Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Burr In My Saddle

BoyA graduates highschool on Thursday. This beautiful boy still dances and loves the art form. He has gained strength through out of town intensives, a fantastic girlfriend and Ryan Gosling. Fashion is still a passion. One prom he insisted Girlfriend match her dress to his awesome tie. The male dancers at the studio has blossomed to more than 10 including The Counting Mutant.

The burr still digs, but daily fighting against ignorance have made BoyA and BoyZ resilliant and respectful of everyone.  

Originally posted on Monday, November 29, 2010

A burr.  Digging and twisting for a long while.  It became unbearable on Halloween. Nerdy Apple Bottom, posted about her 5 year old son who wanted to dress as Daphne from Scooby Doo.  She met with ridicule from other mommies.  Their concern was her son's sexuality
The Counting Mutant read it.  BoyA and BoyZ read it.  

I was not alone, another Mommy battled for her son's right. It had nothing to do with who he would fall in love with as an adult.  

My boys dance. Ballet, Jazz, Modern, Tap and Hip Hop. AND THEY LIKE GIRLS!

I have battled those Moms in the market line.  Counting Mutant watched eyebrows rise with a flourish of testosterone from other men as he talks about what sport the boys are in.

That burr.  It gnaws at the flesh of my heart.  BoyA in his freshman year of high school, he stoically endured brutal bullying all year.  Once going so far as to offer a transsexual prostitute for him to figure out what he liked.

I only heard a fraction of it.  

Thanksgiving holiday, BoyA in his Sophomore year and BoyZ in his Freshman year, we caught up on Glee.  After watching, we talked and slivers of truth appeared.

I asked BoyA, "To this day, with BoyZ on campus and everything cool now, do you still feel that dread of being bullied?"

BoyA, always fashion forward, pondered and said, "Yes. I don't think it will ever go away."

"I changed the way I dressed. This is one of the main reasons I am not teased anymore.  I blend in now."  He paused, "If I thought I could, I would take the fashion class at school.  I just want to learn all about it.  It would be the end of me though.  I would never live it down."  His eyes dropped.

The burr sinks its spines deeper and my blood begins to flow.  

I see a shimmer in his eye, "Do you know how many girls I would get to know?!"  I watch as he calculated dating opportunities. "Oh well, maybe in college."

I groan.

As parents, we are supposed to give our kids roots and wings.  To encourage their sense of self while empowering them to become what they were created to be.  Exploring interests and developing talents to their fullest.

How it is in a world of civil liberties, opportunity and equality, boys and men are judged so harshly and condemned to a stereotype?  A girl can be a tom-boy, climb trees, shoot deer, play baseball, wear pants, hate dresses, shun pink and never once is her sexuality brought into question.  No one wonders if her gender identity is confused.  No one wonders about her sexuality. She is an active girl!  She has great potential.  She can do anything. 

Boys on the other hand, if they dance, like fashion, wear pink, are not interested in sports, are gentle and non-confrontational, they are labeled as gay.
Interrogations start: Maybe the parents aren't infusing them with enough testosterone, like we should have an IV on hand and give them a dose of it in their sleep.  

Boys can't dance.  

Boys can't design fashion. 

Boys have to be tough.  

Boys have to confront.  

Boys have to challenge each other to the pain in order to prove their manhood. 

It makes me sick.  I hate the double standard. That stupid burr. All I can do but be a safe place for them to come home to.  

A Mother Life

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Massacre, Disaster and a Fig tree

This was originally posted on March 21, 2011 after the Tsunami in Asia. Having lived through many different types of disasters and listening to diverse reasoning, I stumbled upon this passage in Luke. It is odd and seemingly disjointed when examined closely. As I stepped back and considered the context of the whole, a picture presented himself. Jesus again disarming arrogance and forcing listeners to look at themselves. 

Natural disasters create pause in all of us. The sight of carnage and complete loss causes our souls to ache. All ask why.  While some turn to action, participating in fundraisers and send help to ease the burden. Others sit back and look for blame. Many in Cultural Christianity explain it with a judgmental God.  Their logic is: if we were a better people, bad things would not happen.  

