Monday, June 29, 2009

Campfire Thoughts

I had forgotten that I am capable of slowing down so completely, but this weekend camping reminded me. Somehow taking the time to leave home and go into the wilderness with nothing more than the essentials stripped me of my need to be in total control and to understand everything. Watching the flames of a campfire dance in the darkness I finally took a deep breath and let go of some of the hurt. I set it in the deepest heart of the fire and watched it burn out under the spinning of the stars through the velvet sky. The dark red embers throbbed with all of the intensity of my new-found lostness. The instability and fears, the aching of surprised betrayal, the feeling of the world falling out from under my feet; it all went into the ring with the wood. Some pieces snapped and rained showers of sparks into the night sky, others burned long and steady. I warmed my face and hands in the flickering heat and then turned my face to the sky. When the flames died I stirred up the embers into a glowing bed, bumping off their ashy jackets to reveal the glowing hearts within, creating a carpet of orange-red jewels cupped in the darkness of the fire ring, surrounded by the deeper darkness of a mountain night. Bats flew by overhead and something moved in the undergrowth nearby. Somewhere a coyote sang his song to the stars. With a startled rush I realized that peace had crept into my heart where only pain and bewilderment had been unwelcome guests and I couldn't remember when it happened. I only knew that in that moment I was held in peace as if wrapped in angel wings that were shaped like the oak saplings that embraced our campsite in privacy and quiet.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Heading Out

It calls to me: the distant sounds of laughter echoing through the trees, voices in a sleepy buzz of conversation, birds and bugs overhead. I have fond memories here of childhood days spent roaming freely through the trees and fields, untroubled by thoughts of yesterday or tomorrow. Today we head off camping in our local mountains for the weekend. I am seeking some peace and comfort in a familiar setting and taking time to go to a place that feels like home is always good for the heart. There will be hamburgers and hot dogs, s'mores and campfires, bug bites and sunburns to keep me focused on the moment.

But I must admit that I am going to be doing my best to avoid the last two!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Night is drawing in. It happens daily - sometimes with a flourish of stunning color, sometimes with a whisper and a gentle fading of the daylight. Tonight it feels sudden and it brings my sadness closer to my heart.

I try watching the cat as he races around chasing prey that only he can see, but find tears pricking my eyelids. I watch the dog as he jealously guards his food and water, and find that I am guarding my wounded heart. Doubts wash over me in the growing darkness and all the lights in the cottage are not enough to keep them away tonight.

Lord, why this way? Why, when I try to serve you as faithfully as my human limitations will allow me to, do you allow my world to be swept out from underneath me? Where are you in this?

There is comfort, but it feels cold and hollow in this moment of darkness. One more reason for those friends who look at my life wondering how I can remain so stubbornly a member of a christian church when those whom churches have lifted up as leaders have let me down so many times to ask me if I can continue to be a part of it. Tonight I cannot answer their question. I have no answers left.

I want to wander out into the darkness, away from the street lights and headlights. To find my place like Jacob and wrestle with God over this latest betrayal until I can find the blessing in it. Instead I wander in words. I try to put names to all of the fears, doubts, worries, and tangents swirling through my head. I know that someday I will be able to claim the blessing in all of this pain. To see the light shining through the darkness and not feel as if it was there to burn me instead of heal me.

These words begin the healing. A simple, concrete act of moving forward. Allowing the cleansing of the wound to happen. It hurts, but each time it will hurt less. Morning will come and one day I will notice that the light no longer burns me and I will be free.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

The Path Ahead

The sun is warm on my shoulders as I stand, contemplating the beauty of the single rose on my bush as it blooms. This double blessing - the sun and the rose - are my total focus for the moment, and I am content. Sometimes it takes a serious trauma of the heart to make us remember to see the wonder in the simpler things. The trauma is still there, I will continue to deal with the fallout of lies and betrayal on a daily basis as I move forward, but I can start to see the beauty and the hope.

I wish that I could say that I am thankful for the hurt and for the way I have been moved forward to lean even harder on God than I have in a long while, but I can't. Not yet. I have to take this thing one day, one moment, at a time. I will pick up some little bit of something out of the muck, rub at it a little to find what it once was and will be again, decide if it is something I want to keep or let it lie in the refuse of the path I am walking and move on. If it is something valuable enough for me to keep, I will use my rags to clean it off before putting it into my bag and moving forward. It is hard work, this particular growing edge. But I walk it with companions who have been here in their own way and are standing on the other side to offer me hope and support as I need it. My husband, family, and friends offer me what strength they can and the gracious gift of their prayers. It will be enough to see me through.

In the meantime I am thankful for my single rose and the warmth of the sun on my shoulders.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Rippled Baby Blanket

The wind caresses my face, cool and gentle. I look up to watch the clouds burn away in the face of the mid-morning sun, grateful for the soft touch of it's rays through the window. I am sitting with a ball of yarn idle in my hands, thinking for the moment about what it will become. It is a fluffy, bulky mass of pale green and blue baby yarn and I am looking for something simple. A treat to play with, but not so involved that my focus is absorbed in remembering the pattern from moment to moment. Being baby yarn, I am thinking about a simple, small traveling blanket - one sized for a car seat. Ripples, to go with the watery colors. So I pick up a large sized hook and begin my chain. Simple rhythm takes over and I am lost in soft seas that undulate gently around me, dreaming of a future and a past. The simple ties of yarn and hook that travel the generations from my grandmothers to me, and perhaps, if I manage to teach someone else the joys of yarn and hook, a future generation. Perhaps I am crafting an heirloom that someone will save from the time when their baby was young to share with a grandchild later on. Perhaps not. But what I am crafting is peace.