Deluge

 

(photo taken from passenger seat)

(photo taken from passenger seat)

During the first week of December, Portland and the surrounding areas were hit with record rainfall.
My first morning drive to work, of what was to turn into weeks of downpours, felt like a car wash except for my disobedience to all the rules. My car was not in neutral, my foot was gently on the accelerator and my hands most definitely were gripping the steering wheel.

The ground seemed to cry “uncle” and could not keep up with the pace and quantity of rain leading to flooding and landslides. Puddles and standing water were everywhere making it difficult to walk let alone drive without extreme caution.

A few days into the deluge, I was driving home from work, the rain had lightened up and the sun decided to peer through the grey sky. As the sunshine began to stretch wider and longer, a single ray landed on an impressive high-rise.

I took my eyes off the road in front of me for a moment and gazed at this beaming building in the sky. The sun flickered enough to cease blinding my sight and revealed 5 letters across 5 window panes.

PEACE.

I locked eyes on the word, glanced back at the road and cars in front of me and then lifted my chin up. I admit wanting to snap a quick photo but you know, I was driving…on a freeway.

It’s just as well, because as I kept up this vigil of looking up and down,
I was caught off-guard as tears began to coat my cheeks.

I have no idea the window owner’s intention.

Nor does it matter because it spoke to me in the midst of a chaotic
season, a relentless year.

All I knew was this year my heart had been flooded by images of Paris, black bodies in the streets, weary refugees and thoughts about a man with power, position and a platform shouting out words of fear and hate.
Does his loud voice speak for the hushed beliefs of others?
These heartaches beyond my doorstep clasp hands with all that cross the
threshold of my home.

Tears speak.

In the ensuing weeks, I continued to look up through the clouds to see a word which continued to settle and help me exhale most of what is contained in a day.

I am not sure how many years, I have chosen a word or phrase to embrace for the year ahead. I have grown to cherish this practice. Some years, it has been a challenge and other years, like this one, it has beckoned to me from the sky.

My word for 2016 is peace and to further solidify the choice, unbeknownst to me, Carl picked the same word.

Whenever I choose a word in January, I always believe I know the reasons but there are always surprises and deeper purposes than I know at the time.

This is what I know now.

There are times when our lives become so saturated with the cares and concerns of our lives and world that the evidence comes by way of flood or landslide.

I believe there is a way to live at peace despite the deluge of life.

I want peace to reign in the world and I will pray and do my part for that end.

But peace has to be at work in my heart, my actions and my emotions.

The way I treat others or even mutter about them in the confines of my car speaks to the place of peace in my life.

I am becoming increasingly aware how often I replace the good with the hard,
obliterating the blessed fingerprints all over my life.
I can be forgetful.

I want peace to be an umbrella over the good and hard throughout my days.

The good is present, the hard may arrive but God has not changed.

God remains and Jesus continues to be my Prince of Peace,
I must allow Him elbow room in my heart and mind.

I want His peace to invade my life to such an extent my heart can’t keep up with its pace and quantity. The only solution is to allow the runoff to saturate the world around me.
That’s the best kind of flood.

May 2016 and beyond be lived in the midst of these verses:

And know that the peace of God (a peace that is beyond any and all of our human understanding) will stand watch over your hearts and minds in Jesus, the Anointed One.

Finally, brothers and sisters, fill your minds with beauty and truth. Meditate on whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is good, whatever is virtuous and praiseworthy. Keep to the script: whatever you learned and received and heard and saw in me—do it—and the God of peace will walk with you.

Philippians 4: 7-9 (The Voice)

To my faithful readers,
as I enter my 10th year of blogging,
thanks for sticking with me whether I have doused you with many words
or you have patiently waited through droughts,
this is my blessing and prayer for you:

The Eternal One bless and keep you.
May He make His face shine upon you 
and be gracious to you.
The Eternal One lift up His countenance
to look upon you and give you peace.

Numbers 6:24-26 (The Voice)

 

(I have been writing this post for weeks, in my mind and on
scraps of paper. Yesterday I finally sat to write  and my blog
would not open..sigh! But late last night, it appeared and this
morning there is snow! Each day is different and a chance
to practice peacekeeping.)

the crisis of the ellipsis

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During the first years of this blog,

I learned how important it was to develop my voice and style.

