February 10, 2017 § 3 Comments
I am so over the politics. The stridency. The inflexibility on all sides. I’m ready for a little distraction. Think I’ll tell you a funny story instead.
I settled down contentedly in my obviously new theater-style seat at Crossings Church, a medium-mega church in Oklahoma City as the over 100-voice choir, accompanied by a full orchestra, began to sing. The congregation of 2,000 plus stood as the first notes of the “Hallelujah Chorus” filled the auditorium. I smiled at my college-aged granddaughter on one side, and my daughter on the other with the rest of the family filling the row. Smoothing down my new maxi-length striped skirt, I glanced around me at the congregation of the well-dressed gathered for the Easter morning service. What a great place to be for Easter. This is going to be good!
Sandi Patti was going to be singing. Sandi Patti! I couldn’t wait. This was her home church where she apparently traditionally shares a song on Easter. Bonus! As the well-known soloist began to sing, “Because He Lives” she invited us to stand and sing along with her. As I enthusiastically belted out a few words, loudly harmonizing to, “Because I know . . . who holds tomorrow . . . and life is worth the living . . . just because He lives,” I enthusiastically stood.
As it turns out, a little too enthusiastically.
Then I looked down and saw white. White? I‘m not wearing white.
My skirt with its soft, fold-over waistband was a geometric pattern of definitely black, white, and gray, but not all white.
I sat down fast.
My granddaughter looked over at me wondering no doubt, What’s Grandma doing now? I had stepped on the back hem of my skirt when I stood up. Wardrobe malfunction of the worst kind. It felt like a dream sequence when something terrible happens surrounded by a cast of thousands.
I sat down hard, grabbing for the front of my skirt and adjusted it to cover my white slip. Fortunately, I was wearing a very long jersey jacket that just might have provided sufficient cover in the back. I’ll never know. (There was a balcony up above, so someone may have had an opinion on that.)
The back of my skirt appeared to have landed somewhere in the vicinity of the back of my knees. While everyone in the congregation stood again for another song, I fished surreptitiously around for it without finding it.
All through an excellent Easter sermon I tried to reach the waistband in the back to pull up the skirt, without being too obvious. What am I going to do? Will I have to sit here until everyone leaves? I didn’t have a coat to wrap around me. It was a little hard to concentrate on the sermon knowing that very soon I was going to have to get up. And yes, I prayed. I was getting desperate.
By inching, and probing, and pulling, all so very carefully, I eventually located the back of the skirt. At the last possible moment, at the closing prayer, when all eyes were to be shut in prayer, and the lights were dimmed ever so slightly, I made a bold grab and got the offending back of the skirt in approximate position. Just in time. I stood with the rest with one hand under my jacket holding the waistband in place, and tried to nonchalantly walk out.
What did I learn in church that Easter Sunday? I don’t remember much of the sermon. But I did think of life lessons on being uncovered or falling short. If you need a good humbling, church is a good place for it. God will find you there. And also never leave home without a safety pin.
May 20, 2014 § 2 Comments
Oh! We’re all puffs of air. Oh! we’re all shadows in a campfire. Oh! we’re just spit in the wind. We make our pile, and then we leave it. What am I doing in the meantime, Lord? Hoping, that’s what I’m doing–hoping …” (Psalm 39:5-7 The Message).
Today is our grandson’s 14th birthday and his eight grade graduation. Wasn’t it just the other day that his father carried him out of the birthing room for the inspection of two eager pairs of grandparents? He was a blond toddler when he came to live next to us so he grew up imperceptibly before our eyes in daily increments. And then one day almost two years ago he and his older sister and his mother and dad moved to the middle of the country to the extremes of temperature in Tornado Alley. And now he’s a young man, taller than his mother and ready for high school.
And what happens to his grandparents in the intervening years since his birth? We grow older in daily increments, and not so imperceptibly. We see old friends and recognize the quick appraising glances we give each other: how did we all get so old?
“Puffs of air.
Does that mean we’re like ethereal gusts, short-lived, entertaining while they’re moving, but not destined to stay around? I think it does.
“Shadows in a campfire.”
I’ve seen a lot of campfires in my 18 years of sitting around nightly smoky campfires at a wilderness camp ministry. Everyone is drawn to fire, sees something different in it, is fascinated by the glowing embers as they burn down. But they eventually burn down and the fire goes out.
