What Kind Of God Do You Have?

What kind of God do you have?

I have one who cares when I lament over
The burdens my friends bear,
And who shows me that
He is also big enough to hear my little prayer
That I find a figurine – a wedding cake topper –
In an antique store of
3 floors and 57,000 square feet.

How many millions of pieces are there
In a market that big?

And He not only says yes, but He
Leads me, as we talk about it all –
Friends and figurines –
To the third floor, to the
Locked cases, at the back end of the
Second hour scanning shelves,
To the
Very
Ceramic bride and groom that I
Had not bought in a thrift store in Michigan
Three days ago.
I don’t know why I didn’t buy those
Two dancing, happy people then,
But I see now that

These same two were waiting for me here,
Deep among the artifacts in
57,000 square feet of Alabama
Called Highway Pickers,
So He could show
Me that He hears me when I say His name,
That He enjoys my little ideas,
And that while I can marvel at
Fresh expressions of His love,
I shouldn’t be surprised at His character.
It’s just who He is.

That’s the kind of God I have.

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Michigan Meanderings of an Alabama Girl

Lilacs. I now understand Walt Whitman enthralled with lilacs in the dooryard. May twenty second and lilacs are having their glory moment. Walt was right; lilacs seem delicate but are mastering.

Birches. Frost wrote about birches, and I get that too. Birches’ trunks are their song to the world rather than limb shape or leaf play. Ash-white trunks, black ribbed, these tall proud ladies nod slightly to the lake wind and continue their long obedience.

Firs. Fir stands are the densest of north wood settlers. Dark and thick, Tolkien and Lewis both would have loved a Michigan fir stand.  It is alive with Narnian sighs and Mirkwood warnings.

Trillium carpets and cherry blossoms and clean lake wind and lake gulls which must be different from sea gulls, having chosen the non-salt life, and a little red cabin in the woods on the big lake. I expect any moment to see Pa with his rifle and Ma in the dark, mistakenly petting a bear instead of their friendly heifer in the pen.

Audubon Bluff Trail. Black squirrels are startling when you are used to plain-Jane grays. White tail deer, fiddle-head ferns conferring together, mosses and sequoias, swamps and cattails, dunes and a tame lapping lake today, Poe’s Raven cawing and Longfellow’s Hiawatha haunting. Michigan, I can’t figure out what you are!  But your motley is most beautiful. And oh all the poets, gone but still living, who breathe their cool observations and immortal words to inform my enjoyment. What an extra rich layer of pleasure to know they too stood in green, green woods glimpsing blue water and it came out as a song.

It’s hard to know whether to look inland or water-ward.

The lake’s the thing, Hamlet might have said, the vast breathing personality that draws the eye and clears the mind of all lesser things. The lake forces big questions: “Reckon with me,” it says. “If I am, then there must be something even bigger and deeper and bluer and colder and gustier and livelier and lovelier.”

Yes, it all leads to doxology.

       

      

           

           

Miscellaneous May And Her Musings

May is the last box on the
Moving truck, filled with
Odd shaped leftovers and
The urgency of making them all fit.

May looks up August’s aspirations,
And finds they came up short. So
May fills the gap with ten thousand school
Details for each of her thirty one days.

May removes barcode stickers from 80
Wedding candles, gashing her fingers and
Pronouncing imprecative curses on
All sticker-attachers, everywhere.

May proctors SAT tests and boggles that
One stray fleck of lead located outside a bubble
Threatens to foul the scoring machine and
Bring down an entire school district.

May rewrites Joan Jett’s 1981 classic, “I love
Empty nest . . .” but reflects that she has only
Experienced two total weeks of it, so she
Suspects it’s a hoax to keep parents going.

May loads up her college boy’s dorm room, on a
Belz Hall slope, doubting they can do it, and learns
From his happy priorities and his friends’ nimble help,
That things just work out when you’re young.
      

