Monday, December 24, 2012

God With Us

Tonight we celebrate the immortal vastness of God slipping into the flesh of a baby.  

That baby was born 
               in a mundane corner 
                        of a dark night 
                                  in a small town. 

Which really isn't the most spectacular way for God to have come.

Tonight we echo the angels and sing:

“Glory streams from heaven afar
Heavenly hosts sing Hallelujah,
Christ the savior is born!”

Now that is spectacular. But setting aside one sheep-covered hill, the spectacular announcement didn't really happen.  Most of creation wasn't bowled over by glory streaming down.

Somehow God himself entered his creation on a dark night without disturbing much of the darkness.

I was thinking of all those people in Bethlehem that night. How many of them had no idea of God’s grand entrance?  How much pain was in the city that night?  Among the people of Bethlehem there was sure to have been suffering that made them ask, “Where is God in this?”  Because sometimes in mundane corners on a dark nights it can be hard to find him. 

God was literally right around the corner, and people passing along the street outside had no idea. To most of them it was just a dark night like every other.  And even though he was there, he didn't fix everything.  He didn't thwart every evil scheme and bring peace and joy into every heart.

I was surprised that this didn't feel depressing.  It felt reassuring.

Because that’s the way I find him still today. 

He doesn't burst in on us wiping out any evil he finds. 

For reasons I don’t quite understand, he trickles in. 

I was reminded of this when I read some reactions to the school shooting asking where God was. 

We tend to think that if God is somewhere he will overrun it.  He will not only stop the man from killing the children, but he will also bless the children and redeem the man.  And if that’s what we are expecting then it looks like God wasn't there.  But if I remember how he acted in Bethlehem, then it’s safe to say that he was in that school but he trickled into the darkness and mostly we just see the darkness.

That’s only depressing if we think that the fact that he doesn’t stop all evil means that our lives aren’t infinitely precious to him.   

But that night long ago when God was born among us was night of crucial importance to his plan of redemption.  His presence there was a manifestation of his love for each of us including every soul that slept that night in Bethlehem. Yet on that night he slipped in quietly barely causing a ripple in the darkness.  His birth didn't send out a shock wave of holiness that purified every evil it encountered. The whole point of his birth was that he loved each of us so fiercely that he had come to destroy the darkness.  But in that moment he left most of the evil around him undisturbed. 

So today, when I read a friend’s post about depression, the fact that amidst that darkness God has trickled in and brought hope but he hasn't dispelled her darkness altogether doesn't mean he is not in the midst of redeeming her. 

In my own life, when God doesn't force me to see the truth about things when I’m feeling selfish or heal everyone I pray for it doesn't mean he is not very nearby and deeply involved in redeeming me.  

And, much to my chagrin, when he doesn't overrun Christians in general and keep them from saying and doing things that he doesn't want (or at least things I’m sure he doesn't want) it doesn't mean he isn't here redeeming his church.

For reasons that escape me, God’s redemption of his world is working as an undercurrent which is leaving the surface mostly undisturbed for now.  He leaves much of the work of fighting evil on the surface in our very flawed hands.  But thankfully (since as a species we are not particularly good at rooting out evil) his undercurrent is slowly and inevitably carrying us toward our final salvation.

And while we are here on Christmas Eve, living on the surface, fighting against the evil that is thriving around us and in us, we can still celebrate that undercurrent and not feel abandoned.   Because we can see the trickles of God here.  We can see the glory the angels drenched that one hill with.  We can see the gleams of hope lighting paths through the darkness and we can know that the place we are being carried is brighter than we can imagine.  

I feel more assured of God's presence because if during the birth of his son, a moment of infinite importance to him, God chose to work quietly and not destroy all the evil he could see, then just because he is not destroying all the evil I can see doesn't mean he is not deep in the midst of my redemption right now. 