This really pisses me off. Instead of a God of order, he is made into a capricious and mysterious image.  It negates the very curse that began it all: the law we all live under. He doesn't will for tragedies to happen. They happen as a result of what was put into motion in the Garden.

In Genesis 3:17-19, God tells Adam that the very ground would be cursed because of the choice he and Eve made. In Romans 8:18-25 this curse upon our planet is explained further.  "… For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, (Adam) in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God... "

    In Luke 13:1-9, Jesus is told about a massacre in temple at Jerusalem.  Only Jews were allowed into the sacrificial areas.  In spite of this fact, the Roman governor, Pilate, sent soldiers into the Temple. An uprising ensued and many Jews were killed, some while they offered sacrifices. For the Israelites, the horror was immense.  Yet a division existed; upper class and lower class. The Judeans thought of themselves as cultured and cosmopolitan. They viewed Galileans-where Jesus was from- as provincial and simple
Jesus hears a hint of this arrogance from whoever is reporting the event. After listening, he poses a question,
“Do you suppose that these Galileans were worse sinners than all other Galileans, because they suffered such things?"  

I wonder if Jesus paused here and looked around into the faces of his listeners. 

He continues, " I tell you, no; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish.” 

Jesus continues to remind them of another recent tragedy. One that was accidental. A tower in Siloam fell and killed eighteen men in Jerusalem.

He asks them, “...Do you think that they were worse sinners than all other men who dwelt in Jerusalem? I tell you, no; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish.”   ”  

Many stop with this verse and unfortunately they miss out on what Jesus meant. Jesus then does what we love most, he tells a parable: It is about a fig tree.

The tale begins with a land owner talking to his groundskeeper. The land owner asked,
“Look, for three years I have come seeking fruit on this fig tree and find none.  Cut it down; why does it use up the ground?”
The groundskeeper answers, “Sir, let it alone this year also, until I dig around it and fertilize it.  And if it bears fruit, well.  But if not, after that you can cut it down.”


How does a fig tree figure into massacre and disaster? This passage of scripture can be ignored because it seems incongruous. Jesus was good at disarming his listeners and then addressing the heart of the matter. Getting the finger pointing to stop and for each one to look in the mirror of self.

Although circumstances vary, disaster and death are certain. Some are lost while others are spared, regardless of class, creed, social standing, criminal or law-abider. The consequences of a disaster are not based on personal worthiness.  It should never have arrogance attached. As Jesus sits, surrounded by listeners, he is challenging the survivors to examine their own existence. If Jesus called people on arrogance then, it surely grieves them now. Blaming disasters upon a group of people is egregious. 

The earth groans as we groan. Our discussions should not be about why the disaster happened or who caused it.  The response ought to be how. Am I living life as I should?  What changes do I need to make? Am I adding to the lives of people around me or am I just taking? 

When the next disaster comes, am I ready?

A Mother Life

Friday, May 17, 2013

Singing In The Valley Of Trouble

It was heaven. Air Force Bases as the home of my early childhood. New friends every day mixed with an endless supply of playmates and giant lawns for epic adventures. Military aircraft played symphonies above, vibrating my window as they landed in their safe haven. My favorites were the Jolly Green Giants floating over, the gentle ripple of their blades a lulling heartbeat. No one could hurt me there.

It all changed when I turned 8. Dad’s service completed, we entered civilian life. At first, it was a new adventure. Living in a Grandparents’ house filled with light, I attended the school where my Mom went. I walked to school imagining myself in her shoes. Then famine hit.

November 1976, in the breath of a sentence my world changed forever. We had to move. We needed to go where opportunity was. Like Joseph moving his father Jacob and family to Egypt. I was moving to the Central Valley of California. Both started out as provision and ended with trouble.

