Blue

Tekeleth.

A Hebrew word meaning blue.

All the violets and purples and indigos and sapphires…all of them are tekeleth.

All are the blue.

Lupine blue.

Pansy blue.

Priestly garment blue.

Holy of Holies Blue.

The color God chooses to brush up against holy things.

“And you shall make the robe of the ephod all of blue.”

Priest clothes designed by the Ancient of Days.

“…they shall put on the tassel of each corner a cord of blue.”

The color of the between place.

“And he, (Solomon), made the veil of violet, purple and crimson and fine linen…”

A veil of blue torn by mercy.

I noticed recently I have lots of blue in my garden. I did not plan to have so much of one color. I am a haphazard gardener. Mostly what grows in my little dirt space are found seedlings, gifts from friends…or rescued from the throwaway bin at the garden center.

Perhaps I need reminding about holiness. I see it in the scriptures…all this blue.

In holy garments and temples and a veil in front of the Presence.

Perhaps I need to recognize that God cloaks the divine with ordinary and the ordinary with the divine.

A Son comes as a baby and is placed in a feedbox.

A flesh and blood man puts on a fabric of blue and stands in the gap for sin.

All this blue in my house these days. Am I paying attention?

“For since the creation of the world His invisible attibutes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they (me) are without excuse.”

 

 

I went berry picking this morning. My daughter and I walked toward the back of the farm and headed down row seven draped with high bush blueberries.

Dusty blue orbs hung off brambled limbs.

There were thousands of them.

The color of holiness hung clustered and fat and I could not stop picking.

My daughter had to tell me twice we had enough.

Enough?

Enough blueberries? Perhaps.

Enough Divine Presence? Never.

I was greedy this morning for blue.

I wanted them all and my container, although fairly big, was not big enough for what I desired. I had to tear myself away, my only consolation being I will go back tomorrow.

To hunger for the holy in such a way is my prayer. To be a person who wants Him so much that my heart container is too small for all that I desire. To be someone who can only be torn from His presence.

Reminded by tekeleth.

Wrecked by love cloaked in blue.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Lake

The heat shimmer- dances above the tall grass in the field across the road. Insects sing loud. Grasshoppers hop blade to blade. They are the only bugs I can see and I want to know what is making the big buzz sound in the grass acre near my house.

I am ten years old.

I am in the habit of staring into this field behind the big barn. It is a mystery field; always changing shape and color.

This day, I straddle the bicycle that Amah Howard said I could borrow as long as I put it back in her shed exactly the way I found it. Amah is like that. Organized and to the point. She works her farm on the same schedule every day and says only what needs to be said.

The bicycle is a three speed and has a basket in the front and a bell near one of the brakes. It is my turn to ride it up and down the old road in front of the farmhouse that I live in. My legs stretch to the road, my toes barely touching the   broken tar.

I squint through the heat shimmer to the state road past the field, a sweat trickle going down down down down.

I am hoping for a swim later.

We never swim during the day.

It is always after my dad gets home. It is always after supper.

The beach is mostly empty when we get there, except for the occasional couple of families packing up their things. Sometimes there is an older boy and girl swimming in cut off shorts, their long hair plastered to their heads and backs.

The lake is flat and going blue gray. It is a mirror of faint ripples.

It is a mystery lake, but I know I will find a pretty rock in its depths.

Once my grandparents showed up at the lake on their motorcycle. My grandfather was cool in his leather jacket and sunglasses, but grandmother…she was beautiful.  She sat on the bike behind my grandfather in her leather jacket and sunglasses, too, an old lady,really, but when she took off her helmet to say hello, she was a vision of glamour. Her blond curls  helmet-messed up and her lipstick mouth grinned big. She laughed and her french accent was caught up in the trees canopying the lake.  After a brief talk, the sunglasses went back on, the helmet straps snapped and the bike turned to leave and promptly spun out in the sand. My grandfather hung onto the handles trying to keep the bike from spilling, but the spin of the wheels was too strong and I stood and dripped scared as I  watched my grandparents suffer the indignity of falling helpless and weak.

I did not like seeing them that way.

My father, his gait set firm, walked quick to the spill in the sand and assessed the situation. He didn’t look afraid. Moments later my grandparents were back on the bike, waving and roaring down the road.

My father.

An assessor of situations.

When he takes us to the beach he does not swim.

Not because he can’t. He just doesn’t.

