My stomach has been in knots for several days now – in no small part to the terrorist events in our world – far and near.
For me, my sadness is only in part about the bombings in Africa, and Beirut, and Paris – it’s about noise. Our world is so full of superficial noise. I don’t want that for my grandchildren.
That is not what I want for them. I want more than for them to know that Granny’s new favorite phrase in ASL is “my hear is your heart.” I want more than to teach them to say that to me in silence. I want more than to sing them to sleep. I want far more than to hear their squeaky little voices. I want them to trust the world beyond the front door…beyond the village borders.
I want them to trust the feeling of joy – but if I don’t – how can they? And I don’t.
As I get older I question joy, all….of….the….time.
Every year at this time I have the same dilemma, one that is shared with the couple of weeks that come before Lent: how will I celebrate Advent this year?
“What do you need this year?” I ask myself – “Where are you hurting? What do you need to deepen? Question? Celebrate? Learn? Strategize?”
Don’t know about you, (you who do the Advent thing that is….) but it’s a matter of setting up routines. Likely, most people fall into the comfort of old routine – pull out or make the wreath, gather a prayer book, set aside a few extra minutes.
But of all church seasons….Advent means the most to me because it is about quiet. I love quiet as a way of life more, and more, and more….every day.
Neurotic am I though….part and parcel of not coming into the world as a pumpkin in a patch or a set of shoes on a store shelf – I worry.
So, every year at this time ruminations are about what routine will be set forth in a week or so for the next month of preparations for……drumroll…
This year I’m going to try and write.
My prayers, unless they go in a different direction…will be about abandon. The process of finding work, making friends, committing to a bit of a career shift, and enjoying the luxury and privilege of yet another educational gig – it has softened me. I hadn’t realized how lonely and bitter I’d become because…well,
because I’m not a pumpkin or a shoe.
So, that’s that….here are the flagship words that sit by my desk and tempt me to walk out the door as I do these days….
“What We Need is Here” ~ Wendell Berry
Geese appear high over us,
pass, and the sky closes Abandon,
as in love or sleep, holds
them to their way, clear
in the ancient faith; what we need
is here. And we pray, not
for new earth or heaven, but to be
quiet in heart, and in eye,
clear. What we need is here.
Lord have mercy.