I grew up quickly as the weight of change burdened my Mom. She fought Depression valiantly. Christianity told her if she was anointed with oil and prayed over healing would come. Read the Bible, pray more, get involved in a Bible Study; all of these helped, but never fully freed her to be the person she was in the land of plenty.

She obeyed. Depression always came back.

The wilderness introduced a new mother. She did the best with what she had, constantly battling to be free. All of life became a struggle. Four girls, financial woes and I as the oldest accepted the responsibility to fill in the gaps. In this new land, I didn't fit into the culture. Friendships were few and far between. The ability to serve my Mom and sisters eased my burden of loneliness. I learned the joy and importance of service.

The Counting Mutant and I met in college. The weekend after graduation, at 20, with song and dance, I packed my car and moved.  Central Coast was a land of new purpose. Creating a home, we trekked into adulthood. Our journey carried us from the Coast to LA.

Our fifth year of marriage brought us a beautiful baby, BoyA. A Master’s Degree introduced a new season. With breathless expectation we sought God for direction. Each interview ended with the same statement: If you only had a CPA…

It became clear we needed to start over. God had a promise and The Mutant knew the only place to find it was in the Central Valley. My heart groaned. The promise was for him, but not for me. I knew I was heading into another wilderness. 

As Sarah followed Abraham, I packed my house and prepared for the journey. It didn't take long to realize how much trouble filled the Central Valley for me. My family of origin in disarray making the best of their situation, I realized my loneliness. We welcomed a second son, BoyZ. The friends Father provided were few, but they were rich in love and grace. The next four years left lasting, aching scars. I learned to love God above everything else. He would always provide for me if I served and obeyed him first. He was a Master I trusted.

For The Mutant, the CPA was obtained. He sought God’s face: where next? He opened a window and we were released. I quickly packed the house. With singing and dancing I left this Valley of Trouble, eager to see what promise set before us.

Northern California was a balm to my wounds. Stability and a third baby, GirlyK, introduced a season of joy and peace. After 18 months, the dream job arrived. Another move and for two years California felt truly like home. A ski resort town, people from all over the world gathered to teach, explore and breathe airs of delight. Four seasons, complete with snow and Spring Green that glows with new life.

The dream job is still a job. God often gives us exactly what we have asked for in order to draw us toward him and reveal its emptiness. The Mutant became acutely aware. Famine was coming. It was time to go again to the Valley.

I imagined what Naomi must have felt when her husband decided to move to Moab. My soul ached. I cried out to my Master for mercy. He led me to this verse:

“Therefore, behold, I will allure her, Will bring her into the wilderness, And speak comfort to her. I will give her her vineyards from there, And the Valley of Achor (trouble) as a door of hope; She shall sing there, As in the days of her youth, As in the day when she came up from the land of Egypt.
And it shall be, in that day," Says the Lord, "That you will call Me 'My Husband,' And no longer call Me 'My Master,'” Hosea 2:14-16

I entered a season of Winter Sun. Light to guide me without warmth. As I meditated on Hosea-written on windows and mirrors with dry erase marker and placed on shelves in frames- my eyes were opened to small tender mercies.

Father’s Fingerprints: A blue bird that lingered on a branch outside my window, friends who helped carry an impossible burden and aided a way of escape. Once back in the Central Valley he provided home with aged trees and a lake. Provision came from unlikely sources. Former enemies gave us encouragement. Lessons about God’s love and grace taught by disenfranchised. The freshly healed scars on my heart were bumped and poked. Fresh wounds of abandonment appeared and my spirit sang;

“Why are you cast down, O my soul? And why are you disquieted within me? Hope in God, for I shall yet praise Him for the help of His countenance.” Psalm 42:5

It has been a long ten years. I still stand in the Valley of Achor, yet God is now my Divine Love, no longer a master I serve out of duty. I sing with laughter and fulfillment because of the men BoyA and BoyZ have become. My husband’s soul is whole and healed with of the return of a lost son, BoyN. The Counting Mutant is pleased by fruitful labor. Divine Love uses GirlyK to renew and redeem childhood lost within me.