“Spit in the wind.”
Not an elegant word picture. Spit in the wind doesn’t go far and can’t decide where it goes. It just has its moment in time and then is gone.
“We make our pile and then we leave it.”
Or not. The accumulations that we leave behind better be more than dishes nobody wants and oddments that get relegated to an estate sale. (A little money would be nice, the kids say sotto voice.)
Do I sound depressed? I’m not, not at all. I’m just measuring my days, looking back and looking ahead. It’s the last line of this psalm of David that tells the real story.
Our lives are more than a puff of air, a campfire shadow, accumulating and leaving. There’s hope! Hope for the discoveries ahead, for the joys yet to come. Hope reassures me God has planned amazing things for our real lives to come in our true home. No more fleeting puffs of air, or campfire shadows but life, eternal life.
“My hope is in you,” the New King James Version of verse 7 says. And that grasp of a living hope in God is what I want to leave my children and grandchildren.
© Inger Logelin 2014
April 9, 2012 § Leave a comment
Spring has come late to my corner of the Northwest. The tulips are waiting for frost-free mornings to fully open. Rain upon rain and more rain has encouraged so many shades of green that verdant doesn’t begin to describe them. There are signs that once again the season has truly changed, that once again we will see sun.
- My favorite iridescent-orange-crowned hummingbird is back fighting for space at the deck feeder.
- Pink and green buds on the Japanese maple and the espaliered apple trees whose linking arms form a natural fence.
- Doves and squirrels feeding together under the hanging birdfeeder where the songbirds discard their castoffs.
- My dachshunds ever watchful for the three wild turkey hens foraging in the yard. A half-hearted chase ensues before laziness overcomes them and they retreat to the porch.
- The music and tradition of Easter … Resurrection Day … A high, piercing and achingly beautiful live soprano duet of G. Faure and Andrew Lloyd Webber’s “Pie Jesu.”
- A Down Syndrome adult teaching a congregation to sign the words as his parents sing, “Beautiful, beautiful/ Jesus is beautiful/ And Jesus makes beautiful things of my life. Carefully touching me/causing my eyes to see/ Jesus makes beautiful things of my life” (Dennis Cleveland).
I agree. “Jesus makes beautiful all things of my life.”
Not seeing it? Wait. Open your eyes for the next opening bud, the next baby’s drooling smile, the next kind word.
ⓒ Inger Logelin 2012
November 18, 2011 § Leave a comment
In between writing jobs I have been submerged lately in a hidden world. I’ve just completed translating diaries my mother wrote from 1939-44 detailing her feelings and experiences as a young missionary in northern Norway. Written in Norwegian in a fine old-fashioned script that makes it hard to decipher some of the letters, it is the account of a young woman who traveled to Finnmark, sometimes known as Lapland, eager to serve.
My mother brought the two hard-bound volumes from Norway when we moved here in 1950 and they remained out of sight in the bottom of a box of papers until she died 13 years ago. I don’t know how she’d feel to know I have translated them. Her inmost thoughts, struggles, observances on her co-workers at the mission where she worked, the love story between her and the man who would become my father are now translated, to the best of my ability, and entered into a computer file.
She wrote beautifully, full of expression and never stingy with sharing her feelings. While northern Norway was occupied by the Germans during the time she was writing her diary, she barely mentions it. More real to her was her own day-to-day life. She wrote of traveling with her guitar strapped to her back to teach at outpost Sunday schools, or leading singing in the meetings in homes and small churches. Of ski tours and haying in the mountain fields, of berry picking, dish washing, of rich friendships, and sometimes feelings hurt, and the joys of letters arriving in the post. She loved Jesus, loved traveling, and was ready for new adventures. A beautiful love blossomed out of friendship as my mother and father worked and lived in the same children’s home/mission house with the rest of the staff.
I would hope my mother would be pleased, because these diary entries have opened a new world to me. I feel I know the young woman she was in a way I never have before and can better understand the wife and mother she became. The feelings she unstintingly documented are a treasure and a discovery.
Now I’m doing the same thing. I’m digging out and inputting into the computer letters I’ve written in the years we lived in the Canadian Arctic, Alaska, and on the west coast of Vancouver Island. Letters others saved and returned to me. I envision one day a great-granddaughter or great-grandson discovering these accounts in an old file when I am gone and understanding me better.
