BFF

I am a bit of an outlier when it comes to organized religion. I used to go around to the laundromats in our town and leave Bibles. This seems like a frenzied but well-intentioned activity now, but review of this stage of my life defies easy adjectives

I was such an evangelical type then, and in my heart I still am. What has changed has never been Jesus. His love, his sacrifice, his constancy, and his friendship are defining, priceless, immeasurably worth it.

I have lost nearly all my faith in people, in churches, in the clubs we sheep join.

I did not lose my faith (in people and their institutions) when I found out my children had been abused by their adopted brother.

I lost faith (in people and their institutions)

When friends disappeared

Churches turned against us

Pastors got ghostly quiet

Family supported the abuser

The courts and LEO refused to prosecute all the offenses and the appropriate felony level.

He abused children after his juvenile sentence and police did nothing.

The victims were marginalized, treated like they were, we were, contagious.

But Jesus is there. He is the God of the marginalized. He is the voice in my head telling me that despite all my disaffection, I should write all this down.

When I have wailed to God about this incipient loneliness he says in his steady voice–I am here.

And one glance at the Cross reminds me of what that cost him,

Being there for me.

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All the cities of the world

When you were my baby you were always amazing, beautiful, lovable. So much so that I would spontaneously think you had all the cities of the world in your eyes, or put another way– I would give all the cities of the world for you.

I remember when I found out that the people who were taking you from me had a story pock-marked by leaving the laws of love behind.

I worried. I grieved. How would they be there always for you? How could they be picked over me?!? Crazy, messy, overextended, underprepared me?

I got the phrase all the cities of the world from Matthew 4–two heavyweights bargaining over the fate of the world. One aims to buy back his lost love the hard way, the other is trying to get him to take a shortcut.

He doesn’t.

There are no shortcuts to love.

Hold on my dear heart, Rapunzel. Love has always been on your side, even when all this feels so broken.

The rightful King of the world loves you so very much.

The Limitations Story

[20] The bed is too short to stretch out on, the blanket too narrow to wrap around you.

–Isaiah 28:20 NIV

She was attempting shop therapy on the last warm day before both a cold front and a major holiday. The first part went better-than-expected, but the second part went wildly amiss.

The two competing voices in her head urged different paths. The more sensible one argued for the one stop shopping and efficiency of a big box store and the other said you want something quirky, old, with a story and a past.

So she turned left into the driveway of the German-themed antique co-op. A lot of things in this town were German themed–coffeehouses, bars, restaurants, “fests” of one sort or another.

This antique concession always fascinated her because the majority of its offerings were strewn about the lawn. She wondered if they worried about thieves making off with retro baby cribs, baker’s shelves, and attic fans in the middle of the night?

From the beginning she made precipitously bad decisions, ignoring no-return signs, not pre-measuring the hulking canoe rack which she purchased then realized would neither disassemble nor fit into her car.

She convinced the owner to let her exchange out the canoe rack for a forlorn but stately utility shelf… which then also did not quite fit the car.

Despair.

Not physics despair, metaphysics despair, the kind that washes over a softly aging, fully middle aged woman when she realizes she wishes she had listened to the sensible voice, that she needs the sensible hands and feet of others, that these sensible beings are not here now and she doesn’t want to get into it with them.

The asking of help: a mitzvah of humiliation.

She stuffs the shelf in the car, wedges it in so tightly, ties it and the door with makeshift things, drives home down unfamiliar roads, hazard lights on, fully mindful of the precariousness of her itinerate position.

She has told no one but God what the real problem is. So much heavier and unwieldy than a shelf protruding from a minivan.

At home her daughter meets her, helps her dislodge the stately shelf–with its past and history, talks about the terrible thing that happens when a person confronts yet again the ornamentality of 911.

But the shelf is home, safe for now, so easily anthropomorphic.

You clean the kitchen

I have this internal dialogue where “working dishwasher” stands in for anniversary, birthday, and Christmas gifts for years and years and years.

Never never let a thing supplant an I love you.

I know you have such good reasons to judge me. And probably some which will not hold the test of time, and I feel myself losing you.

When you were right about leaving notes. Or pictures. Like the one where you are just two or three and you have this tumult of curly hair.

You lean against me, looking contented.

And I know it was Christmas because I remember how much

Somethings hurt

Moving Mountains

I have a hunch that when we get to Heaven we will realize that no matter how big, how wild, how impossible our prayers have been, we could have prayed for more.

Let me be clear: God does not answer prayers for evil. He does not reward our sin, cowardice, or avarice. He rewards the just, but if we pray along the lines of love, mountains do move.

Have you ever seen a mountain move? Have ever seen it lumber to the sea and toss itself in?

I have not. And as with these oh-so-solid mountains, many of the big-ticket items I have prayed for have been stolidly immobile for years.

Impossible things.

But I do worship the God of impossible things. His wry sense of humor, His unflagging love, His ridiculous, tenacious prophets, and His remarkable creation all suggest

Moving mountains ain’t no thing

For Him.