I confidently sing in this Valley of Trouble now. In the beginning of this third, Divine Love whispered tender words to me as he held me in seclusion. As time passed, rich vineyards of community flourished and flowed with friendship. He provided exactly what we needed when we needed it; from food to dance classes for the kids. Trouble was a door of hope, wounds allowed to heal created an ability to unconditionally love and build boundaries of wisdom.

Writing today, I overlook a backyard lake, trees dancing in the breeze and mountains shyly peak the distance. I am reminded of a childhood interrupted. The days of my youth; free to play in open spaces filled with green. I lay in rest by shores of flowing water. In my head, Miriam takes tambourine in hand, dances and sings: 

"Sing to the LORD, for he is highly exalted. The horse and its rider he has hurled into the sea." Genesis 15:21

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

An Idyllic Day

Originally posted on November 12, 2011.
After living in a ski resort town for a year, I was accused of having an idyllic life. Shortly after the accusation in 2001, this day happened. Grab a cuppa, buckle up and enjoy the ride.   

Sunrise. I raised blinds to reveal Mammoth Mountain, bathed in a rosy violet with a pale gold snowcap. Opening the south blinds, the Minnerets glowed with sapphire and lavender. My favorite time of the day, the house was quiet and all mine. 

Sleepy BoyA, six years old, came dragging out for breakfast.  BoyZ, five, came bouncing after him.  I went to retrieve GirlyK, ten months, from her crib. We were sitting at the breakfast table as we said goodbye to The Counting Mutant.  The morning ran like butter; gardening, Martha Stewart and kids’ imaginary adventures. 

I packed for a picnic lunch with The Counting Mutant; I went into the bathroom to gather the last few things together.  Stepping onto the sandy brown carpet I felt odd pinpoints of wetness.  Bewildered, I stepped carefully as droplets sent odd shivers into the bottoms of my feet.  I surveyed in wonder.   The toilet, shower door, cabinets and wall glistened with shiny yellow dewdrops.  Restrained, I found the boys. 

"What happened in the bathroom?"

BouA gaped, "I don't know."

BoyZ shining with pride, "I put out a fire."

Dumbfounded, I took a deep breath and sternly informed him, he was to clean it up as soon as we got back from lunch.  Dad was expecting us now.  

Three kids channeled and lunch transported into the car, we headed up the Mountain.  Once parked, I kept track of the boys as they raced around the car. Their concentric circles creeping further into the path of traffic; with one eye on their orbit, I seized the stroller, lunch box and GirlyK out of her car seat. The Counting Mutant arrived just as the boys turned into meteors and guided them to Mammoth Mountain’s Adventure Center.

We found our place on emerald grass.  In the winter it is covered in snow and training runs for small children.  In the summer it is a hub of fun. Mountain bike rental booth and a thirty-foot climbing wall fill the space.  The dulcet tone of different languages around us was a delight as the tourists took pleasure in the richness of the outdoors.

GirlyK’s feet were danced to a tune in her own mind as I opened her lunch.  Carrots, rice and a bottle chaser, was her lunch menu for the day. The Counting Mutant and boys started their lunch.  I debriefed The Mutant on the escapades of the morning when, out of the sweet little bow shaped mouth, the scream of a demon. GirlyK’s appendages hit the bowl of carrots in my hand with an explosion.   My shirt, face and hair were the casualties of the anti-carrot warfare. People around us turned away with sheepish grins. I took a deep breath and coaxed her through the rest of lunch. 

After their food was consumed, boys played on the climbing wall.  GirlyK crawled on the grass and visited with tourists.  Lunch completed, The Counting Mutant said goodbye and returned to his office.  For BoyA’s last turn on the climbing wall, he asked in a rush,
"Mom!  I am going to push myself today and be brave.  I am going to climb ALL the way up to the top." 

I rallied a cheerleading spirit and told him to go for it.  He found his favorite instructor, who geared BoyA up and he began his assent.

