Finding Life in Fissures of Glory

I’ve begun this post at least three times in the last three days.

It’s been awhile since I’ve written anything in this space and my thoughts don’t coalesce as well. It seems a great number of things slip through the cracks, what with the energy it takes simply to manage and maintain in these shuttered, shattered and gradually-being-reassembled times.

Plus, I did release a new book of poetry in January*. Sometimes it seems I’ve used up most of my words.

Internal thoughts have found their way onto paper of a different kind, lately with watercolors and a brush, hence the illustration you see above.

After I peppered my friend Lori with questions about how she made such beautiful artpieces (glowingly shown in her Instagram feed) I tried a stab at it myself.

The beginnings looked like this

This watercolor painting process was interesting to me; what I found most satisfying was the action of pulling the tape off the paper and the white spaces in between were revealed. Although the color combinations were intriguing and lovely to behold, what captured me the most was the emptiness in the cracks of the creation.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We often think cracks need filling in or repairing, that they are somehow a defect that distracts from the perfection or completion of something. Who wants cracks in their china? the neighborhood sidewalk? the living room wall?

These are physical cracks for all to see, but what about invisible ones?

The blur of days since life B.C. (Before Corona) has brought all manner of disruption, destruction and disassembling. The whiplash of mental adjustments, the emotional strain of worry over sickness and loss, the spiritual wrecking of what was once my stable (ish) life in Jesus.

Life has been challenging and left many, many broken things behind.

But what if the broken places are exactly where God wants us to find Him?

Our Pastor has been telling us for many, many Sundays, “You were made for these times and these times were made for us.” By ‘these times,‘ of course, he means #LifeintheTimeofCorona. But goodness, sometimes I wonder what God is up to.

I know I am not alone.

 Beth Moore recently asked in an Instagram post, “What would happen if we faced and embraced the future like those who BELIEVE GOD KNOWS WHAT HE’S DOING?”

  • What if the disasters and disease and disruptions are ultimately preparing us for such a time as this?
  • What if the broken places are the exact places where God shines through?
  • Where we are rebuilt and repaired in new and different and better ways we would never have imagined?

There are new appreciations in my life for the tenderness of family relationships, a new wonder at the beauty of Spring, an openness to new ways of God moving, especially in our church.

Things are just plain different.

I don’t think we’ll ever be back to ‘normal’–but things can be, will be, new, if we let them, if we yield to finding life in the broken places.

“Life is found in the cracks of our days, God’s fissures of glory.”

I’m going to keep playing with watercolors–especially the shimmery, golden ones. I’ll hand God my paintbrush, yielding to the ways He is making beauty in the cracks in my life where His creation shines through.

What about you? Let’s lean in together.

******

*The link to purchase Hearts on Pilgrimage-Poems & Prayers is HERE.

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"Although" & "Yet", A Christmas Post

     “In many of our shop windows at Christmas time there stands a most significant picture. It is a dreary, desolate winter scene. There is a dark, stormy, wintry sky, bare trees, brown grass, and dead weeds, with patches of snow over them. On a leafless tree at one side of the picture is an empty and snow-covered nest, and on a branch near sits a little bird.
     “All is cold, and dark, and desolate enough to daunt any bird, and drive it to some fairer clime, but this bird is sitting there in an attitude of perfect contentment, and has its little head bravely lifted up towards the sky, while a winter song is evidently about to burst forth from its tiny throat.”
     “This picture, which always stands on my shelf, has preached me many a sermon. And the text is always the same, and finds its expressions in the two words…“Although” and “Yet.”

     “Although the fig tree shall not blossom neither shall fruit be in the vines; the labor of the olive shall fail, and the field shall yield no meat; the flock shall be cut off from the fold, and there shall be no herd in the stall: YET I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation.” 
(Habbakuk 3:17, 18)

     “Come what may, we lift our faces to our God, like our brave little bird teacher, and, in the midst of our darkest ‘Althoughs,’ will sing our glad and triumphant ‘Yet.'”
         Hannah Whitall Smith, “The Christian’s Secret of a Happy Life,” Ch. 21. Nesbit, 1906, paragraphing is mine.

