Monday, July 22, 2013

The Seven program write-up

At the end of June I finished with my discernment program. I was trying to figure out whether or not I have a call to the diaconate and be ordained in that servant ministry. For the end of my program, I was supposed to write a letter... you will see how that went.

To Those Who Have Told Me That They Know What Kind of Spiritual Work I Should Be Involved In:
I should first preface this by saying that the format and the content is unconventional. I should also preface it by saying that I usually think of Church in terms of family and food, so that may fill in some gaps.
Regarding my experiences over the past year with The Seven, I have found myself in many uncomfortable positions and conversations in an effort to discern what God is calling me to do. I have also heard from trusted friends and elders that what I already do is very obviously the work of a deacon.
This poem does not use actual names or specific events; it is parabolic in an effort to describe a ministry and a call instead of giving details to specifically chronicle events in my life.
So, there are many people at church and in the world. Each of us has something to do. Some cook the food, some put out invitations, some make decorations for the house. It usually seems that we designate a leader to cut the roast (because that is full of ceremony and ritual).
I am not the one to cut the roast.
I am not the one to cut the ham or the turkey, either.
I am the one who sets the table and counts to make sure we have room.
I am the one who finds chairs to put at each setting.
I am the one who stands at the door, to say hello to everyone as they come in.
There’s Uncle George, hello.
There’s Aunt Kimberly, hello.
Auntie Mary and Uncle Mark.
Cousin Sam, his wife and little one
Cousin Chelsea and soon-to-be husband
There’s Sarah and with little one in tow (she’s getting so big!).
But where is Uncle Stewart?
Where’s Grandmother Dotty?
Where are Cousin Michelle and Cousin Jimmy and Theo and Maria?
They’re still out there.
I am the one who girds his scarf round his neck
I am the one who zips up his jacket.
I am the one who pulls on his boots and his cap down low
I am the one who goes out into the dark and the snow to find them.
Grandmother Dotty was stuck in a snowbank
Her truck in up over its wheels
Cousin Michelle couldn’t find the house
Though she could have sworn she would know it if she saw it
But when I go looking for Theo, I find my other cousins under the bridge on 5th.
I find my uncles and aunties waiting in line at the food shelf.
I find my cousins at night school, looking to pass and get a diploma to work hourly for the man in the mall
I heard from one cousin tonight that his brother won’t come tonight; he’s a homie in a real gang now
I know another cousin who’s alone tonight because her boyfriend kicked her out after he discovered she was four months pregnant.
I am not the one who wears a tie and cardigan, making toasts at the head of the table, while a chorus of ‘here, here’s are shouted.
I am the one up to my knees in dirty snow, tracking down my cousin before she and her baby freeze in the cold.
I am not the one that others come to in the hall with the vaulted ceiling so that they can tell me of the latest group initiative.
I am the one, pulled aside at school so that they can whisper in my ear where to find our cousin tonight, before he gets capped
Perhaps I ought to be the one crying out in the wilderness, “Prepare ye the way of the Lord!”
But right now there’s a storm between me and the wilderness
And the Good Lord may just need to wait for my proclamation until I’m finished pushing out cars
I am not the one to cut the roast
I am the one to show my family where to find it.


P.S. For my many, many plethorae of blog readers, would you please post comments on any of the entries or send me your reactions? I'm interested to get those so that I don't write completely in a vacuum.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Things the fjord makes me think of

I am perfectly aware that it have been over two months since I have posted anything. And I also am aware that my last entry involved me saying that I may write more "blogger" type entries that are impulsive and less drafted than what I've posted previously. Well, I don't think that's happening yet. For the past two months, I have been concerned with finishing my first year of teaching, moving, getting married, going to Norway and then coming back and going to Chicago. It has been a whirlwind. Forgive me that I have not put anything out onto the blogosphere.

Any rate, what I have included below is something that I wrote in my travel journal on 19 June. We were staying in a cabin about two miles from Flåm, Norway. It sat right next to the fjord and, this particular day, I sat out under the eaves while it was drizzling and wrote the following list, the name for which is also the title of this blog entry.

  • The moment that a Tolkienian Elf first sees the ocean rising from the mist or shining in the evening sun
  • Deep waters, turquoise blue and frigid
  • The tide creeping up or slipping away when you're not looking
  • It's hiding secrets, out there in the shipping lanes
  • When it rains, the droplets reveal which water is swelling and which is being pulled by the current
  • The low-hanging, misty clouds that lurk on the mountains when the conditions are right
  • How the size of the water and the mountains make the passing cruise ships look like toys
  • When you live on a fjord, you could be a farmer while your next door neighbor is a fisherman
  • You go out to explore and find yourself so small but so intimate with the place, all at once
  • You can look across the valley and see there is still snow on top of the opposite mountain, while its feet go right down into the dark water (though my reaction is still it's not that big; I could climb it)
  • How people figured out such good ways to make houses here, but the tradition is so deep and so authentic. What's more is it was all developed before machines were around to help