Conflict · Misunderstanding · Musings · Poetry · Unresolved trauma

You’re Bleeding Out

Your personal defense bubble

Swelled to the size of a wrestling ring.

You are catching punches

That I’m not throwing.

Bleeding from old wounds I did not inflict.

Where I extend an olive branch,

You perceive me brandishing a menacing thornbush.

Your unseen assailant wails unpredictable blows.

The maniac pummels you mercilessly.

My outstretched arms

Are to hold your heart. Gently.

To shield you.

Let me.

Doctrine of Balaam · Idolatry · Memoires · Musings · Napping in Delilah's Lap · Pornography

Ever heard of the “Doctrine of Balaam”?

When you first meet Balaam in the book of Numbers, he seems like a great guy. A look behind the curtain exposes a monster!

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My Book Napping in Delilah’s Lap: The Plague of Pornography in the Pew & the Pulpit, available in Bookstores in June 2020, is a memoir and wake-up call outlining our capacity to be ensnared by a myriad fowlers – pride, food, sex, electronics, power, shopping, drugs, achievement, hypocrisy, and control, to name a few; and the solution of intimacy with God. Below is an excerpt from a chapter in it on a little known concept called the “Doctrine of Balaam” or “Balaam’s way.” I use the term pornography (a concept developed earlier in the book) to identify anything that turns our hearts away from God.

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Chapter 10 – God’s Goals Vs. Satan’s Goals

In true devil-fashion, through pornography, Satan perverts the gift and metaphor of sex. He turns the focus from experiencing and glorifying God to self-gratification; from serving and pleasing a spouse, to self-absorption. This results in a state of desensitization to God and to our spouse, if we have one. Sadly, what God intended as an object lesson of His love for us, becomes a means that separates and distances us from Him. We effectively turn our hearts away from God. This is called the ‘teaching or doctrine of Balaam.’

In the book of Numbers, we meet Balaam, a non-Israelite sorcerer. He wanted God to curse the Israelites. He advised the Moabite King Balak to use beautiful Moabite women to lure the Israelites from being faithful to Yahweh. It is Satan’s trusted go-to lure in his tackle-box of temptation. It works almost every time!

The Apostle John refers to this in Revelation 2:14 where Jesus is addressing the church at Pergamos. “Nevertheless, I have a few things against you: There are some among you who hold to the teaching of Balaam, who taught Balak to entice the Israelites to sin so that they ate food sacrificed to idols and committed sexual immorality.” Here again, we see the close relationship the bible weaves between idolatry and sexual immorality. They are 2 wings on the same bird.

Two other pieces of scripture mention this doctrine. 2 Pe. 2:15 “Forsaking the right way, they have gone astray. They have followed the way of Balaam, the son of Beor, who loved gain from wrongdoing,” and Jude 11 “Woe to them! For they walked in the way of Cain and abandoned themselves for the sake of gain to Balaam’s error and perished in Korah’s rebellion.”

Pornography, by definition, is not just physical. Thayer’s Definition of Bible Words adds that ‘porneia’ is “metaphorically the worship of idols.” As Hosea 4:7b says, “they exchanged their Glory [i.e. God] for something disgraceful.” … The main things we get to do with our bodies are to crucify them, to put off fleshly passions and desires, to present them as a living sacrifice to God, to steward them because they are God’s Temple, and pretty much other such things that aren’t meant to idolize it. Flying in the face of God’s plan, the doctrine of Balaam is intended for self-gratification.

The Bible is replete with clear instructions in the matter of sexual conduct. 1 Cor. 6:17-20 teaches, “But whoever is united with the Lord is one with him in spirit. Flee from sexual immorality [pornography]. All other sins a person commits are outside the body, but whoever sins sexually, sins against their own body.” It continues, “Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought with a price. Therefore, honor God with your bodies.”

Ephesians 4:17-19 and 5:3a state, “… you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking. They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts. Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, with a continual lust for more… But among you there must not even be a hint of sexual immorality.”

