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Showing posts from July, 2020

Kaleidoscope of Humanity

I probably don't agree with you. I don't  agree with you. But I need you Because we belong to one another In Christ. You remind me that we are walking the same road together, Slaves of the same master, Children of the same father, Friends of the same king. You remind me that I've already chosen a side, And my side is yours In Christ. You remind me that my research is over, And that I no longer must follow rules in order to save myself; I no longer must construct an argument to justify myself; I no longer must fight for my freedom or to protect my joy; I no longer must go searching for good news. We have already, so to speak, selected our candidate. We already know whose shoulders can bear this government. We already know that his credentials and reputation are worth trusting, And that he alone has found the vaccine to our disease, which we all have. We belong to one another because we are sick, And we belong to one another because we have been healed. You and I, we shatter

Comstock Chronicles: Crows and Keeping Occupied

Two crows were acting peculiar on my neighbor's roof the other day. They were scratching and pecking at the cypress needles gathered in her a roof's seam. I had never seen crows do this and began to wonder if they'd found bugs buried in the needles. Then the crows hoped across the roof to peck at the vent pipes. One crow hoped on top of a vent while the other traversed towards one of those twirly-bird attic vents that spins in circles. Then the bird jumped on top and rode it like a merry-go-round. This was beyond peculiar. I was rather confused until a third crow joined them who was much bigger and whose caw sounded much deeper. Aha! These were juvenile crows! Everything made sense. And just like that I accepted their strange behavior.  I do not find my children's behavior as easy to accept, and I know their ages. I find the field of corn growing on a neighbor's flat roof far less peculiar than some of the things my children choose to do. A friend the other day poin

Escaped Surgery Patients (Revised)

Wounded, disturbed, or anxious I know For treatment I must to the doctor go.  There answers cut open my heart like knives, And a fount of forgiveness freely I may imbibe. But often when ill feelings have found their source— My misplaced trust and self-reliance, of course—, I recoil at the image in this illuminating mirror And assign this diagnosis to another who’s near. “Perhaps that’s why they're so hostile to me— Selfishness and fear prevent them from being free. And I with their posts simply cannot agree. They too must need insight for errors to see.” “Maybe I can play doctor on their soul with this light, And charge not a penny for my wise insight, Just the acknowledgement and esteem I deserve For diagnosis and operation on what I observe.” Thus I, by my scruples, decode then their own Neglecting that heart where insight's been shown: The heart I call mine that leapt off that table After doctor’s incision this "vision" enabled. “The Lord won't etherize his pat

The Wages of 6 Days of Work

A day To remember my week's work. A day To mourn that I must do it on the seventh as well While preachers say rest, And the Bible says rest, And God says rest. A day to weep over my wages, Which are owed to me, But no one pays. 6 days of diaper changing; 6 days of picking up toys; 6 days of soothing and rocking and listening to troubles and absorbing anger and feigning interest in lego creations and artwork that will clutter my house; 6 days of writing lists and selecting food and loading groceries and unloading groceries and meal planning and prepping and cooking for the ten minute scarf-down and baby spitting it out on his tray and throwing it on the floor; 6 days of sorting clothes and treating stains and loading the washer and putting towels on the line and picking up clothes and telling them to pick up their own clothes and carrying the laundry basket back and forth, back and forth, back and forth; 6 days of instructing how to wipe the pee off the toilet and how to respect my

The PMSing Plan

I have a plan. A PMSing plan. It's written on a piece of lined paper, and I put it on my recipe stand in the kitchen. Once a month, or every three weeks, as if often the case these days, I put it in front of my recipes and follow it.  A friend suggested I share this for the sake of other women. So here you go, other-premenstrual-syndrome-suffering women! The moment I sense the oncoming symptoms of premenstrual syndrome—irritability, fatigue, and depression—I pull out the plan and let my husband know that the plan is in effect. The plan has a list of things I'm allow and not allowed to do. I've listed them below along with the reasons. NO 1) Schooling: because I instigated this plan during COVID-19, I was in charge of making sure the children did their online school. School was a frequent source of frustration for me. The children required constant monitoring while baby brother got into mischief, and the work assigned to my children seemed nonessential to their education. Al

An Erupting Volcano and Sheet Music

I find it hugely interesting to cross-check facts online and listen to people's opinions about COVID-19. However, I'm starting to see how this sort of research can only get me so far.  The fact of the matter is I don't make my decisions based on the news, but rather on my values. I'm pretty sure this is a thing all human beings do and not just me. Allow me to explain. The news might report that a volcano is erupting on an island, and that the lava will most likely wipe out an entire village. The villagers are warned, but one islander decides to stay. We could argue with him all we like, but until we understand that he values his ancestral home more than his life, we are wasting our breath. Likewise if someone values maintaining inner positivity over securing their future against all possible forms of COVID-19, they might stop watching the news right now. Someone who values social justice more than keeping the peace may decide to march in protests or speak out against so

When the People I Love Fight

It starts with something simple.  He bought a Play-Doh mold in the shape of the Millennium Falcon with numerous places to press dough to get the shapes of a Snow Speeder or Tie Fighter or Death Star. He's excited to tell Daddy over the phone. But she butts in and tells Daddy first. He's mad. There's name calling and some pushing, and I send them outside. No fighting around Mama. She doesn't want to hear it. "Have it outside!" I tell them. "Come back when you've made peace." So they burst out the door, wielding their favorite weapons. She, words. He, fists. I go about my business until screams indicate that the children may be seriously injured. I hover from one window to the next until I find them. He is swinging a segment of garden soaker hose over his head, using it like a whip. She is hiding behind the Podocarpus hedge crying. I wonder if I should intervene. Then she explodes with vehement phrases from behind the shrubbery. All the vulgar prof

