Category Archives: just thinking

patience: a few thoughts.

It is very quiet.  There is the white noise, its variations almost indistinguishable, which I know to be produced by the refrigerator behind me and the washing machine and dryer closeted in the laundry room beyond the kitchen wall.  The trees on the fencerow, cedar and perhaps pine, are waving noticeably outside the window beside me, but I can’t hear the wind.  It was blowing a stout breeze when I went walking earlier this morning, rippling the surface of the pond from the south-west across until it hit the vast tracts of weeds that are barely submerged in the shallow water out from the banks; it wasn’t blowing hard enough to push the little waves through and all the way to the edge.

I am sitting in the kitchen in the quiet house, alone, thinking about patience.  Someone just left, obviously off-kilter, seeming so frustratingly set on perpetuating their own sense of despair and rejection.  However, at the moment, I’m not feeling frustrated.

I said I have been thinking about patience, but really, I’ve been feeling patience.  This is what it means to be present for someone who is emotionally out of control: patience.  It becomes something tangible, in the deep breaths and the self-calming, the recalibrating of my own stress level.

And while I spent a whole long paragraph describing my environment, a short one describing another disregulated person, and have left a few short lines for a description of my subject, I hope you realize that all of these things are a description of this thing: the quiet of the house, the autumn day, they are an expression of God (love is patient), His own patience welling up to meet me, large enough to receive my fear, my pain, my despair, my rejection; responding rather than reacting, reflecting back love—love—love—love.   He is firm, I cannot shake Him with my own desperation; He takes it, absorbs it, and reflects back a peace and a joy true and unwavering.  This is patience, and in receiving, I am enabled to turn to another and give.


Waking up thinking about the grace of God… which is not only the ONLY reason there is any breath in my body or life in my soul, but also promises the now and future good gifts of a Father who loves me without reservation and based completely on his own merit… makes the day look very good indeed. 🙂


Labor

Yesterday I had the privilege of being with my friend, her husband and her midwives while she give birth to a little girl named Chavah. Watching her descend further and further into the deep place of labor was tremendously powerful. Her strength was amazing. Later in labor, she would lean in to the side of the labor tub, her head bowed onto her arms, and she would shake silently with the increasing pain of each contraction. As they became more and more intense, she would sometimes rock gently on her knees, side to side, and run her hands over her blond hair, again and again, her breath coming in quickening gasps. Finally, as the baby descended lower and lower, she couldn’t steel herself in stillness against the pressure, and she would cringe backward with a look of the closest thing to panic I saw on her face throughout. When the peak of the contraction had passed, her blue eyes would connect for a moment with someone in the room, then they would shift away again. Once when Eliazar had stepped out, she looked at me and mouthed an echo of what she had already said to him: “This is hard.” It said it all. It was hard. But she had taken hold and would see it through.
 
 Their daughter was born at 8:47 that morning, the first day of spring, a day that culminated in snow after a week of warm spring weather that had seemed to insist the past record-setting harsh winter was done. Her head full of dark hair, the midwife lifted her out of the water and handed her to Rene, who settled back in weak, yet happy, relief. The cord was short, but they lay together there for a few moments; and Eliazar (who had earlier insisted he wanted neither to catch the baby nor to sever the umbilical cord), asked if he might cut it. The midwives wrapped little Chavah in a warm red towel and handed her to her daddy, his face alight. While they settled Rene onto the bed and prepared to deliver the placenta, he said, “Almost a new year’s baby!”, explaining that according to the Hebrew calendar, the year was only a few days old.
 
She weighed in a little under eight pounds, and took at once with relish to the task of filling her little belly. Before I left, she had been cleaned and wrapped in the blanket which Rene had explained was the only one she and Chavah’s big sister Lydia could agree on; held by grandmothers, great grandmother and big sister, and settled in for a long rest with her mother in the darkened and empty bedroom, such a contrast to what it had been an hour before.
 
As I got in my car and pulled out of the apartment complex, my own exhaustion and numbness were overcome bywaves of powerful and complex emotions, which I spent the whole drive from the north side of Dallas to the south side of the metroplex sorting through and trying to make sense of. In retrospect I felt the profound power of watching my friend labor while I sat there against the wall, unsure of how to support her other than making contact through our eyes when she looked my direction; Rene, leaning on her shaking arms and fighting silently against and with that force driving her labor forward.
 
 
I had thought I wanted to be a midwife. Now, I know.

thinking…

… about things like mission… and purpose… in life and blogging.


today, I am thankful for…

…laughter, and little serendipities.


Morning Walks

I suppose I am at heart really a morning person.  I used not to think so; but I’ve now decided there is no better way to start the day (assuming I’m also starting out in  prayer and fellowship with God) than walking down to the pond at the end of our road and watching the sunrise.

pond photos 001Today I had the presence of mind to take along the camera.  There were geese out on the water, surely forty or fifty; I saw the ripples before the geese came into view, and wondered, because there was no wind.

pond photos 007The sun was just over the trees, out past the pastures below the dam, which were still shining since the sun hadn’t yet burned off the dew; on the shadow-side of the dam, over the water, the air was still thick with mist.

pond photos 008The pond– technically, our neighbor who grew up here corrects me all the time, it is a lake and was built years ago for erosion control and water conservation– and the cow pastures and the trees and the (quite limited!) wildlife, are just a little bitty snippet of nature; but this close to the highway and civilization, it’s the most I’m going to find.  Yet there’s an inherent quiet there, a wordless peace.

pond photos 005


Sunday Afternoon Thoughts

Galatians 4 001

Well, I seem to be spending a lot of time in Whataburgers lately.  They are good places to catch wireless internet, and (when they’re not overrun with rowdy teenagers… thankfully they left…) it is even possible sometimes to concentrate and write a blogpost.  I’ve got to play chauffer again in approximately 15 minutes, so it will have to be a short post.

Festival day went very well; the weather was amazingly beautiful, the crowds crowded, and the fried pies… well.  It was all good.  And it’s over for another year!

Our minister is in the midst of a sermon series which currently is focusing on Galatians 4.  We all stood for the Scripture reading before the sermon, which was verses 13-26, the same as last week, and the words were just as powerful.

Love.  Love.  Real, self-sacrificing Love.  That is it.  Did you know, for example, that the word “serve” in Galatians 4:13– as in , “only use not liberty as an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another“– is not just a feel-good word, but in the Greek actually means slavery?  Whoa.

One thing I’ve noticed (he has been emphasizing it!) is that, while we generally see this passage as applying to individuals, the you is plural.  This is about the church as a body.  The middle eight– the majority– of the “works of the flesh” in verses 19-21 have to do with how we relate to each other.  In other words, the flesh is out to destroy relationships.

There is a lot more, of course, and he said it better; but my time’s up!