Stomach Bug Undaunted

Stomach Bug came calling in the dark of night;
That’s his favorite hour and he hits it just right.
Tossed awake by rancid dreams of the gumbo she had eaten,
She squinted at the clock – just 11:57.

So commenced a swooning night on a neon fair ride,
Gumbo burnt and gumbo greasy, gumbo served on every side.
In delirium it’s so important to know how he got in,
Buggy handle? Public bathroom? Slithered in the dryer vent?

Finally darkness turns to blueness; day, against all odds, has dawned.
Hope renewed, our patient tries to tell her body it is wrong.
“You aren’t really sick, get on up and get to work!”
Stomach Bug checks his schedule, settles in with a smirk.

On the couch, that staunch companion of many diseases,
Our patient sinks and soars. And sweats. And freezes.
All these could be endured except for one tiny detail:
Her husband’s Saturday project list must not fail!

Doors slam, drills whir, sparking sockets are changed,
Racks removed, studs knocked for, and the junk drawer rearranged.
A quilt over the head doesn’t silence progress’s racket,
Stomach Bug considers giving up and calling a taxi.

But he doesn’t.

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November Nomad: Lessons From The Road

Flexibility is the jewel of youth.
I am not young.
Nevertheless, I can roll with it
If the road requires –
Provided certain non-negotiables:
Good coffee, hot shower.
Otherwise, I am Thor Heyerdahl.

I love my children and those I have adopted.
Settled happiness is listening to
Insights and laughter
From the offspring of my youth.

I love mountains. Earth above me is
Ultimate humility.

I love Montreat mountains – Assembly Inn,
Hewed from the rocky side of the bowl that
Holds Lake Susan, cold air straight from
God’s pure storehouses into my hot lungs,
Frost on every brown leaf under the laurels.

I love going to another church and singing –
No, shouting! –
Receiving the sermon from the lips of
A man of God, deep conviction and
Deeper healing. Oh! Thank you, Lord!

I love my in-laws. What I learn from them is,
As another said, A long obedience in the
Same direction. We love to think compromise
Is smart. They teach me it is not.

I love beauty. My heart sings of the beauty of
Antique stores – tiny cream pitchers in striped
Stoneware, sideboards chalk-painted buttercream
Leaving dark cherry exposed. Deep
Knowledge that time is fleeting and I am too.

I love a table of shared food – green curry in my
Daughter’s first home. Bennet Avenue by
Candlelight.

I love my children’s loves. I am speechless over
Their finding their soul’s friend.

I love traveling with Andrew. How many times we
Laugh and say, I was JUST thinking that!

I love going. Well, I hate packing with a
White hatred. But, I love the first vista of
Smoky blue mountains just past Knoxville.
I love woodsmoke and
That fall sun that both slices and mists.

I love the quilt on the wall at
The Yellow Deli – two-inch squares of
Upholstery fabric become, in the hands
Of the artist, a window onto a creek bank,
Shadowy undergrowth and light-tipped leaf,
Silver water over moss and rock bed, and all from
Crushed velvet sofa scraps.

I love hearing God tell me that
He is my rock and I am the
Apple of his eye; I can hear him deeper
When I’m on the road.

      

    

     

   

   

    

            

     

     

     

     

Psalm 17 and 18

Joy Song For This Day

“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” Matthew 11: 28 – 30

If I have ears to hear what this teaches, thank you, Lord, giver of ears.
If you hold out your hand and cry, Come, thank you, Lord, beckoner of undeserving souls.
If I am called to humility, to service, thank you, Lord, yourself, gentle and lowly.
If I can learn from you, thank you, Lord, the first fruits, the go-before, the vitality.
If your yoke is to be mine, thank you, Lord, the king.
If your yoke is easy, thank you, Lord, my father.
If your yoke is the privilege of sacrifice, thank you, Lord, rejoicer in joy set before you.
If the sacrifice is planned and agreed upon by Triunity, thank you, Lord, sovereign savior.
If the result is exceeding joy, thank you, Lord, author and audience to all our joy songs.

