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
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
August 7, 2012 § 11 Comments
It took a few days for the silence to be noticed. For a few days I was still coming across bits of my daughter’s life that she didn’t get into the moving truck. A hair tie from our 15-year-old granddaughter, Nikes that our 12-year old grandson had outgrown. Worn fuzzy slippers, a box of treasured cups, evidence of their life lived out first next door, then one house away. For twelve years.
Their house is empty, new owners moving garden art in bit by bit that looks out of place. It’s like the old magazine feature, “What’s Wrong With This Picture?” when you try to spot the items that don’t belong. I walk by their lush yard and think where did that come from? I want to go cut a bouquet from the lush crop of this season’s hydrangeas, but they’re someone else’s hydrangeas now.
Our house is quieter. Our daughter doesn’t breeze through the door in the mornings with a “Got any coffee?” Afternoon Scrabble or Rummikub games or the revolving back door, kids breezing in asking, “Grandpa?” or “Grandma?” are conspicuously absent. Life done collectively was noisy, rich and satisfying.
Moving on is taking on a new meaning for me. Our daughter and her husband and family moved on to a new opportunity and a new life in a state four days drive away. Moved from the green and temperate Northwest to over 100 temps, from being surrounded by water to flat land and drought.
Now it’s our turn to move on. No, not physically, but in terms of reinventing ourselves. Spoiled by the living-life-together privilege of close proximity, I dream of moving closer to our youngest daughter’s house and the bright and sparkly two-year old who lights up all our lives. They’re not four days’ drive away, just a ferry ride and 45 minutes, depending on notoriously clogged traffic. My moving on schemes range wide in imagination but will have to be played out in real time.
One thing is for sure, only God never changes, everything else does. My assignment, should I choose to accept it, is creatively filling the silence of their absence with moving on moments of my own.
ⓒ Inger Logelin 2012