 Carefully he picked his grips and pushed himself up the 30-foot face.  Once at the top, he turned around and beamed with joy and pride. The instructor and I!  BoyA faced his fear and conquered it.  

The instructor said, "Ok, A, now let go of the wall, hang onto the rope and I will bring you down." BoyA took one glance at him, one stare at the top of the wall and finally frowned at me.  

"No,” was his calm but defiant answer.

 Encouraging began.  It quickly turned from cheerleading to drill sergeant. After twenty minutes, a sizeable audience gathered, a different instructor free climbed up. As he reached the top, all eyes glued to rescuer as he began to coax BoyA from the climbing holds.  All held their breath as the two of them eased their way down the wall.  Once at the bottom I awkwardly helped BoyA out of the harness.  

Quietly, I heard the rescuer say to the instructor, "That was the scariest thing I have done in my life!  No support and the kid pushed against me the whole way down.  I didn't know if I would make it."

Humiliations galore set in as I rushed all to the car.  The whole ride home the car was quiet.  Once home, I put the sweet girl down for a nap, set BoyZ at the table to await bathroom cleaning instructions. BoyA and I discussed in another room about bravery and trust. 

BoyA excused to his quiet corner. I attended to BoyZ and his firefighting in the carpeted bathroom.  

While waiting for me at the table, BoyZ found Bullfrog Sunscreen. After squirting half the bottle on the table, he created beautiful renditions of wax-based lotion art.

I began to feel my sense of sanity melting, a sponge was handed to the boy. 

We cleaned the table and moved onto the bathroom.  “Here is a bucket and sponge.  You need to wipe walls, sink and toilet.  When Dad gets home he will help you clean the carpet with the carpet cleaner.” I instructed.

“COOL!”  BoyZ’s eyes glittered with pride.   

Bathroom cleaned and BoyZ in a neutral corner, I called The Counting Mutant and suggested picnic dinner.  

Horseshoe Lake was known as the “locals’ dog lake”   Some years earlier, the area experienced a volcanic burp.  Gasses escaped through fissures and killed acres of trees around the lake.  We had never been. I thought it would be a way to finish off our day well. An attempt to turn the tide.

The Counting Mutant came home. We all piled into the car, complete with dog.  Pulling up to the lake, giant gray leafless toothpicks filled our visual plane as we walked across the pumiced earth to a picnic table. A breeze chilled our skin and kids shivered a bit.  I realized we had no jackets.  As I opened the basket, I realized to my horror, I had forgotten plates and utensils.  The Mutant laughed and we ate with our fingers. This day was going to end well even if it killed me.

 We started to prepare for a hike when, We noticed BoyZ only picked at his chicken.  He complained about the fat.  I volunteered to stay behind and help him.  The Mutant, BoyA, GirlyK and dog started their hike.  I began to peel off the meat and feed it to him.  He bit my finger.  We struggled through every bite.  The chicken leg finally consumed; I packed up. 

We met at the car. I gave BoyZ his nectarine for dessert.  On the drive home, I vented. “I tried to be flexible all day and I am done!  I need a moment away.”

  The Mutant agreed.  As we unloaded the car, Zachary walked to me with the uneaten nectarine.  He looked up at me with liquid blue eyes and stated, "I wanted the one with the sticker." 

I snached the sticker free nectarine, walked into the house and handed it to The Mutant, “He wanted the one with the sticker!”

The Mutant took the beautiful boy by the hand, “You should stay very far from Mommy right now.”

The two of them retrieved the carpet cleaner for the bathroom.  I tidied the kitchen. BoyA asked if he could help me. I set him to putting away the spilled books on floor in the family room.  He placed them onto the bookshelf in a boyish manner.  I snapped at his messy method of cleaning.

The Mutant came out to defend this gentle son.  "You need a walk or a bath.  Choose one and go now.  I will take care of the kids."  I chose a walk.