If you read any of the early years of posts,

my voice and style were essentially an overuse of the ellipsis.

Do you know what I mean?

An ellipsis is the series of three dots at the end

of an incomplete sentence.

I am sure I thought it was cute at the time.

Now I know it was a flashing arrow pointing

towards my incomplete thoughts or fear

of full disclosure.

Perhaps a feeble attempt to allow any reader to

finish the sentence to their liking.

Over the years, I have had occasions when

my resumé needed updating.

This exercise has proven to be an excruciating one.

No matter the accomplishments,

I only see the 10-year gap in my

work history.

It feels like an ellipsis,

(not a cute one),

an incomplete

thought and sometimes

in the midst of winter when my

spirit shrivels and sags,

it’s a persistent whisper begging

me to believe it signals

an incomplete life.

Yet I know this is far from

the truth.

The space between those dots appears

minuscule on paper,

as if nothing happened,

but in the real life of putting foot to concrete,

the expanse extends miles

past the written page.

Those little dots don’t reveal or describe

the time of sacred mothering for which

I am immensely grateful.

They don’t display the years of healing

from the toll of physically demanding

work.

So whenever a  reflexive shudder travels

from my head to spine as I survey the

gaps,

the pauses,

the sense of incompleteness,

I remember,

I am not the one who completes

my life sentence.

I am not even the author of those sentences.

I am to live fully awake in the sentence,

no matter when a comma or an ellipsis

seems to be an interruption.

Does your life consist of 

ellipsis overabundance?

Do those tiny dots seem to cast a 

large shadow over your days?

What friendship seemed close and now it is…?

Did you think you would occupy a certain role

by now?

Were you always intending to go back to school?

Do you equate incomplete with inadequate?

Could we pause for a moment today and

embrace the ellipsis in our lives?

Would we allow our minds to roam over those areas

which seem incomplete and accept them

in all their “as is” glory.

If it is a friendship,

how can we move toward it

or was it only meant for a particular season?

If it is a dream,

how can we realign it or practice

patience while we wait?

For each dot of the ellipsis,

find one reason to be grateful

for the pause.

Our lives are full of gaps

and interruptions,

embrace them as teachers

and not as harsh taskmasters.

The ellipsis simply means

your life isn’t finished yet,

and this my friends,

is a marvelous reality.

 

 

give thanks for dreams

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I hardly notice my clenched grip around the steering wheel

as I speed to make a coffee date.

Late I am and questions are being lobbed around my head, such as

will there be enough to make dinner out of leftovers,

did I ever return that email 

and a host of other items on my invisible to-do list.

Suddenly my eyes scan farther in the distance than the next stop

light and catch a glimpse of a beloved sight.

A dream vaults into view.

The reality of a dream now absorbed into daily life.

I suck in my breath as I behold my dream.

There is no missing Mt. Hood in all its snow-clad glory lifting out of the hazy blue sky.

Growing up among rolling hills and wheat fields,

I had once dreamed of being in the presence of mountains

and near enough to see the ocean without needing the assist

of an aircraft.

Oregon has provided these wonders and tosses in waterfalls,

lush trees and great food beyond measure.

I am living and breathing in a dream yet I forget and lament

those dreams which lay unfulfilled.

I  loosen the curl of my fingers on the wheel and lift my eyes up.

Up to the hills where my strength comes.

Up to the place where every blessing and good thing

has its origin.

I say thank you.

Oh how I want praise and gratitude to be a non-negotiable in

my life.

I wish I could tell you that it is my default response

and that it didn’t take a mountain to cross my path to remind me.

It is so easy to rehearse my perceived lack and not the

blessings strewn about my head to toes.

If giving thanks was a non-negotiable in our days,

how different would the world look?

Give thanks for dreams.

Simply give thanks for this blessed life.

**********

Happy May Day!

Enjoy the following May desktops.
Some are available without a calendar like
the bike image above.

One (dozens)

Two

Three

Four