Thursday, October 28, 2004

With Regrets

Dang! My computer is about to blow up! I find exploding computers a little disconcerting, so for my personal safety, I'm opting to let it go.

Unfortunately, that means I have to let my blog go, too. And my novel. And everything else I do on this amazing, much loved machine.

I'm not going gently!

I'm having a really horrid time of it.

I have to say goodbye until I grow up and get a new computer.

Bye.

Ouch. That really hurt.

Remember this ragamuffin in your prayers,
I'll remember you in mine.
Don't forget to read The Ragamuffin Gospel by Brennan Manning.

And

May the Lord watch between me and thee while we are absent one from another.

Yours, with the grace you've given me,
God's raga.

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Lunch Mates (for Mary)

I made my way through the crowd as best I could. There’s always a crowd when Jesus shows up. I was alone that day, having once again sequestered myself away from my family and into the solitude of my inner landscape. I happened to stumble upon the gathering, having stopped my internal monologue long enough to hear somebody say, “Jesus is coming.” And I followed them until I found myself where He would be.

The thought of seeing Jesus fueled a kind of desperation in me, and I’m afraid I found myself a little rude, forcing my way to the front to get a better view. I’m near sighted you see, and I really wanted to see Jesus. Most of the time, He’s a blur anyway, but if a little brassiness could give me a clear picture, then so be it, and God help those in my way.

There I was in front, and I noticed a woman with a bunch of kids beside me. She was a tall, regal black woman, wearing glasses, and I wondered if, like me, she’d thrust herself to the front to see Jesus with myopic eyes. Her skin was the color of Georgia pecans, and when she saw me she smiled, an expansive gap-toothed African smile. I thought to myself, “How beautiful.” And her kids swirled and circled around her like a halo.

Jesus is patient, and if you want to see Him, sometimes you have to wait, much longer than you anticipated. By now the noon sun was high in the sky, and my new best friend and I were deep in conversation. Her name is Mary. A good, Bible name I’d said. Every Mary in the Bible is a blessed one. We’d talked about everything: being God’s women, writing, poetry, men, and children. Lord, did we talk about children. She had seven. So do I. We yakked amid her admonishments to her little charges. I marveled at her soft, but strong rebukes. I sympathized with her whispered, “sorry”, when she imagined the constant interruptions bothered me, but she need not apologize. I understood. So many times when we talked I nodded my head and thought, ‘me, too.” I admired her. Here was a strong black woman. I was alone and stumbled upon Jesus. She came on purpose, pressing her way with seven kids in tow. She wanted them to see Jesus, too.

Then Jesus came. He stood in front, and we were close enough to touch Him. Beloved, Jesus is always close enough to touch, if you press your way in order to be nearer. We listened to his teaching, and drank Him in. I saw in Mary my own thirst for Him. I watched as His word transformed her, and in turn, I was transformed. Mary’s youngest, a sweet little cherub that looked like the personification of the word “hand-full” began to squirm on her lap. He was named after the poet prophet, and he was hungry, clutching after her breasts, a little whiny. Jesus stopped. Just like that he stopped his teaching and looked at the crowd. He said, “Is anyone else hungry?”

Like stunned sheep, we shook our collective head in the affirmative and I watched Jesus do a wondrous thing. He looked at Mary and said, “Can you share what you have?”

Mary said yes.

Jesus reached out His hand, and she fumbled in her tote bag and pulled out seven “lunchmates”. Those are the little pre-packaged ensembles found in the luncheon meat aisles in the grocery store. Sometimes they are high tech, complete with a soft drink and candy, but these were basic--just circles of turkey meat, a block of American cheese slices, and crackers.

“I only need one,” Jesus said to her.

We were silent, watching Jesus open the plastic package. He pulled out a cracker, which he extended toward Mary. “I am the bread that feeds you,” Jesus said, “I am your sustenance. You may think you have the lowliest portion—a ninety-nine cents lunchmate, without the candy and drink. A meal judged unworthy by mothers who believe themselves to be better than you. But I am your Lunch Mate, and I Am the hand that feeds you, too. I Am your Drink, and the Sweetness in your mouth. Eat and drink of Me, and be satisfied.”

I watched as Mary ate from Jesus’ own hand. I watched him feed her children. I waited, until he fed me too, from the meager meal she gave, and God, it was sooooo good. He fed the business man sitting next to me, and the homeless woman who sat by the business man. Jesus fed us all, from a single lunchmate, and we were all filled.

When it was time to go, I hugged my friend, and we cried together and rejoiced.

“Did you see what Jesus did?” she asked. “He fed us all. And he blessed my kids. Everyone of them.”

“I saw it,” I said, confirming her best dream. “I saw Jesus bless all seven of your children. You are blessed Mary. Just like the Bible Marys. Your children have made you rich.”

We left, still crying and laughing and talking too loud, and promising to keep in touch. I thought of her all the way home. I thought about her stories, and her hurts. She is a woman reviled and talked about because she has too many children. How different things are from a long time ago when children were the heritage of the Lord, and the fruit of the womb His reward.

How blessed is Mary among women in this time.

I made it home, and kissed my sweet husband, Ken. I went to all the kids. I kissed them, and hugged them, each and every one. I blessed them just like Jesus would.

My family.
My reward.

In love and mercy,
God’s raga

Friday, October 15, 2004

God at Morning

Summer died early this year, and in this dry season that saddened the voice of the local weather man, it is an elusive rain that awakens me this morning. Where have you been? The brown eyed susans wilted too soon without you, and the hardy mums didn't seem strong at all.

I think of poetry and Edna St. Vincent Millay this morning. Yes, rain does have a friendly sound to one who is six feet underground, and it mattters little that your death has everything to do with being seed, fallen to the ground, split open, and forced into a growth that feels impossible most days. So, I lie in bed listening the waters skittering on the roof, and it makes me think of Promises .

God, you look different in the morning, when I am closer to sunrise than to the endless black of midnight. You are like the call of a beloved friend I haven't spoken to in a long time. I've missed You so much more than I realized I did, before I heard the gentle timbre of Your voice again, and felt Your warm fingers tumbling through the treetops, illuminating multicolored leaves with divine, perfect light.

You look different in morning.

I can see You again.

Though I know You stayed with me in the night--the solid, reliable God of Calvin, Unchanging, and choosing me, I am thankful in my Charismatic soul for you in this morning, so bright, even before the sun gets up, stretches, and begans her day. This morning You are MY God. The one who hugs his baby. The God I can feel.

I am grateful.

Good morning, Lord.

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

God. I'm so sorry.
Where are You now?

It's midnight, and in the dark You look different. You are a full moon face full of shadows with dark eyes impossible to read. You are quiet, and your silence scares me. You know how we recovering Pentecostals are. We need a God we can hear.

You walk softer. I don't know if I'd feel better if you thundered into the room, shaking the house, and breaking all kinds of locks and chains. Your footfalls thump in the distance, and it is enough to make me aware that You're not gone away, but You seem unreachable, and reticent to be with me.

Are you mad at me?

Can You see me? Can't You see how hard this is? I'm all out of money, and words, and happy faces. I don't have a damn thing to say here, and I don't know why I'm sitting here in a dark room, head rocked with pain, wondering when the prozac will kick in that the doctor *hopes* will take the headaches away.

Don't you see this is killing me? It's not making me stronger. It's killing me.

And I don't have anyone but You. You know that. So come and help me. I know it's my fault, but I need help and I'll try not to get in this much trouble again. I'll try.

Please, God.

Everything hurts. And I don't think I can hold on anymore.