Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Wars and rumors of wars

A plane carrying 300 souls is shot out of the sky over Ukraine. There's a  massacre of Christians going on in Iraq. Israel and Gaza are throwing missiles at each another. And, potentially, we might enter a new Cold War with Russia, while North Korea's Dear Leader shoots off some missiles just because he can.

Folks, things are not good. In case you missed it, the world is going to hell in a handbasket. Even profit-driven airlines are considering new, longer routes in order to avoid "conflict areas."  These areas comprise a great deal of Africa and the Middle East.

Oh, I nearly forgot ebola. Anyone see that movie Contagion? No? Well, this is not a good time. Give it a pass for now.

It's hard, even for someone who's rather genetically cheerful, to see how any of these world events is going to have hopeful outcomes.  I don't believe in that "End Times" crap, but I can (almost) see why a person might
Another thing I've noticed, as I've been glued to CNN. When the news is so bad, I start to have trouble concentrating on other matters that remain important on a daily level. Like reading the Daily Office, doing spiritual reading and intercession. And those are more important than ever right now.

But tomorrow is another day.   Maybe I'll do better. In the meantime, here's a poem by Wendell Berry that often consoles me.

The Peace of Wild Things

When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children's lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.

Monday, July 14, 2014

An empty room, and a new chapter

A new chapter of life has begun for J. and me. Our son, our older child, moved out over the weekend. The long hall in the picture leads to the room containing the few items he left behind.

I thought I had great plans for this room. An enlargement of our library? A spot for yoga,  meditation, or even a good place to do group spiritual direction?  I intended to get right in there to pull up the nasty denim-blue rug which 16 years of life with our son has virtually destroyed. Those awful curtains he wanted? They're goners. I was going to blast through there like a small tornado.

Instead, something blasted through me. I stood in the middle of my son's room, and felt as emptied out as the space. J. felt the same. Tears came off and on. We watched movies and ate comfort food. I ate ice cream three times yesterday.

Today I feel better. Still empty, but with better balance. Grieving the change, but in proportion.What is parenthood but an emptying out, a kenosis?  We do as much we can for our kids, help and encourage them over the rough spots in their lives. We weep and rejoice. We help them plan and dream, and we sometimes watch them spin out of control, with unfortunate consequences. We've done all that, over the years.

I guess God feels like this, emptying Godself to create and sustain us. We please God; we disappoint God. All parents know this feeling.

Well, our fledgling has gone off to join his younger sister in adulthood. May blessings go with him. I console myself that he's only 40 minutes away.

But that rug ... I'm thinking plain hardwood might be better.