Singing a glad and triumphant and rejoicing ‘Yes’–our God reigns!

Merry Christmas!

A Very Married Christmas

We’re standing in the kitchen.  I move fluidly from dishwasher to counter, bending, stacking–bowls, dishes, cups, goblets.

Husband is at the cupboard behind me.  I rotate, wordless, and hand him his favorite glass-he replaces it to the shelf and continues swallowing his vitamins.

I interrupt his healthy intake once again, this time with the rainbow-colored stack of Ikea cups.  Without a word, he fits them on the shelf next to our stash of kid-safe plastics.

I love this morning routine–coffee pot steaming and gurgling, the bird clock chiming it’s 8 am hour–the robin, I think–and the garbage truck outside our window beep-beep-beeping.

It all feels so safe–full of comfort and joy.  The silent, sure sounds of an easy morning, a gift to me.

How restful to be here, next to my humming husband, confident of his presence, his help, his silly whistling to the birds, the all-of-it that makes this early quiet time feel like we been doing this for a thousand years.

God reminds me of a soul prayer I had at the beginning of Advent , not a spoken request, a written non-lament (in the book I never finished).  It was a prayer of wondering, “I don’t know what I want, but this is what I think I need”–and I realize the answer is standing right here next to me.

The quiet feeling like a well worn pair of old warm slippers, pouring my juice while I make the coffee, humming ‘Frosty the Snowman’ while I unload the dishes…It’s a quiet symphony of comfort and joy, a gift to my soul from my Saviour–a married Christmas.
~~~~
This is a re-post from two years ago. I was reminded again of how blessed I am with my husband.

When Worship Looks like a Bass Player in a Flannel Shirt

 “My soul glorifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
 for he has been mindful of the humble state of his servant.”
                                      Mary’s Song, Luke Chapter 1, vv. 47,48
       One of the joys of the Christmas season at our church is to see the transformation each year from ordinary worship space to glorious, decorated festive space.  A volunteer team of folks gather of a morning, led by a gifted floral designer, and set about transforming with snowflakes, holly, ribbon and glitter galore. Soon there are trees of all sizes, gifts buried in ‘snow’, tinsel, garlands, wreaths, and voila!, our sanctuary is a wonder-filled space.
      The room is filled with a bit of magic, where beauty lifts our spirits and adorns our praises. 
******
       When God came to Mary via the angel to announce His plan to use her (“who me?!” “yes, you”) her response was an immediate “be it unto Me, Lord.”  Her next breath also reminded God who He was dealing with.
       “I am only a humble servant, Lord, but I will be a handmaiden for you.”

       God is in the habit of using humble folks who will say “yes” to His ask, who will let him transform ordinary to miraculous. Why? So He gets all the credit for the glory when the amazing impossible happens.
*******
      When I glance around the sanctuary on any Sunday morning, taking notice of who is lifing their voice and arms in song, I am overwhelmed at what God has done with the people I call brothers and sisters. There is a lot of amazing impossible stories these folks on my right and left could tell.
          We are a down-to-earth group, a slice of every day America. A room full of people foolish enough to believe in the same Saviour whose care binds us together. There are men and women of all ages, all colors, all sizes who can share about their ‘yes’ to God’s ask, their “Be it unto me” that led to wonders. No, that led to miracles. 
******
          There are no lowly shepherds here (this is church in the ‘burbs, after all), no servant girls, per se. But we long to be–need to be–a waiting and watching people. And while we wait and watch, we walk together. Through divorce and death, healing from and dealing with cancer, recovering from loss, renewing our faith, hanging on by a thread.  
       We are car mechanics and Sudanese refugees, wheelchair-bound and learning disabled. We are just getting by, just getting settled, just trying to get well.
          And our God loves that.
          He loves K back up front with the worship team, her bass line filling the stage, the worship inside spilling through the simple façade of a flannel shirt, skater shoes and baggie pants.  She loves Jesus with all her heart and is grateful to be here. “It’s good to be back,” she told me a few weeks ago, “That other church was okay, but I wanted to come worship here. I knew they’d welcome me.”
*******
          When Mary visited (“hurried”) to see her Aunt Elizabeth, she shared the astonishing news of what had been promised.
          Her declaration was not words of what would be done in the future….the birth of her son Jesus nine months hence, but what God had ALREADYaccomplished.  The promise of power and glory was a done deal.
51 “He has performed mighty deeds with his arm;

    he has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts.

52 He has brought down rulers from their thrones

    but has lifted up the humble.

53 He has filled the hungry with good things

    but has sent the rich away empty.

54 He has helped his servant Israel,

    remembering to be merciful.”
Luke, Chapter 1

          Transformation, change, healing–they don’t often come with the suddenness we would like, the instantaneous “wow! Look at that” of a bursting-at-the-seams Christmas-filled sanctuary. 

         No, it is more of a lifetime of yesses, staying hungry knowing God will fill us, falling forward because He will lift us up. Lifting our arms towards the Father who said, when He was sending His son to save us–salvation is not only coming, it is HERE.

Glory to God in the highest!
~~~~~~

