Saturday, October 30, 2010

This one's a freebie.

Rather insignificant thoughts based on a rather mundane and unpleasant experience:
i wish apples wouldn't rot
i try not to get too upsot
when, reaching for a fruit i thought
was nice and firm, and find it not
the same shape as the thing i bought
i try not to get too upsot
but i wish apples wouldn't rot

To those who do not know me in person, I do apologize. Most likely, I should also apologize to those of you who do... but perhaps you're better prepared to understand why I found writing poetry over an oozing fruit mightily funny. If not, take heart. More monumental mysteries await discovery.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010


out the window
the house across the street
went sliding past

a leaf
flaming yellow
fell up instead of down

everything's wrong
for a moment
i couldn't stop it

until my head
stopped spinning
and i was still sitting on the couch

a deep breath
focusing eyes
stopping thoughts

i wish that's all
it took for me
to put your world back to rights

the chasms behind your eyes
your voice gone husky
your smile you wish was real

that's what makes me never sleep
spend hours forbidding them to touch you
trying to buy you with my tears

and yet you go willingly
knowing your fate
drawn, in fascinated horror

how can i teach you
to love yourself
half as much as i do?

how can i turn to rubble
walls a hammer
passes through, not penetrating?

i tell you all the time
i wish i could save you
but i can't

you decide for yourself
i can't decide for you
my hands are bound

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Oh, the things I learn

Kids' club is in full swing. I love the sisters who bounce into my car every week, all talking at once and each making sure her sisters all have buckled themselves properly. As much as I love my girls at work, being with eager, happy kids is invigorating.

I love the honest questions and answers. During prayer time, Megan requested prayer for her cat. He has finally succumbed to cancer. Not sure how to pray for a dead cat, I asked God to help Megan not to feel too sad when she misses her cat. "But you didn't pray for my cat!" Megan persisted. I really didn't know how to pray for dead cats, but instead of admitting it, I asked her if she wanted to talk to God about her cat. Promptly, she did. "God, I hope Fluffy is doing OK. Are you taking care of him? Tell him I miss him. But tell him I do NOT miss him peeing on the couch." Megan knows how to pray for dead cats. Now I do, too.

Last week, a table-full of girls sat relatively quietly during the story about Jesus calling the twelve disciples. I have been aware of my coming at lessons like a steam-roller, driving the moral (weee-weee-weee-weeee) all the way home. Reading the story and asking Jesus to teach me how to teach, I realized He wasn't marching up to people and saying "Follow me (because-you're-doing-it-wrong-and-you-really-need-to-pay-close-attention-so-you-know-how-to-walk-correctly)". When Philip brought Nathanael to Jesus, He said, "I saw you before you came, while you were still under the fig tree." He didn't take him to task for dissing Jesus' hometown and doubting Jesus' validity because He came from Nazareth. He let Nathanael know he was seen, wanted, before he saw Jesus. He proclaimed Nathanael a true and honest man and told him he'd see better things than foresight if he followed. Things seem more in focus for me. Instead of stressing over making sure they understand good bevaviors, my job is to present Jesus and tell them how He's teaching me to follow Him.

For an activity, we traced our feet (because we're trying to be followers, duh) onto pieces of paper and colored them. I thought perhaps these 9+ girls would declare this silly and juvenile, but they kicked off their shoes with abandon and traced each others' feet. The part that made me get emotional was this: a girl who was in my class three years ago when I helped with club while at FB has made tremendous, tremendous progress. It used to be impossible to get her to enter into activities. She'd sit, seething, when she wasn't running out of the building or inflicting injury to the person naive enough to get too close. When given craft materials, she'd grab the darkest colors possible and vehemently scribble her paper beyond recognition. Now? She's asking me to have her help me during class. She was the first one to grab her foot-tracing buddy and tear off both her shoes and socks. Her finished picture looks like a piece of modern art... intricate design and... bright, happy colors.

Dear girls. How fortunate am I to spend a few hours with them every week? Very fortunate, that's what. Even when they tell impossible stories such as mistakenly carving their pet instead of a pumpkin.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Love is...

How can we be sure of anything

the tide changes.

The wind that made the grain wave gently yesterday

blows down the trees tomorrow.

And the sea sends sailors crashing on the rocks,

as easily as it guides them safely home.

I love the sea

but it doesn’t make me less afraid of it

I love you

but I’m not always sure of what you are

or how you feel.
-Rod McKuen

Vulnerable, frightening, and painful. That's what love can be.

But love is also the friend who wakes up when you come shivering home from work early, nauseated and feverish. Love is the warmth of the two blankets she covers you with and the nourishment of the chicken bone both soup she makes you before going back to bed herself.

