Sunday, February 24, 2013

Our sure and certain hope

February 24, 2013

Dear friends,

My sister has finished her earthly journey. Death came in the evening, February 16, as she lay sleeping, her family gathered around her.

Thank you for your concern and support during this long goodbye. I am sad and incredibly weary. But this is a time of hope as well.

John Donne, one time Dean of St. Paul's, wrote:

Death be not proud, though some have called thee

Mighty and dreadful, for thou art not so;

For those who thou think’st thou dost overthrow

Die not, poor Death, nor yet canst thou kill me.

From rest and sleep, which but thy pictures be,

Much pleasure—then, from thee much more must flow;

And soonest our best men with thee do go,

Rest of their bones and soul’s delivery.

Thou’rt slave to fate, chance, kings, and desperate men

And dost with poison, war, and sickness dwell,

And poppy or charms can make us sleep as well,

And better than thy stroke. Why swell’st thou then?

One short sleep past, we wake eternally,

And death shall be no more. Death, thou shalt die.

Resting, as God’s post-Easter people do, in “the sure and certain hope of the resurrection of the dead.”

Next week’s story is tentatively titled, “You’re a good man, Charley Brown.” See you then.


Saturday, February 16, 2013

I Hear You

February 16, 2013

Dear Friends,

I just hung up the phone after a brief conversation with Gay. At "Hello", her voice weak and weary from uncertainty, travels, sleeplessness, I knew that this was a time to listen more than talk. Feeling the limitations  of technology, I said, "Oh, Gay, I wish I lived in Denver and could be there with you today." I even had the fleeting thought that I might hop a plane and make that happen, if only for 36 hours, most of which would be consumed in travel. I wanted to add the dimension of touch into my love and concern.

She said, "Oh honey, I do too. But in quiet moments I can hear your voice saying, 'I'm prayin' for y'all.' And I'm comforted."

It's made me ponder in yet another way about presence and how it manifests itself.

I'm clearly labeling this as Lori's best guess; but, what I heard was that her mind was hearing my actual voice saying those words. (Mostly because Gay would never eliminate a 'g' from the 'ing'. Much more, because she has probably never said, y'all except in quoting another.) I wouldn't know how to explain how this happens without lots of research and usage of a very boring quote from a textbook. I just know that, for good or bad, our mind can recreate the voice of another person. I'm convinced, out of experience, that it's repetition that plays most strongly in how our brain reproduces a voice.

Words and voices are powerful—great gifts when used in love.

I read an amazing quote this week:

Sometimes it is a great joy just to listen to someone we love talking  Vincent McNabb

It made me think immediately of the videos I watch constantly of my dear friend's 3 month old baby oohing and laughing. Hearing my four year old boyfriend say, "Mimi, I yub you." I save certain voice messages that are particularly special to me—so many from Gay. I listen to them regularly.

Savor the gift of voice, sound, presence.

Baste all your words with love. Choose wisely. Repeat essentials liberally.

Cherish moments.
Record memories.
Write down words.
Capture images.
In dark moments, frozen times of despair,
those memories,
                                       may be what comfort in inexplicable ways.

Please continue to pray for Gay and her family as they await Beth's departure from this life into the next.
Maranatha, ~lori

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Briefly from Lori

Hello Friends,

I'm posting for Gay today. Beth has been hospitalized and Gay is with her in Kansas. Your prayers and thoughts are so appreciated.

Gay has asked me to simply let all of you know that when she returns to write again, we will be reading, "You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown." If for some reason, she is unable to write next weekend, I'll fill in for her again.

Blessings to each of you, ~lori

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Listening is Dangerous!

February 3, 2013

Dear friends,

Your responses to last week’s blog have been thoughtful, insightful, and reassuring. There are bright, capable thinking people out there!! Your responses show me that I am fortunate that a significant number of you take time to read my blog, and, this week, to respond.

I am working on a personal response to each of you. Doing so requires some real thinking time on my part, all of which is accompanied by cognitive joy. (Is there such a thing? If not, we made it up here. Webster Dictionary folk take note.)

One of the most exciting aspects of your responses lies in your grasp of the purpose and function of stories. Bless you—you get it!! You really do get it.

This week while I am continuing to learn from your responses, I invite you to think with me about Barbara Brown Taylor’s understanding of our basic human need for stories—both the telling and the hearing.

She writes:
“A story creates a quiet place where one may lay down one’s defenses for a while. A story does not ask for a decision. Instead it asks for identification, which is how transformation begins.”
From the view point of the evil one, I think that good story telling is a subversive activity.

Consider: What if we told our stories—no matter if happy or sad, long or short, if climaxed in victory or by defeat—what if we told our stories with such truth and transparency that transformation sprang up everywhere?

See you next week.


P.S. I am indebted to one of you responders (a story teller herself) for Barbara Brown Taylor’s quote. Merci beaucoup, Lori.