 “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
And through the rivers, they will not overflow you.
When you walk through the fire, you will not be scorched,
Nor will the flame burn you.
 For I am the Lord your God,
The Holy One of Israel, your Savior.”
Isaiah 43:2-3

"The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, 
and they will call him Immanuel" which means, "God with us."
Matthew 1:23

Friday, November 30, 2012

Five Minute Friday - Wonder

Here's my weekly link up to The Gypsy Mama for her Five Minute Friday prompt.  (Weekly?  Who am I kidding? The Gypsy Mama does it weekly.  I do it bimonthly...)  Write for 5 minutes flat – no editing, no over thinking, no backtracking.  (Since I'm editorializing, this won't be five minutes.  I was up early - thank you, Liam - while everyone else slept and I hand wrote a very long ramble about Wonder.  So here it is, not five minutes and somewhat edited, over-thought and backtracked.)


Topic: Wonder

There's an idea that's been nesting in the corner of my mind for a long while now.  It usually sits quietly, minding its own business while I mother/clean the house/avoid cleaning the house/clean the children/avoid cleaning the children/etc.  But lately it's been clearing it's throat in overly dramatic ways calling me to draw it out from the tangle of thoughts it's been wrapped around.

The idea is that there are words, like wonder, that may not actually mean what I think they should. Or maybe it's that they don't look the way I think they should.  And because of that I miss them when they do show up.

Take wonder, for example.  I think wonder should stop you in your tracks.  Everything else freezes as you are overwhelmed by beauty or truth or strength or newness.  But that never happens to me anymore.  Because no matter how beautiful the sunset I still have to keep my eyes on the road while remaining semi-engaged with a chattering 3 year old who's confusing bath tubs and pools, explain to my 6 year old why radios don't work in the parking garage and tossing platitudes and/or Cheerios at the 1 year old.

So I have this fear that I've forgotten how to wonder, forgotten how to soak in something beautiful and beyond me.

But maybe I'm missing the wonder in the way that it really exists.  The kids can gaze in wonder at the sunset, but I'd better keep one and a half eyes on the road.  I'm not saying I shouldn't slow down a bit and admire and wonder, but I think I shouldn't discount little bits of wonder that leak into my day just because I'm also busy doing boring adult things.  That I should grant value to the quick glances I give the sunset and not discount it because I didn't get to sit in silence and soak it all in.

We took a long drive yesterday.  This is winter in Oregon so it drizzled some but it was still amazingly beautiful.  And for a short while the sun burst out and after the grey sky, the colors of sunlight and green grass and blue sky was dazzling.

But I'm tempted to discount all that because while we admired the beauty there were little voices in the back seat which kept asking to go home.  And I remember that by the end of the trip there were some grumpiness issues, both in the back and front seats.

I remember summer camp long ago and wandering through the woods in silence drinking in whatever beauty I found and I'm tempted to say that I've forgotten how to do that. But the idea that's been lurking is that life is tangled.  It's a massive jumble of good and bad and wonder and mundane and pain and joy.   And just because these things are all tangled up doesn't mean they are not also themselves.  Wonder, at least the way it shows up in my life, isn't all consuming and heart-stopping.  It's little snippets and glimpse caught out of the corner of my eye stuck in the middle of everyday life. So yes, yesterday my thoughts were repeatedly pulled from the beautiful forest to solve tiny problems and shush whining and call timeouts because flashlights were being swung around the car like nunchucks, but they also plunged down steep valleys of ferns and flew far off over layers and layers of green hills.

That idea that's been lurking is that a little bit of something good is still good, even if it is tangled up with some bad and some ugly.  The fact that we find something good in a small way stuck right in the middle of our usual grind doesn't belittle its goodness at all.

So even though yesterday was interrupted by some of the more tedious tasks of motherhood, I want to give the parts of it that were full of wonder all the weight they deserve.  To remember that maybe the way we run across wonder most often is as it trickles gently into the common parts of our life.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Five Minute Friday - Roots

Here's my weekly link up to The Gypsy Mama for her Five Minute Friday prompt.  Write for 5 minutes flat – no editing, no over thinking, no backtracking


Topic: Roots

I have nothing profound to say about roots.  I want to do my 5 Minute Friday today, but really,  I've just spent 10 minutes staring at the wall and thinking that it should be easy to think profoundly about roots.  

I've got nuthin'.