September 28, 2011 § Leave a comment
“This is not a hoax–it is happening to women everywhere every night.” So read a recent e-mail circulating the internet and sent by a friend (S.E., you shall remain nameless). She must have thought I needed this information, or that I resembled this information or that I needed to pass along this information. And so I am, unashamedly, as it concerns important information about missing body parts, a conspiracy of replacements, and thievery of the highest order.
It starts off, “You’ve no doubt heard of people who have been abducted and had their kidneys removed by black market organ thieves.” This used to be joke, an urban myth, until I actually read of a case (was that in a thriller/mystery or was it on the news?). Anyway the woman in the e-mail reported that her thighs had been stolen as she slept and replaced with someone else’s. The new ones had the “texture of cooked oatmeal” and she doesn’t know what happened to hers.
Her derriere ́was next. She knew it was the same thieves as they “took pains to match my new rear end to the thighs they had stuck me with earlier.” The problem was, her new (ahem) rear end was attached at least three inches lower than her original.
Two years ago she realized her arms had been switched. One morning she was fixing her hair and was horrified to see the flesh of her upper arm swinging to and fro with the motion of the hairbrush.
When her neck suddenly disappeared and was replaced with what resembled a turkey neck she decided to tell her story. But the scariest moment came when she was lying in bed and realized that her breasts had disappeared! She jumped out of bed and was relieved to see that they had just been hiding in her armpits as she slept. She now keeps them hidden in her waistband. The same thieves came into her closet and shrank her clothes!
This is not a hoax. Warn your friends. It may happen to them, it may happen to you.
Anybody out there know anything about the disappearance of our original body parts? If something similar has happened to you, do tell! By the way, this blog does not contain pictures to protect the innocent.
ⓒ Inger Logelin 2011
September 23, 2011 § 2 Comments
I’m pleased to bring you a guest post by author of twelve books, speaker and writing mentor, Mary DeMuth. In her “Live Uncaged” blog on September 19, 2011 Mary DeMuth wrote beautifully about coming to terms with a by-product of aging—losing the affirmation that comes with youthful attractiveness. Thank you, Mary, for sharing your heart so transparently.
“Picturing A Beautiful Soul: A Confession
I had some interesting interactions this week, just a few actually. But in them, I realized that I’m just not that young girl anymore. I don’t turn heads. I feel my age, particularly as my wrist and hand hurts. As I looked at myself in the mirror, I wondered when it all happened, this aging thing. And I realized that I am growing old, less beautiful in the world’s eyes.
I hate to admit this, but it bothered me. A lot. I lamented the loss of youth, the loss of young beauty, the loss of who I used to be. This realization put me in a funk, not one that I shared with anyone outwardly, but one I battled with internally for several days.
And then the Lord spoke.
Oh how He spoke.
It came after a sigh of a prayer where I prayed, “Lord, I don’t want to be so consumed by this. I don’t want to be shackled to who I once was and who I am now. I don’t want to live a life of regret, always grasping at youth. I want to be content as I grow older. Help me.”
“Picture a beautiful soul,” He said.
And I stopped.
And tried to picture what a beautiful soul looked like.
But all I came up with was a montage of accusing photos that shout my inadequacy from the checkout line. Young skinny women, perfectly polished, not me. Though I tried, I couldn’t picture a beautiful soul. But I’m trying. I’m trying to picture something full of shekinah glory, sparkly and radiant, the center of myself.
And as I picture it, I see myself standing before Jesus, in my new body, holding my soul out to him like a diadem.
You know what? I want that diadem to be beautiful. I want the worry of my decay to be but a fleeting thought. I want to cultivate the kind of life that creates a bigger jewel in my soul, enlarging my heart, making me more like Jesus. When I see Jesus face to face, unashamed because of His sacrificial act, I want my soul to be beautiful. I want Him to see it, to be pleased with how it shines.
But I can’t do that if I constantly point back to the young, naive me, worrying about fading beauty, now can I?
Dear, dear Jesus, I want to picture a beautiful soul. Help me live for that beautiful soul, not for that which fades and fades and fades. Amen.”
Mary DeMuth’s blog “Live Uncaged” can be found at http://www.marydemuth.com/