Thursday, September 16, 2004

Like Wine Pouring Off the Mountains

(Amos 9:11-15, The Message)

I tear the room apart looking for my prayer book. I need that prayer book like I need chocolate and a good man. The bed is a mountain of papers I should have thrown away a year ago, a refuse heap of junk mail, papers, and books I should have already read. I’m getting a migraine. Again. All this for a prayer book, but I need it.

My own prayers rush out of my mouth, reduced to a hyperventilated ‘ohgodhelpmeplease’. I think of this, and it accelerates my desperation. I search for the book as if The Divine Hours will save my soul. A part of me hopes that it will. I can’t find it, and so I push out a path amid the pile on my bed, and I lie down, utterly defeated.

I close my eyes, and try not to think about the boxes I don’t have, to pack the stuff I need to throw away, to move into the house I don’t have the money to move into. I try to empty my head of everything, except for the steady pulse of the migraine. I steal breaths from my lungs, and force back the scream coiling like a serpent in my throat.

I want to go home. I don’t know where home is, but it’s not here in this place of empty purses purchased at the dollar store. It’s not this place of food stamp cards, and no health insurance. It’s not this broken down, dirty house, with dead lilies in the yard, and an eviction notice on the door. This is not my home.

Where are you God? Where the hell is your Kingdom?

I fumble for my copy of the Message, which I hadn’t seen for days. Or weeks? I don’t know what to read. One of Ken’s Star Wars calendar pages, dated July 22, 2004, bookmark a passage. I don’t remember if that’s the last date I picked up this Bible that I love so, and the thought of that twirls around my belly in a mourning dance.

Luke Skywalker has led me to the book of Amos, the last chapter. I like last chapters of the prophets. They are comfort after judgment, promise, and a prayer for those who didn’t have one, not too long before.

“But also on that Judgment Day I will Restore David’s house that has fallen to pieces. I’ll repair holes in the roof, replace the broken windows, fix it up like new. David’s people will be strong again, and seize what’s left of the enemy Edom, plus everyone else under my sovereign judgement.” God’s Decree. He will do this.” (9:11-12)

The passage begins to seep through my pores. I imagine God a handyman, dressed in His coveralls, covering all. Covering me. I smell His leather tool belt, the oil, and the sharp metal of his instruments. I watch him, patch me up, unraveling the duct tape that I’ve used while I awaited healing.

He will do this.

“Things are going to happen so fast your head will swim, one thing, fast on the heels of the other. You won’t be able to keep up. Everything will be happening at once—everywhere you look, blessings! Blessings like wine pouring off the mountains and hills. I’ll make everything right again for my people Israel.” (9:13-15)

I know this promise is for Israel, but I can’t help but feel that there is some of this for me. I keep reading, and the Word strokes the screaming madwoman banging on the door of my consciousness. I hear her quiet as I read:

“They’ll rebuild their ruined cities.
They’ll plant vineyards and drink good wine.
They’ll work their gardens and eat fresh vegetables.
And I’ll plant them, plant them on their own land.
They’ll never again be uprooted from the land I’ve given them.” (9:15)

God, your God, says so.

My God. He will do this.

I watch as He changes in my vision from Handyman to my soul, to the Gardner. He is rooting me amid mountain and hill. Watering me with the red wine pouring off the mountains. It is thick as blood and sweet as love, staining my lips crimson, while He greens me in His tender hands.

I get up from my bed, moving paper and books blocking my way, stepping on discarded clothing littering my path, stumbling toward the Kingdom. I see the bright light of blessings, bursting through the walls.

I smell grapes. I feel the pinch of blessings biting at my heels. The memory of wine, still lingers on my tongue.

My daughter meets me at my bedroom door. She is holding my prayer book in her hands.


upwords said...

I'm crying so hard that I don't know what to say. What to do. I'm stumbling with you, crawling to the table, for a sip of that wine. Thank you so for pouring. Bless Luke Skywalker's heart for pointing the way to the vineyard. I love you like crazy. Don't go that long without blogging again. You almost killed me!


Paula said...

Precious God,

You are the wine giver, the carpenter, the gardener, the One of restoration. I praise you because I know You are the builder, the renovator, the investor, and and the architect of Claudia's life and mine. I rejoice because You are moving in our worlds. I worship You because You are Home.

steph said...

The angst, the agony, the richness, the silver and gold threads along with the dark and dull.
Oh this is rich and it winds down into my soul where it wants to connect with the likeness, to look at it with honest eyes and for my breath to begin whispering with my Divine Maestro, the Vineyard Keeper, the Wine Maker, the Dance Instructor, the Shalom giver.

neritia said...

"I see the bright light of blessings, bursting through the walls."
Each time I read this post I want to cry and laugh with you! It's beautiful. You are so gifted in sharing your make life and all it's questions seem OK for me. I love your words and the rhythm of them brings music to my soul!
Thank you!

Ginas said...

Heartfelt, I hear your cry my sister and so does God, your answer and breakthrough is nearer than you think, hold stedfast to his word...I love you very much Claudia and I am with you.

Your Big Sister

Ben said...

Diva, I laughed so hard at the chocolate and man line I missed the depth of your post the first time around. Thank you for your honesty and taking me to deep places in my soul.

Candy said...

Claudia - you had me desperately searching for your prayer book with you. Your words draw me in and never leave me untouched. What a beautiful promise God has given you. It is for you. He is your Handyman and your Gardener. Let Him do His work. Abundant blessings upon you and your household my friend. I've missed hearing your voice.

Jaime H. said...

Oh, Father. Wrap Claudia in the Home of Your Love. Please remember that we are but dust, for the sake of Your Son.

The Four Eight Zero said...

Hey Sister, I think that that God you know so well can't help but love having you around. I'm seeing God, the Gardner chillin with His massive green thumb extended saying, "ahhh, she gets me."

The Four Eight Zero said...

the above message is from the radioreb, me, posing as my youth minister self.

Dennis Day said...

While I was searching the internet today, I came across your Blog and checked it out. You have a pretty good Blog. I have a website that you might check out that also contains information on Esau and the Edomites.

Have a Blessed Day,

D R Day