We have learned that the goal of the doctrine of Balaam is to separate people from God. It is the exact opposite of the unity and intimacy that God desires. Because sex is so intensely sensual, I believe sex outside of God’s will (various forms of pornography) is a perfect tool the enemy uses to introduce a barrier between us and the lover of our souls. Jackie Hill Perry states “…that every person, place, or thing that I loved more than Him could not keep its promise to love me eternally. Nor was my heart created for them to hold. But they would instead do to me what all sin does, separate me from God, and thus true love, forever. It would be the death of me.”

The table below summarizes the issues at hand.

What God Wants for/from Us What the Devil Wants for/from us References
Have life, and have it to the full Kill, steal, and destroy John 10:10
Please God Grieve God 1Thess. 4:1

Eph. 4:30

Be sanctified (set apart to/for God) Be separated from God

(The Doctrine of Balaam)

1 Thess. 4:3
Avoid sexual immorality Sexual indulgence 1 Thess. 4:3
Approval Punishment 1 Thess. 4:6
Holy lives Impure lives 1 Thess. 4:7
Accept God Reject God 1 Thess. 4:8
Learn to control your own body in a way that is holy and honorable Passionate lust like the pagans, who do not know God 1 Thess. 4:4-5
No one should wrong or take advantage of a brother or sister Use freedom to devour each other 1 Thess. 4:6

Gal. 5:15

Take up our cross/Self-denial Physical sensuality = self-gratification Mt. 10:38

Eph. 4:19

Sensitivity – soft, tender hearts that are responsive to God. Insensitivity –  hard hearts that are desensitized or callous to God Eph. 4:19

 

Despite having been in conservative churches for over 30 years, I held the commonly misconceived definition of pornography as merely viewing erotica. I also held a rather worldly mindset regarding some aspects of pornography, by the biblical definition… My resolve for sexual purity didn’t stop me from engaging in what I now know to be utter sexual immorality – mentally and physically…

Some of my behavior, I didn’t even consider to be bondage – but that doesn’t mean that it wasn’t. It had started willfully, but before I knew it, the more I tried to extricate myself, the tighter the chains held, the snare sinking its cold, jagged, scabrous fangs, deeper, deeper. Its rust shot straight to my heart.

 

Image retrieved 2/24/2020 from https://www.nationalgallery.org.uk/paintings/peter-paul-rubens-samson-and-delilah

Addiction · Authenticity · Autobiography · Ensnared · Musings · Poetry

“I’m Fine, Thanks!” The Answer of Bondage

My Book Napping in Delilah’s Lap: The Plague of Pornography in the Pew & the Pulpit, available in Bookstores in June 2020, is a memoir and wake-up call outlining our capacity to be ensnared by a myriad fowlers – pride, food, sex, electronics, power, shopping, drugs, achievement, and control, to name a few. The poem below is an excerpt from it.

Image result for snare

The Fowler’s Snare & the Kerf

“See, it doesn’t hurt,” hissed the voice, “if you just sit very still.”

And the firm grip around my ankle,

Gets firmer.

Deathly firmer.

Now it hurts even when I am still.

The chain clangs mockingly

As the jagged mouth of the snare,

Its cold metal uncaring,

Sinks its scabrous fangs.

I gasp sharply when it breaks the skin.

And its venomous rust rips to my heart.

“There, there…, just sit very still.”

I sense the false relief of paralysis.

 

And I learn to silence the whimper and live my life

With terminal stoicism.

I dab at my gaping wound with filthy rags and rewrap it with soiled ones. Again.

I learn to sit very still

Not to walk too far

I learn sophisticated ways to dignify my limp when I’m not lying low

I learn to appease the oppressive guard, Mr. Secrecy.

 

As gangrene gains ground

I forget what it was like to sing

I forget what it was like to flap my grand wings

I forget what it was like to take to the wind

“Shh… very still now,” he sneers, snarling ominously from time to time

And strokes me repulsively

Like a kidnapper attempting to kiss their victim.

 

Others around me are snared too,

But we don’t linger at eye contact.

