Sunday, January 30, 2011

some wishes I am wishing

"The stars at night, are big and bright, deep in the heart of Texas."

They are from the swing in my back yard tonight, anyway. A cup of tea, a fleece wrap and Chequers at my feet make for a quiet hour. The pool pump hums just a little, not loud enough to cover the night birds, the wind in the ivy or the neighborhood settling.
The stars are very bright. And I've made a list of my wishes...

I wish my brother and sister-in-law the fulfillment of their hopes.
I wish my friend health and wholeness. 
I wish my co-worker success.
I wish my family and friends sweet dreams or a wonderful day, depending on the side of the world they live on.
I wish everybody everywhere had enough of everything.
I wish every child had wonderful parents.
And that I had more faith.
I wish for world peace.
And that the continents hadn't drifted so far apart.
That time travel and significant weight loss were possible in seconds.
I wish that maybe January had a few more days in it.
I kind of wish I could be in charge for a little while. Of the world.

But I guess I am ok, just on my swing making wishes.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

one of these days

One of these days I am going to stop being surprised. Maybe.

I think my son is pretty awesome. I like everything about Stephen from his green eyes, snorty laugh and vague irreverences to the way he pauses, sometimes for a very long time, when you talk to him on the phone. I like his tender heart and his desire always for justice and to champion those in need of a champion. I like it that he does this without fear or much thought to the consequences. I like it that he invites learning and growth in his life, that he works hard at everything and that he has better boundries than me. Plus about a million other things.
From the time he was very young I have admired the way Stephen attracts, makes and keeps a really interesting, eclectic group of friends. As a student of child development I take this as a compliment of our parenting - it was probably just him, but I still like the credit. A sort of testimony of his ability to differentiate well. And maybe a tiny bit of a slam at those who told me years ago I would never raise emotionally healthy kids by educating them mostly at home. Take THAT, ye nay-sayers.
Yesterday some 50 of these friends held an Iron Chef competition, bought and cooked food, or came and paid to eat and judge the food. They sat and talked and laughed and ate. All in support Stephen's upcoming months in Africa.
It was fun to watch.
I overheard snatches of conversations concerning events and work and play. I saw looks and hugs and words exchanged that I know not the history or future of. There were jokes and stories and memories shared. Plans and dreams for tomorrow and next week and forever were discussed. I observed a community of thriving, creative, smart, fun, intense, passionate, authentic, diverse men and women in action.
I wasn't surprised. But I was surprised. Like maybe all parents are when they see what they've longed for happening and they realize it's time for the next season. (Insert a deep, cleansing breath here.)    
At the end of the day these friends all cleaned up the kitchens together. At the end of the day they handed over an envelope with a significant amount of money inside. At the end of the day many surrounded him and prayed prayers of blessing, encouragement and hope.  
At the end of the day Stephen had to sit down for a bit under the grateful weight of the honor of those blessings.
His mom did too.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

joy like swords

Just about every page of The Return of the King speaks to me on some level of heart, mind and soul.

There are times when the reading of certain passages brings out the warrior woman. Times when righteous anger wells up, then mercy. Times when I am reminded of duty and courage, of blessed rescue and laughter, of faithful friendship and trust above all. 

But there's this one part ~ sort of at the end of everything ~ at a farewell banquet. The battles have been won, evil vanquished, the king is on his throne and the fellowship has been reunited...only to part again. Back to the destinies they've fought for the opportunity to fulfill. 

"And all the host laughed and wept, and in the midst of their merriment and tears the clear voice of the minstrel rose like silver and gold, and all men were hushed. 
And he sang to them, now in Elven-tongue, now in the speech of the West, until their hearts, wounded with sweet words, overflowed, and their joy was like swords, and they passed in thought out to the regions where pain and delight flow together and tears are the very wine of blessedness."

hearts wounded with sweet words
       joy like swords
              pain and delight flow together
                      tears, the wine of blessedness

Are there any words better than these to describe the parting between loved ones?

Winter is a season of good-byes for me. Some anniversaries of good-byes and some present day ones. All the memories aren't awful, the soon to be good-byes are for the purposes of obedience and adventure and destiny. It's all good.

But I am keeping Tolkien handy.
And kleenex.