The Mineretts were a deep royal purple and stars were just beginning to peak out as the sun set on my day.
With a deep breath, I walked toward the bike path that ran through our neighborhood.  I walked downhill for half a mile and then turned around.  I was just beginning to feel relaxed. The steep uphill climb would be a perfect finish.  I was close to home when I heard a rustling of leaves to my left.  I slowed and looked.  Bambi stood 10 feet in front of me.  Velvety brown eyes looked deep within my soul and I swooned.  I lived in a miraculous place.  A few bad moments couldn't ruin this magic. After living here over a year, I see my first deer. Nothing could be more perfect. 

We gazed at one another for a moment, then  Bambi turned and bound up the embankment.  I watched his glorious dance as he leapt over bushes.

Then… from the corner of my eye I saw a shimmer of headlights.

My breath caught.  I watched Bambi bound onto the road.  The car was in full view. 
Bambi reached midline. The car was ten feet away.  I began to relax, he made it. 

In the last few moments of breath, the passenger's side headlight caught Bambi’s hind quarter.  Back legs flipped over stately antlers and he landed on the opposite embankment.   My soul wailed as I raced through the Manzanita bushes, leaving pieces of my own flesh behind, to check the people in the car.  As I reached the road and they were looking at the deer.  He tried to scramble away from the car and up the embankment.  His delicate front legs feverishly worked to drag the hind quarters.  I destroyed this beautiful animal.  It was my fault.  I apologized and offered my phone to call for help. 

I walked into the house with two strangers; The Mutant’s eyes blew out of their sockets. 

He asked, "What happened?" 

I said, “I killed Bambi." 

The cute couple called 911 and reported the deer.  The operator informed them that a CHP would be there to take care of it.  We sat and marveled at the oddities of mountain living and speculated what the CHP would do with the venison.  I wondered if we could have some too.  All laughed.  

They left to meet the CHP and I looked at The Mutant.  I was completely shattered.  He looked at me softly, “Go take a bath.  You can’t hurt anything in there.” 

After my bath, I asked Scott, “What would you do after a day like mine?”

  He said, "Get drunk. But, you should call your sister." 

I called my sister and in tears, told her about my day. She laughed.  In sage wisdom she observed, "You experienced all of mountain living in one day: firefighting, rock climbing, picnicking, hiking and hunting."

A Mother Life

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Unicorn Poop Christianity

Getting to know God through a 7th grader eyes is a holiday of wonder. This year I served in our church's Jr. High. That first night, the sweet, church raised girls had their minds blown. Nothing was off topic. Farts, boobs, butts, boys and theology were on the table.

One night in talking about all things relevant to Jr. Highers we talked about Unicorn Poop cookies. I promised to bring them one night. Little did I know it would prove to be a marker of sanity for me.

The series for the year was an overview of the Biblical Narrative. Sunday morning was the formal teaching and Wednesday night we discussed. Most of the stories they knew from Sunday School. What was most amazing though was how little truth they understood. Discussion questions measured out as we sat together each Wednesday.

The discussion would begin with glib answers.  Quickly these were labeled "Sunday School" answers. The girls were allowed to share only one Sunday School answer, then they had to come up with a real one. Quickly it became a contest of who could say the cheesiest one. After great laughter, we would begin to discuss the reality. What does "A man after God's own heart" mean? What is sin? Does God hate us? Why did Jesus come? Was Bathsheba an immoral woman for that bath? Did Sampson have dreadlocks?

 This is where things became REALLY interesting. These girls, who had grown up in church, didn't understand what sin was. They just knew it was bad. The topic of temptation was a brain cramp. The concept of the Triune God, they had no clue. In our final weeks' discussion of what the Gospel/Good News really was, the faces were blank. What does eternal life mean? Why did Jesus really die? Who do we share Jesus with if we are supposed to only have Christian friends? How do I deal with a Christian girl who is really a bully? She's my friend, but...

