Friday, October 27, 2006
Yesterday was the 10th anniversary of the day Dh asked me to marry him. Recently a newly married friend commented to me that she couldn't imagine how in love Dh & I must be, considering the way that she was falling more deeply in love with her husband every day. My response? You're absolutely right. You cannot imagine.
We snuggled our warm bodies close under our soft blankets, hands clasped, faces close together and spoke our memories of that night ten years ago...and the events that came before and after...clay forms and market square, Mississippi, the Mary Chapin Carpenter concert, the full moon and a truck full of roses, Uncommon Grounds, walks in hills, Sleeping Beauty in the attic bedroom, first kiss... We hardly knew each other. I laugh and call us children. Carried by a passion we could hardly understand, upheld in the Unseen Hand called Love. Life is deep and wide, intense.
That great Unseen Hand scooped us up. The mighty angels of heaven stood gaurd to protect this blessed union, the force unleashed by two children of God becoming one and pledging to stand together in the middle of God's plan. I like to think of the angels presiding over our wedding, the many invisible eyes and ears bearing witness.
"Place me like a seal over your heart,
like a seal on your arm;
for love is as strong as death,
its jealousy unyielding as the grave.
It burns like blazing fire,
like a mighty flame.
Many waters cannot quench love;
rivers cannot wash it away.
If one were to give
all the wealth of his house for love,
it would be utterly scorned." ~ Song of Solomon 8:6-7
And here we are, ten years after we first spoke our love to each other, hardly recognizing our former selves...yet recognizing in each other the same blazing fire, the same mighty flame. We stand together, united, strong, passionate...leading vibrant lives of service to the Almighty and to each other.
I could hardly have composed a statement of such strength when our lives together began, yet I felt it then. The power was there, though the knowledge was not. And still we walk somewhat blindly, unsure where we are going next, awaiting the next word from the one who is continually creating and calling us into being. We thought we knew then what love is. The amazing and wonderful truth is that the more we discover, the more we realize just how little we know. And yet it is this Love that holds us, and we can be content knowing that it is far bigger than we could ever imagine.
Wednesday, October 25, 2006
Just got back from Women's Bible Study at Park Avenue. What a timely message. Just the other day Vespera was asking how we know when God is speaking to us, and here I am talking about it with the women at church. Not only that, though, the message was about gray areas, which my life seems full of right now - questions about my career, about Vespera, about what to say to some hurting friends, about which questions to ask and when to stay silent.
Oh God, send your Holy Spirit with spiritual words with which my spirit can resonate. Help me to allow myself to be moved, like the chess pieces. It is so amazing to know to be compelled by the Spirit and to move...to hear the Inaudible Voice, to be touched by the Unseen Hand. It is so clear when I need it, and yet I always wish for more. Help me to have faith, to need nothing more, to hear the Voice when it speaks. And, I beg of you, guide me in the gray things.
I will not argue. I will follow.
"When the Unseen Hand leads you in its grasp, you follow. Or turn back and live in eternal regret. Of course there is no certainty in following either. That is what makes faith. Follow or turn back. There is no middle way." ~ Merlin in Merlin by Stephen R. Lawhead
I was explaining to Dh the other day that the chess games in the first book of Harry Potter remind me of human relationships with God. Harry borrows chess pieces to play with Ron over Christmas break. The pieces can talk. They argue about where they should move. They try to assert their will over the one directing the game, act like they know best, refuse to do what they are told, make their moves themselves. That is, that's what they do when they don't know the person playing the game. Ron's chess set is an old worn set that's been in his family forever. His pieces know and trust him. They submit to his direction because they know he has a plan, and he's a pretty awesome chess player.
So, near the end of the book (and this may be considered a spoiler for those who haven't read it), Harry, Ron and Hermoine go through a series of magical "traps" to get to the sorcerer's stone and save it. One of the traps is a room with a chess game. You have to play the game and win to get through the door to the other side and to the next test. The trick is that you have to exchange places with the chess players & play your way across the board as though you are a chess piece. These are human-sized chess pieces who knock each other out, beat each other up, and try to kill each other when they capture another piece in the game. So, Harry and Hermoine put Ron in charge because he is the one who knows how to play chess. They trust him. So, Ron, the awesome chess director, places himself on the board with the players to help his friends win the game and move to the next level. He realizes at some point that one of them will have to be sacrificed in order for the game to be won. So, he offers himself, after telling Harry and Hermoine what their next moves are. Then he steps into his next moves and is knocked out cold by a laughing member of the other team.