Linking with Jennifer Lee for Tell His Story


Wherein I take Nothing for Granted

It’s your breath in our lungs
As we pour out our praise,
Pour out our praise,
It’s your breath in our lungs
As we pour out our praise
To you only.

All the earth will shout Your praise
Our hearts will cry,
These bones will sing,
Great are You, Lord.

It’s your breath in our lungs
So we pour out our praise
We pour out our praise
It’s your breath in our lungs
So we pour out our praise
To you only

Leslie Jordan & David Leonard, All Sons & Daughters
– – – – – – – – – – –
There was a lull in the sanctuary the other morning as the worship pastor’s guitar faded; the piano’s tones softened on the keyboard. A quietness fell while we waited a few moments and listened.

From the back of the room a voice was lifted in confidence and confession–
     “I will remember the deeds of the LORD;
yes, I will remember your wonders of old.
I will ponder all your work, and meditate on your wonders of old.”  

Norm shouted his praise from Psalm 77 and we ‘amened’ the words on the other side.

It is not remarkable that there would be a moment of spontaneous sharing like that on a Sunday morning at our little Foursquare Church.

What is remarkable is that Norm is frail and bent over and confined to a wheelchair.
And without his oxygen tank towing forever behind him, he cannot breathe.

You would think he’d bemoan this fact each time he had a chance. That he’d recite a litany of ‘woe is me’s’ about his limited abilities to get around, his waning strength this last year, his reliance on the kindness of others to get him hither and yon.

But no, he shows up at church and our small group, he brings the Word and with all the breath he has in him, he belts it out.

Later on that day, I read these words:

There are countless hours in each day I never give a second thought to the fact that I can breathe, unassisted. I am upright, mobile, strong and healthy. I can shout and sing, laugh and yell. All manner of expressions are mine because of my Maker.


It is GOD’S breath in my lungs, whoooshed into me at birth, gracing me with strength and health these 60 plus years. I probably think about that fact a total of 30 seconds a week (or maybe never).

In/out, in/out, sing, talk, laugh, shout, pray….how many ways can I use my voice? How many times can I lift it in song? Countless, countless number of times. Without giving it a second thought.

This week I want to put on thankful, breathing praise in and out, and remember everything I have is a gift. 