Instead of profundity I keep thinking, "Roots are sort of ugly.  They're dirty and lumpy and a little hairy.  And they're dirty.  I know, they are nourishing and stabilizing and oh-so-symbolic. But they're just not pretty.  I prefer them covered up."

Tree trunks I like.  Oh, Oregon has the most amazing trees with the most unbelievable trunks.  Blog worthy trunks.  You may see pictures in the future.

And I like when the roots of really old trees aren't even in the ground any more but are all covered in normal looking bark and are winding their way across the ground like wiggly little benches to sit on.

Maybe my root-ambiguity is because we just uprooted ourselves and moved to a new place.  But somehow it doesn't feel like uprooting.  We left  friends, but there's email and telephones.  We left a home but it was a rental, so was never truely ours.  And we still have each other in the house.  There is still morning rush on frozen waffles, school time peppered with distractions and adventures, naps, shopping, life.

So my roots don't really feel uprooted.  Maybe my roots are just intertwined with the people that I live with here instead of a place.  People often talk about "putting down your roots" where you live, but mine don't seem to go into any particular place.  They just wind around people.  (Which means they're always exposed and ugly, so maybe I need more dirt around me.  Nevermind, just glanced at my floor.  We're good on dirt  here.)

See?  Nothing profound about roots, but I do have dirt.  So there's that.

Happy Friday, everybody.  If you want profound root posts, head over to Five Minute Friday and read some of the lovely links there.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Guest posting at Dreamer today

My good friend, Karen, invited me to guest post on her amazing blog, Dreamer

She's doing a little series of guest posts about how the art we make impacts our lives.  Her blog is fascinating, so feel free to stop by and read my post, then stay over there a while and read some of her other writing.  Her color series, which she just finished reposting, is especially good.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Perpetual Lessons: Too many toys

There are lessons that I teach my kids repeatedly.  Lessons that sometimes I think, "How can I have to tell you this again.  We have proved that it is true so many times over."

And usually, while I'm in the middle of an exasperated sigh about the repetitiveness of it all, Ivy shows up.

Ivy is my inner voice.  (Inner Voice --> I.V. --> Ivy.  Yes, creative genius here, I know.)  Ivy is sarcastic.  I'm not sure inner voices are supposed to be, I thought they were supposed to be sweet and reassuring.  Mine is not.

Anyway, Ivy shows up to snicker at me.  She doesn't even have to say anything.  Just raises her overly plucked eyebrow at me, peers over her trendy glasses (which I'm sure are just for show.  We have good vision...) and snorts disdainfully because she knows I'm being hypocritical in what I'm trying to teach.  Because based on who their mother is, it is not a huge mystery why my children need the same lessons repeated ad nauseum.

For instance, this morning the family was having a sweet, peaceful breakfast together where everyone was singing cheery songs in three part harmony, eating their healthy breakfast with nary a whine or a hesitation and allowing me to sit in serene maternal happiness as I drank my coffee with no requests for juice or a different color cup or squealing for"a tissue for my gigantic booger!"   Typical morning.

Liam, who had already inhaled his breakfast, was off playing on the floor.  He spidermanned himself along furniture to his overflowing basket of toys.  He then proceeded to pull out every toy and toss it aside.

He did not play with a single one.  Just scrunched his chubby face into a determined sort of scowl and pulled them all out.  Then he crawled away.

I said, "Liam, why did I leave your basket so full of toys again?", knowing full well that it was due to Cleaning Laziness Syndrome, a common ailment around here, where it is easier for me to toss the baby toys into the basket than take most of them back downstairs to the playroom.

"Liam," I continued, "Your problem again, like so often, is that you have too many toys.  It is a proven fact that true happiness in playing comes from having fewer things to play with.  You will enjoy your toys more if I only give you one or two of them."

It's true.  Given one tupperware lid, the child will inspect it, bite it, bang it, toss it, chase it, hold it on top of his head (?), bite it again, wave it around, etc. for 10 full minutes before moving on to something else.  And he's done it happily the whole time.  That chubby scowl not appearing once.