May puzzles when a friend declares that she gets
Two meals out of a loaded baked potato from Johnny’s.
That would require stopping halfway.
And May knows that doesn’t exist.

May chuckles that one of her Yankee friends
Wore a llama sweater to his daughter’s recent
Wedding. Oh, to hear his thought process, “Hmmm,
Yes, this llama sweater hits just the right note.”

May learns to manage her webpage, and
Discovers Command Z. Mashed simultaneously,
Command and Z erase all blunders and
Take you back where you started. Muy theological.

From which May meanders to Heidelberg Catechism,
Answer 60 which exults that I can be “as if I’d never
Sinned, nor been a sinner, as if I’d been as perfectly
Obedient as Christ was obedient for me”!

May is a child’s purse filled with stickers and gum,
And the broken shoulder strap and a castoff cell phone,
And a little orange New Testament and tooth fairy quarters,
A magic rock and three green apple Jolly Ranchers.

~

https://www.rca.org/resources/heidelbergcatechism

I Went To Walmart In My Pajamas

Saturday night, 9:30 pm, and I was pajamaed and tucked in.  The preacher discovered he needed certain items for early on his Sabbath morning, so I rolled out of bed and fired up the Fiat. My strategy was military and precise: park down at the pharmacy entrance, dart in and grab the item, whiz through the ’20 items or less’ check out, and be halfway home before the security camera turned my way. Textbook. However, I found myself caught in the crossfire of the age-old clash between two women and slowed down to thoroughly enjoy it.

Clubber was standing in the ’20 item’ line in a black eyelet shorts-romper and those hybrid boot/stiletto/lace up shoes. Nails did, hair thick, straight, and blond, her success at the club was guaranteed. All she needed, all she needed, to blow the roof off the club, was a little more mascara. So there she stood at register 22, simply trying to buy one pack of mascara.

The customers in front of her had a tab of $208 which is certainly possible with only 20 items, but perhaps we can forgive Clubber’s visibly rising temper a little because there were probably more than 20 items in their buggy. And they were leisurely debating the last item with the clerk – was this little watermelon organic or regular? Clubber tossed her keys and mascara on the belt in audible frustration.

The Clerk, salt of the earth in her blue Walmart vest and having all her competitive woman buttons pushed by this bombshell, was taking her sweet time, speculating on the watermelon with the idle clerk at the next register. This was her moment; she was in charge.

Idle Clerk, to make her point and twist the knife, looked at me and said sweetly, “I can take you on my register.” Clubber saw red. I looked at Clubber and said, “Go ahead,” which she did with a huff and not a whiff of a thank you. Remember though what I looked like in my pajamas and ratty bun. I wasn’t even on her radar as a person, which was fair enough.

We both transacted our business, Clubber lurching out of the Walmart first on those hybrid, tilt-forward shoes, and Idle Clerk said to me with a ‘hoooeee’ eyeroll, “I am sorry about that. I was talking to YOU not HER.”

As it turned out, Clubber was parked right next to me and was sitting in her Focus applying her beleaguered mascara. Somehow I expected her to be driving something other than a Focus, which would probably gratify her to know.

Discussion Questions:
How did my being in pajamas affect or determine my place in this skirmish?

Why was I so willing to get out of bed and go to Walmart? Why didn’t I send the preacher for his own stuff?

Why do women wear those hideous shoes?

Did Clubber really believe that anyone in the club would notice her mascara?

Were the customers in front of Clubber with the $208 bill aware of the undercurrents between Clerk and Clubber and purposely delaying just to see the fireworks? Were they complicit?

Why was Clubber so eager to get to the club? Who was going to be there? What important outcome depended upon her mascaraed presence this particular evening?

Was the little watermelon organic or not??

Clerk and Clubber were not competing for the same man, so explain the visceral clash between them.

How did the presence of Idle Clerk exacerbate the situation?

Should I be discouraged by the fact that I was clearly pushing neither clerk’s competitive woman buttons?  They liked me.

Why was I surprised to see Clubber in a Focus?