Everything.
~~~~~~~~~~

What is something ‘every day-ish’ that you take for granted? Share in the Comments.

Beauty in a Broken World

       “The whole universe was stilled as though listening for a voice. For the space of one heart-beat there was peace on earth. For one fraction of a moment there was no deed of violence wrought on the earth, no hatred, no fire, no whirlwind, no pain, no fear.  Existence rested against the heart of God, then sighed and journeyed again.

        “…in each of them there was an infinitesimal change. A moment that comes perhaps once in a thousand years had touched them in passing and though the experience of perfection is feather-light it brands like fire.
        “It all stopped making a noise,” she said. “And God said something in a small voice.”                                     ‘Green Dolphin Country, c. 1945, Elizabeth Goudge           
~~~~~~~~          
         A few weeks ago I changed the tagline of my blog to “Words.Beauty.Books.” to signify a shift in my focus and thinking.  Originally my blog title was a banner for writing posts that would “shine, reveal and reflect God’s Glory.”  My pieces were Scripture-focused, lesson-filled, full of my bright ideas—to encourage people in their faith, share my opinions and often make a point (because everyone’s entitled to my opinion, yes?)
       In a slow genesis of change I realized my own inspiration came from reading books filled with great story, beautiful language and from poetry that did the same. As a good friend says, “All good stories lead to God.” 
     I see God in the creativity of gifted writers online** whose words leave me breathless with their expression and creativity, pulling me upwards, beyond myself, to come up higher.
        “Words.Beauty.Books”,not  because I didn’t want to talk about The Book, the only one that matters, but because I want my readers to find an oasis away from issues that divide and distract, to rest in a small space that would fill them and add to their lives. To inspire them to search for the God of beauty, the author of all that is good and creative in this world.
      There’s a foolishness, I suppose, in ignoring the disheveled state of this world, its disarray and discord, disaster and discontent. We have a role and a right and a calling, many feel, to speak to the issues and events of our day, to frame them in a Godward way.       There are many believers doing just that, though I often wonder if the crisis of the day isn’t becoming just one more distraction to keep us focused on the present horrors rather than looking to Jesus to find how He would have us respond.
      If, to keep my soul and sanity, I cast my eyes instead to truth and beauty—words, music, art—am I really playing the fool or dabbling in some wisdom on that same Godward side? If I focus on filling my heart and soul on the triumph that can overcome trials, not because they aren’t there, but because I can see past them, that is a good thing, in my humble opinion.
     And if I pass on that peace, the pleasant prose that might heal instead of add to your heaviness, wouldn’t that be a good thing, too?
     It is no secret that there are horrific, evil events toppling many corners of the world today. The terrorist attacks in Paris and the accompanying concern over the flood of immigrants has shaken us worldwide. 
     But to keep my center and marshal my emotional and mental defenses, I find my health and vigor comes when I’m reminded there is also a power for good in this world that will never be defeated. Sometimes that power comes from the simple act of writing a well-turned, lavish line of poetry or prose, pointing still and again to the Author that will always have the last word.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
 “How to Avoid a Noisy Soul” John Blase(the beautiful due)
November 12, 2015
How do you keep a soft heart in an exhausting
culture where a little colorblind boy in
baseball cap with coffee in one hand
and a gun in the other gets a viral hard-on
and we’re the ones who stroked him?
How do you keep your sanity in a crazy
time when self-hatred poses as forward thinking
and we rip off every god-given outer
detail so we can look at one another
with what, super duper x-ray vision?

In other words, how do you avoid a noisy soul?
Our thousand answers converge here:
     You must keep something beautiful in your mind.
Hold it there like a treasure.
When thieves come, and they will,
bare your teeth and growl and bark NO.
Such meekness will walk away with everything (wink)
~~~~
**Lanier Ivester comes to mind
~~~~~~~
Joining other like-minded bloggers over at
Thought Provoking Thursdays link – up.
Join us?


How to Build a Bridge with Words

First item on the grocery list: postage stamps. In ALL CAPS. I’ve written it down three times this week, only to return with pasta, bread and milk, but no stamps.

This necessitates an emergency trip to the drugstore; I HAVE to get my Grandson’s birthday card in the mail.

While the counter clerk rings up a couple of other items (I believe there was dark chocolate in the basket), I ask for two books of stamps.
“We’ve got flags and Rudolph,” she announces. To  commemorate the upcoming holiday, obviously.

For a split second I consider mumbling something about no Madonna and Child on the stamps, or at least Jesus in the manger. After all, “that’s what Christmas is all about.”

Thank God for split seconds. They can make all the difference.

Internally, I scroll through social media’s recent protest about Starbuck’s plain red Christmas cups.  Seasonal hot beverage containers  with no design, no hint of anything that commemorated Christmas.  Supposedly missing ‘the whole point’ of the holiday.