We smile politely

We answer hurriedly

“I’m doing great, thank you. How are you?” …

by Hannah Kolehmainen

Image taken 2/24/2020 from https://www.edinburghlive.co.uk/news/edinburgh-news/animals-subjected-horrific-suffering-due-16137065

Aging · Burt Reynolds · Caregiving · Dementia · Insomnia · Musings

Like a Fart in a Frying Pan

Burt Reynolds

I care for a priceless lady who is pleasantly demented. Her mobility has decreased significantly. She marvels that she wants to get up and move but her knees just sit there and do nothing. She stares at and then smacks them and says, “Come on knees!” The way she does that, I keep expecting them to kick up and take off like a donkey rudely awakened.

At 2 a.m. last night, she was up for the 3rd time needing to use the bathroom. She has a night light so I don’t turn the light on. It takes me less than a minute to get to her when she pushes the foghorn of a buzzer. No sooner do I walk in than she says, “What are you doing here?”

My foggy eyes still shut, I smile and say, “You buzzed me.”

“Oh yeah. Well, you came too quick.” She responds.

I breathe deeply as the last concept of whatever dream I was immersed in slips away. “What can I do for you, my dear?”

“I gotta go bad. Let’s do it real quick and we can all go back to sleep.” I chuckle, knowing it’ll be at least an hour till I can go back to sleep.

I raise the head of her bed and tell her to swing her beautiful legs over. She sits there a minute, scratches her head and says there must be bugs in there. Sometimes  it’s “Do you hear that choir singing? Must be at the church.” Or, “We really need to stop opening the windows. Those blasted raccoons marched right through here in a row and now they have cereal all over the living room floor. This is ridiculous!” There’s no end to what’s going on at any given time.

It’s a wonder, and a shame, what we take for granted.  It used to be she could move and talk at the same time. Any more, that overloads the system. Desperate as she is “to go”, she also normally has something she really needs to tell me, which puts her in a bind. Last night her son had called her to chat.

“That kid amazes me,” she pats her gorgeous white hair. “He said he just got his first job out of college and he’s so excited.” In reality he’s in his fifties and has been working forever. “They just love him. I really need to go.”

“Swing those beautiful legs over,” I say.

“These  ugly legs? They haven’t been beautiful forever.” She finds a wart on them and inspects it.

“Bring them right here.” I stand where I need them to be.

“Right there?” She clarifies.

“Right here,” I clarify.

It takes her a long minute to get there. It takes several steps and much coaching to get her feet where they need to be so she can stand. She moves to the spot by the transfer pole where she’ll stand. She’s breathing audibly now and I ask her to stand whenever she’s ready.

“Okay,” She says, revving to go. “Let’s go.” She is her own best cheerleader. She rocks back and forth, rearing like a champion stallion. Nothing happens. She sighs, exasperated. I’m ready to help her but her knees need to join us, otherwise she’s dead weight.

“What’s this on the floor?” She asks suddenly and reaches down.

“Where?” I ask.

“There are bags down here,” she asserts.

I guess the light is coming on, after all. I turn it on, dimmed.

“Oh,” she says,  “they were there a minute ago.” She finds and leisurely fondles another wart.

“Stand when you’re ready.”

“Where are we going?” She asks innocently.

“Right here to pee.” I point to the bedside commode.

“Well, that’s a great idea, coz I gotta go. I don’t know what I’d do without you to tell me these things!”

I’m a regular genius. I snicker.

“Come on knees.” Smack. “Look at ’em. They just sit there.”

“They’re coming,” I reassure her. “You be ready when they are. Keep your hands on the pole.” My hands are on her and her body will give me the feedback I need to know when to hoist her. It just takes the knees a minute. A long minute.

“So this Burt Reynolds is just a regular hunk and he thinks my son is the best thing since lined paper. He told him, “you tell your mother she did a good job raising you, kid!” and I said, well I agree with him but every mother thinks they did a pretty good job.”

“Okay, come up to standing mama,” I say urgently. Her knees have given me a green light, but it’s a narrow window.

“And he is so good looking but I tell my son, “I’m a married woman. I don’t want any shenanigans. So don’t you keep telling him how great I am. God, I gotta go.”

We’re half standing now, grunting and groaning. Suddenly, she forgets which way we’re going and swiftly heads towards the head of the bed and plops down. I could scream.

I breath deeply. I can do this.

“Do I lie down now?” she asks.

“Do you need to pee?”

“You know, I do! How did you know?”

