Yesterday my husband and I – like many of you – were under “house arrest” as far as Church goes. The notice from the Church came in time to tell us that because of efforts to quell the spread of the deadly corona virus/COVID 19, we should have “Home Church” until further notice. Apparently we’ll also have “Home General Conference,” too, where the Quorum of the 12 will be preaching to the choir (although the Tabbie Cats will have recorded their hymns beforehand.)
It was early in the morning when I crested the hill on my way down into the valley. The sun peeked above the mountains and back-lit a pink, translucent veil loosely wrapping the peaks. With the lake below and the blushing gauze topping the mountains beyond it, it was a moment of grace. “Oh my …
Is This Enough?
Ruminations on Romans 7:19-25
When the deacon stands in front of me
with the sacrament tray
I pick the first piece I touch.
As I lift it to my mouth,
I see that it is
hardly more than
Is this enough?
I am tiny, too,
with a thimble full of sins.
A few months ago, I read an article about a Palestinian woman injured in a car accident who could not breastfeed her nine-month-old son. He refused a bottle for seven hours, screaming with hunger, his aunts desperate. Then a Jewish nurse arrived for her shift, and volunteered to nurse him. The expression on the faces …
“Unclench your jaw.” “Let your shoulders relax.” “Now sit.” “Release.” “What are we, dogs?” my mind mumbled. I noted my immediate snark then tried to focus, focus, focus, but the more I ordered my mind to be still the more it ran away. I had recently learned that the word yoga is a Sanskrit word …
I usually read three or four books at a time. Right now, my active pile includes 1) Tony Robbins’ Money: Mastering the Game, 2) a Fannie Flagg novel, 3) What’s so Amazing About Grace by Phillip Yancey, and 4) Ann Lamott’s latest — Small Victories: Spotting Improbable Moments of Grace. I read what I’m in the mood for in the moment. I lost Fannie Flagg for awhile, in the middle of a good story; she got tucked into a door pocket of our other car. And I was plowing enthusiastically through Money when Life smacked me upside the head on a Tuesday evening three weeks ago. I haven’t opened the book since. But I am devouring the two books on Grace, my soul hungry for solace, for divine sustenance, tender mercy.
Mostly, my life moves along like a transoceanic flight — tedious, squishy-kneed, but exciting — hope and adventure awaiting. But then the turbulence hits, randomly, unexpectedly, spilling soda and knocking me off my wobbly airborne feet as I waddle back from the toilet box. Then it’s just Hang on! Don’t lose hope! And don’t jab anyone in the head!
When my husband Chris and I were dating he sent me a love note with this observation of my character. He wrote, “You are always striving for excellence and never quite attaining it.”
Happily, I knew already knew that Chris was a very literal person and what he probably meant was something more along the lines of “You do ambitious things with enthusiasm and still want to improve beyond that.”
But Chris’s first version was right, too. I know I am incapable of doing things quite as well as I hope to do them. All of us who are disciples of Jesus, if we are honest, are in the same predicament. We make covenants – and we’re still not as “excellent” at keeping them as we’d like to be.
I was traveling recently with some friends, sitting in the backseat for a five-hour drive home. The two in front were discussing families, kids, and were essentially solving the problems of the universe. I’m lucky to have wise friends.
At one point they talked about the need to teach responsibility, particularly when it comes to money but in other areas as well. The one with older children has parented with more deliberate wisdom than I ever have, and I listened with interest and admiration as she described how she handled their family finances as a single mother. She has been careful and conscious about teaching consequences. “They have to earn things,” she said. It was a consistent theme.
As I sat silently agreeing with her in my mind, a thought quietly surfaced: What if God only gave you what you earned?
It’s my turn to write today (Michelle L.) but I want to share these words from my friend Martha with you instead. Our mother hearts stretch as wide as the universe and are as fragile as a tuft of dandelion seeds. My father calls and wants to know when I will write. Often. And …