Monthly Archives: October 2010

Persimmon

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As I  strolled around the lake, I came upon a persimmon tree all weighted down with waxy, scarlet fruit. The just ripening persimmons clung to their stems. The ground beneath the limbs was still clean; any fallen fruit had been gathered by the deer that too freely roam the property. Each brilliant, slightly firm persimmon fruit was unbearably beautiful.

I picked one of the autumnal attired apricots and broke open its skin.  Seeds, dark and woody, guarded by a filmy shield, stood out against the plum-like flesh.

My children wanted to take the seeds home, dry them and plant them. I thought of our merciless soil. I knew no persimmon could abide that soil.  But, I humored their request and washed and wrapped a few for ferrying home.

When we were not too far down the road, my mother called, we had forsaken our seeds, left them on the countertop. The kids gave no redress to my suggestion that Mama keep them, drying,  until we returned in November. I drove on, still thinking about the persimmons.

There are no Persimmon in my new world. No acrid Quince, no wormy Apple, no Pear – not that produce anything edible, no messy Cherry, no bee attracting Fig, no switch producing Peach, heck, no Redbud – the kids asked me about their strange seed-pods which we once dispersed like the other animals as we played. None of those are my neighbors.

I miss my home: the bulbs that return every year, it’s nearly time to split and replant them, that would be my job ’bout now. I miss the the zinias and roses that are faithfully laying down. I pain for the Verbena and Ageratum standing strong for the butterflies last fill-up, for all the flowering things shining their last shine, frost is coming soon enough. I miss my shrubs, now nearly trees: Elsie’s Snowball and Wild Azalea that Daddy dug from the woods at the lake, Motnie’s Camelias which I brought back in buckets and  Nana’s Sweetheart Rose, now big as a Volkwagon bug. I miss our Magnolia and my Pecan and the once Christmas Cedar, the good for climbing White Pine, the lookout post Redbud and our popsicle eating perch, the Dogwood.

I forget how very rich …until I return and remember. And my heart laments what I have left…

As we marched round the water, our one quick time, we wove through towering willows I once bounced and flipped beneath, swinging up my legs and pulling hard against fist fulls of the willow’s long shaggy locks. And as we grew silent, our circuit nearly over, we heard the hushed crunching of leaves which lay on layer after layer of long fallen friends.

It gets harder and harder to leave.

The persimmons probably started letting go today.

I don’t think I ever will.

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a walk home

Our trip to Athens this past weekend was, as it always is, especially in October, bittersweet. We took all the cousins to a homecoming party on north campus.  The food was good and plenty, the town’s top caterer was in his usual form. My favorite local band  played Motown music. The children danced and joined in on the instruments. I felt suspended in time as I sat on the steps of Brooks Hall.

Afterwards, we had to walk back to our car, now parked at the other end of campus. The guys let us all out behind Brooks before the party. They left us at the party to go on to the game. Laura and I have long had our fill of games, especially with children who get bored about 10 minutes into them.  So, we volunteered to walk the kiddos back to the car. I volunteered, because I love that walk home, well, back to south campus, my home for so many blissful years.

As we started south, a bright breeze blew all but the blue from the sky. The sun shone warm and golden. The trees paraded their fall garments. We descended steps that I had helped to wear away. We crossed the long bridge that now spans the creek and valley which cradle the stadium.  Then we climbed the rocky stair paths to the “sciences” and everything south.

As we made the rise, giant Magnolia and Ginko flanked our path. The girls asked about the old ladies’s ages. I betrayed no confidence, but assured them they had appeared not long after the Yankees. We bent low under grandfather Deodor Cedars which don’t even drop cones until they are seventy-five.  As I crossed tracts of grass that my feet know awake, asleep or during darkness, my heart ballooned at the site of each of these old friends, in so many ways just the same.

Soon, we came to what is not the same. That fool coliseum which they pour unlimited dollars into fancying – though not enlarging. It looks to be growing flashier yet, lots of new glass. Too bad our team is still no better. We walked to a parking deck on the site where I used to pet the ponies when the rodeo came.

Everything is not the same. Much is different, some of it better. But it is, in every way, home.