He lies flat on his back on a towel, his broad chest laid open, ribs pointing to the sky, arms in a V behind his head making a pillow. His eyes are closed, his mouth firm.

I watch him breath slow.

I dive for a rock.

I come up for air and my brother is next to me in the deep end of the lake, the water up to his neck.  He’s five.

I toss my rock.

I dive under again, open my eyes and see the bubbles where my rock landed. I break the surface of the water and see my brother’s head bobbing in the lake.

Then I don’t.

Gone.

My eyes dart.

My throat squeezes shut and I try to make my way toward the place I think I saw him last but the water is heavy against my legs.

A great splash comes from behind me and my father is walking on water.

His arms pump full and his legs stride long over the top of the lake. He moves past me and his right arm lifts high then plunges into the liquid and pulls up a coughing boy by his hair, lifting him into lung breathing air and carries him back to the beach all shivering limp.

I drip scared a second time, fist white tight around my rock.

I am ten years old and I am trembling because the sun is going down and it’s getting cold and my brother almost drowned right in front of me.

I thought my father was sleeping.

How did he know?

How did he know where to put his hand to save?

There is so much I do not know. So many mysteries.

Things I know and see in part, but not in their fullness.

Things like heat shimmers and insect choruses and lake mirrors and fathers sleeping.

I am learning to revel in the mystery.

To trust in the Father’s timing to rescue and save.

To remember He is a Father who never sleeps.

Resonance

Who owns an idea?

Who can lay sole claim to a thought?

Does Monet or Renoir have dibs on the Impressionist style?

Who has rights to the supernatural fantasy series? Tolkien? C.S. Lewis? J.K. Rowling?

Does Jazz belong to Billie Holiday?

As a writer and now a blogger, I have always wondered about these things.

I fiddle with words that come from a heart place.

I dabble in phraseology that prattles around in the grey matter.

When I take thoughts and impressions and mark them on paper, usually ones already committed in a journal, those thoughts-turned-words feel like they belong to me.  And they do because I ordered the words. I lined them up on the page.  Like a musician arranging common notes, or a painter making strokes of color on canvas the way I put words and phrases together is a unique thing. But I don’t possess a word or phrase as my own any more than a musician owns the key of G or a painter possesses the color blue.

So isn’t it true the impressions and thoughts an artist evokes something common to all of us?

When we read or hear or see that commonality  we respond with a “yes, I know what you mean.”

Recently a friend who reads my blog compared my writing to Ann Voskamp, the  author of A Thousand Gifts.

I took it as a compliment.

Then I panicked.

To work out the panic I decided to mow the lawn.

When I debuted this blog three months ago I knew I would experience what would feel like plummeting off a cliff.

Plummeting.

What an amazing, violent word.

I did not fall or jump off this said cliff  because in falling or jumping, there is always the slight possibiltiy of surviving such an experience.

But… plummet? Plummet usually means death is at the end of it.

And so it is.

I feel like a part of me has to die as I walk in obedience to the whisper of the One who called me to this writing thing.

I knew I would have to risk transparency in my writing in order for it have any integrity.

I would have to be real about my successes and my failures.

But this was not the reason for my panic.

I walked the lawn.

The mower blade cutting through green and through my thoughts rotating, rotating.

Early in my blog posting I was flipping through my journal looking for a passage I had written weeks earlier.  Since most of my posting come from my journals, this was nothing new. When I found what I was looking for and read through the paragraph I began to wonder if I’d really written it. There were no quotes around it which has been my habit for years when I want to remember something from another author. I read the passage again and thought…this is good writing.

It couldn’t be mine.

To prove it I poured over the books I’d been reading searching every paragraph for what I didn’t think belonged to me.

I typed key passages in google just to see if something would pop up that would confirm my belief that I was not capable arranging words in such a harmonious way.

The fear of plagiarizing was so heavy on me I couldn’t see that it was okay to actually like something that I had written. I couldn’t see that it was okay to be compared to a writer that I actually admired.

The mower blades sliced through weeds and dead grass and wrong thinking.

Does not every artist, whether it is a melody writer or a canvas color-er or a clay former, at some point stand back from their art and marvel…did I just do that? Is there not something of the human and divine in every pure creation that makes us bow in humility and stand in awe at the same time?

I knew the words penned in my journal were not the words of these writers…I am far away from that kind of brilliance…however….what I wrote resonated with me and that’s what was familiar. I was looking at my own writing and recognized that I am just penning what has already been poured into my heart. I am writing the resonance.