"Liam, let's put away some of those toys.  You'll be so much happier.  You think you want lots of toys to play with, but I promise you'll be happier with fewer things.  Your problem is there's too many distractions for your little mind to decide what to play with. "

Just then Ivy poked her head around the corner, raised that annoyingly skinny eyebrow, glanced at my computer, my phone, my kindle and my pile of assorted junk taking up the counter.  That pile of my "important stuff that I have" that has been alternately calling to me, tempting me, frustrating me, cluttering my counter and generally putting me in a bad mood for, well, ever. Because there are too many "important things" there for my little mind to decide what to work with.

Then Ivy snorted at me, rolled her eyes and left the room.

I muttered a few choice comments about pretentious inner voices and went to thin out Liam's toys again.

And my own. 

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Five Minute(ish) Friday(ish) - Path

"So, here’s the skinny: every Friday for over a year  hundreds of people join a kind of writing flash mob over at the The Gypsy Mama.  For five minutes flat. All on the same prompt that I post here at 1 minute past midnight EST ever Friday." - The Gypsy Mama

I’ve been reading a book this week about writing.  Since I was a tad overwhelmed by the 258 metaphors for “path” that instantly jumped to my mind about my life, every person I know, and every relationship I have, I thought I would do a little writing exercise. 

How about plopping down a character who I’ve never met before on a path?  Because where better to meet someone than on a path?  Here goes... 


The sunlight scattered through the green world ahead of her and the trail wandered over a mossy bridge as though on a whim.   She peered down into the water at the grey reflection of the sky.  

She rocked her head back and forth slightly, but nothing broke the reflection. 

“Nothing today?” she asked the water. 

It answered with a ripple. 

Of course there is no reflection of her.  Not today.  Perhaps next time.   

A rustle along the path behind her caused her to tense.  Her fists clenched and she kept her eyes fixed on the water, no longer looking at the surface but now staring at something long ago.

She took a deep breath and straightened, pushing her hair back behind her shoulders. Then she turned her eyes down the path from where she had come.

It was still now.  How could it not be?  Everything back there was already done.

“I wouldn’t go back that way,” she told the expectant path, “even if I could.” 



So there you have it.  It's not the beginning to the next great American novel, but it's good for my character to post things that I don't think are perfect.  

Any ideas why she couldn't see her reflection?  Because I'm not sure myself....

Friday, June 8, 2012

Five Minute Friday - Expectation

Here's my weekly link up to The Gypsy Mama for her Five Minute Friday prompt.  Write for 5 minutes flat – no editing, no over thinking, no backtracking


Topic: Expectation

There is no way I can write for five minutes on Expectations.  No way.  I couldn't even write a magazine article.  It would have to be a full length book.  Maybe some sort of three volume set. You've been warned.

Because expectation is the real power in the universe.    

Please flex and grab you sword with me while we bellow "By the power of Greyskull...I HAVE THE POWER!" 

image credit

Ok, not Greyskull.  More like the power in My Skull. 

Because expectation is everything. 

Absolutely everything. 

Ok, not everything.   Why do you people argue with me all the time?  I'm sure there is some sort of absolute truth out there somewhere.  Like maybe "I exist."  But after that it's all expectation.  And it all lives inside my own skull.

Will I enjoy my coffee this morning?  Not if I expected that I was going to get another 20 minutes of peace before turkey head wakes up and wants to nurse.  But yes if I remembered that the baby is not a robot (a source of endless frustration to me) and can be expected to wake up at different times each morning and even (shudder) have his own personality and ideas.  Not if I have the expectation that I deserve these five minutes of me time this morning.  But yes if I have the expectation that I am indeed a mother of three wee crazies (and a mother who doesn't even have their father home this weekend) and thus is on call constantly. Turns out my enjoyment doesn't rely on how good the coffee actually is.

Will I love who my kids grow up to be?  Not if I expect them to fit into my mold.  But yes if I can get over that sorta-wish-they-were-robots-I-could-command hangup that I have. 

Will I be an enjoyable wife?  And enjoy being a wife?  Not if I harbor all sorts of expectations about what my husband should be doing (especially since one of those usually turns out to be "and in addition to all that he shouldn't expect anything from me..."). But yes if I can just let him be my friend and do the things I do just because it is good for us that I do, not because I expect praise or thanks. 

