Wednesday, August 26, 2009

108% of Giving In Love Equals This...

“We have all known the long loneliness and we have learned that the only solution is love and that love comes with community.” – Dorothy Day

This is The Little House. It's the place your love is moving me into on Monday, the day before my birthday. What a wonderful, AMAZING gift you all, and our good Father have given me.

I can't tell you how difficult it was for me to ask for your help on August 12th, even though I know the Holy Spirit whispered that I should do just that. My pride stood in the way. I don't mind telling you the worst things about me, but hitting you up for money is another thing all together! I respect you. I didn't want you to think I was using you. I was ashamed that this was happening to me. I felt like the worst kind of failure.

I asked my dear lovie, Heidi, to be my strong arm. I asked Alison to join her in that task. Alison is a great mobilizer. Lisa gave me courage. She told me people loved me enough to want to help. Many of you prayed, and on the strength of those things I asked for your help with fear and trembling. I'm so glad I did.

I always say "Blessed are the poor in spirit" is my life's verse, but the truth is I often resist true spiritual poverty. Yet, there I was with no way out of my situation here, and no way into my new life in Lexington. I had to humble myself and acknowledge not just the fact that I failed and need God's mercy, but also that I cannot fix everything. I try to, but I had no "fix it myself" option this time. God truly did what the old folks talk about and "made a way out of no way." And He did it through His people as, I believe, He loves doing best.

Look at that house! It's small, but oh my gosh: it's adorable. And yes, it really does look like that, flowers and all. I haven't seen it except in photographs, but Ken, Lisa, and my son Kamau have. It's about a block and a half from Lisa, on her street. God is giving us exceedingly, abundantly above all we could ask or think. His mercy is astounded. I believe this will be the beginning of creating "a home for the soul." You can't imagine how important that is for me.

What began five months ago as my most fervent prayer to live in intentional Christian community with my dear, dear lovie, Lisa Samson, will be a reality on Monday. We had no idea it would happen so soon, and God knows we couldn't forsee these circumstances. It's bananas! I know it's been awhile since we chatted. As you can imagine, all of this change has consumed me. I haven't even been able to concentrate on my work. But I wanted to update you. I'm surrounded by boxes and insanity, and I'm a little sick tonight, so I'll keep this simple. Thank you is terribly inadequate, but I'll say it anyway: thank you, so so so very much.

Look what you've done. You are so beautiful and kind. I'm grateful.


More soon...

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Will You Join Me in Love?

“We have all known the long loneliness and we have learned that the only solution is love and that love comes with community.” – Dorothy Day

One of my favorite parts of Dorothy Day’s autobiography, The Long Loneliness is the postscript at the end. She writes, “We were just sitting there talking when…” She goes on say that Peter Maurin came, and lines of people needing bread—and she couldn’t tell them, “Go, be thou filled!” Folks moved in and the walls expanded. “It was as casual as that,” Dorothy writes, “It just came about. It just happened.”

My friend Lisa Samson and I were just sitting there talking when someone brought up human trafficking. I’ve always wanted to do something to relieve this brand of suffering. The needs are astounding, but these victims are so easily forgotten, truly the least of the least of these Jesus talked about. Turns out Lisa always wanted to do something for this needy group of people God loves so much, too. In the wee hours of the morning, a work of mercy and hospitality, The Living Room was born.

We’re going to get a building in downtown Lexington. People have already offered their expertise to help us get started. In a safe, cozy respite, we’ll quietly offer compassion, coffee, and a comfortable seat to women who come off the street, or find their way to us by other means. We’re going to preach the gospel, but only use words when we absolutely must. If the ladies need more we’ll give them that, too. We’ll make wrap-around services available. God sent me to school, inexplicably, to be a social worker fifteen years ago. Now I know why. Ken and I, and the whole Burney brood were on our way to Lexington on August 3 for our first vision trip. We were so excited.

On July 28th, our car was stolen. Two days later, we got an eviction notice. Most of the time I’m given room to get our rent payments in. Our apartment managers know I’m a writer. My income comes in slowly, but I wasn’t given that wide and generous berth this time. We have ten days to leave. I don’t have the means to fix this. I’ve tried, in the most humbling, pride crushing ways, but I gots nuthin’. I have felt every terror and loneliness a mother with four children and a disabled husband would feel in this awful predicament. But I keep hearing voices—no, not that kind!—but friends urging me to ask my readers and cyber-friends for help. Among those voices is my soul-mother Dorothy Day who said, “the only solution is love, and that love comes with community.”

