Tuesday, November 13, 2007

The Mushroom Dance

Sunday morning, 9:30 a.m., I still didn't have an ending for the sermon that needed to be delivered at the 10:30 a.m. worship service. And then I had to go and manage a childcare worker issue (as in, one of our workers simply didn't show up - causing panic among the others). I went for a short walk through our campus with two of our young ones, ages 3 1/2 and 6, as I talked through the situation with our childcare coordinator.

The 6-year-old was, as is her custom, running and jumping along the way with the 3 1/2 year-old doing his best to keep up with her. She was insisting that she show us a mushroom she'd found earlier in the morning. I agreed, of course, to see this mushroom - not really paying close attention to her or fully appreciating the excitement that had been caused by this mushroom siting.

We made our way to the plot of grass where this mushroom was growing, and we knelt down in the damp morning-dewed earth to see this small growing thing. And then the 3-year-old found another one, and another and another...and the two of them danced from mushroom to mushroom - laughing and pointing out all the exquisite details that those of us too distracted to notice would never have seen otherwise.

What a world we would be if more of us learned this mushroom dance! How grateful I am for God's presence in these young ones' bodies and hearts and voices, and the chance to listen to the Holy as I was kneeling down in that grass on a Sunday morning.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Holding On

I fall into these holes sometimes. And when I'm there, submerged in the dark, I forget that I've ever been anywhere else. It feels a little like standing on the edge of a cliff in complete darkness. Way down inside my head somewhere I know there should be a bridge that crosses to the other side because I've not actually ever fallen so far that I can't get back up. But for some reason I can't access that knowledge in a way that is at all helpful. And so I fall off the cliff into a hole instead of stepping onto the bridge.
Sometimes I know why, sometimes not. The past two days have been the hardest in a long time. There have been moments in the last 48 hours when I've held on better than others, felt like I was on the bridge instead of at the bottom of the ravine all broken and bleeding and tangled up in the brush. Mostly, though, it's been dark. I haven't been able to write or believe that I can write - even with two sermons to preach tomorrow. My wife is speaking tonight at a regional event and I couldn't even manage to go with her. She's unbelievably kind and supportive, holding me until I can come back to life enough to cry and start letting the water wash away the dark a little bit at a time. And she's the one who suggested I blog today, that maybe I have to write about where I am in the dark to be able to write about anything else - that I have to let God into me before I can be a way for the Spirit to speak. I suspect she's right, as she often is.
And maybe I'm starting to remember that holding on doesn't mean I have to be completely un-broken all at once, that maybe God can use me even when I'm bleeding a little - or a lot.