we were in activities together and it was convenient, it wasn’t that way at all. She was older, she didn’t need me or my help in any way. I think that she just knew that I needed someone to just ignore all my signals of “Stay away” and “You don’t want to come here.” Maybe she knew that I needed someone to just step on over all my walls. So she chose to spend time with me and to be my friend. I have always so loved her for that.

I can’t help but cry when I think about her…not just in light of her kindness to me. I, the writer and teacher  notice things that I don’t try to…I can’t help it. Sometimes I see fault lines and sense the highlight of God’s concern. I noticed those kind of things, even then. I remember how under all the motion and fun and humor, when my friend got still, which was rare, something buoyed by the action, settled heavy. It just made me love her more.

This time when I was home, her name came up again. Driving near her house, I knew it was time to try to return the favor, to pursue her. I found her on FB. She is so successful and busy and well, in many ways just the same. I scanned all her pictures hoping the cleft  had closed. But under all that wit and generosity, I can just make it out. I can see it because I love her. I imagine that she will be able to see my frailty as well…and by that I don’t mean my bum knee and my wrinkles that are fast appearing. And I hope that she can see the places that I am so much more whole and those that still gape. I hope see can see past my “togetherness,” to the real me. That’s what makes someone a friend and not an acquaintance: their ability and willingness to see who we really are.

My friend is still real. I cried when I got her fb reply. It was her. Not some grown-up, polished version, not some professional, “in control” persona.

About two years ago, I stood across a pre-surgery hospital bed from my childhood best friend. My sister’s life was in the balance. My friend who had eaten peanut butter crackers on my swing-set with me, who had ridden to school with me everyday, who had been to my birthday parties and had probably been to the bathroom with me a thousand times, stood across that bed as Laura’s doctor and gave me the polished, professional packet. For Laura’s sake alone, I did not deck her ( for her own good.) At that moment, I would have preferred some Indian intern whose name I could never pronounce and who didn’t know me from Adam. Ever since, I have dreaded the possibility of that hellish experience with someone I called/call my friend. I kinda got that sick feeling when I realized that my friend owned and COO’d the fabulous firm where she works. “No…please no,” I begged. I just couldn’t bear it…not from her. I cannot relay the relief that I felt as her message flashed on the screen.

“Bother me? Come on.”

Like I said, I am in the season of returning the favor with my friend. In high school, she used to just show up at my house all the time. Don’t get me wrong; I loved it. My parents loved her. My Mama still talks about her. So, though I promise not to just show up at her work or house without invitation, I am going to drop on by online time to time and just see what she’s up to.


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the thompsons part 1

Megan Thompson was trying to get me to run for Student Council President; it was the duty of the position to recruit and train a replacement. She invited me over to her house after school one day. She only lived a few blocks from our house…but it was miles away in the spirit. I walked into the front door of a house that was flooded with light…and what seemed a super-oxygenated  air. I probably stood there dazed, breathing deeply. Her mother was a very kind and gentle woman…she chatted with me and fixed us a snack of some sort. Megan showed me around…There were pictures on the wall of her four siblings…beautiful, purposeful looking young men and women. Megan was the baby…she explained to me how her brothers and sisters were all over the world, working for the church or in some other humane endeavor. Then we went out to the courtyard. A huge bronze was in its center…it was beautiful. “My Dad’s a sculptor,” she offered, “He teaches at the university.” We went out to a shed adjacent to the house. Inside her father was hammering away on something that I could not yet see. He looked up and smiled at me; I liked him. We talked a little and then left him to his work. I visited a bit with Megan in her room and then rode my bike on home. But I would be back and never the same.

In that house, among those kind souls, God began to hammer and mold me.


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Place – day 5 prayer experiment

There are some places that I feel especially close to God. For some reason it seems easier for me to hear Him in those places. I think it is expectation at work. But when I need to hear…I  will often go to one of those Ebenezers. There is a road that circles Joe Tucker Park. I’ve talked with God so many times on that road…but there are particular places along that road that His voice seems clearer to me…like the signal of a radio station. I can literally close  my eyes and find the places by the clarity of a signal that resonates within me. So, when I am upset and unable to easily calm myself and listen; I go to one of my strong signal sites. There I can cry and scream… and hear, even between my sobs and labored breaths.

Let me tell you all about a time not to long ago. I don’t think I have yet shared it in any detail. It was last year at Beachfreak. I went out for the early morning Lectio. By then I had done many, many Lectios so the newness was not such a wowing factor for me. I actually went, rather than sleep, I wanted to sleep, for my friend who had not experienced Lectios before. So, I was sort of going through the motions, trying not to fall asleep or rush on ahead. But honestly I wasn’t taking it too seriously. I chose a word. It was “vast.” I stared out at the sea in all its vastness and it reminded me of what I felt in regard to a particular circumstance in my life: something that was hulking and seemingly without end, something that had nearly put me under in despair. All the feelings that had been in an ebbing pattern for a year or so just crashed upon me like a wave. My heart and mind raced…panic and fear rose like a flash tide about me. I felt exactly the way I had on occasions when I could not figure out a huge problem or any of the problems on an important calculus test. I wanted to scream and break down.  I saw myself sitting at a desk trying to do the calculus. Then I saw the Holy Spirit stroll down the aisle between the desks and casually pick up my test paper, “I’ve got this.”  Shock and then relief overwhelmed me. I looked His direction, it was not correction, but assurance. “I’ve got this.” I believed Him that day…and I have since seen His hand (not mine) strongly upon that circumstance.

