Sunday, September 23, 2007


She's called an "orb-weaver," and I respect her skill at making webs, but we have a sort of chilly relationship. She's made herself a nice web at the end of my porch, between the porch ceiling and the woodpile. Fortunately, that's the opposite end of the porch from where I sit, and she doesn't interfere with our coming and going through the door.

I sit there, usually at night, with one of my dogs, and I keep a close and fearful eye on her. Now and then she catches a tasty bug -- I can't fault her for that -- and moves slowly to devour it. Then she takes her place again at the center of the web, swinging ever so lightly in the breeze, waiting for her next victim.

I have been afraid of spiders since before I can remember. As a child, I woke my parents many times to kill one that had strayed into my room. As an adult, I try not to kill anything outside the house -- but I am still terrified and repulsed! This doesn't hold true for non-arachnids: I love reptiles and amphibians, and when my kids were at camp, I disgraced them at Parents' Night because I was the only mother who wanted to hold the garter snake.

But I am trying to live and let live. I try to look at the spider as God looks at her -- not as something to be chased with a can of Raid, but as part of His creation, with her own part to play. I try to respect her as another creature, doing God's will in her own way.

Oh, how pious! But if she comes down to my end of the porch ... I'm afraid my phobia will overtake me, and the Raid will do its evil best.

Pray for the poor orb-weaver to keep her distance!

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Moonflower report

My little moonflower plants, which used to look like this,
grew like mad all summer, twining around and around my center porch post. June turned into July, July into August, and Labor Day arrived -- but no flowers. I had begun to think the light was wrong; I had overwatered them; I had not fertilized them enough.

Then, on my way out to choir practice tonight, I noticed little bulgy white buds! This is what they looked like at 6:30 PM.

When I got home from choir, it was fully dark, about 9:15 . And since moonflowers bloom only at night, this is what greeted me on my porch.
Woo hoo! Only one flower has opened, but it's one more than I had yesterday.

Back when my moonflowers were only seedlings, I recall feeling they might be a metaphor for my spiritual growth. I don't think I have flowers yet, but I possibly have leaves.

Small leaves! But it's a start. Thanks be to God!

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Stretching our prayer wings

Great minds think alike (LOL). Either that, or the Holy Spirit is behind this newest endeavor!

Some of us who are members of Prayer Fellowship at the Church on the Pike subscribe to Pray! Magazine, a publication chock-full of useful information for intercessors (check it out here). This month's issue was no exception. One article I really liked dealt with prayer stations, a way of bringing prayer to people on the street. Prayer teams station themselves at public events and offer prayer for anyone who requests it, or offer to place names on a list for intercessory prayer later. I was intrigued by this idea, even though I have never been especially good at spontaneous prayer.

Now, as it happens, our town festival takes place early in October, and the Church on the Pike sets up a booth and mans it with volunteers who sell homemade goodies, answer any questions about our church, and pass out brochures with information about our service times, ministries, etc. So I thought: why not a prayer station too? The idea was scary but exciting.

At church this past Sunday, I discovered a few of my friends had read the same material, and were having the same thoughts. So it seems we will be putting out the ever-popular and ubiquitous sign-up sheet and asking for volunteers.

But none of us is sure we can really pull this off. This, after all, smacks of the "e-word" (evangelism). We are Episcopalians, remember ("God's frozen people"; "Many are cold, but few are frozen"; I have a million of these jokes!). We have never been really good at the e-word. And it's going to be a real shame if passersby hear us offering to pray for them while we're huddled in a lump underneath the booth, out of sight, or fearfully peering over the top!

Clearly we have to get to work on this. And it won't be easy!

Thursday, September 06, 2007

A possibility for the future ...

Our local paper had an article yesterday about a woman who volunteers as an "Abider" at the nursing home where her husband is a resident. I had never heard the term before, but several area organizations are apparently starting up volunteer Abider programs. Abiders are volunteers who sit with patients in the process of dying, to address any spiritual or physical needs they might have, and to assure them they are not alone. What a wonderful idea! The woman featured in the article often reads to patients from the Psalms or the New Testament, sings hymns, talks to them, and holds their hands. So no one has to die alone.

This really strikes a chord with me. I did not do such a good job of abiding when my parents were at the end of their lives: my Mom died while I was heading home to collect my kids from the various neighbors who were looking after them, and my Dad died while I was waiting at the door of his hospital room for the surgical resident whom I'd paged (naturally, my back was turned to Dad). So at present I'm about 0 for 2. Nothing to brag about there.

Yet, I think this is an important ministry, and I think it's one I could do. Of course, there's the little problem of my job at present. Unless there's a way to schedule dying for nights and weekends only, I'm going to have to wait till I retire ...

Another thing to add to the growing list of future possibilities.