Sunday, April 25, 2010

Coffee and Cigarettes

Tomorrow someone will hand us a large amount of extra time and a big chunk of extra money. What will we do with it?

“Coffee doesn’t taste good without cigarettes,” Elsa rasped as she explained why she’s cutting down on both. In her twenties, looking every bit the archetype of a Norwegian, she posed for some pictures. She went on to be on the cover of a magazine in Norway- the kind of magazine her parents didn’t tell their friends about, though dad may have read copies while in his youth.

Even models have biological clocks. At the age of twenty-five Elsa set her career aside to raise three boys. Fast forward that digital clock thirty years ahead. The boys are all grown up and Elsa’s life consists of coffee, cigarettes and trips to the high desert for massages and marijuana-until this month. This month Elsa is giving up cigarettes and coffee to begin focusing on herself. She had made phone calls to some magazines to see if they want to do a retrospective, the model at 60.

Five years down the road my daughter will be college age. Twelve years down the road I’ll be retirement age. Hailey’s hurtling toward twenty will mean more time on my own. Do I invest it or squander it? Do I try to get some interviews and relive my glory days, “Blogging Barista Bicycles into Sixties?”

Pastor John Piper has challenged my thinking in this area (you can read his book “Don’t Waste Your Life online): Do I want to spend the last years of my life standing on a beach in my Bermuda shorts and throwing shells into the sea? Or can I leverage my retirement to invest it in mankind?

Plan, Pray and Dream: If I’m going to leverage my time and money investment later then I need to think through options now. My present time investment is in Hailey-school and clubs and homework. Dreaming big but practical-What’s my heart desire for five years down the road? For me it would be some involvement in missionary work, World Vision is located two hours from home, my church is located five minutes from my doorstep.

Whether to give up coffee, cigarettes or self isn’t the right question. The correct question is what gives greater significance to life. In the final retrospective; what will they write in our obituary?

Clock courtesy of AlexKerhead

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Wind of Refreshing

The sweat tickles your nose and burns your eyes. You remove your hat to cool yourself off and the sweat flows down your face and your neck. All day in this wilderness and the heat is wearing you out. Placing the hat back in its place you find partial shade and a large rock. The shade helps but the rock is hard and warm to the touch. Laying down on the rock you watch as the horizon rises up toward the sun and shadows appear. Your senses subconsciously notice before you are aware of the change……….

Last Spring saw the death of my mom and a season full of hospital visits, funeral preparations and property issues. That season is still vivid and the fatigue still felt. On the heels of that year visits to the hospital to see my dad and watching his slow demise are harder dealt with. A small emotional ogre preys on me powered by dad’s violent attacks on his wife and the phone calls after each outburst. Arguing with my dad; his self-hatred and control-issues; the ogre crouches in the depths of my psyche.

Every work day draws a different battle. My staff overlooks things I think they should see. Quality seems less important than maintaining personal energy for their personal lives. Things constantly break. I constantly fix. I realize the problem is primarily me. I’m not energized by work, feels like classic burn-out.*

Life is static on the home front as well. Don’t reach for the psych manual yet. I’m not suffering from depression. There are aspects of the day that I fully enjoy, days with my daughter and jaunts in Joshua Tree. There’s a present dryness there though.

…….The wind is coming-a cool breeze, a hint of moisture, a drop in air temperature. As you breathe in through your nose you are reinvigorated. Steps seemed impossible in the heat but that little puff makes you want to dance the jig. It is a wind of refreshing. It is what I am praying for in this coming season. Join me, will you?

*Except I don’t believe in that.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Agajanian On Fire

A girl named Olga stole my heart,
For a second while I fixed her bagel,
Light cream cheese, she blinked
And my heart skipped a beat.
A strong beat, perhaps with raucous guitar and
Piano accompaniment or,
Segovia on strings, Agajanian on fire,
I dream.

Windows open in my big house
By the ocean, the breeze blows in,
Wind over wheat fields,
Garth Brooks croons of dances past,
First love and fireworks.

A synchronicity of nerves on edge,
From battles at work,
Squirrel Zippers, perhaps,
But they make my feet tap,
And I don’t feel much like dancing.

Father flails in hospital again,
In the dark of my living room,
I pursue perspective,
Jars of Clay carries me,
Balanced between hope and angst.

Heart longing to touch,
Something bigger than itself,
Again,
I’ll choose Waits, he knows that pain,
And Powell, who knows the Healer.

Saturday, April 03, 2010

Passover Deliverance

“But when Pharaoh saw that the rain and the hail and the thunder had ceased, he sinned again and hardened his heart, he and his servants.”

“Moreover, they shall take some of the blood and put it on the two doorposts and on the lintel of the houses in which they eat it.”

Drawn together by thin cords they came to celebrate the Passover Seder this sacred week.

Gaunt and Goth, all in black she embraced each family member. Her once gorgeous curves reduced to straight lines by diet and drug, nicotine and nerves. The loss of a sister, failure of heart; the loss of a son, unending questions; the loss of a husband, bitter betrayal. Sweet of heart and gentle of spirit, who will lift the darkness?


Her hair cut manly-short, her clothing masculine-but not. Pink blouse cut to accentuate form, stylish slacks, womanhood waits, wrestling, underneath the surface.

The bronze silk shimmered; her dress too tight around her waist reveals stomach. What was too tight around waist was too loose up top, discloses breasts.

Their child of two-and-a half, conceived of science and in third-parties, all little girl she chased the puppy around the back-yard.
Deep seated anger and gender confusion are part of a bigger brokenness.
Hearts dying to love, the water turns to blood. Who can cleanse and purify, making the water pristine?

The hail fell hard on his life. His first wife dying young, unexplained heart problem, divorce took number two and Mrs. Number three battling cancer. Pacing, he took a phone call; busy with business, can’t sit for blessing. Moving, talking, joking; masks for his lack of peace and quiet. Who is big enough to shield and protect from catastrophic pain? Who can restore the years the locusts have eaten?

Arms akimbo, His arms frame the doorposts, the blood of The Lamb, slaughtered, stains the doorway.

For Christ our Passover Lamb has been sacrificed.