Sunday, January 29, 2012

I need a bigger pocket.

"We need enormous pockets, pockets big enough for our families, & friends, & even the people who aren't on our lists, people we've never met but still want to protect. We need pockets for boroughs & for cities, a pocket that could hold the universe." [Extremely Close and Incredibly Loud]

Monday, January 16, 2012

Reflections on the Light of Christmas: in January.

It's January now. The thrill of winter has long since worn off. I love the month of December. There are Christmas movies being played, parades, festivals, advent, my birthday, etc. All of that causes me to feel so much joy and excitement. Now I start to feel the call of the beach with it's waves, the desire to take my bike for a ride through Greensboro's shaded streets, to sit in the yard just soaking up the sunshine and yet I find that I cannot participate in any of these activities because it is so cold. A friend once said, "Since it got cold I haven't seen you take your coat off or smile." This is an accurate way to describe my relationship with winter.

The other night I finally went to snap a picture of the sweet Moravian church across the street from us. It was decorated so beautifully for Christmas and all of December, I had thought to myself that I should take a picture of it. Fortunately, I took a picture when I did because the next day the decorations were gone.

I wanted to remember how the light looked shining in the darkness. And suddenly I realized that when Jesus came into our world that is exactly how it seemed: God had not communicated with his people in 400 years. They are called "the silent years", because of the waiting without any word. Jesus comes and it is like a burst of light in the darkness of the world and like a yell into the silence that God had not forgotten his promise.

This year, all the Christmas lights meant a little something different. They reminded me that Jesus was the light to us, and they made me think of the joy people should feel when they experience that light. They also reminded me that we are to be a light to those around us. Light can be offensive when you've been in the dark for a long time, but it can also be a welcome experience.

I want to treasure the light as this dark, cold winter goes on, just as Mary held all the things concerning Jesus' birth in her heart and pondered them.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Cat Theology

I took Italics to the vet last week. I was filled with apprehension and I'd put it off a long time, but I knew that it was (obviously) what needed to be done to keep my cat boy healthy. I knew it wasn't going to be pleasant because he is all tiger.

I warned the nurse as she took him out of his carrier. She thanked me and told me many cats were like that. I thought, "lady, you have no idea..." He was calmish though being weighed and getting his temperature taken, but I could see that he was simply getting pushed to the edge- I was anticipating meltdown while the unsuspecting nurse assumed all was fine.

Italics began to hiss and fight, and since he wouldn't calm down the nurse decided to bring in the big guns: a man-woman with a pair of hawking gloves.

Between nurses,Italics scrambled to get to me for safety, but the nurse took him back to the table. They didn't stay on the table for long, and they ended up wrestling on the floor so the vet could give T- cat his shots. Tally screamed and struggled, causing my stomach to be tied in knots. When I got in the car, I confess that I cried a little.

As I'd put Italics in the car, I thought to myself, "This must be a bit how God feels-- though I know Italics will hate this trip, I know it's for his good." How often do we go through something hard that we must endure, but that God doesn't delight in putting us through? How often does his heart grieve for us as we endure? In the car, I was moved to tears because watching Tally struggle had been so hard. His trip could have been much easier, but instead of trusting that I hadn't brought him there to be attacked he struggled. Maybe God weeps when he sees us struggle and fight against something that will ultimately bring us good. Often I think that God is withholding or causing my struggles and I become resentful. What if it's not so much that God is causing my pain but allowing it? I've "known" this, but today I feel like I experienced the other side of it.