I think it's like that. There are those who know God and submit to the plan, the direction that God offers because they know and love and trust him so completely. And there are those who argue for their own direction, refuse to budge, play dirty and knock out everybody else. And then one day the awesome Director came down to be a chess player, one of us. And He took some blows for us. I try to live my life as one who knows this and trusts this and takes it seriously. I try to sit back and trust.........back to the re-occuring theme of Faith in my life lately. Now I have two analogies...the garden and the chess game. The thing is, the chess pieces don't try. They just do trust....because they trust the Master. They know the Master. They love the Master.
God help me to know you. So that my faith may increase.
Wednesday, October 18, 2006
And I will pledge with mine;
Or leave a kiss but in the cup
And I'll not look for wine." ~ Ben Johnson
"Where there is no extravagance there is no love..." ~ Oscar Wilde
"Talking about kissing is like humming about fire." ~ unknown
The Shirt by Jane Kenyon
The shirt touches his neck
and smoothes over his back.
It slides down his sides.
It even goes down below his belt -
down into his pants.
"Good communication is as stimulating as black coffee, and just as hard to sleep after. The same can be said of a good kiss. Enjoy communicating and kissing, and worry about sleeping later." ~ from Kissing; Everything You Ever Wanted to Know by Tomima Edmark
"All human love is a dramatic enactment of the wild, reckless, unquenchable, undrainable love that powers the universe. If death is everywhere and inescapable, then so is love, if we but knew it. We can begin to know it through each other. The tamer my love, the farther away it is from love. In fierceness, in heat, in longing, in risk, I find something of love's nature. In my desire for you, I burn at the right temperature to walk through love's fire." ~ from The PowerBook by Jeanette Winterson
"Perhaps, after all, romance did not come into one's life with pomp and blare, like a gay knight riding down; perhaps it crept to one's side like an old friend through quiet ways; perhaps it revealed itself in seeming prose, until some sudden shaft of illumination flung athwart its pages betrayed the rhythm and the music; perhaps...perhaps...love unfolded naturally out of a beautiful friendship, as a golden-hearted rose slipping from its green sheath." ~ from Anne of Avonlea by L.M. Montgomery
Sunday, October 15, 2006
To start with:
"The Bible says that every human being is created "in the image of God," and what that incredibly powerful verse means is that the same way that God is the one and only - there is no other like Him - every one of us is also the one and only. There is no other like us. ... And the essense and ultimate purpose of a relationship is to establish and substantiate that uniqueness. When someone chooses to love you, it can only mean one thing - that you are worth loving."
"People today appear vulnerable and rudderless. ... To counter this atomization of humanity, God gave us marriage, the essense of which is to find a soul mate who grasps us fully."
"Your marriage is not a facet of your life. It is your life. It is a not a detail of your happiness, but its central source and greatest blessing."
Both of these are from the book "Kosher Sex" by Shmuley Boteach.
Friday, October 06, 2006
The party was a total success! Vespera was surprised. Her friends did an awesome job decorating before she got here. They ate her favorite foods, had cake with Dh's parents and the neighbors, played volleyball over the parking pad fence, roasted marshmallows over our newly-aquired firepit, watched Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, and asked each other questions from the new Table Topics set that I bought. The night was beautiful...
And I hear giggling in the bedroom...gotta run!
Wednesday, October 04, 2006
Freedom and the gardening/faith examples keep coming up - popping their little heads out of the garden of my life, like prairie dogs coming up here and there all over the place. Freedom is a theme both literally/tangibly and spiritually in my life right now. Vespera, whose name means Free, lives in my house, my house that both holds her captive and promises her freedom. ...just as, I suppose, the freedom we seek in God both holds us captive and sets us free. We are not free to do whatever we want or to seek our own direction in life. We are held captive, indeed captivated, by God's Spirit, which leads us to perfect and total freedom, leads us to life in the presence of God where we are continually called into life and being. Vespera, by her very presence, reminds me of freedom. She is real and alive, vibrant and free in her being, in who she is...in her inside emotion. She is free.
Inside Emotion by Storyhill:
I won't wait for tomorrow, 'cuz it won't go away
And there's no one there to follow so I'll go my own way
I've changed my answers and I've changed my plans
And I'm living for the feelings I can't understand
I've gone away from all I have known
And I'm holding on to freedom so I won't be coming home
I've gone away from all I have known
And I'm holding on to freedom so I won't be coming home
A little inside motion but it's nothing I can't take
A little part of me's been sleeping but I think it's now awake
And I see it in the summer and the way that it's dying
Life is so much deeper than the feelings I've been fighting
So I follow my heart now 'cuz my mind's been misleading
And somewhere down the road I think I'll find what I've been missing