“Mama, put your hands on the pole and stand when your ready. I’ll help you.”

“Oh I don’t need help. I’ll just stand and sit on the pot. I wouldn’t want you to hurt yourself.” She puts her gorgeous hands on my face. “I just love you. I’ll never forget you. And if there’s ever anything I can do for you, why, you just let me know.”

“Thank you mama.” I kiss her forehead and fondly rest my head on hers for a minute. “Stand when you’re ready.”

That’s how it goes at 2 in the morning, when you gotta go, but the knees won’t move, and this is where it gets real good because Burt Reynolds, God love him, the way he cocks his head when he smiles that big smile of his, well he told my son…, “knees move!” Smack!

We’re partway up again when she plops right back own and says, “Honey, can you check  if there’s a snake in that pot, coz if there is, you’ll be chasing me clear to Kentucky. You think I’m fast now, I’m like a fart in a frying pan when I see a snake!”

Public domain photo retrieved from Criterion.com

Body of Christ · Emotions · Faith · Family · Fear · Lost · Musings

Baby, Don’t Mess with Your Mama’s Posse of Crazy Jesus Women!

File:Haynes new guide and motorists' complete road log of Yellowstone National Park (1922) (14781067312).jpg

My buzzing phone broke my train of thought. It was a recorded call letting me know that a student in my household had missed 6th block at the high school. Perplexed, I glanced at my watch and realized it was well after 4 p.m. He hadn’t kissed me when he got home. I hate it when he does that. I unearthed myself from under my laptop and other paraphernalia on my comfy chair – which is no small feat- and walked to his room. He wasn’t there. Nor was his backpack.  Very strange.

I texted him to ask him where he was. Two minutes. No answer. I dialed his number. “You have reached…” I hang up. What I had reached was botheration. I texted him again “I need to hear from you now!” Nothing.

This wasn’t like him. I texted his buddy. He hadn’t seen him. I called the school bus company. The driver had driven by our stop a while ago but he wasn’t on the bus. Okay. We have a problem. I dialed the school. It was after hours. I texted his dad that I was freaking out a little because the kid wasn’t home yet. I was heading to the school.

I drove the  busy 7 miles in a minute and a half. A few kids were milling around aimlessly. The building was locked but I slipped in as a student walked out. I waved at the janitor busy inside and let him know I was missing a kid. He let me into the office to speak to the secretary.

“We’re closed!” She informed me firmly.

“Yeah, and I’m missing a kid.” I added, matching her firmness.

“Oh dear,” she said as she looked him up on her desktop. “Well he was 7th and 8th block.” That was good news. At least he hadn’t cut class and skipped the bus. She did an ‘All Call’ over the intercom and announced that he should come to the office if he was in the building. Nothing. We ran through different scenarios. Nothing. Presently she needed to leave and lock down the office.

I walked outside, panic mounting, to meet his dad who had arrived at the school on his way home from work. On the way I texted two of my friends that he was missing and asked for prayer. Immense peace washed over me. I knew that in no time I’d be bathed in prayer and support. I caught his dad up to speed, concluding, “I guess this is where I call the police.” They had to catch the bad guys before they dismembered my baby.

A kind dispatcher took the report. “No, he has never ran away before. This isn’t like him… He’s wearing…” This is a nightmare. What on earth? I didn’t know what t-shirt he was wearing but everything else I nailed to a T.

“An officer will call you back.”

I paced for 20 minutes while his dad drove around slowly. I imagined him hollering his name out the window from time to time like one does for a lost puppy. I spoke my mantra. “I trust you lord, I trust you lord. With tears in my eyes and a knot in my heart, I trust you Lord.” Where is my baby?? I found a good photo to show the officer – if he’d ever get here or call me!! Yes this one will be a good one on the 5 o’clock news. What am I saying? What will I do all night. I had flashbacks of Kyron who completely mysteriously disappeared from school years ago, never to be found again.

Mid-stride at one point, I decided to go through our thread of texts.  The one from yesterday was precious. He had me laughing so hard. I scrolled back in time and my heart stopped – there buried from days ago, was my sweet baby’s responsible request to stay after school on Thursday for a friend’s soccer game, followed by his awesome mother’s response that of course he could. Followed by an “I love you.”