Opinions were bandied about far and wide that Starbucks was declaring a ‘War on Christmas.’ Christians were supposed to take sides. It got ugly. And ridiculous.
Turns out the manufactured ‘controversy was generated by somebody with an iphone and a Facebook page; the sad end of the story is well, history.

I was pretty sure Jesus was okay with plain red cups; I asked for two books of Rudolph.

As the clerk handed them to me, I remarked about the charming and familiar sight of cartoon characters depicted on the page. All the old friends from Burl Ives’ 1964 classic, “Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer” are there—Sam the Snowman, Hermey the Elf, the Abominable Snowman, Santa himself and of course, Rudolph.

Nothing says ‘Christmas’ like Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.

For another split second I remember our pastor’s recent message about bringing Jesus into every conversation. I send up an arrow prayer, “God, I know Christmas is all about your Son’s birth as Saviour, not about Rudolph or Santa Claus.
I also know December 25th isn’t actually Jesus’ birthday; that’s probably not the point.
Is there a way to build a bridge here?”
  
I begin by commenting to the clerk about shared memories of the cartoon when it first aired on television years ago.  Chuckling together about our common ‘old age’ and love of Christmas classics, I include the young man in line behind me.

He’s probably all of 25.

I swing wide my arm and gesture towards him, including him in the conversation. Surely he’s seen the Rudolph classic?  It’s shown every year at Christmas, just like “It’s a Wonderful Life” or “A Christmas Carol.”

“Yeah, I remember watching it as a kid. It’s great. The Abominable Snowman was my favorite.  The music’s fun, too.  Who’s the guy that told the story?”

“Burl Ives.”

“Burl Ives. Yeah, they show that every year. It’s like a Christmas tradition.”

My purchase finished, I say goodnight to the clerk and the young man and head out the door.

Holy Spirit says, “That’s what Christmas is all about. Jesus came to Earth, yes, to save people but people need to get to Him first.”

The only way to bring people to Jesus is to build a bridge,laying planks of peace one conversation at a time. To reach wide our arms and our hands, invite people into the invisible Kingdom we inhabit and show them a better way.  

In the season ahead, especially in the world we’re waking up to each day, we need to find words that will bring us together, find ways to that will point to peace.

We need to share with a heart that cares about people over polemics.

And we need to remember the only red that matters is the blood our Saviour shed to free ALL of us, whether we love reindeer, Rudolph or red cups.

A Grief Observed

I came as a witness, the extra listener, to deflect and defend, maybe decide what this grief will look like.

The suited man at the table tells us there are options for this sort of thing. My daughter L holds a tissue, I poise my pen at the paper before me.
Burying a child is a delicate matter and his words are quiet and slow.  I ache inside as W’s eyes glance at the caskets—small, white, simple décor, as if they might hold a child’s christening dress.  But this is not a christening. This is goodbye.
W turns aside, avoiding the display like viewing a deep wound—there is too much pain, and maybe there’s a doctor in the house to bandage the heart.
But it must be done.
The grief care counselor asks him, “Will you be carrying it as we proceed from the chapel  to the graveside?  We could have one of our staff do that for you.”
The ache splinters my heart and I fear any sound from me will come out in sobs.  It is just too much, but the question must be asked.
“I’m not sure,” W replies.  “I’ll have to decide that day.”
We walk through more discussion, more decisions, papers are signed and checks exchanged.

“We can drive you ‘round to the space now so you can choose where he’ll be.”
We slide into leather seats, a single comfort on this brutal, bright day; our friend the counselor speaks loudly with his silence which matches the quiet gray green out the window.
I am stunned at this kindness to my children, his knowing it is all just too much to bear; any conversation would tax their ready tears.
I stare ahead through the glass, trees gliding by as we come to our stop.
Pondering  the markers as we tiptoe between spaces—Tori and Charles, John and Kenny- maybe this counselor is just as torn in two as we. Managing the emotions of broken parents while guiding them to their child’s resting place takes a remarkable kind of human being. 
What a gift he is to brave this biting cold, waving a marker about, landing it “here” as we watch.
His one-of-a-kind manner that validates our needs and responds in a just-right way prompts a desire to hug him like an old friend.  But I resist.
We feel safe and sad, cold and comforted, like being wrapped in a quilt as we watch a flooded home come loose from its foundations.
But there is rebuilding in this tragedy, a glimpse of hope; our grief-helping man knows this.
“Wait til you see this place in the Spring.  The view of the mountain is really spectacular.”
“It’s lovely, really; why, you could even have a picnic right here next to the spot.”
We gather his words like shells, a memory of washed away dreams and shattered hopes, returning home in silence.

