April 22, 2014 § Leave a comment
And it seems as if the earth is groaning too.
Oh, not on the outside where my life goes on as it usually does, where tragedy has not come to my door. Here the apple trees are showing off pink and white blossoms, Easter has been celebrated with gusto, and the garden is pushing up the first green of onions, radishes, beets and potatoes .
But, underneath, underneath, the default position of my thoughts shifts to those 41 lost, the bodies in the mud of the Washington State Oso landslide, not far from my island home. Those bleak March days afterwards—a month ago today—when the rain was still pouring and I was warm and comfortable in my house, my mind would shift to the grandmother, the baby, the working man, the small children, lost in the cold mud and insurmountable piles of debris. Although I sat as close to the comforting steady heat of the woodstove, it was as if I couldn’t get warm enough when there were those who would never be warm again … on this earth.
The Bible says, “the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time,” (Romans 8:22 NIV).
And it feels right now as if there is more reason to groan than ever.
The current triad of tragedies began on March 8th with the mysterious disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 with its 227 passengers and 12 Malaysian crew. The unbearable uncertainty, the drowned hopes, the grief with no resolution, the groaning.
When the South Korean ferry “Sewol” sank on April 19, 2014 near Jindo, south of Seoul, Korea it was as if the previous two disasters were combined into something unthinkable, unimaginable and utterly devastating. Some 476 passengers had boarded the ferry, most of them teenagers, 250 of them from one high school in Ansan, Korea. To date, there are 121 confirmed dead, with 181 missing. As rescue has turned to recovery, the numbers of dead will go up exponentially. It is a stunning loss; and I grieve.
It is Earth Day, and the earth is groaning. Darkness and death seem ever present.
The cover story of April 28th’s issue of Time is “Finding God in the Dark” and features Barbara Brown Taylor. Author of the article, Elizabeth Dias, writes that Taylor says, ” … contemporary spirituality is too feel-good that darkness holds more lessons than light and that contrary to what many of us have long believed, it is sometimes in the bleakest void that God is nearest.”
“In the bleakest void … God is nearest.” I remember the words of Psalms 24:1: “The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it; for he founded it upon the seas and established it upon the waters.”
The earth is his. He knows. He understands our darkness. His heart is touched with our grief, our groaning. He is near.
The hope that seems so out of reach in times of great tragedy, but is nevertheless actual and real, is there will come a day, when this earth has worn out like a garment when there will be a new earth, a new heaven. When death that touches all of us here on earth, will be done away with. When there will be no more darkness or grief.
But, not yet; we wait. The rest of Romans 8:22 says, “ … [We] groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons the redemption of our bodies.”
There will come a day.
copyright 2014 Inger Logelin
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January 18, 2014 § 2 Comments
I said it. And now I have to do it. In my post “In Search of Simple Things” I said, “Ways to declutter, organize, sort and divest” were sounding attractive. It’s the actual getting rid of stuff, the parting, the excising that isn’t all that attractive to me. And where the ink hits the paper is the indisputable fact that complicates my life. I am a bibliophile. Yes. A lover of books. I’m hoping it hasn’t reached the point of bibliolatry … a state of being overly devoted to books.
Mostly I borrow books from the library, and
don’t mind bringing them back as I can find them again if I wish. Complicating matters is my work as an editor/writer that has at times necessitated reading a book and writing about it. And then there’s the relative who has access and first pick of used books to purchase as a Friend of the Library and who arrives for visits with bags or boxes for me to peruse and buy.
Why do I love books so? They are friends who supported me in various phases of my life, who entertained, who kept me awake, who spun new thoughts in my head, who made me cry, who taught me, inspired me and kept me company. How can I get rid of them? I keep my friends. I don’t necessarily want to read them twice; I just want them hanging around.
And so my garage is filled with books, the downstairs bookshelves are filled, the upstairs shelves have no more room. Some of these babies have to go. I’m approaching the “old woman in a shoe” syndrome.
How to cull? What to get rid of? Here’s the plan. I’m also motivated by value, so I have three boxes ready to go to a used bookstore that buys books for their consideration. I’ve listed many on Amazon, and sold some most weeks. It’s not as painful getting rid of books if I consider they are going to a new good home and if I make a few dollars on the exchange. Those that don’t sell I’ll save for my spring garage sale.
“What are you going to do with the ones that don’t sell then?” my husband asked.