Thanks, Bekah. You're an angel.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Chalkboard Challenge

Every ounce of work I put into making my chalkboard has been given back to me sevenfold. 
She's just grateful like that.

Right now, she's been challenging me a lot.

That's a high calling.
And it's only a basic requirement.

I'm still learning.

No, I'm being taught.

There is a difference.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Part of a Reflection

I find it intriguing how, as I fall more in love with God, I fall more in love with people. I love their faces, their hands, the way they are made, and how they move.

One of my favorite exercises is to take mental photographs of people I meet. Frozen for a moment, in black and white, I notice them more. I feel them, as I feel pieces of art as I walk through a gallery. The little lady, her vintage shawl pulled close to her wrinkled face, patiently turned in the direction her bus will approach. The powerful man, sun rippling off the waves of his dark muscles as he walks down the sidewalk, the fist of his tiny son clenched on one of his long fingers. The intent, dirty face of the culvert-layer, shadowed by his hard hat. The group of laughing college kids, nearly perfect in their youthfulness, but  furtively deciphering where they fit in the dynamic. The woman, alone at her table in the coffee shop, loudly informing the hapless recipient of her phone call the unfairness of the traffic citation she received. The man with a grungy plastic bag sitting on the bench at the corner of the park... his blank yet searching eyes.

In each person, I see their Maker's regal reflection.

In each person, I see myself.

I might be developing a frail grasp of what it means to be a part of this reflection. In a large sense, individually, we are broader, deeper, larger, and more textured because of our being in relationship with God and people. To some extent, we comprise each other, help each other find ourselves, and find ourselves in each other. Just as our the relationship of our Maker's personality is nearly impossible to dissect, without people we almost cease to be ourselves.

In losing relationship with someone, we face the fear that, irretrievably, a part of us ceases to exist.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Fitness check

Oh, mercy. I looked up strength ratios.

Optimal leg strength is:

•Male athletes 2 × "Body Weight" = weight able to bench

•Female athletes 1.5 × "Body Weight" = weight able to bench

Optimal arm strength is:

•Male athletes 1.25 × "Body Weight" = weight able to bench

•Female athletes 0.8 × "Body Weight" = weight able to bench

Leg strength is right on... arm? Not so much.

I wonder... is this indicative of... or the reason for... my being a runner?

I'm going with the reason thing.

For now, at least.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Pumpkins and Pillows

One of the pumpkins on the back porch met its fate last night. 
A noble fate it was, indeed. 

Amanda scrubbed it, cut its "lid" out, rubbed the outside with olive oil, filled it with a most delicious stew, put the lid back on, and cooked the whole thing in the oven.

Pumpkin flavored the stew, the exterior turned a perfect burnt-orange...
and, once we had eaten our fill of stew, we scraped out the cooked pumpkin meat.

I fear more of those cute porch-sitters will meet this destiny.
They are proud, I'm sure. I would be, if I was a pumpkin. But I am not. 
So I will eat them, and not the reverse.

Last week, busily crocheting before school, one of "my" girls  looked at me sideways from under her long lashes and said, "Becky, bet me I can't finish this pillow by Friday."

"OK, I bet you can't finish that pillow by Friday. What are we betting?"

She closed her eyes in rapture. "Banana pudding."

"Alright, but that means I'm bringing in pudding for the whole unit."

"No, Becky! Just mines."

"What if I brought yours in a pretty glass dish? Would that make it better?"

It must have, because she shrieked back the hall, "BECKY'S GOING TO MAKE US PUDDING!"

This was somewhat of a God-send, this opportunity to show her I really and truly do care about her. Teen years are difficult enough without being through all the chaos she has. She doesn't exactly try to please authority, if you know what I mean.

The morning I brought the pudding, she let out a characteristic shriek the moment she emerged from her room and saw me. "Close your eyes, Becky! Close your eyes!"

I opened my eyes to find the pillow she had finished in my hands. 
My astounded eyes met hers, all proud and a bit shy.

"Are you sure, girl? You made it!"

"I gave it to YOU."

I totally did not expect this. I think I managed to thank her, and then she helped me slice the bananas into the pudding while the other girls woke up. 

I'll treasure this. Always.

I gave her a thank-you card, telling her so...

...And she asked me if she could come with me to church. 
I think speechlessness is becoming my affliction.

If I can get the outing approved, I'm going to do just that.

I've wanted to love them well in the hope they'll see Jesus in me. It's just incredible when (despite my limits and flaws) that very thing happens. 

Pray for us, would you?

Monday, October 11, 2010

Street in Autumn

Confetti on cobblestone
Death turned golden

Dance, fair mortal!
Do you see?

Do you know
What this means for you?