If I’ve had an intentional community, it’s been here in the little slice of cyber-space I call ragamuffin diva. Through this blog, God gave me the best people I’ve ever known. And He gave me to you. We have laughed, cried, prayed, and stumbled along on the journey together. Now, I need your help, as I never have before.

Will you join me in love? Could you find it in your heart to be a part of the solution to this difficult set of circumstances? I want you to be part of our mission to love people for Jesus. Will you help my family get to Lexington where opportunity awaits us? We would be so grateful. Mair

If you’d like to help please use the chipin widget on the right hand side of this blog. Or you can go to The "event" would be Claudia Mair Burney Family Relocation.

Thank you so much.

Sunday, August 02, 2009

Let It Rain

So, I've been having a rough time of it, right? I've told you about the car being stolen. Other things happened, the day after, and then the day after that, and lovies, all of them were bad. I have to admit I've been discouraged.

But glimpses of grace came into view despite how hard it's been. Today I was the scheduled Lector at Mass. I haven't been in weeks. A trip out of town, a bad fibro flare, and recovering from said trip out of town kept me away from services, but I got two calls about being scheduled to proclaim the word. That never happens.

"I'm going, already!" I thought to myself.

Usually I prepare to read with practice and prayer. This time, all I did was pray. I get there not knowing what the reading will be, opened the book, and... WOW! It's all about God's provision.

The Jews were in exile. Lordy, don't I know what that's like! I feel cut of from my own promised land, Lexington, KY. The passage reminds them that God provided for their ancestors in a magnificent way (Exodus 16:2-4, 12-15). They grumbled and complained, "We're starving." Famished, in fact. God heard them, but He didn't get angry about their gripes. He simply and lovingly told them, "I will now rain down bread from heaven for you. Each day the people are to go out and gather their daily portion; thus will I test them, to see whether they follow my instructions or not."

True to His word, this is what God did: "In the evening quail came up and covered the camp.
In the morning a dew lay all about the camp, and when the dew evaporated, there on the surface of the desert were fine flakes like hoarfrost on the ground."

Hoarfrost??? I had no idea what it was because I was a) unprepared. I even asked my priest how to pronounce it. And b) ignorant. I mean, hoarfrost is a weird word. It doesn't come up in my conversations, like, ever. God raining bread from heaven was enough to get me excited. So much so that I posted that last bit of scripture on my Facebook page, only noting how strange the 'h' word is.

Thank God for really smart friends. My lovely friend Shanna posted a picture in the comments. This is a hoarfrost lovies: “This is the bread that the LORD has given you to eat.”

I don't know about you, but that looks like a lot of bread. For my daily portion, I'm thinking it's more than enough. Manna is everywhere!

There's more. At Mass we also, unbeknownst to me beforehand, were scheduled to have a healing, anointing service. I'm Catholic, y'all. We don't have anointings for the sick too often. But God made sure in so many ways that I'd be there. He wanted to speak His word to me; He wanted to have me speak it! And He knew He'd use today as part and parcel of my healing.

As soon as I realized there'd be an anointing for the sick, I began to cry. By the time I got in line tears were pouring down my face and--mercy!--I'm crying again, just thinking about it. Our tender Jesus truly knows what we're going through. He knew how sick, body soul and spirit, I've been. Sneaky Jesus, He drew me to His house using all those things, to also heal me. As Father Gary anointed my head and hands, the Holy Spirit brooded over me. I know He's working in this broken body. I feel it! I cried for a long time.

I was so stressed about those personal matters that are happening that I was blazing through finishing a book this weekend, while battling ill health, and knowing I'd have company today and lose more hours. I almost stayed home from Church in favor of writing, and I wanted to blow off the visit, but God gently nudged me to slow down. I'm tired. I haven't felt well, nor have I seen my friend in a long time. Besides, I don't care if I miraculously finished that book in a single day, it won't be me saving myself. He said He'd provide.

I will trust Him. Let it rain. God, help me be obedient.

And I had a lovely visit, too.
The Lord rawks! Way hard!