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Archive for the ‘Advent’ Category

First Advent candle

If Advent is not for you,
if you know the story too well,
all the more reason to come.

* * *

YOU’VE HAD A YEAR.
Maybe a year of waiting,
a year perhaps
of tending to everyone else’s stuff -
of feeling at times
like you are standing alone on a hill
watching over your flock,
and while you are happy to do it -
grateful to be able to do it -
you see in your reflection
the toll it has taken,
the effect of that wind on your face.

Or maybe you’ve had a year,
not of having too much,
but having too much UNshared,
arms tired.
It is exhausting
carrying one’s gifts,
not knowing where to set them down.

Or maybe you’ve had a year
of news dropped on you
and
you’re still trying to figure out
what your response to it should be,
feeling you ought to know the answer by now,
but there it is every day again, the same puzzle over that.

What you really want
under the tree
is a break from the free fall
you are in.
You aren’t holding out much hope for it.

BUT
if you know the story too well,
all the more reason to come to it
and meet again
those on hills, tending flocks,
those traveling long, bearing gifts -
destination unknown -
those having news dropped on them
and needing to find their responses,
those who have waited a very, very long time,

You need to light a candle
or let someone else, if you can’t,
and to hear it,
bit by bit,
again,
the story.

ADVENT -
the chance to rediscover
you aren’t the only one.

There is a spot for you
in the crowd,
a spot that has maybe
gone empty
long
because
you feel you know the story too well.

By just such thinking as this
have many been kept in isolation.
Step out of your isolation
and into the story,
too familiar and yet completely brand new.

* * *

A repost from the first Sunday in Advent 2011.

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What you Really Want for Christmas

If you know the story too well,
all the more reason to come.

* * *

YOU’VE HAD A YEAR.
Maybe a year of waiting,
a year perhaps
of tending to everyone else’s stuff -
of feeling at times
like you are standing alone on a hill
watching over your flock,
and while you are happy to do it -
grateful to be able to do it -
you see in your reflection
the toll it has taken,
the effect of that wind on your face.

Or maybe you’ve had a year,
not of having too much,
but having too much UNshared,
arms tired.
It is exhausting
carrying one’s gifts,
not knowing where to set them down.

Or maybe you’ve had a year
of news dropped on you
and
you’re still trying to figure out
what your response to it should be,
feeling you ought to know the answer by now,
but there it is every day again, the same puzzle over that.

What you really want
under the tree
is a break from the free fall
you are in.
You aren’t holding out much hope for it.

BUT
if you know the story too well,
all the more reason to come to it
and meet again
those on hills, tending flocks,
those traveling long, bearing gifts -
destination unknown -
those having news dropped on them
and needing to find their responses,
those who have waited a very, very long time,

to light a candle
or let someone else
and to hear it,
bit by bit,
again,
the story.

Advent,
the chance
to
rediscover
you aren’t the only one.

There is a spot for you
in the crowd,
a spot that has maybe
gone empty
long
because
you feel you know the story too well.

By just such thinking as this
have many been kept in isolation long.
Step out of isolation and into the story, familiar yet new.

* * *

I have written this post as part of the Advent Writing Project at Wide Open Spaces. Check out Charity’s words and links to more Advent pieces there.

:-) Check out where Laura wrote, “I am behind on life again” and Charity’s “I’m trying to catch a vision for something.”

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WHY IS IT that the best writing ideas always hit when there is no time to pursue them?

and by ‘best’ I don’t mean
that which has potential to go viral,
but the thing about which
you realize
you have something to say
that needs to be said somewhere
and your experience has given you insight
and you have interest in the subject
and you have access to resources
and that you would find it fulfilling (albeit challenging)
to do the work?

WHY do ideas come when there’s no time to strike while the passion is hot?

Is it because the mind more open
when it’s easy to commit with words,
to say “THAT’s what I ought to write about!”
when certainly nobody will be expecting you
to do it, not at this time?

Or does the idea come at that time
because of that old saw
about busy people -
If you want something done, ask a busy person -
suggesting a body in motion
tends to stay in motion
and so it’s the heat of current activity
that’s generating creative sparks,
inviting inspiration,
asking to be used to the fullest?
Is that why the ideas popcorn out?

And one teeters dangerously close
to falling into “if only” mode?
IF ONLY I wasn’t  . . .
I could do it.

Thereby we are rendered deaf
quite often.

* * *

A YEAR I’VE BEEN LOOKING for light
a lamp actually,
a lamp
just so high
just so wide
casting light in just such a way
giving me a certain feeling
when I see it,
a feeling I can’t describe
but I’ll know it when it hits.

I searched
then gave up,
called away by the need to tend to people.
Important, that.

And then just last week
in the middle of tending to tasks people,
running errands to fill needs,
I exit a shop,
laden down, hands full, arms full.

A lamp
across the street
in the window of a consignment shop
catches my eye,
calls to me.

Now?
But I’m not thinking about that now.
I’m not worrying about a lamp for that window now.
I have people needing this and that
and appointments to be here and there
and only a sliver of time today
and my arms are full.

Doesn’t God know
that finding a lamp
is not on my day’s agenda?