One of my rules was: If we can't talk about it at church, we shouldn't talk about it all. We shared stories of my bizarre boys, anime and what inappropriate really was. Through the vault of truth, their faith was being formed. The flame of Holy Spirit's gift was growing. These girls began walking away from Cultural Christianity and into a budding relationship with a loving Savior. They realized that Holy Spirit lives within them and talks to them through the still small voice, scripture and situations. They stood up to bullies at school. Relationships at home took on a whole new understanding. Salvation became real. A sisterhood formed.

Last night was Leader Appreciation Night. All day my skin crawled with anxiety. I didn't understand or agree with making "leaders" accept forced accolades. With the tray full of the magical Unicorn Poop cookies in tow, I endured the games to win a prize for the leader. We giggled as the girls tried to remember "The Main Idea" from the year's sermons. They didn't win the "prize." All were dismissed for the last 30 minutes for freedom with the leader. The carefully guarded Unicorn Poop was taken to our group spot which happened to be in a popular area. All grabbed the glittery, shiny poop and began to share.

I began with my best bar voice to tell each one what I loved about them. Their spiritual intuition, teachability, humility, love for others and grace. When I was done, to my surprise, the girls wanted a turn to share what they liked about each other. The room full of vulturing 8th grade boys vying for video games and girls' attention, each one graciously loved on each other. Uniqueness was celebrated. My closing comments to them were :
I want you to walk away from this year with these truths;
Seek out scripture for yourself, don't simply accept what is taught from the front of the room.
Don't just become "Christian" friends but be friends who encourage one another in Christ.

In the middle of a game playing chaotic Jr. High room, they cheerleader shouted, "AMEN!"

I looked at what unified us throughout the year. Unicorn Poop. The magical, mysterious and mythological Sunday School stories were formed into a truth that was real and very delicious. That was all the appreciation this servant needed.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Divine Mother's Day

This was originally posted on May 7, 2011 after a girlfriend and I discussed the challenges of Mother's Day. My hope is that hearts will be opened and those who struggle with the day will be welcomed.

Her name is Nurture.  She risked life to birth a person. She corrects those under her instruction.  When advice is needed, it is her counsel we seek.  Mother is who she is.  The intention of Mother's Day is to take a moment and honor the gifts of this woman.  For some the day is filled with laughter and joy.  For others, it is a day of regret, filled with duty or loneliness.

 My heart is pained for those who struggle with Mother's Day.  Women who have experienced abortion or loss of a baby, face the emptiness.  Those whose mother has passed on, gaze into loneliness.  Others who have a strained relationship with their mother, practice the duty of honoring her station. These people stare blankly at the thousands of cards in the store. They painfully weed through affectionate declarations for a simple factual card; a needle in the haystack. For those looking on, what should our response be?  
God is referred to as a loving Father.  Scriptures support and help define what a loving Father should be. God takes that place for the Fatherless.  The New Testament calls Jesus, the Son.  He is our example of what we, as children, should act like. Those who struggle with the spiritual example of a mother search those same scriptures and wonder; who is the Mother to the Motherless?

In Genesis 1:1- the creation narrative- God decided to create, then he spoke.  In John 1:1 we are told that Jesus embodied His spoken word.  The Spirit hovered over the waters. The word used for Spirit here is Ruwach, a feminine noun.  The Spirit was the application of thought and word to physically create.
In Proverbs 4, Wisdom is referred to as a woman.  She wants to teach right ways of living.  In the New Testament, Jesus tells his disciples he will send Holy Spirit to exist with them. The word for Holy Spirit is the gender-neutral noun, Pneuma.  Jesus described Holy Spirit as comforter, teacher, counselor and nurturer: these are same roles as Wisdom in Proverbs.  In our quiet moments with the Loving Creator we find the example of a loving mother in the person of Holy Spirit.   

