It was sometime in the fourth grade that my ten-year-old nose found itself cohabitating with a pair of spectacles. At least that’s the year they started showing up in school pictures, little pink cat eyes that made me look perpetually shell-shocked. I hated wearing them, so finally in high school vanity prevailed over common sense. The glasses were banished to a dresser drawer even though I was extremely near-sighted.
Not surprisingly, the beauty quotient was negatively impacted by an inability to make meaningful eye contact with cute guys. (Or anyone, for that matter.) I never realized that the opposite sex was misinterpreting my major myopia as a lack of interest. Fortunately in college I stopped living in denial of perpetual F’s on eye exams and started wearing glasses again. (Which remarkably, was followed by dates. Go figure.)
Later, eye surgery gave me the freedom to go prescription-free; it was incredible to wake up in the morning able to read the alarm clock! Ironically, eight years later my eyes started to change again. If you’re over forty you know what I mean. And that eventually took me back to square one and glasses 24/7. Continue reading
I’ve always wondered about that stoning thing in the Bible. I mean, how did it actually work? It doesn’t seem realistic that a person would just stand there and wait for the rocks to pummel them. Wouldn’t they try to run away? Would the stoners have to get a couple of big guys to hold onto the stonee? If so, then how did they avoid injury?
Going to church all my life, I’ve probably heard twenty sermons about the woman caught in “the act” and brought before Jesus to be stoned. Preachers tended to skip over the adultery part though and just focus on Jesus doodling in the dirt with his finger. The more daring ones might have speculated on what He could have written. Details of the accusers’ sins? Perhaps a list of the ones who had enjoyed this woman’s pleasures themselves? Their near-carnal hypothesizing tended to diminish the interaction between Jesus and the woman, yet that’s where I find a real treasure. It’s a story of forgiveness and love – love in action.The kind that extends beyond saying the right words to a practical, make-a-difference kind of love. Continue reading
It is December 31, 2010, and the world is hovering between the old and the new. Our New Year’s Eve plans were cancelled at the last minute when the hostess was hit with a nasty case of the flu. So here we are at home waiting for the guitar to drop on Lower Broadway, and reminiscing about the highs and lows of the past three hundred and sixty five days. I won’t bore you with the details of the upheaval and trauma that our family experienced last year. You probably had your own, maybe more so.
Over time, bad memories soften and fade. But these past twelve months will probably live on as one of the best/worst years of my life. It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair. Charles Dickens wrote those words in 1860 but he could have been describing my life in 2010. Unlike Great Expectations, however, it was the spring of despair that turned into the winter of hope. For that, I’m very grateful – not that the year is finally over, but more that it came at all, and even more thankful that when it came, there were friends offering a hand to pull me up, a shoulder to lean on, a listening ear, or a thoughtful word. Continue reading
One of my Facebook friends is known for his thoughtful status updates. No political rhetoric or cheesy humor; you can count on him to be insightful and profound. Last week he posted something that hit dead center for me and it got an interesting online conversation going back and forth between the two of us.
He wondered if I’d read Rilke’s Letters to a Young Poet. Well, I had no idea who the heck he was talking about, but Google saved the day. (How did we ever survive before the Internet?)
Rainer Maria Rilke (1875 –1926) is considered one of the most significant poets in the German language. His haunting images focus on the difficulty of communion with the [sacred] in an age of disbelief, solitude, and profound anxiety… (Wikipedia)
My friend offered up the first letter, written by Rilke to a young man who sought him out for literary criticism and career advice. I saved it for a bedtime read, curious but not expecting anything extraordinary (although I should have known better, this is the guy with intelligent status updates, remember?) Continue reading
A year or so ago, I found myself in a bit of a rough patch, trying to make sense of a jumble of thoughts that refused to go away. There were a couple of pointed conversations with God about this, but mostly it involved just laying awake in the dark and staring up at the ceiling. I couldn’t bring myself to say it out loud, even to my husband – who was on his own (wonderful, he said) spiritual journey.
Those may have been the good old days (if you measure “good” by the lack of existential angst.) Because all I was doing was wrestling with someone else’s journey. Can what he believes actually be true? Really? Hmmm. That’s a new angle on the Bible…
This place I’m in now – and it more or less snuck up on me – is intensely personal. I’m wondering about the basics: God, faith, the afterlife… the meaning of life. I have to tell you that this mostly feels like I’m digging through the proverbial giant pile of horse poop, but there’s no pony to be found, if you know what I mean. Continue reading