“Oh, I’ll donate them,” I said offhandedly. But, it’s not that simple. I may just pat their covers lovingly and package them up and slide them back in the garage. I don’t have a problem with hoarding … after all. Or do I?
(c) 2014 Inger Logelin
January 6, 2014 § Leave a comment
Rainbow soap bubbles sparkled on the clear glass plate as the winter sun shone through the kitchen
window. I held the art deco handles, rinsed and wiped the flower-shaped plate and wondered. Wondered about the woman who had owned it before me.
I found it on a crisp November Saturday in Barron, Wisconsin when my sister-in-law and I stopped at an estate sale at a yellow one-story house on a quiet street. “Everything’s half off today,” said the antique store owner who was managing the sale. I walked through the house picking up clues. She must have been Scandinavian. Stainless and pewter serve ware, crisp linens, familiar patterns. A cheese serving set from the 50s in the original box with a Marshall Fields tag on it. Pink budded cups and saucers. Many items looked new or very lightly used. Some were obviously gifts she had never taken out of the box. A green and white chenille bedspread in perfect condition. A gilt mirror and brush and comb. Unused handkerchiefs and boxes of linen stationery tied with ribbon.
There’s something sad about strangers wander through a home, picking up and discarding, evaluating and critiquing treasures the owner had kept and valued but perhaps never taken out of the box. Were there no children to value what their mother had or to want to keep some remembrances of her?
I walked out of there with a box and a bag. Some to keep, some to give to a daughter who particularly values the 50s. And I came home with something else. The resolve to keep on using what I have and what I have been given. I want to take my gifts out of the box and give them a good go. Use them, pass them around, give them away. I want my gifts–what I am, what I possess–to wear the lovely patina that comes from loving interactions. Scratches and dents may result, but at the end my life won’t be one that was unused, unrealized and left in a box.
(c) Inger Logelin 2014
February 7, 2013 § Leave a comment
Colorful flashes of my life accost me at regular intervals throughout my day.
There’s the baby, she must have been three months old.
Who is that? My mind refusing to pull up a name.
Don’t ever wear that again, I warn myself.
Oh, remember that street in Nice … the dogteam ride in Greenland … Oh, there’s the wedding.
Does that top make me look fat? I muse, not looking for an answer.
No, it’s iPhoto selecting bits and pieces of my life to rotate on my desktop computer. No rhyme, no reason, no pattern. Just a delight of discovery. A frisson of remembrance. A slight breath in.
I look at all the lives who have touched mine, places traveled I never thought I’d go, the rich and varied tapestry of my life and I’m thankful.
copyright 2013 Inger Logelin
January 25, 2013 § 4 Comments
In the middle of December 2012, 45-year-old twin brothers in new suits and shoes drank cups of coffee together in the hallway of a hospital. They smiled, gave a little wave good-bye to family and were administered lethal injections by a doctor.
Marc and Eddy Verbessem lived in Belgium, a country where euthanasia is legal. According to an article by Simon Tomlinson in the Daily Mail Online on January 15, 2013, the twins were deaf since birth and also had “severe” medical problems. After receiving the crushing diagnosis they would soon be blind from a genetic form of glaucoma, Marc and Eddy told a brother they “had nothing to live for.” Unable to communicate with the outside world,they used their own form of sign language with family. Losing independence was untenable for the twins who worked as cobblers and had always lived together and taken care of themselves. The family tried to persuade them not to kill themselves, but failed.
Perhaps, if Marc and Eddy had met someone like Helen Keller they could have glimpsed hope for their futures.
Helen Keller, born in 1880, was blind and deaf at 19 months after a serious illness—probably scarlet fever or meningitis. Unable to communicate, her dark world exploded into light when Anne Sullivan held Helen’s hand under a water pump and repeatedly spelled out the signs for water. She was seven.
Helen learned to speak and read people’s lips by touching them with her fingertips. She earned a bachelor of arts degree at Radcliffe and became a world famous speaker and author. When she was introduced to Christianity, she said, “I always knew He was there but I didn’t know His name.” An author, speaker and political activist, she was presented with the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1964 by President Lyndon B. Johnson, a few years before she died in 1968.
Three lives facing the same obstacles. Two said they had nothing to live for. One lived out her credo, “I am only one, but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but I can do something; and because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do something that I can do.”
copyright 2013 Inger Logelin