            Jesus was teaching one day when he was told that his family was outside to speak with him.  His response:

 "Those who follow the will of my Father, they are my brother, sister and mother."  Matthew 12:50

In Jesus, we are all family. No one should be alone or neglected. The great comfort for those who find themselves with out a mother or child on Mother's Day is the Divine. God is the complete and perfect parent. To those who feel loss in the day we should welcome them in as family to our celebration. For those who find the day empty; consider a woman who has filled the void and honor them. Her loving support should be recognized. This way all will experience the Divine Family Jesus was talking about. 
A Mother Life

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Puzzle Solving with a Turkey Baster

We successfully released two ducklings K fostered for two weeks. In celebration, I pulled this post from last year to share. Living with wildlife creates opportunities for much writing fodder. This is one moment where the Divine taught me grace for myself. Enjoy

Originally posted on April 22, 2012

"Mom! The duck eggs are covered in water!

Her big green eyes search my face for an answer. I pause to think.

"Not the ones under the bush. Flare (the mama) is sitting on those. The ones in the neighbor's boat!"

Our back yard is a small lake and each house has a paddle boat. Girly diligently created relationships with two ducks this year. The reason: for them to lay eggs somewhere near our back door for her to watch and nurture. Success with one: a nest under the rose geranium. The other made a nest in a boat. Our usually dry town managed a four day deluge.

"I am not sure what we can do Love." I answered.

"Ya," she sighed, "I know, I just wanted to tell you."

Girly turned and walked out of my room. Instantly the Mom radar went off. For the past two days, a duck spent much of her day at our back door, waggling her tail feathers and quacking loud enough for Santa to hear. I wondered, could her noise be because her nest was wet?

Shaking off my Saturday morning repose to follow inspiration, I grabbed a turkey baster from the kitchen and went outside. Girly met me and we marched. I crawled onto the neighbor's boat and realized the task would not be easy. The boat four sections of the boat were filled to the brim. Resting at the bottom of one section, eleven eggs. Girly ran for a large cup as I sucked and squeezed water, ounces at a time. 

I finished the section with the eggs and decided to just clean the whole boat. I was there anyway and mosquito season is right around the corner. It didn't take long before the squawking duck swam over and patiently watched. After an hour of work, the eggs rested. Dry and  ready for to be reclaimed.

Duck swam circles around the boat and peaked in. Her problem was solved. The eggs were out of danger. Her mama's heart revealed, she peacefully swam away. Duck knew the eggs were not viable. I watched her glide across the water in wonder. The morning in the hot sun, my husband laughing at my creative use of a turkey baster, Girly at my side sloshing water out: the whole thing was too odd to not have some meaning to it.

Through the next week a picture popped into my head: a shelf with very neatly lined puzzles. The wooden brain teaser kind, in the shapes of cylinders, pyramids and barrels. About a year and a half ago, a series of personal earthquakes knocked the shelf off. In trying to find equilibrium with these unresolved things, I spend the time in mental gymnastics.

Often the advice is: toss the puzzle. Let it go. Stop looking for the solution.

That I have. I solve the puzzle and put it away. Weeks, months, or years later it falls into my mental hands and I am at it again. I would like to just dump it and move on. Yet it sticks, like book pages to my sap covered fingers.
Those who know me well understand that letting go is a process and have patience with me. Lately they have given me great perspective:

I am not like others, who can just dump a whole problem. I excise it piece by piece, logically and scientifically. I am letting it go; slowly. Patience and acceptance of this method must be remembered.

My Loving Creator is in the midst. When a thought or memory regurgitates, the immediate thought is to talk to a friend or make an appointment for therapy. The message I missed was this: the Spirit is ever present and in that moment wants to meet me for healing. My responsibility is to stop and discuss it, then meditate on the answer allowing the loving touch.

I am not that different from the duck. Duck experienced indescribable danger to what she treasured most. She could not solve the problem so help was cried for. I could not pick the boat up and dump the water out. It was too big and the eggs would have been tossed. The only way to answer was with a cup, a turkey baster and a towel. As I drained the water, one section at a time Duck waited. When I was finished she received the answer she needed. In trusting the Spirit to counsel me through these puzzles, I too will find my answers one piece at a time.

A Mother Life