Will I have a good day today?  Not if I expect my kids to be grownups. (In particular grownups that are exactly like me.)  But yes if I remember they are kids.  Distractable, energetic, loveable kids who aren't old enough yet to ignore the selfish hollering from their own minds so they can be the selfless angels I want them to be.  And for a real yes I need to also have the expectation that my own mind is going to holler selfishly at me all day so that I can be ready to tell it to shut up.

This is way over 5 minutes.  It took at least three minutes to find the He-man pictures.  But I did warn you.  

Ah, expectations.  How I love you.  How I hate you. How I wish I could always remember that I have the power.  It would make my life so much more pleasant. 

Saturday, June 2, 2012

I'd like to be a little like the moon

His voice skipped along the fence posts and bounced off the observatory while the moon and I listened to him with affectionate smiles.

He stood on tiptoes to peer through the telescopes at a blinding crescent or a striped giant or those unbelievable rings.  As he scampered and chattered from one planet to the next, my eyes were drawn back to the new moon hanging over the darkening horizon.

I love the moon. I think she is irresistibly beautiful.  The moon calms me in a way little else does.  Her unruffled progress through the sky reminds me that if I could lift myself out of this hectic world there is order and beauty and steadiness.  The sun still burns, the earth and moon still spin. The grand scheme is still progressing.

The next morning I told the baby about our trip to the observatory as I changed his diaper.

"You should have seen the moon," I said.   He stared at me attentively as he gummed a toy.   "She was beautiful."  Then I realized that in all his nine months he's probably never looked at the moon.  I distinctly remember pointing it out to him once while he cheerfully peered at my fingertip.

But as I started to explain the moon, I realized that she shouldn't be beautiful.  She is a barren, colorless rock.  She has no air to protect her from the emptiness of space.  Her skin is scarred from every piece of rock or ice that has ever struck her.  She will never erase the footprints left on her surface. 

But although she should be plain - ugly even - she is stunning.
And all she does to be stunning is to stay where she is and reflect the sunlight. 

I was struck by the fact that there’s a sort of redemption going on there. 
 Just not the sort I usually think of.

It seems like redeeming something should involve taking the broken thing and healing it, restoring it to its original perfection.  Or bringing it to a perfection that it has never even had.  But there is a different stage in redemption that I run into daily.  A redemption where God takes something that is imperfect, and without healing a thing, shines his light on it. 

Not a glaring fluorescent light that makes every defect stand out in sickly green, but the warm light of the sun that transforms the dull thing it touches and uses it to breathe beauty into a whole world.

I don’t want to be the moon.  She looks lonely up there and I don’t want to be someplace where rocks hurl out of the darkness at me.  There’s enough of that down here.

As with everyone else, life has thrown rocks at me.  And it just keeps throwing rocks at everyone.  There is sickness and death and betrayal and lies and greed and the sorts of awful things that make gripping novels but desperate lives. 

Sometimes I’m afraid God isn’t powerful enough to redeem our fallen world because he doesn’t charge in and wipe all that pain away.   He doesn’t stop all those rocks.  He could, but he doesn’t. 

So I don't want to be the moon, but  I’d like to be a little like her.

I’d like to not worry about the scars I have.  I'd like to remember that somehow, even before I am perfected, the very flaws I’m longing to be healed from are already being redeemed. 

I believe that someday God will completely redeem his creation.  Someday the imperfections and scars will disappear.   I wish it would happen today.  But I look at the moon and realize that she was placed there for specific reasons and I know that God has plans.  The grand scheme is still progressing.

So I would like to be a little like the moon, 
     content with the scars I have, 
          content with the beauty I have.   
Patiently moving through my life, 
      content for now to be at the point in redemption where I am.

I'm not sure my big boy believed me when I told him my favorite part of the night was seeing the moon and I'm not sure the baby believed me that she really is beautiful.  But it was and she is and even if my boys think I'm a bit crazy, I'd like to be a little like the moon. 