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my next life

Everything that I am reading, coming across online, and sensing is that God is preparing me for my next life…

Not my life eternal in heaven ( whatever that may be), but what all these years have been preparing me to do. Sometimes, I have flashes. Sometimes, my safe suburban world is more than I can stand. Sometimes, my soul craves more…more satisfaction, more danger, more importance, more relationship, more risk, more shared suffering, more LIFE.

Sometimes, I cannot pacify it with necessities and normality.

That gives me hope, hope that life is not over for me.

I have fewer years to rear my children than I have fingers, only 6 until my baby graduates from high school.  I have no real attachments: no land, no beloved homestead, no business, no parent as yet unable to care for themselves.

I am 44. My grandmother whose body, build and health I share was 101 when she died. I may well have another life before me.

People say, “Life starts at 50.”

50: it is the year of  jubilee.

So let it be.

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hemmed in

I have to admit I have been running the live feed of the Chilean rescue on my computer. I have been working on other things all day. I am not glued to it, but time to time I bring it to the foreground to check on the egress of the miners. Every time that capsule appears, I cry.

I cannot help it. I know what it is like to feel hemmed in, closed off, afraid that you are forgotten. I know that these men must have felt all of those things until they knew that their rescuers were on their way…and, that in time, sky and sea would be theirs again.

Thank you, God for the spacious place that is now theirs again, and mine.

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the fellowship of suffering

Last night at Edge we did  “distraction” prayer, that is, we didn’t focus but let our minds wander as they would, mindful of what things might come to us.  There was really great quiet, almost silence among us for a wonderful amount of time. I love how we are falling in love with still and quiet. Anyway, thoughts about an area in my life where I am suffering swirled about me. I had just finished Andrew Root’s book about incarnational ministry, the with of God’s presence, His coming close and suffering with us, taking what is ours on Himself as well. Root explains that as believers – Christ’s Body, it is ours to do likewise: to enter the sufferings of others, and in such Jesus comes near to them. It is quite a revolutionary thought: The goal of our life is to be with one another, rather than try to influence one another. Though influence is a natural outflow of trust,  trust is born when someone comes near and endures/faces down our suffering with us. Our focus is to be with and there for one another. It kinda takes the pressure off. We are no longer undercover sales people for Jesus. We are to simply be the friend that sticks closer than a brother.

I thought about the times someone has dared to come close when I was suffering. Suffering people are not always the most welcoming…I know I have not been. I thought of the few who have stepped over my barricades, pushed aside my stiff arm and just stayed. Funny, I remember such vividly.

A lot of suffering is being revealed as we, the Edge leaders,  journey with Ignatius. I am learning that everybody suffers. Yeah, we all complain, but that’s usually not really about the source of our sufferings…those holy things are deeper felt and held. But Ignatius is calling them free from their hiding. We shared just a little bit of what had risen in us that first night. Wow… we shared and others suffered with us – listened deeply, let themselves feel what we did, rightly or not, and met our eyes in our pain. I’ll never see any of those “friends” in the same light again, they are now cast with Jesus’ shadow.  There is now this Holy place between us. I know what Root meant, “Jesus coming between us as we share in others sufferings.” I have seen it so.

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The Burn

I read a very fine writer’s post yesterday. Tender, funny words brought a familiar burn to my heart. You know that sensation in your chest that feels like all of your emotions are firing at once? Half a sentence in, that sensation came on me. I swallowed and prepared for the tears that for me, always accompany that burn.

Honestly, the writer’s talent scares me. Not that I see her as competition, I am none for her. What I fear is that brokenness brought the beauty of those words forth. I have come near that place, brokenness, a time or two.  I covet no return.

Her words, their gain costly for her, are beautiful… burn in your chest, tears down your face, beautiful.

Beauty for brokenness?

Let me count that cost.

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I fear that this season is going to get by me.

I fear that this season is going to get by me. I feel it passing and yet I feel no better, no more for it. How many of my seasons seem so? Timed passed, logged, lived through…

Hopefully, my children feel otherwise. Hopefully, their lives have been enriched. Hopefully my effort and attention and actions have gained them something, some things to hold dear and to hold them some day.

Today, I watched the wind play upon my wall, leaves dancing like music upon my  blinds’ shadowy clefs. Fall always seems to be about movement for me. It is the time that things, unseen, like wind, happen.

Yet, my spirit seems stuck in summer’s stagnancy, I have yet to find the breeze that accompanies the shifting sky.

Help, God. Please, show Yourself.

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