The children will rebuild, one plank and beam, one room at a time.

Meanwhile I stand on the shore, eyes on the horizon and trust in the warmth to come. 
~~~~~~

This post is from the archives, written in February of 2014 when my daughter and her husband lost their first child at 5 months.  The coming holidays can often be a time of grieving and loss for those with deep heart aches.  Perhaps these ‘me, too’ words can bring a comfort knowing there are others who feel deep pain in the middle of a season where the rest of the world is announcing peace and joy.

When the Voice of Jesus Sounds like the Water Department

I read recently there’s a bit of controversy about Sarah Young’s devotional book ‘Jesus Calling’, that perhaps it’s ‘extra-biblical’, even new-age-y.  The articles I read didn’t cite any of the particular daily devotions, just made rather sweeping statements about the fact she ‘claimed’ to hear from Jesus and wrote down what He said to her in first person.

Mind you, each selection is accompanied by Scripture.
Mind you, many, many of the people I know personally have heard God speaking to them as well through her words. Many, many times.
Mind you, people have been led closer to Jesus as a result of these messages.
But the validity of the message is in question because people claim they actually heard Jesus speaking.
Now let’s consider this—
God first spoke to the prophets and kings directly, in many places. Here’s a verse I happened on in my reading the other night:
II Samuel 2, “After this David inquired of the LORD….and the LORD said to him…”.
Then God shared His message through his son Jesus, who WAS the Word of God—(see the book of John. Start there.)
Then when Jesus left the earth He told His disciples He would send a Comforter—the Holy Spirit—to lead them and guide them into all truth.
The Holy Spirit is still speaking today. Why, as recently as last week–in Washington D.C. of all places.
House Speaker John Boehner heard God after Pope Francis gave his message on Capitol Hill. As he told the press, after ‘saying his prayers’ that night he woke up the next morning and decided to resign his job.

Just like that—because he was fairly confident he heard God say something.  Something very important.

Now, I’m pretty sure it wasn’t an audible voice, but a silent ‘knowing’ in his knower, a soul conversation prompted by the tenderness perhaps contributed to by the words from the Pope.
But the way John Boehner shares it, nothing else really mattered after his encounter—the Pope pulled him aside and actually asked the Speaker if he’d pray for His Grace.  
I have a feeling after that, the rest of Mr. Boehner’s life came into sharp perspective, that well, politics weren’t all that really mattered in the big picture.
I too hear God’s voice—Jesus calling, if you will—on pretty much a daily basis. And no, I can’t hear it, but I ‘hear’ it—the words are clear and quick and cut through all the clutter when I’m paying attention.

And sometimes I write down what He says.
I noticed a journal entry from earlier this year:
4:50 a.m. Feb. 9th
“Woke up and prayed in the Spirit a bit and I think I heard God say, “I’m not going to answer your prayers the same way I did in the past–it’s going to be different.”

My margin notes say, “I’ll take different. With a side of wonder.”

I also included some lines from a book I’ve been reading about the Song of Solomon–
Cora MacIravy–p. 202
“It is to know more fully the depth of his love; 
it is to have a greater hunger for Him to be all and in all to us; 
it is to make Him more and more our only consolation and confidant. …
there is nothing small in our lives, 
but everything is important and tells for Eternity.”

Everything.

Sometimes the Holy Spirit says simple things like, “you left the water running out in the garden”.  (Words He knows will save me a lot of grief and a lot of money because our water bill tripled last month.)
Sometimes He says things like, “Call your sister.”
“Write a note to Sherry.”
“Pray for Linda.”

SO I follow through with the note or the prayer or the call and trust the results to Him. And more often than not, that prayer or note or phone call will touch a life and bring hope and encouragement from me, yes, but ultimately from my Jesus.
He cares for every little thing.
There is nothing small in our lives
Everything tells for Eternity.
I doubt You and I will have a conversation with the Pope probably ever.

I hope you don’t get a personal visit from the Water Department about your water bill. 
(True story—that happened.)

But you can count on a Person who still speaks today, even though you can’t see Him.
His name is Jesus and He is still calling.
~~~~~~~~~