Sunday Morning Struggle

I can’t go to Jerusalem today –
Coated as I am in failure and shame.
Doesn’t Satan chortle, if chortle he is able,
Leading royal children to the hired hands’ table.
Get your pincers off me, Satan; you’re lying!
My King waits for me, open-armed and smiling.

Sometimes On A Sunday

Looking up at the arched window above
The pulpit, singing ‘Rising, He justified,
Freely forever,’  I am pierced; I don’t
Live like I believe what I sing.
Freely? Nothing is abundant.
Things. Run. Out.
But sometimes on a Sunday, in that
Set apart hour, amongst the beams
And pews, beside family,
I believe. Freely! Such a long list
Of what is free to me. Such an impossible
List for me to want or to receive, a
Not-of-this-world list – soul’s rest,
Everything that enables me to believe the
Promise so unreservedly that I come
Boldly! Freely and boldly. What kind of
King gives free and welcomes bold?
What kind of love?
What overflow!


Christ Covenant Presbyterian Church

Clogging Adventure: Day One

Fontana Clogging Jamboree; Fontana Village, North Carolina.

Here I am in the September Smokies. The leaves are just starting to get their affairs in order and update their wills because time is short. To get here from there, you have to drive the Tail Of The Dragon, 11 miles of barf even for the driver. Occasionally you might think, ‘Hey, this is pretty!’ but nausea is a narcissist, and demands fealty.  It can be deposited at the gate though and reclaimed at departure. So that’s good.

The dancers in the main hall fill the long room. Its wood floor is the instrument, and a thousand buck-tapped shoes play it in powerful stomping rhythm. The music guides, but the power is in the feet and taps united. And, oh, the variety of feet!

Eight year olds line the front row. Stick-skinny, knowing every step, they dance for hours.

Men who I would erroneously have pegged as football players or at least stadium rats Cotton-Eyed Joe with the best of them. One has on a military t-shirt and I think it’s legit.

A lean twenty-something with broody dark hair and glasses, looking like a blogger or start-up non-profit recycler makes every move look liquid and fantastic.  Appropriately, his t- shirt says simply, ‘Clog.’ He, too, dances for hours.

Women, women, women of all shapes and sizes, all! They know the steps to three hours of ‘fun dance’ in the evening session – not to be confused with six hours of instruction dance all day. Each new song brings a whoop and the new dance starts. They are all lovely whatever their shape or size because the body moving happily is lovely.

A four-year-old boy joins his dad for the men’s dance. He has his own little six inch long tapped shoes and he listens and follows the caller’s instructions. And so I decide that humanity, for all its frailties, will at least survive the lifespan of that child.

And then, best of all, the seniors. There are many! My favorite lady is wearing yellow and her ankles and feet move neatly, adding their nuance to the bigger loud stomping song. Her stamina is far, far deeper than mine. My favorite man has American flag shoes whose soles light up as he dances a little stiffly and upright but following all the mental moves perfectly. He knows the steps.

So, today is Day Two. I’ll be dancing in the Easy Hall today because I have learned that I am a Beginning Beginner. I’ll keep you posted.

When Angels Smile On Bennett Avenue

I talked with God this morning,
About a certain street, said, Lord,
Spread your wings, Lord,
Send your angels too, to bear us up and
Bless the souls on Bennett Avenue.

I talked with James next door
In the quiet of this morn. He said
A devil last night rode him hard,
But today is new; another day,
He’s looking up, On Bennett Avenue.

I talked to Gayle this morning,
And she shushed
Her two dogs sharp so I could hear
Her say it’s true, they had
Each other’s back on Bennett Avenue.

I talked to four sweet girls last night,
Working lovelies, heart and mind;
Their laughter rang out late and loud;
And strong their faith, too. Deep their thought
For this old world on Bennett Avenue.

I talked to a man and woman last night,
He is dark and she is light,
And their hands held and my heart
Sang true a parent’s song of peace
And tomorrow on Bennett Avenue.

I helped along a child of mine;
Smoothed the quilt, folded clothes,
Swept the fine dark hardwood floor,
And left the love of candled meal
To shine on Bennett Avenue.

And this is not a scholar’s take
On all the knots that need unknotting.
It is a woman-mother saying,
It’s sweet and fine, for this old world,
On Bennett Avenue.