Tag Archiv: wind

Boats, songs, and sails

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It is summer here and I have boats on the mind. We returned recently from the land of canoes, kayaks, and other water craft. Boy one spent the first day of and a half of vacation making a plug to fill the hole of an old rowboat. He cleaned it out and attached a small motor he found. The row boat’s plug was not perfect but only a little ongoing bailing seemed necessary to keep things ship shape. His triumph culminated in a solo trip with his brother to unknown places. There they discovered a waterfall, a swimming hole, and a burning desire for more adventures of the same.

On a summer evening mid July I was singing. Kids waited for the story to unfold, laughing as another woman and I sang every verse of “There’s a hole in my bucket.” Since then my head has been visited going on weeks now with the recurring choruses. There’s a hole in my bucket, dear Liza, dear Liza . . . With what shall I fix it, dear Liza, dear Liza.

I share Henry’s bewilderment. Buckets in need of repair are tricky. Effective possible remedies are difficult to come by.

I picture the rowboat and know that I too am a boat that requires bailing. There is a hole in the boat, I have said quietly now to a few friends.

One night we sang campfire songs in the living room around a pile of red pillows because it was too windy outside for a real fire. This is the song that never ends sang the kids again and again. For the uninitiated, there are three more lines in the song which then circle back to the beginning whereby you sing with increasing gusto, this is the song that never ends! Kids love the song inversely proportional to how much other people hate it. The quickest and most bearable way out (which is still not that quick) is to sing along and pretend to like it.

Recapping, there’s a hole in my bucket, a song that never ends, a rowboat with a homemade plug, and me the boat with a hole. Or two.

Mulling it all over on a walk at home, I remembered another very windy vacation day. With much enthusiasm two kids gathered materials: sticks, hammer, nail, duct tape, pillow case, white garbage bags. Two models of a sail emerged and out into the bay they went. With one sitting on a blow up raft and another on a blow up yellow tube, they held up sails to catch the wind. Over and over they went, changing the angle of the sail, trying new starting points, stopping to take the sails apart and revamp with new materials. Twice, for thirty seconds of so, they were able to sail side by side. The last sail began with a laborious swim to drag sail and raft as far from shore as possible. An impressively long sail followed, steered with great pride to the precise corner of the dock.

We bail our leaking boats at times with a bit of discouragement. Will the bailing never end? Can anything be done about the holes? Seemingly ignoring the questions, the wind blows lightly. Only enough to tickle our ears. We remember that unannounced and arriving on a schedule quite its own, wind also comes with a mighty will across the water. When it does, from almost nothing, sails can be made.

Today the tiniest of breezes, and it is true that for now, we bail. But not without hope of wind and sails.

 

 

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Baptisms of Pentecost

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wind photo compliments of morguefile.com

Being overwhelmed feels like sensory overload. There’s too much stuff in your head. You crave space, quiet, nothingness. When at last the grace of quiet comes, you awaken not to the nothing you envisioned, but to a myriad of somethings.

I found I could save a trip last week if I simply stayed put after a doctor’s appointment and picked my son up straight from school. That left a few hours so I drove to the library. I saw a bench overlooking the water and sat down with my lunch. Across the river I saw man/boys in school uniforms squatting together in a circle. There was a stick which turned out to be two sticks which turned out to be fishing poles. I wondered where you could put in a good word for the man/boys toward future quests for education and employment. They would, I believed, make better humans for having fished on their lunch hour, than having either strutted somewhere for the women/girls or studied. After that I noticed the way the balsamic vinegar had soaked in just enough to make the cherry tomato halves on my fork spectacular, but not enough to make them something other than tomatoes.

On the tractor, I discovered a third color of trillium on the property. The white and pink are the same species, I learned. The red are not. Hanging laundry, I saw a gray tree frog attempting camouflage along the cracked paint of the hand railing. We found each other curious.

I observed the irony of tractors. Going places in cars drives me to distraction. Driving a tractor in circles in a field makes me peaceful and reflective. I turned off the computer and noticed the feel of a pen in my hand. Watched my handwriting, sloppy and unpracticed across the page, breathe in and breathe out. It’s slower on the uptake. But no amount of pen clicking on the lined notebook page could interrupt the space of now with the distraction of the internet.

I realized that my husband had been talking about tea. I noticed his focus. Unlike his placement of personal possessions, his approach to iced tea is highly systematic. There is a perfect amount of lemon; he will find it. A perfect number of spearmint leaves. A perfect temperature at which to leave the tea bags for a specific amount of time. Like a beagle on the trail, he is on it. I noticed it was to my preferences that he is measuring the standard of perfection.

These were my first whispers of wind and fire. My personal invitation to Pentecost.