But, ah, I am not Zechariah,
failing to recognize an answer coming,
the very thing.

Why is it the best things come
not when we are free
but when we are deeply engaged
and the mere suggestion
that we consider it
makes us roll our eyes?

Be dressed ready for service and keep your lamps burning
– Luke 12:35

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I JUST PUT a wheeled suitcase in my car
empty
because I know when
I get the call
to say the discharge orders
have been written and signed
she’ll have her things
in bags,

several bags,
cloth and plastic -
one with the name of the rehab facility,
another with the name of the hospital she was in prior,
one or two from the grocery store.
She’s been packing them for days.

And I know that
trying to get her AND the bags
down the hall and out to the car
could be a challenge,
subject to gravity
and prone to collapse
as they all are.

* * *

SEEING a GENTLEMAN
yesterday
escorting a discharged patient
by pushing a wheelchair
and pulling along a wheeled suitcase,
I made note of it,
the suitcase on wheels
for all the belongings that are also being discharged.
Brilliant, that.

I am waiting
and
she is waiting.

We have been waiting a good month,
it could be said,
but the early waiting
was nothing like this waiting.
Waiting with expectancy
it is a very different kind of waiting indeed.
My cell phone is in my pocket.

* * *

Under the heading PATIENT ADVOCACY,
I inquired on Monday, “Any thoughts on when she might be discharged?”

“Are you in a rush to get her out of here?” the nurse asked.

“No, no.
I don’t want her discharged
a moment before she is fully ready to be home again,
but I also don’t want her to linger here
a day more than she needs to.”

The expression “the fullness of time
came to my thoughts
and has been rolling around ever since.

The fullness of time…
the time set,
the time that allows space
for all that is needed
to be set in place,
the ordained time,

not a moment too early,
not a moment too late.
Does such a time exist
on a clock
or a calendar
even if we aren’t aware of it?

A timely word with the powers-that-be
and things have been set in motion,
things that perhaps would have been in motion anyway,
but now I see them
and I have an expectancy
I didn’t have before.

If you are waiting for something,
Advent is the season for you.
And a talk with the powers-that-be
may do you good,
not that it will
make things happen faster,
but just to be reacquainted with the importance of
the fullness of time.
Peace-giving, that.

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”
John 14:27 NIV

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I AM TENDING a plant
most people wouldn’t bother with
.
Again.

And when,
this morning,
I gave it a loving look
and water
and moved it to a spot
a few degrees warmer,
near where the other plants are flourishing,

I could almost hear the voices
of my decor-conscious friends,
those good at staging things,
saying,
“Get that out of there!”

and I felt
the same pang
and protective instincts
I feel
seeing a child on the playground
outside the circle of games,
uninvited,
almost invisible.

* * *

STILL UNBOXING Christmas here,
rediscovering it,
putting it in present tense.

There is a danger
in handling the familiar -
familiar story,
familiar scripture,
familiar songs,
familiar programs -
the danger of missing the TODAY in things.

I am listening for Christmas.

I think of that journey to Bethlehem
to become a number,
which is what a census is about,
counting.

A lot of people
are feeling like numbers these days.

To make someone feel less like a number
is a good gift to give.

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IT WAS ALMOST DARK
when I rounded the corner
and bumped into her
a block-and-a-half past the treehouse
(empty of warriors)
on the last leg of my walk.

We’ve been doing this for 15 years,
bumping into each other.

Despite what I wrote
about not rushing,
I was eager to get in a walk
while there was still light

and felt the minutes ticking away
while waiting for the last appointment of the day to show,
calculating and recalculating
how much time
the meeting would take,
knowing I needed
to be patient
and present in the moment
and NOT show
I was ready to bolt.
Tightrope walking, this.

I burst into the house at 5,
changed clothes,
grabbed my iPod,
zipped out.

I made record time
going up the hill at Marshall Rd
and it looked like
if I kept up the pace
I’d return to my driveway
with the last flicker of light.

WE COULD HAVE just passed
with a nod
and kept going,
but she slowed
and I slowed
and she stopped
and I stopped
and . . .

inquired about each other
and each other’s children.

Yes, I removed my earbuds.

STANDING THERE
chatting
it didn’t seem to matter so much,
the darkness I was trying so desperately to outrun.

And I think again
how we’ve been doing this for 15 years,
bumping into each other,
never meeting intentionally.
Curious, that.

* * *

FIVE MINUTES.
Five minutes was all,
but that was enough
for blackness to descend.

Can wild dogs be far behind?

She thanked me for a piece of advice
I hadn’t meant to give
and don’t know what it was.

I worried yet again
about people taking as advice
thoughts I toss out there casually.

I TURNED to face the blackness
of the remaining blocks
and found
the dog-walkers of evening had emerged
so that the road
had even more foot traffic
than midday.

And the Christmas lights
and window candles
lit my way.

I was not alone,
there was plenty of light for my path
and my fears were for naught.

First of December, I light a candle to mark the journey of a figure on a donkey and think of all who set out on journeys, unsure what lies ahead, but knowing they need to go.

...and I open the first window on an Advent Calendar.

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