Oh Hannah you are a dimwit. I wanted to die. This was as good a place as any for that. I called his dad and told him to go to the soccer field. I called the police and ate crow while I cancelled the report and turned myself in for buffoonery. I cancelled the  prayer chain and confessed my idiocy. I could hear the communal mama sigh of relief.

His dad called me. I answered immediately. “You need to get over here. Turn south on B and pull into the parking lot just past the soccer field.”

There, fooling around with his buddies, wearing his Joe-cool sunglasses and his signature black baseball cap from New Zealand, was my little man. I’ve never been happier to see him. He wouldn’t have known by my demeanor. My bowels growled and I wanted to pass out. I asked him where the bathroom was. Fortunately he needed to go too.

I recounted my woes on the way. He laughed his head off. “That’s not funny, but that’s really funny, mum.”

“Funny.” Now there’s a word  I hadn’t thought of in all my consternation.

As I got text after comforting text while sitting on his bed later that evening, he marveled, “how many people knew about this?”

“Oh baby, don’t mess with your mama’s posse of crazy Jesus women. We crawl down from the hills when there is any distress, my love, like a thunderous herd of buffalo. We come.”

Image retrieved from: File:Haynes new guide and motorists’ complete road log of Yellowstone National Park (1922) (14781067312).jpg

From Wikimedia Commons, the free media repository

 

 

Fall · Musings · Nature · Poetry

Nature’s Free for All

 

beaded beads blur bubble
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

If you wake up early enough,

You’ll be treated to visible spider webs.

Everywhere.

Delicate strength,

Laden with dew,

Dancing for you,

Swinging, inviting your hair to romance.

They’ll court you this Fall

Bejeweled like pearls,

They’ll adorn your curls.

They’ll drape your neck,

You’ll scream, “what the heck?”

And bat away at nature’s free for all.

Insomnia · Musings · Poetry · Thankfulness

From Sigh to Thanks to Snore

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I lay awake at 2.36 a.m. and got to thinking that time spent marveling is better than time spent sighing.

I yawned luxuriously, and it struck me, slowly, sleepily, that I was grateful for my mouth –

for my upper and lower lip,

my upper and lower jaw,

my 27 teeth (sans wisdom teeth and the one I sacrificed to the roasted banana gods). Thank you for my tongue, my salivary glands, the hard and soft parts of the roof of my mouth, and for my uvula.

Thank you for my nose – my nose hairs, my septum, my columella and sinuses.

Thank you for ears –  my lobes, my pinna – which is my reading glasses holder, and my wet-willy canal. Thanks for my ear drum, hammer, stapes, and anvil. Thanks that I no longer grow mushrooms in my ears.

I am thankful for my eyes – my upper and lower eye-lids, my lashes, and eye-brows. Thank you for my iris, my cornea, my optic nerve and disc, my aqueous  and vitreous humors, my fovea, my caruncle, and my retina.

Thank you for my brain’s frontal, temporal, parietal, and occipital lobes; my corpus callosum, my septum, amygdala, and pituitary gland; my sulci & gyri; my Broca’s area and Wernicke’s area, my white and grey matter; my hypothalamus,  pineal gland, hippocampus, and reticular activating system; my pons, my medulla, my cerebellum

My peduncle, my great-uncle…

Sorry if I forgot any parts… or put them… in the… wrong… place… snore…

Drama · Musings · Walmart

My Dumb-Ass Moment of the Day

There’s a reason I need to take naps every day. Driving home from scouts this evening, I told my son, ” The sunset is phenomenal. Does that cloud look like an angry cash slot? I’m so sad that it’s getting late earlier and earlier.

“You mean it’s getting dark earlier and earlier,” he corrected smugly, which earned him a jab in the ribs for being a smartacus.

I was still reeling from my experience at Walmart an hour prior. One just never knows what’ll happen at Walmart. I made it to the check-stand after picking up a handful of items I needed. I like self-checking. I hold my item this way and that, and I’m rewarded with the familiar beep before I bag it. When my shopping cart was empty, I pulled my credit card from my wallet. I looked around the checking contraption which looks like an arcade toy, circus-like noises and lights to boot.  I slid my card into one of the flashing slots, its landing lights showing me exactly where to go. I would have graduated the University of Walmart with flying colors.