Wanting the Ends Without the Means

I want my children to learn to get along, But I don't want to work with them through their fights. I want them to feel and understand their emotions, But I don't want them to slam doors or cry for too long. I want them to be respectful to adults, But I don't want to be embarrassed when they're learning. I want them to choose to obey, But I don't want to come up with consequences when they don't. I want them to creatively fill their own time, But I don't want to clean up the mess when they put stickers on the walls or throw tomatoes over the neighbor's fence or cut through the upholstery with scissors. I want them to be good. But I don't want to suffer through their becoming good I want a rich and seasoned relationship with my husband, But I don't want to endure seasons of dryness or coldness or disinterestedness. I want to have friends who are different than me, But I don't want to hear their threatening opinions. I want to have mutually supp

The Anti-Selfish and Anti-Fearful Brigade

Two types of people seem to be bubbling to the surface in these tense conditions. Those who would rather eat roadkill than be thought selfish and those who would rather be skinned and flayed than found guilty of fear. There is a third category but they're harder to recognize. I'll mention them later. The Anti-Selfish Brigade sees selfishness as the least desirable fault. The Anti-Fear Brigade sees fear as the great weakness of mankind. Each side judges others primarily as selfish or fearful when others don't act as they themselves would. "They're just so selfish!" "They're just being ruled by fear!" The Anti-Selfish Brigade (ASB) often believes they can help the Anti-Fear-Brigade (AFB) by encouraging them to examine their motives and discover their selfishness. On the flip side, the AFB often believes they can help the ASB by teaching them to defy or overcome their fear. I think this is both funny and tragic. And let me explain why. Ironically, I

Doing Good ≠ Being Good

Time for some clarification. I don't think wearing a mask is equivalent to being unselfish. Neither is refraining from singing in church or maintaining proper social distancing rules. Let me say this another way.  Good actions don't always come from a good heart. Not everyone who obeys government ordinances regarding COVID-19 does so out of love for God and love for others. People are motivated to obey the rules for all sorts of reasons. They do it to avoid guilt. They do it to be appreciated. They do it to be seen as good. They do it so others will think well of them. They do it to maintain their illusion of perfection. They do it out of fear of displeasing God. They do it because everyone else is doing it. They do it to feel good about themselves. They do it out of fear of dying. They do it out of fear of the future. They do it so their spouse won't pester them. They do it so as not to rock the boat. Or they do it because they just find masks terribly comfortable. The fac

Questions Prompted by COVID-19

COVID-19 has prompted me to ask many if not all of the following questions:  What do I need to survive?  What do I need to stay sane and happy?  Do I really like where I'm living? Do I really need all this stuff? Why am I still keeping this? Which of my relationships are really important to me? Do I like who I am living with?  Do I really like myself?  Would we be able to manage financially if my husband lost his job? What would happen if I just tore off my mask and sneezed on the produce at the grocery store? Am I still okay about my own boundaries when others have different boundaries? Why was I so busy before all this started? Why did I get sucked into so many social events that I didn't actually want to go to? Why did parents invite so many children to their kid's birthday parties? How would I cope if that person died? Am I alright with dying at this point in my life? What would happen to my family if I were to die? What would I like said about me at my funeral? If I k

Why the Enneagram Numbers Might Evangelize

Type One: The Reformer    I evangelize because this world is in desperate need of God's reforming program. I mean, I'm on board with anything that's going to decrease the number of stupid people in the world. The only trouble is getting people on the right track faster. Type Two: The Helper    Ever since I came to know Christ, I've had this ability to see what others really need. See, I can't really stop myself from helping others know about Christ's way. "Sigh" I've sacrificed so much to help others and it hasn't quite turned out like I'd hoped. Type Three: The Performer    One of the signs of a real Christian is that they tell people about Jesus, so I have a mental list of all the people I've evangelized and how well they're doing. They're all doing really great! Type Four: The Individualist     I'm not really into typical evangelism. I mean, I don't want people to think I'm just another obnoxious Christian. So I h

Cloak of Sorrows

Like a robe 'round you darkens All your thoughts and friendly smiles; Like reptilian skins you've itched And split but failed to shed; Like a crowd of unborn babes You thought you ought to have Are these sorrows and injustices Gathered round you with their stares. They want naught but to know, How could such wrongs fail to mar you so? And until you give an answer, They'll spoil your appetite for words Of faith and songs of praise And rejoicing for your friends. That is how pain keeps the being within And pain becomes the armor without And pain becomes the soothing balm That lessens the itch of wanting out. Pain feels more real than any delight; And it whispers vain hopes  In your ears at night, "If you suffer the world's sorrows, The world will then suffer yours." When, oh, when will sorrow find its place: The distasteful herb at the passover feast? When, oh when will grief no longer act As the signpost to the forks at every turn in your path? When, oh, when w

Untangling Emotions

I just finished reading Untangling Emotions  by J. Alasdair Groves and Winston T. Smith, and I thought I'd give a summary. It had some good points and was easy to read. It reminded me of the Enneagram literature that I've been reading lately, especially when it gave the four steps to healthy processing of emotions: identify, examine, evaluate, act. We identify what we're feeling, we examine and evaluate our emotions, and then we decide how to act. Very helpful stuff. Here's a few quotes to whet your appetite: "Our emotions broadcast loud and clear what's going on in our hearts." (Groves and Smith, 67) " . . . God gave us emotions that are actually designed not to change unless what we love changes or what is happening to the thing we love changes." (Groves and Smith, 77) "We crush them, deny them, or escape from them rather than letting them do their good and healthy work of driving us to him." (Groves and Smith, 130) The book was divid