21 September 2008

Friday Five: Autumnal Equinox

Songbird scripsit:

It's that time of year, at least north of the equator. The windows are still open, but the darned furnace comes on early in the morning. My husband went out for a walk after an early supper and came home in full darkness. And yes, where we live, leaves are beginning to turn. As this vivid season begins, tell us five favorite things about fall:

Oh, I love fall. I start waking up when fall hits. :) I wonder if that's true for everyone born in the autumnal part of the year, and if it translates to other times of year too... Let me see now:

1) A fragrance: the smell of pumpkin pie fresh out of the oven. Or pumpkin muffins slathered with butter while still hot. I love pumpkin and always associate it with fall!

2) A color: deep, orange-y brown, the ultimate autumnal colour for me... :)

3) An item of clothing: sweaters. I know I'll need them eventually, but I have always liked cooler-to-cold weather better than warm or hot.

4) An activity: scuffing along through downed leaves. You are just plain NEVER too old to scuff through crackly, crunchy leaves! :)

5) A special day: My son's birth. I have been pregnant many times, but Brian was the only one to survive to birth; he was born on October 13 in a very good year, and he is the light of my life. October is a good month for me. My birthday falls within that month; Brian was born; I was married in that month. A number of people I love also have birthdays and anniversaries in October. October Rocks!! :)

12 September 2008

Friday Five Goes Back to School...

Mother Laura writes:

It's time for a Back-To-School Friday Five!

1. Is anyone going back to school, as a student or teacher, at your house? How's it going so far? No, we're all as graduated as we can handle being for now, though I am considering a distance-learners Masters. Can't handle the money yet, but it's fun to dream! :) Of course the usual learning of life goes on, and there's been a LOT of that lately....

2. Were you glad or sad when back-to-school time came as a kid? Always happy, myself. :) It meant that for several hours a day I was safe and cared about because I was smart and funny. I loved school.

3. Did your family of origin have any rituals to mark this time of year? How about now? My grandparents, some of them, were German--so when we were littlies we got those cornucopia things full of candy and school supplies. And of course going back to school meant it was almost Oktoberfest, so we ate a lot of sausage and kraut as Oma practiced for the amazing feed everyone got each year. :)

4. Favorite memories of back-to-school outfits, lunchboxes, etc? This sounds so silly... but when Rev Sharon was still a size 6x, she had a little sleeveless blouse of white linen with yellow buttons shaped like chicks... and the ruffled peplum on the thing had a printed farmyard scene all the way around of barns, fences, scarecrows, and little chickies--and the chickies were flocked and fuzzy. I wore that thing to RAGS and wish sometimes that I could find a pic of me in it. I think my fave lunch box was a Monkees one, though I was never much of a Davy Jones kinda gal... I always liked Mickey Dolenz best. :)

5. What was your best year of school? I think 6th grade. I had a wonderful teacher, Mrs. Dickerson, who was the first to twig that I was being abused at home--and did what she could to mitigate it. She asked me to come to her apartment, where she did the adjustments on some clothing donated to me by other teachers because my wardrobe was... umm... awful... and while she was pinning. measuring, and taking in seams, she basically helped me understand that what was happening at home wasn't normal. Then she helped me find ways to fix it in a fashion that turned out to be healing for all of us, those at least who wanted to BE healed. I think in the end, she taught me the real meaning of pastoral counseling; I've kind of used that as a model ever since.

05 September 2008

Friday Five: Vulnerability

This week's F5, with prayers and love to GG and her family...

I have recently been reading a book entitled Jesus wept, it is all about vulnerability in leadership. The authors speak of how Jesus shared his earthly frustrations and vulnerabilities with a select group of people. To some he was the charismatic leader and teacher, to others words of wisdom were opened and explained and some frustrations shared, to his "inner circle of friends: Peter, James and John, he was most fully himself, and in all of these things he was open to God. So I bring you this weeks Friday 5:

1. Is vulnerability something that comes easily to you, or are you a private person?
It comes to me fairly easily, but it's harder to share it. I was raised to believe my only purpose in life was to be of service to others, and that others really didn't want to hear when I wasn't "there" and "strong" for them. Fortunately this has changed over the years, but I still find the confessing to be hard.

2.How important is it to keep up a professional persona in work/ ministry?
Well... I'm of two minds here. I think it is important to people in general that their leader be strong, collected, together--speed of the leader, speed of the team, and all that. However. I have also been most profoundly touched in my life during times when people broke a public face to show their deepest heart. The first example that comes to mind (because I have a great deal of respect and affection for him) is Ted Kennedy. I was in grade school when Bobby Kennedy was killed; I have never forgotten listening to the break in his voice, seeing the tears in his eyes, when he eulogized his brother and spoke the words "Love is not an easy feeling to put into words." All the stoicism in the world couldn't overcome the unique shared-grief-ness of that moment. When someone shows their congregation true grief, true pain, true joy, even true anger--I feel more connected. I am comforted by the familiarity of their "usual persona"--but I am touched when they share.

3. Masks, a form of self protection? discuss...
Oh yes, of course they are. But they are also a way of hiding. And from time to time we need them in both of those roles. We could go on for hours and days about when/whether masks are appropriate...

4. Who knows you warts and all?
My sister Jo; a close-knit circle of very beloved friends; my horse. Everyone else probably knows pieces of various sizes. And no, I don't want to list the friends. :) They know who they are.

5. Share a book, a prayer, a piece of music, a poem or a person that touches the deep place in your soul, and calls you to be who you are most authentically.
Oh... not easy. The Rosary in its current form, especially in Latin, speaks to the deep, still places in my soul; there's also a poem about the resurrection that has always touched me very deeply. It is by Jonathan Brooks of Mississippi (1905-1945) and it never, ever fails to make me weep--leaving a sense of joy and peace behind. I get shivers thinking of it now, and happily share it with you all now.

The Resurrection
by Jonathan Brooks

His friends went off and left Him dead

In Joseph's subterranean bed,
Embalmed with myrrh and sweet aloes,
And wrapped in snow-white burial clothes.

Then shrewd men came and set a seal
Upon His grave, lest thieves should steal
His lifeless form away and claim
For Him an undeserving fame.

"There is no use," the soldiers said,
"Of standing sentries by the dead."
Wherefore, they drew their cloaks around
Themselves, and fell upon the ground;
And slept like dead men, all night through,
In the pale moonlight and chilling dew.

A muffled whiff of sudden breath
Ruffled the passive air of Death.

He woke, and raised Himself in bed;
Recalled how He was crucified;
Touched both hands' fingers to His head,
And lightly felt His fresh-healed side.
Then with a deep, triumphant sigh,
He coolly put His grave-clothes by--
Folded the sweet, white winding-sheet,
The toweling, the linen bands,
The napkins, all with careful hands--
And left the borrowed chamber neat.

His steps were like the breaking day:
So soft across the watch He stole,
He did not wake a single soul,
Nor spill one dewdrop by the way.

Now Calvary was loveliness;
Lilies that flowered thereupon
Pulled off the white moon's pallid dress
And put the morning's vesture on.

"Why seek the living among the dead?
He is not here," the angel said.

The early winds took up the words,
And bore them to the lilting birds,
The leafing trees, and everything
That breathed the living breath of spring.