No sooner did my card dock, than I realized it was in the cash slot. ‘Shoot!’ I thought. I reached out to grab it and the arcade monster sucked it in spitefully before I could stop it. Said machine started to grind and sputter. The light on the top started flickering and calling a code. A pregnant woman on aisle 9 passed out. ‘Shoot, shoot!’ I said, breaking into a cold sweat.

The attendant manning the self-check area came running. He was young enough to be my grandson.

“I accidentally put my card in the  cash slot,” I said, pointing to the offending opening. It licked its lips in mockery, then heaved for dramatic effect and threatened to hurl. 

“Oh freak! Not the cash slot,” Josh gasped. His hand hit his forehead to help him assess the situation. “Oh freaking grand!” His calculations showed it wasn’t good.

“Oh shoot,” I added helpfully.

He took off in a dead panic towards customer service. Two steps later he spun around and crashed into the gum display. “This isn’t good,” he was saying, both hands now on his head. He lurched to a stop 2 aisles down as though there was an electric fence that he’d  had a previous personal encounter with. He stuck his head this way and that, up and over the electric fence, muttering in his panic. He was trying to get someone’s attention but they were way over there. Obviously, the only thing worse than my felony was for him to leave his station unmanned.

“Can I go get someone?” I offered.

“Yes, quickly. Go over there and call Kayla,” he was hyperventilating. A massive blood vessel was pulsating on his temple.

‘Now what have I done?’ I said to myself, taking off in a sprint towards customer service. As soon as I got there, I heard him yelling, “Kayla, Kayla!”

I spun around and saw a bright yellow vest approaching him from the opposite direction. He waved me down and I darted back their way, my heart in my mouth. Now I’d done it.

I found him trying to find words to convey to Kayla, “This…” he threw his exasperated hands in my direction, “this… lady… oh my God, … she accidentally, oh freak!” A voice-crack escaped his frantic mouth, and the machine belched fire.

I stepped up to help him, expecting her to pull out her wooden yard stick and rap my fingers or chase me around the store beating me with it. (Parents, don’t send your children to Catholic school.)

I gulped. “I put my credit card in the cash slot.” This was not how I’d envisioned the end but I stepped forward bravely, closed my eyes, and tilted my head so she could slice it off with her yardstick. The machine ground the card to shreds and started to smoke and shake like a pot-bellied stove.

She pulled out the biggest pile of keys from her back pocket as she clicked the piercings in her lips. She has 3 on the top lip and 2 on the bottom.

“Let’s see here,” she muttered, opening the crocodiles mouth with a tiny key. Nothing there. She slammed that shut and opened another panel, lined with circuit boards and more lights. Nothing.

“Oh no,” said voice-crack. “This can’t be good.”

Kayla slammed that shut with a shu-shunk, and opened a third compartment. There minding its own little business, sat my credit card like a polite Catholic school girl.

“Oh thank you Jesus! Thank you Kayla!” I exclaimed and almost hugged her. “No problem,” she smiled and waved at someone else who was yelling her name across the store. Who knows what another idiot customer had done.

“Oh, oh, oh man,” said Josh, clutching his chest and holding onto the check stand for much needed support. “Wow, that could have been really, really bad!”

Kayla pushed the “I solved the problem” button and the arcade machine started playing circus music and blowing bubbles for all the happy children. I swallowed my heart back into its spot, grabbed my bags, and handed one to Josh to breath into.

20190910_193947

Amazing sunset today. Kinda looks like a monster card-eating cash-slot, eye and all.

Entering the World · Letting Go · Musings · Parenting

My Cry for the Day

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It’s 8 a.m. and I’ve had my cry for the day.

At 5 a.m. I gave my beloved a sleepy goodbye kiss as he left for work. At 6 a.m. I heard a familiar clomp, clomp, clomp. It’s my older man-child. He has his father’s heavy stomp and wears heavy shoes to boot. Back and forth. And back and forth. I knew what that meant.