The Spirit descends when we’re looking and when we’re not. Spirit that is. Blood in the veins. Wind in the grass. Creek water in the rush of spring. Soul food at a well worn kitchen table. Black gold compost for the garden. Morning’s light for another round of unremarked upon photosynthesis to feed the world. Spirit that drives through time like a second hand on a watch. Ignored by all but track stars, yet insistent and unremitting in it’s creation of minutes, hours, time. Spirit with the earthy rich sounds of a woman with her eyes closed and her hands open as she sings. She’s black singing to an all white crowd who doesn’t get it. She’s known fear and sadness and could yell about it, but opts to sing instead about deliverance. Because it’s bigger. And they need it.

Because the one thing you can say for certain about Pentecost is that it comes.

 

Running and Pentecost

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I have been thinking a lot about Pentecost.  I got hung up a little bit wondering why it was so small. How, I wondered, could the observance of an event that kicked off the official start of the largest, most enduring organization on earth range from a blip of remembrance to blank stares? Shouldn’t the birthday of the Christian church be a big deal?

But wanting to march in too many parades is a quick way to wind up miserable. Besides, the truth is, Pentecost passed me without much notice last year and some years before that. This year, there’s an inexplicable Pentecost bee in my bonnet. The buzz has been impossible to ignore, so I have been pondering Pentecost and what it means that God gives us mystery.

Pentecost is a bit like God showing up one day at the door with a gift, invisible of course, but no denying its existence, we can feel the weight in our hands. God says we need the gift, He loves us, and then He leaves.

Don’t worry about how everything turns out, He tosses over his shoulder. You’ve got the gift now.

For the rest of your life you know what the gift is, sort of, but you have no clue what the gift is exactly. What you do know is that since you received the gift, you are not the same as you were before. Sometimes you actually know this, like you know that standing in the sun feels warm, other times it’s a matter of faith. A lot of times you can’t see clearly what the gift is giving now as much as you can see it looking back at then.

Which I guess answers my own question about why the whole celebration has never really caught on that widely or crossed over into mainstream culture. If you tried to sell it to Hallmark they would have no way of making it tidy. If you think about it too long, Pentecost is a bit unsettling. It’s not a warm greeting card kind of feeling.

Pentecost says, Jesus came as one of you, but I remain beyond what you can imagine. You accepted a baby. Well done. Now let me set you aflame with the fire of Me. Afterwards, you will never be the same. Flesh and blood. Mystery. Forever and ever intertwined. Yes?

Pentecost is a voice on the wind. Whispers of a love that roars and takes no prisoners. One minute tearing you off your feet. Teaching you to walk again. Asking you to run. Another minute gently wiping your tears, sitting vigil with you at your private groanings.

The only question about Pentecost really, is which way to run. As far away as possible, or headlong into the wind?

Praying in the Wind

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My childhood was the age of records and tape cassettes. We didn’t listen to the radio, so popular music was only vaguely known to me. I loved whatever we had, the Carpenters, Roger Miller, and the Gaither trio. I almost wore out our Keith Green cassette. Green was killed in a plane crash at age 28. This gave his music an added mysticism to my young mind. The tragedy fascinated me and tugged at my own sorrows both. There was something untamed in his gravelly voice that I loved.  I sang all the songs on the tape, but my favorite was Rushing Wind.

 

Rushing wind, blow through this temple, Blowing out the dust within;

Come and breath your breath upon me: For I’ve been born again

 

I must never have actually read the words. For the last 30 years, I’ve been singing, “Rushing wind, Lord,” (instead of “Rushing wind, blow . . . “)  Close enough. Rushing Wind sang in me when I was happy, depressed, angry, hopeless, excited, worried, wondering, sad, and inconsolable. It was the kind of thing to sing when the tears were all spent or worse when I couldn’t find them. I fumbled for something in the heavy dark of empty. I mouthed the words, my voice would crack, and I would sing until I found my voice again. It was a prayer and an anthem both.

 

A plea for help.

 

Please, I’m not ok. Let me feel something. Anything. Tell me it won’t always be like this. Don’t leave me here alone.

 

And a declaration.

 

I accept. By circumstances I would not choose, I will allow myself to be altered, the dust of me blown out, and another breath breathing into my own.

 

I have a picture of an afternoon, my teenage body leaning against a tree, knees tucked up against my chest, the wind tearing madly around me. I had gone to the woods hoping that I would be able to cry, or to feel ok again. My sad was accustomed to strict exterior management. When I wanted to give it voice, it often remained silent, and I was left with numb. Then and now, I would take tears to the vastness of nothing any day. But tears were not to be. Neither did joy find me. In the bombastic wind my song came and so I sang. Rushing wind, Lord through this temple . . .

 

Hope found me in the wind, that day and on countless others. I still ache for wind when I don’t know which way to turn. I picture myself on a hill, the barren trees wild with wind. And the wind still calls forth my song. Spring agrees. The cry for new life never does grow old.

 

Rushing wind, Lord through this temple, Blowing out the dust within;

Come and breath your breath upon me: For I’ve been born again