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Three parts – day 4 prayer experiment

Well, the three parts are body, soul and spirit.

We exercise the flesh when we do what it desires..when we let it rule. Whether that be letting a sweet tooth determine our diet or some distraction keep us from the thing at hand. The flesh seeks its own way and will. It is anti-God and anti-other.

Other than praying, I like to play “watch and connect.” I believe that God speaks and shows us “the way” all the time. Connections are everywhere. God is in the connections. He is the master networker. When I don’t have sense enough to pay attention to such in the now I try to replay stuff for His connections.  I just look back over  periods of time and look for themes, trails, clues.

I have also learned to be sensitive to the non-verbal communication of God…sometimes it comes visually. Something seems highlighted or oddly framed. Sometimes it comes as a resonance: a rumbling, a tremor or  a sound. Sometimes it comes as a motion, a move, a stirring. Sometimes it is a pulling, this drawing to a place or back to a moment of significance…

Sometimes there are words…but these are not more nor better…


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the vine

I went to Athens this week to visit my parents and the cousins and a few good friends. We went to the Mary Lyndon House, the original mayor’s family home.  It is on a little rise and faces due south. It has the most wonderful lighting. At the time of our visit, about 1:00 p.m., the front rooms were luscious with light. I would so love a studio office there…The fund that saved the home also built a first class art museum and community center with every kind of art studio for classes…I miss home.  I saw lots of local works. They were beautiful and provoking. But nothing bore into me, stained me, until we were pulling out to go home. The yards of fairly old, 1920’s-1930’s, homes butt up against the parking lot of the Mary Lyndon. There was a rusted and crumpled fence, not chain link, at the edge of the property. All through that fence wound what looked like Forsythia, but the vine was larger and more supple and it was beginning to leaf but not bloom. That image impacted me…I don’t really know why, yet…It’s tied to something…a time, a story, a figure. I am not yet sure.

I drove around Wednesday afternoon in the rain looking for places, architecture, yard props, people, shrubbery and scenery. I saw hundreds of homes circa 1850 to present…. but the only thing that I SAW was that vine. All that called was the vine and this same place, not too far from Mary Lyndon, that has always spoken to me, and still speaks… I can hear it resonate and murmur. I can get near…But I can’t  find it – I can’t get to it. I drove all the way around the property looking for a way in. But buildings have been built, fences erected. It’s covered over and corralled…but its speaking…still.

So I am going to meditate on that vine, what it made me feel and smell and taste and breathe all over again.  I’m going to let the story come to me on its own, in its time…I felt a little tremble on the walkway of the Mary Lyndon, on those bricks laid so long ago…My breath caught looking out the great beveled glass window, front and center on the house. But that vine, who knows how long living…pulled…still pulls…the story is there. The story is there.

Around the edge of the place that speaks was a fence, not chained…wound round with vine…I remember now.

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Metaphor – day 1 prayer experiment

The Bunyan imagery well represents our position in the spirit. We are far more powerful in prayer than we may perceive.

Another metaphor that has been helpful to me: I like the idea of a clap: an impact. The heavens declare… let the earth resound. Perhaps it is the agreement of God and man that brings change to the Earth. We are restored in the new Adam, to our place as Adam – president. And in such, I believe that our voice and agreement is made significant.

There are times when prayer seems less than effective, particularly when I am asking for something or someone outside of myself. But, even in such scenarios, I find myself changed in the understanding of my own heart if not the heart of the other person. And many times God will show me a portion of what He is doing, altering in the processes seen and unseen.

Praying has become so much more about watching for me: listening, hearing, trusting, and understanding what my role is and what is God’s role. I am to listen and speak. God speaks, waits to hear His echo and then moves.


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Reflex – day 2 prayer experiment

My most common reflex is to try to think the situation through…but even that usually dissipates into worry. Somewhere into the worrying  place I have to make myself remember to pray, to put the situation, circumstance purposefully before God…to ask Him for any perspective I can afford and to help me calm my mind. Once done, I can relax again and use my energy to a more purposeful pursuit than worry.

Like Daniel in the movie,we have to practice under little pressure…so that pressure will reveal those things which we practiced. The discipline of prayer does such…it builds a pattern of communication and trust …it helps us to find our way in dark or confusing circumstances to God who enlightens our way.

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