Friday, February 12, 2016

2. UNANSWERABLE QUESTIONS

We sang Give Me Jesus, and I didn’t even cry.  Not while I was singing, at least.  I looked into the eyes of her grieving husband, and nine heartbroken children, and decided it was best to close my eyes.  So I sang Give Me Jesus with my eyes closed, and no, I did not cry.  But afterwards ….

Ardene was beautiful, fit, loving, giving, righteous, and devoted; full of life and passion and enthusiasm. She could outrun, outclimb, outplay just about any person, male or female. She was relatively young, with no diseases, so the doctors who attended her that last day of her life are still baffled as to why she died.

There were people in her life for whom Ardene was a champion… perhaps their only champion.  For them the loss seemed insurmountable. There were children who desperately needed her, and a husband who had loved her since she was a girl.
We sat there at her funeral with one mighty big question on our spiritual lips.  How could a loving God let this happen?

After we sang, our friend Steve Meek stood to speak. Steve is a doctor, a spiritual leader, and a down-to-earth kind of friend. He spoke for all of us:

“I have some questions.  I want to know why this healthy woman got so sick so quickly. Why did the medicines not defeat the infection?  Why did she not get a chance to finish raising her family?  Why, when some people desperately needed her, was she taken from us?”

He could have asked the hundreds of people there, that filled the seats all the way back to the stage and beyond, to voice their questions one by one, and still there would have been more.

Then he said this:

“I do not have any answers.  I wish I did.  But just because I do not have them, it does not mean there are not answers.”


Last summer, when two year old Joe ran after his brother and sister and older cousins, out the cottage door and down to the beach, I called after him to come back. “You need to have a grown up with you, Joe.”


“But I AM a big kid!”

Poor little Joe.   





I am Joe.  I am an infant in big-time matters, and it should not surprise me that I do not have answers to some of the most powerful questions.


Here is my HOPE for today: That I remember in Whom I trust; that I recognize there are powers that are beyond my understanding, and they see the mosaic of life from a meaningful distance while I am stuck here on my teeny tiny piece of tile.  I do not believe we live in a swirl of chaos.  I believe the great mysteries, and the small ones, fall into a well intended pattern that will become obvious to me somewhere down the road.  Until I get there , I am confident that Someone, somewhere, is fully aware and has the answers that seem unanswerable to me now.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

1. THE SACRED TRIANGLE

“You know, five minutes after you leave she won’t remember you were here.”
I’ve heard it said.  I’ve even said it myself.  But I have been blessed with an intrinsic belief that it doesn’t matter if she remembers -- I will.

In all my interactions I become part of what I call the sacred triangle.  I am not by any definition of the term a mathematician, so I am not talking (I don’t think) about the Sacred Triangle that requires excessively deep thinking in the Geometry department. There are many kinds of sacred triangles: mathematical and philosophical. And there are religious triangles: the Holy Trinity or Godhead, the shape of our steeples, our hands pressed in prayer.  But this “relationships triangle” is pretty simple.

Two points of this sacred triangle are constant – they don’t ever change.  The third is a variable.   
The two constants?
One is God. And one is me. 
The variable is the person with whom I interact.
My presence with another human, whether or not I am engaged and consciously present, automatically invokes the sacred triangle. I’m not sure if the Divine Maker himself is actually there, or whether He sends a representative angel, or some heavenly filmmaker whose assignment is to make a movie of my life, to be shown in the final seconds before my flight back Home.  I am, nonetheless, confident there is a divine force at the tip of that triangle. And it radiates and connects to me and the others with whom I share time, energy, and space. My husband – my children --  my friends – even the clerk in the grocery store… all of these are points on a collection of sacred triangles.
Yesterday my sister and I drove 350 miles through thick February fog to Blackfoot, Idaho to visit our 95 year old Aunt Mae, knowing when we got back in the car to drive home, she would likely have forgotten we were just there. It didn’t matter.  We knew we were there.  And so did God.

Our interactions with each other change us, whether or not we realize it.. Certainly it was our love for our aunt that compelled us to drop everything and go, just like we had done last week and the week before.  But we could have logically convinced ourselves that since she wouldn’t remember, why do it?

We went, in the long run, not as much to make a statement to our beloved aunt, but to make a statement to ourselves, and our God, concerning our aunt. It’s the same reason we visit our mother’s grave. Not so we can connect with our mom.  We know she is not there.  We go to make a statement to ourselves, and our Lord, about our mother.


So here’s my hope for the ones I love: That we remember the divine nature of our earthly relationships…with all humans…with all creatures. That we recognize our relationships involve energy exchanges, for good and for bad. And that simply showing up is the first whisper of love we give to each other, to ourselves, and to our God.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

LENT 2016 - HOPE CHEST

I always wanted a hope chest, but there never was money or space for one in my youth, and certainly I was not blessed with domestic talents that would fill a trousseau. Besides, there was no dowry. But the traditionalist in me dreamed of what it would be like when I left home and established a place of my own.   In my hope chest would be handmade quilts, and embroidered pillowcases.  A set of copper bottomed pots and pans, and some nice bone china.  Some books, and empty journals, and a fine tipped fountain pen.  Maybe a little money tucked into a sock, and a few little non-functional treasures from my childhood, for sentimental reasons. But alas, I never did have one.

So now, even though I am a legitimate senior citizen according to Ross discount stores (they will give me 5% off on Senior Tuesdays) I have decided to create a Hope Chest for myself.

Sort of. 

I am going to leave home, at some point, and when I do I want to be prepared.

For this particular season of Lent, wherein I discipline myself to write purposefully every day until Easter, I will be adding  “items” to my figurative HOPE CHEST.  Thoughts, feelings, concepts, philosophies, nuggets of inspiration and life lessons – these I will place in my life trousseau, hoping that one day my children and their children will know who I am and what matters to me. Little life lessons, so to speak. Tidbits of truth, according to my own conscience.



My biggest fear in doing this, besides the general anxiety of trying to wax poetic every day, is that the people I care about might think the topics I address are well thought-out and the distilled sum of all that matters to me.  Therefore, herewith is my disclaimer:

The posts which follow will address topics that matter to me; but they are not all that matter to me. Just a little peek into my brain…and my heart…and my hopes.

Monday, February 1, 2016

WICKED PEACHES

This recipe, from Susan Tingey, has almost overtaken fresh peach pie
 as favorite late summer treat.
(Timo wrote "pickles" on the recipe in his 11 year old pickles phase)
Cousins.






CHEESECAKE

Karen Madson is cheesecake champion. So is Sarah Connors, for that matter.

CORN POPS (kinda like caramel corn)

Buy large bag of plain corn pops and pour this source over it.  Yummy.  (NOT Corn Pops cereal)

LIB'S RIBS SAUCE

This is an approximation.  You'll need Libby's tastebuds to get it right.  Simmer this and hour or three.