Nerves. Today is the first day of school at his new high school. He’ll be entering as a sophomore after 2 amazing years of home-schooling. I walk out of my bedroom and find him fully dressed, backpack on, popping his knuckles.

“Hi, love.” I venture, smiling.

“Hi mum,” He smiles nervously. “I know. I got ready too early.”

The bus won’t be here for another 2 hours. I hug him and  hold on a little longer than he would like. He spent yesterday settling into a new bedroom and that’s kept him busy. He’s a minimalist and all his few belongings are quickly finding their place in his new space. I keep marveling at how much he has changed. His arms are manly, sculpted. When did that happen. His deep voice resonates deep within me. His hairy legs and feet grow by the day. His sense of humor kills me. He loves 70’s music. Who is this man calling me mum?

He feels sick and wants to throw up but he can’t. I suggest toast but he wants nothing to eat. His lunch is already packed. He keeps looking at the clock.  It’s going to be a long 2 hours. I center him in the Lord to calm his nerves. I have him read Ps. 91 and Ps. 121, slowly, prayerfully. I tell him to lean on the Holy Spirit for guidance, direction, and companionship. At one point I sit with him in his room and chat. He is making a soda can tab bracelet. I love to watch him work.  He’s such a beautiful child. I’m going to miss him.

I tell him how much I cherished working with him the last 2 years and what a great kid he is. I tell him how blessed the high school is to have him and what a joy he’ll be in people’s lives. He smiles his little smile and keeps his eyes on mine. He’s killing me.

The hours feel like 15 minutes to me. No, he doesn’t want me to walk him to the bus. He’s popping his knuckles again. God, he’s beautiful. He grabs his back pack. Something deep within my heart is heaving. Upturning. I hug and kiss him at the door. I slap his back and tell him to have a great day. I shut the door. I shut my stinging eyes and the dam breaks.

I stand at the picture window. There he goes down the dirt road. Confident, determined, nervous, beautiful, trusting, brilliant, self-assured. Who is this man? Where is he going? Go get ’em kid!

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Green · Meditation · Musings · New · Water

III b. The Shepherd and WiFi – A Meditation on Psalm 23 (v. 2a)

Oregon Green

“He makes me lie down in green pastures.”

Image result for public domain oregon woods and river

I live in Oregon, one of the most verdant places on earth. Green screams of abundance of life and lavish nourishment. Everywhere I look in the Willamette valley I see opulent forests and flourishing farmscapes.  The emerald treetops of towering firs and giant cedars whistle in the wind and tickle the clouds. Their enormous legs burrow deep into our decadent soil and wiggle their toes in luxurious viridian waters. Squirrels and chipmunks scamper and frolic across trickling sea-green streams, while elk bugle to the roar of mighty rivers and waterfalls. 

Green inspires deep-breath and rest. Lush meadows invite those that stroll by to sit and lay down their load and might reward them with a mama deer cautiously guiding her young to a clear pool at dusk. A playful breeze cavorts with chartreuse  grasses. Hikers scramble over massive fallen logs rotting on the ground and proffering new life from their musty old-growth. New growth is everywhere as new sprouts, young salmon, and baby robins pop their fresh heads to greet the earth. Green is alive and life-giving. It means water is present in abundance, under-girding all the growth and sustaining life.

Such is our God. Constantly making new things and birthing new works in us. He is continually ridding us of old ways that no longer become us and sprouting new desires and fresh attitudes in us. A healthy heartscape is like an Oregon garden, constantly regenerating and changing. As Lewis Carroll said, I can’t go back to yesterday because I was a different person then. To hike in the woods today is to have a completely different experience than the exact hike yesterday. Today, is a new day. New chance. New hope. New life. “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation: The old has gone, the new is here!” (1) Today, I get a new beginning. I am a new woman!

At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another. But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life.” (2) 

Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail.
 They are new every morning;  great is your faithfulness. I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion;  therefore I will wait for him.” (3) 

Be green!


Image retrieved 6/1/19 from:

https://www.usgs.gov/media/images/wood-river-headwaters-upper-klamath-basin

(1) 2 Corinthians 5:17

(2) Titus 3:3-7 

(3) Lamentations 3:22-24