Friday, June 1, 2012

Five Minute Friday - See

Here's my weekly link up to The Gypsy Mama for her Five Minute Friday prompt.  Write for 5 minutes flat – no editing, no over thinking, no backtracking


Topic: See

The thing about seeing is that I would really like to see with eyes that weren't stuck inside my own head.

The ones that I have lie in very close proximity to my brain and clearly that it too close to detangle them from my emotions, fears and all those parts of my personality that I'm not so keen about. 

Like the part that can't notice how much fun my kids are having if in the process they're making too much of a mess.  Especially one of those messes that will demand an adult skill set to clean up. 

Or the part that is focused on getting through the grocery store instead of responding patiently to my kids.

A pair of eyes detached from my point of view would see my silly kids in Walmart as cute instead of as an impediment to getting the shopping completed.

Eyes not connected to the "cleaning is a pain" part of my personality would see the huge smiles on my kids faces instead of the mess those smiles are peeking through. 

So this week I"m going to try to disconnect my eyes from the part of my brain that has other issues and try to see everything that is going on around me from a better perspective. 

Although I admit that the idea of disembodied eyeballs floating around me all week has me a little creeped out.  

Friday, May 25, 2012

Five Minute Friday - Opportunity (has a fat backside)

Lisa-Jo over at The Gypsy Mama does a Five Minute Friday post each week on a topic she chooses.  Write for 5 minutes flat – no editing, no over thinking, no backtracking


Topic: Opportunity

Opportunity has a fat backside.  It's huge.  

Her frontside?  No idea.  I'm not sure I've ever seen it.  

The only time I see her is when she's flouncing away, big, bustled, neon, polka dotted rear end waving in my face as the door slams shut behind her. 

Like when it's 2 am and Belle is saying, "But Mommy, just come lay down with me for a few minutes and we can snuggle!" but I'm desperately trying to get her back to sleep so I can go back to sleep, so I come up with creative reasons why that won't work and get her to go back to sleep alone.  
Then laying in my bed a couple minutes later I think, "Maybe the stiff neck and sore shoulder and punch in the face would have been worth it if I had just laid down next to my precious girl and slept for a bit..."  And I hear Opportunity snicker as she creeps away down the hall.  Gone again. I didn't even see her there.  Just that HUGE backside that I can't miss as she's leaving.  
So the next day when Belle gets up I lay down next to her on the bed and say, "Let's snuggle!" and wrap my arm around her.  She gently takes my hand and pushes it off her and says sweetly, "Mom, sometimes I like your hugs.  And some times I don't."
And my phone does a little jingle as Opportunity sends me a text saying, "Give it up.  I'm not even in the building."  

Note:  I know it's supposed to be 5 minutes, but I'm ALWAYS using my timer for something else when I write this, so I keep missing the five minute mark.  For honesty's sake, this post was 6 minutes and 22 seconds.  Hopefully there's not Five Minute Friday Gestapo. 

Friday, May 18, 2012

Five Minute Friday - Perspective

Lisa-Jo over at The Gypsy Mama does a Five Minute Friday post each week on a topic she chooses.  Write for 5 minutes flat – no editing, no over thinking, no backtracking


Topic: Perspective

There was a muffled crash and a squeal from her dark room.  Then a call for me.

"Mommy!  I have problem!  I keep rolling over!"  At my evident question as to why rolling over in a bed should be a problem she explained, "On my head!  And I fall!"

She must have been able to see better than I could in the dark because to clear up the look of confusion on my face she said, "Here, I'll show you. " Then she turned around, set her head down on the edge of her mattress and kicked her feet up onto the wall, falling sideways in the process back onto her bed. 

"See," she said plaintively, "I keep rolling over and I can't do it."

I laughed and asked her if she really expected me to help her with that particular problem when it was forty-five minutes past her bedtime.  Her real problem, I explained, was that she was supposed to be sleeping and that was hard to do while standing on your head.

As I think about her troubles I realize how often I'm there trying to stand on my head, or focused on getting that one extra errand in before nap time and I don't see my real problem.  Maybe a little girl needing a bit of her Mommy's attention or a bigger boy who really wants to finish the story he started an hour ago and needs an audience.