Piper resonates with me.

Keller resonates with me.

Voskamp resonates with me.

But mostly, Jesus resonates with me.

I hope this is what comes through my writing most of all…the resonation of Jesus.

What are you putting your hand to…what are you creating, crafting, molding, shaping that will resonate encouragement, peace, joy, or  inspiration to those around you?

Do you share a style with someone you admire and you are afraid you are just another copycat?

My advice?

Plummet.

 

 

 

 

Ordained Steps

Milestones.

A driver’s licence. A graduation. A wedding. The arrival of a new baby. Retirement.

The mile markers of a life lived.

Even if we find ourselves bystanders during the event of another, we are still living the moment with them.

Milestones are not solo events.

I remember living a moment six years ago, with my daughter, the one I call the Fiery Irishgirl as she gave birth to her first child.

A celebration indeed, becoming a mother for the first time.

Shortly after my grandson passed from the dark womb into his first light and I handed him, birth-wet to her that day, I was living in the midst of her milestone moment.

That’s when I saw what my husband must have seen and what I only felt at the birth of our five children:

A  gut-kicking maternal wash tidal-waving over my baby girl meeting her baby son.

It was a marker for me, too. In the final push of another,  I had become a grandmother.

Mother- Love…and now Grandmother- Love.

Two of the fiercest of all loves.

No solo act here.

Further back in time I was present with my sisters during the final moments of my grandfather’s life.

In the bed my grandfather lay small, the only big in the room were his eyes full of blue.

Not suprising for a man who looked life square in the eye for three quarters of a century.

The surprising part was his loss of speech.

I could see the torture in the wrinkle and strain in the eyes of this Irishman used to storytelling into the wee hours, now wordless.

The only sound he could make was a long, drawn out moan, which was occasionaly interrupted  by a short silent pause. The nurse said the life was quite literally leaving his body.

After he passed, the painful parts of his life were too raw for some, which meant that no one was available to carry his casket to the church. This privilege fell to me and my sisters and brother.

We carried our grandfather to his last mile marker that day.

Again, no solo acts in this life.

Last week, my youngest, celebrated her high school graduation. She is my Pixie Girl because she floats here and there with a measure of sparkle and mystery. She is a prism, a twinkle,  between cute and beautiful.

She has reached a major milestone, a launching pad really, into the next chapter of her young life.

On her Party Day, her dad flanks her right and I, her left for the fifth and final graduation photo in front of the little tree that I still don’t know the name of and in the late nineties kept pulling from the flower garden thinking it a stubborn weed.

Ten years ago I gave up pulling the tiny twig when the first child, the Drummer, posed before it in cap and gown, and now that weed is a twenty foot shade tree providing a canopy for sparrows and peonies.

I look at the little tree, its trunk not very wide, but its branches spanning a portion of the yard that bring comforting shade and hides the squirrel stealing from the birdfeeder.

It measures the in between, the spaces in the middle of each mile marker along the way.

It tells me how much life has really been lived between the photos.

When the Drummer, was graduating, I did a quick calculation and told myself that I would be heading into my 52nd year when the Pixie Girl graduated. Being in my early forties then, the fifties seemed like a misty place…a shadow place.

But when you keep walking, when you keep moving forward no matter what happens, you will eventually cover a lot of ground and suddenly you will be at a mile marker that is no longer shrouded in mist, but is as clear as the sunniest day. And when it’s the last of the graduations, you might be asking yourself, now what?

The Pixie Girl is embarking on a new adventure, one that, the Lord willing, has a long road in front of it. The foundations that have been laid in her life, hopefully will keep her faith stubbornly rooted in God,  like my little tree that refused to be plucked from it’s place of life.

My road probably won’t be as long, but I am embarking on a new adventure as well. I will have to learn how to channel that fiercest of loves into my children in a new way. I will have to learn even more what means to be a cheerleader for them from the sidelines as they pass from one mile marker to another in their lives.

God has rarely shown me anything about my life except what is right in front of me, yet He has promised me that He will always walk with me in the between spaces, the middle places and that He has given me holy mile markers through His word and relationship with people of faith along the journey to keep me from straying off the path.

I look forward to what lies before me.

What about you? Are you celebrating the mile markers in your life today? Are you hopeful for the future, even though you do not see how it will play out?

You can be assured of God’s love for you and that He is cheering you on every step of the way.

“Thy word is a lamp unto my feet and a light to my path.”