Sunday, September 26, 2004

The Stories Raga Tells

My Sissy (sister)Paula asked me a question tonight:

What is the story of your heart?

And honestly, I couldn't say. I don't think I have one big, yummy story, though that would make life simple. I'd write it, using beautiful penmanship, with one of those markers that smell like grape kool-aid. I'd sign it with a flourish when I get to "the end", only I can't seem to get there at all. Sometimes I wonder if my big story has even began, of if it exists at all.

Certainly I see how my own fascinations show up in my work again, and again. When I write ragamuffin diva, there is often a theme of something being lost, then found. This doesn't surprise me, as that was my first wound. I was a lost soul, separated from God. I have that God-shaped vacuum, like we all do, only mine is one of those heavy duty Oreck vacuums that can pick up a bowling ball. I was also separated from my mother as a baby. I always missed her. I remember the grief weighing on my toddler shoulders, rounding their tiny parameters with a burden no child should have to bear. To this day, I am still hunched, a battle scar that speaks of my longing. I still long for my Mama, even though she is only a phone call away. Maybe I long for what we missed.

Biracial people always appear in my work, no doubt revealing some dichotomy I experience within. I am not biracial, but I my skin is the color of Brach's caramel squares, and I come from an incredibly color struck family. My great grandfather demanded that we not darken his family blood line, which all the women of my family, myself included, promptly ignored, marrying the most luscious cocoa brown colored men we could find, but maybe grandpa's voice whispers his own torment to me, and I keep writing people who are black *and* white, and wondering how much of both and all, we all are.

Even if He is quiet, there is always Jesus, often showing up in an astounding Love. When skies are clear in my soul, I write Him straight, a laughing Savior, a loving Daddy, a Friend that sees--really sees me, or a Friend that rebukes, leaving the hand He spanked, adorned with a tiny gold ring (Proverbs 25:11;12 the Message). Either way, it's good to write God as Friend.

When skies are gray within, Jesus is often in the gentle talk of a lover in my fiction. He leads me to Himself via wild desire, a fire blazing, drawing me to my perfect Other. He is soft brown eyes that consume me. He is the tender touch that *does* honor me, and always, at long last. He is the Hero Beloved, come to rescue me, and to Him, I am altogether lovely. I see this again and again, and I'm tempted to think that here is my story. But it's not that simple.

Eugene Peterson, in Living the Message, says "The gift of words is for communion. We need to learn the nature of communion. This requires the risk of revelation--letting a piece of myself be exposed, this mystery of who I am. If I stand here mute, you have no idea what is going on with me. You can look at me, measure me, weigh me, test me, but until I start to talk you do not know what is going on inside, who I really am. If you listen, and I am telling the truth, something marvelous takes place--a new event. Something comes into being that was not there before. God does this for us. We learn to do it because God does it. New things happen then. Salvation comes into being; love comes into being. Communion".

Amen Eugene. So when I tell stories, maybe I am just doing what God is teaching me. Maybe it is just about handing you the Bread and the Wine, and asking you to partake with me. And as I told Paula, maybe it isn't my story, or the story of my heart at all. Maybe it is all His story, and here we are, writer and reader supping together, and then reader becomes writer on the comments page, and we all share in the communion which is His body and His blood, broken for us. Salvation and love come into being, and we are nourished, and made bigger than we were before. It's a marvelous God thing.

God does this for us.

I'll meet you at the table, gentle reader, when I get to savor the vintage wine from your cup, again, and taste the sweet bread of fellowship you offer, melting in my mouth, mingling like jazz and slow dances, with the sweet juice of the fruit of the vine. I offer this, and all of these blog entries to you: the stories raga tells, my communion, and I hope and pray you find them good.

I love you. You can't possibly know how much.
God's raga


upwords said...


I know how much you love me. Because of your courage and butt naked writing I remember how much He loves me too.

Pass the bread, Sis. Pour the wine. Here is Jesus, jazz and the slow dance that is you. My kinda communion.


Geo said...

I have been driving the Red Chariot alot lately and have not had time to post comments or put post on my own blog. But I am lifted up everytime I come here and share of the wine and bread Daddy has given you. Thank you for being my loving sister.

Geo & The Red Chariot

lisa said...

Hello lovely friend!

I'm partaking as well. The body. The blood. The Story of stories incarnated.

bobbie said...

oh claudia, that is sweet, sweet communion, thank you!

i love those words from eugene - that is so true, and you, you are never stingy with communion, for that i am grateful!

mary and lisa those comments make me glad we're in communion too!

this blogging thing has allowed us to commune in a way that is beyond my wildest imagination - reading your words gives me so much hope!

i love the story of your heart!

Paula said...

Yes, I want to write His story--but more than that, I want to live His story, to get lost in His love, to let perfect acceptance pour over me like a sparkling diamonds of a waterfall. I want to be that lioness you call me sometimes, Claudia. Brave enough to write out of the wounds that growl and cry for His healing balm. Brave enough to let Him reach into those wounds with a cotton swab full of alcohol and to scream as the cleansing pain rushes through my body so that I can later sign and dance and testify to the truth He gives me as I heal.

Candy said...

I wish I could somehow relate in words on the page, as you do, the intensity of the blessing I feel to be at this table with you, Raga. I'm currently reading The Ragamuffin Gospel. It's slow goin' because I'm trying to savor every morsel and drink it into my heart. I find it is increasing my need and longing to be truth - to be His in all honesty and love. I picked this book up and bought it because of you Ragamuffin Diva. And I am once again a deeply touched ragamuffin. For that I am grateful.

eddie{F} said...

Thanks for your sweet writing - it washed a peace over my soul!