Most likely, if I could just shift my perspective from the problem I'm trying to solve to the actual thing I should be doing, things might go a little more smoothly.

And then when I'm more well rested and I have the help of, say, some benevolent giant, I can tackle that "I can't stand on my head" problem a little more efficiently.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Bedtime Story

‘Twas the time of the day
When the sleepy sun heads
Far past the horizon
And tucks into bed,

When Bartholomew Barnabas
Burlington Bap
Was wrapped in his jammies
And cozy night cap.

He looked at his bed
With its soft fluffy covers,
His squishy big pillow
And cuddle bear brothers.

But something was missing,
Something just was not right.
“I’ve found my blue blankey,
Turned on my night light,

But there’s still something big
That just has to be done.
Oh, where is my story,
My favorite one?

Please read me a book
Like we read every night.
Sit me up on your lap
And wrap me up tight

In your arms while you speak
The words into the air
Which will float ‘round the room
And ruffle my hair.

And the words will make pictures
To dance past my nose,
Bump into the ceiling
Or tickle my toes.

See?  There goes a castle
Perched up on some fog.
In the tower’s top window
I see a small frog.

And is that a pirate ship
Far out to sea?
Or the tale of a whale
Who is waving at me?

My room’s crowded full
Of the loveliest things,
All the dreams and adventures
A good story brings.

So then when we’re done
And you tuck me in bed
Oh, the places and friends
I will see in my head!

Then I will not mind
When you turn out the light
For you stories will stay with me
All through the night.”

Friday, May 4, 2012

Five Minute Friday - Real

 Lisa-Jo over at The Gypsy Mama does a Five Minute Friday post each week on a topic she chooses.  Here are the rules:

1. Write for 5 minutes flat – no editing, no over thinking, no backtracking
2. That's pretty much it.

I want to write more and five minutes is quite doable, so here's my first Five Minute Friday


Topic: Real

There is a lot more pain and sadness in the real world than I wanted to believe before.  Pain that is hard to look in the face.  Pain that is hard to accept.

We dodge around it and avoid it.  We stand at the edges of other people’s pain, somehow fascinated, unable to look away but also unable to help.

And when it strikes our own life we are overwhelmed by it.  The bad, the wrong, the broken things of life that wash over us are strong and often so unexpected they can leave us adrift in a world we don’t recognize.

And that is part of “real.”  A part we don’t want to think about.  But it is real and I think it is the reason that when someone says “real” we think “bad.”  Because it’s only when we are really faced with something terrible that we smash up against reality – something we can’t wish away or redo. 

I never struggle with the reality of happiness.  I say, “I can’t believe how good this is!” as I smile and skip away.  But that’s not really true.  I’m fine with good happening. 

It’s the bad that I can’t believe happened.  The bad part of reality that I want to escape.  The bad part I want to be unreal. 

But it’s a bit unfair for me to label “real” as “bad.”  If I’m telling how I “really” am, that doesn’t just include the fact that I’m up, again, in the middle of the night trying to soothe a pint sized crisis when all I really want to do is sleep.  It also includes the fact that Belle’s hair is soft and long when I lay next to her and her voice is about the sweetest sound in the world as she talks to me. 

Real intertwines the good and the bad.  Somehow I’d like to wrap my brain around the balance that is there. 


Well, there’s my five minutes and that’s good because this is where the thought gets stuck.  The point where I stop and ask myself, “Self, is that where you were headed at the beginning?" then I roll my eyes at myself and say, "I didn’t think so.” 

And so even though I can still see the thought a little bit farther ahead of me, it soon gets tangled in with all the other half-formed and unthunk thoughts and the feelings and hopes and fears that all wrap themselves together into a tangle. 

But one thing I’ve learned from motherhood is that almost any task can be set down midway through, like a pile of unfolded laundry dumped in the middle of the living room floor which will wait patiently, for days if necessary, for me to come back and continue folding.  So for now, elusive thought about the relationship between real and bad, enjoy your home in the tangles.  I’ll be back to pull you out a little more some other time.