Linking with Jennifer Dukes Lee for Tell His Story

Catch the Song

I’m so grateful Summer is officially over.  It lasted way too many long, hot, sunshiny days for me. Truly. (I live in the Pacific Northwest. I am allowed to complain about these things.) We did not get our reprieve with refreshing summer rains. There were no soft gray mornings to offset the cloudless days.
And why would I bemoan all that sunshine? It’s just too noisy.  The clear blue skies and bright yellow days are like a music box all wound up—“come out, come play, join the fun!” 

Just when the sound would fade away, the sun would come up with a new day—“hey there, let’s get busy!”
I found myself trying to keep up with all outdoor ‘music’ without a chance to rest and enjoy the sound of the wind and what discoveries I might hear.
Yes, I prefer the slower Fall weather, the subtler sounds of early sunsets, sleepy birds and a non-committal sky—maybe blue, maybe white……ahhhh, maybe orange.  A sky of color that is winding down, not up, that invites me to savor and sit instead.
I’m thankful to have an opportunity to be intentional about listening well, to spending time to listen to the Spirit, to hear God’s voice in the season ahead. 
The challenge? I am easily distracted and influenced by what’s going on around me. The connection of the interwebs makes it oh-so-easy to follow all the other sounds I hear.
I’m anxious to be known.
I want to be in the know.
I just think I need to know.
I check my Facebook page for status updates and photos. Click, click, click. Wandering without thinking over to read someone’s blog post.  All those voices in my head—everyone else’s.
I can’t hear what I’m not listening for.  I want to be intentional about setting aside time to draw near to God to listen to His song for me.  I want to be part of the solution to the world’s pain and brokenness, play a melody that will help people pause, to wonder, to be healed.
I don’t want to be part of a noisy chorus.  My voice will be drowned out.
The latest issue—Planned Parenthood’s selling of aborted babies—the callous killing of unborn children—is filling airspace and webspace and adding to all the noise. Twitter balloons with inflammatory comments, people take sides (I’ve been one of them), Facebook becomes a platform for comments, opinions and comebacks.
I am almost without words to speak to the horror of the issue; in fact, I took a stand several weeks ago.
However it has occurred to me that when there’s an argument, especially around such a volatile issue, when one’s mind is made up, it’s impossible to hear. People are not convinced to change due to an argument or attack.
It’s hands over the ears, “la-la-la”-ing in a sing-song voice, “I can’t hear you,” like a two year old.
I could write about the evils of Planned Parenthood’s practices, how sad I am about their continued funding via the government, how wrong their actions are, illegal, even….and in my world that would all be true.
But you already know that.  You probably agree with me.

I would be preaching to the choir, as they say. And well, all that noise, remember?
Maybe I should consider this—next Saturday morning, after our local PP protest—I could walk across the street to the Starbuck’s, and instead of waving my sign as I pass by the drive-through, I could park the car, walk in and say hello.
While I order my double tall breve, maybe engage in a conversation with the gal at the counter. The one I met last month who’s named after a character in the TV show Dynasty—the girl who’s not married yet.

(I hope she’s not sick and tired of all us protestors, waving our signs, making all that noise. I pray that she’ll hear me.) 
Maybe I can ask how she’s doing, find out if she needs anything for the unborn baby. Make a mental note to return and slip a gift card with her name on it into the Tip Jar.
Maybe I could tell her a corny story about her name—that it reminds of a song I like very much. It’s corny. She might laugh.  

And maybe she’ll listen to the care in between the lines, to the hope in the words, to the possibility of a different story with a different song.
Maybe I can sing her that song; I pray that she’s listening.