Monthly Archives: June 2010

I go through these seasons

I go through these seasons where I just take in all I can about a subject that I know God is having me to explore: to better grasp His heart about it, to better understand how it relates to His Word, how it is universally viewed and how it has been viewed over time. Before I talk ( discuss, share insights with other people seeking to understand better) I like to do what I can to have some basic knowledge if not wisdom. SO, I am reading, watching documentary, listening, considering, even remembering things holy and otherwise that God has paraded before me and me through.

I don’t have much to say right now about anything. There is a time to speak and a time to refrain from speaking. This is the latter. The time to speak will come. It will come.

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I can’t believe that I wasn’t selected

I had jury duty, again, this week. I get called a good bit. Often I get selected: white female with kids, in education – I kinda chart out neutral to mildly sympathetic. Today, it seemed everyone on the panel but me had been rear-ended and/or had injured their neck to the point that they required neck surgery. What is the chance that in a group of 32 people all under 55, like 6-8 of them had neck surgery after a wreck. Anyway, I would have picked me as a defense or plaintiff attorney. But I was released.

I’m really glad I was. It was the typical insurance company vs. policy holder case. One of those tough to tell if the plaintiff is lying, so many people do to milk insurance companies for every possible dollar. Or if the company was doing the all too normal foot-dragging dance. Seemed it might have been both. My discernment as to the lying wasn’t firing, and my experience with insurance companies has many times had me close to calling in a bomb threat….

God was gracious to me today, He hid me in my spiritual numbness and fleshly frustration.

I had to walk the hallways of the courthouse a lot. We took lots of breaks. You know you could tell the staff and jury personnel instantly from those there or with someone there for processing or some legal matter. There was just a different tone to them. It was bleak and sad and like a sickness that clung to them. It was a staleness.

I met and visited with some nice people…jury duty always encourages me that way. There are lots of really nice people in this world, especially within those called to jury duty. Only one young man on the panel seemed to have that dingy, staleness about him. He offered during questioning that he had a case pending against him in a civil court. Everyone else was free of whatever that thing is.

Last week in sunday school we talked about the thing that overtakes those in legal trouble, the spiritual thing. I saw it today…I know exactly what they were talking about now. Hopelessness.

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enough?

I walked a river bed of jewel-toned stones; rounded and smooth like beads to be strung. When the mountain stream passed over them they shone and colored the clear water. The spongy black soil beneath them gave gently as our feet fell. Along the river’s banks towered a majestic jungle. The valley came to a close far off, at the foot of cloud draped volcanoes. It was hard not to succumb to that kind of beauty, to not sit down and simply stay… until food, and water, and breath itself were exhausted.

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the land

The soil of Costa Rica is deep brown/black and loamy. Plowed fields look like furrows of ground coffee. Volcanic soil makes for sweetness; pineapples, whose spiky plants fill acre after acre, grow too luscious and succulent to describe. Banana trees and giant aloes filled with fluid to rigor, soar. Great scarlet combs of color fall from roadside limbs. Limes and oranges bob from branches. Toucans sit atop leafless pinnacles and azure birds and butterflies dart before you. Humming birds dance between hibiscus. Black and orange orioles, larger and more brilliant, sit upon painted fence posts. Monkeys howl greetings to the morning sun.

In the cool of the forest, giant primordial trees perhaps 10 feet in diameter, spread wide their roots to secure another century of creation. Lizards and m&m colored, poison dart frogs and the much feared bullet ant, race in and out of its sheltering crevasses. Leaf cutter ants parade here and there with their flags raised high. Parrots fly in formation and sloths wind themselves around strong branches.

These riches are everywhere. The land shows no favoritism. It was breathtaking in the gardens of the landed, at the entrances of the plantations, in the uninhabited jungles, in the front yards of the country homes and in the shantytowns. Nowhere that man had left some soil to the sun’s gracing, did it not return its thanks. I saw soil piled upon a table top, secured with some round river stones, that bloomed into a garden. Children picked sweet wild fruit from every tree, and every plant seemed to hold some secret wonder.

Only in one place did the beauty that was Costa Rica dim. In the city, Limon’, the soil gave way to man’s cement and metal. The homes, cramped and rusted, were made of stronger stuff and everything seemed concrete.  The soil was pushed aside, covered over. Man’s progress seemed an ugly effort. No shop nor statue could in any way compete with the beauty and bounty of the poorest man’s land.

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still processing

On the bus, on the way to somewhere, Jeremy asked us some questions to consider in response to our ten days in Costa Rica. I listened to everyone’s comments. I was not ready to speak. I was still processing, as I am yet. I took inventory of the many images I had stowed within my mind. I tried hard to turn them about and review every angle before time had the chance to blur them in my memory.

When I think of home, I see calendars and deadlines. I see the many projects that I must prioritize and address in the few days of summer yet remaining. There are course objectives to rewrite, story-lines to further outline, research to conduct, books to read, drafts to edit and systems to envision and design.

In Costa Rica, we were busy, but everything focused on relationship. Jeff, the missionary, taught me a great deal about that. The stories I should and must tell are not about situations and circumstances, they are the stories of people. I learned that you run into your work, one person at a time. You come upon it. People are the stones of the pathway you walk along. People are the sign posts and the traffic signals.

I’m still quite tired. My eyes are bleary. My mind is slow. Tomorrow, I will share more of a land and people almost too beautiful to bear.

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a tent

We were talking about tents last night at the pre-mission trip meeting. Seems we are to be sleeping in one in the jungle – yes, that is jungle not some Alabama pine thicket. I am trying not to think about what else might be sharing our little corner of the planet. So, I guess tents have been on the mind a bit.

Now, I do like to camp, in decent weather mind you, it’s just that I have never camped in decent weather. It is always cold, cold and often blowing a little rain when I have paid my fare for a turn in the old tent. It will likely be 100+ degrees at night in good Ol’ Costa Rica, and 110 % humidity as well. So yeah, I’ve been day dreaming about the tent.

Well, tonight during worship, which was very incredible, during probably my favorite song lyrically, “With Everything,” I saw this tent. I had been asking God for a framework, a “What is this trip about?” paradigm. I saw a tent on the ground, not yet put together. It was a covering. It covered the earth.

“Okay, God? A tent on the ground. What good is that?”

“They are the tent poles.”

“What?”

“The young people you are taking, they are the tent poles. You are to help them see that on this trip. Tent poles make a covering a dwelling, where I come in and abide. They are not living to get people covered, checked off as under my covering, “okay,” if you will. Where they will stake their lives, I will dwell.”

I sense these works of Life. Works, life works where Life flows, dwells in and amongst. And I see these young people, representatives of the many I am blessed to walk alongside, living lives of good work with Christ.

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