Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Virtue and hope

Virtue. What an antique and antiquated word. How long has it been since we have heard the call to virtue from the dais, indeed, from the pulpit? How long has it been since the I has bowed down to the We? How long has it been since we condemned greed and praised sacrifice? How long has it been since we have called every people of every nation our friends?

Hope is the nonrational belief in a reality greater than this one. Hope is never fulfilled by will, or by power, or by intelligence. Hope is only fulfilled in the presence of that reality, coming and come. Hope is only fulfilled when we know that we live for something greater than we are: a home, a neighborhood, a city, a state, a nation, a world. And not merely a world, but a reality that is not only concrete, but real and lasting. Hope is the nonrational belief in a reality greater than this one: the reign of the heavens, of love, of justice, of mercy, of enough, on earth and in our hearts.

God bless you, Barack Hussein Obama, our president and our reminder of both hope and the virtue that is needed to maintain and fulfill it.

Power to the people!

The Latina housekeepers just came in and plugged in cable. Woohoo!

In the neighborhood

Can't find cable or satellite inputs for the beautiful flat screen that's in here. Nor a vga cable to plug a computer into it. But even on my little Dell e1405, it's a beautiful day in the neighborhood.

This country has been blessed so often and with so much. May we live like it.

May God have mercy on our incoming President, his staff, and Congress.
May the Holy Spirit lead all of them into humility, wisdom and trust.


The challenge of scarcity

I awoke at 4:50, having slept. Fine mood. Ready for coffee.
Lay in bed for a few minutes in prayer and thanksgiving.
Suddenly thought, "if I don't get in there and make coffee I won't get any". Not that articulately, but...
Then thought, "I should check out what rooms those noisy women from last night are in and put notes under their doors how can they be here for Ignatian exercises and be that unaware that others are here in silence why are people here anyway this is my mercy center my floor my time with God."

Hoo boy.

By 4:58, God decided to stop this nonsense: Elane, what ever happened to loving? Mercy is big enough (I think God meant Mercy Center but the abbreviated version was even better). Don't you know yet there is enough of everything, including My love and My time to go around?

The hard part of the great commandment isn't the loving. It's the deep realizing in those dark lizard brain moments that there is enough time, enough stuff, enough room, enough God, enough me, to go around.

Good morning, everyone.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Reducing clutter

Last night my Wonderful Husband, once again abandoned to solo Baby and pet care, sent me off to Mercy Center by saying, "I know you need to get away from us and rest."

I was angry, and insulted, and saddened by the accusation that I was coming here simply to be away from them and to rest from them. As if I were going on vacation. That anger and injury and sadness so fueled me for the evening that I was able to sustain my resentment all the way until bedtime. Powerful stuff, the inference of insult.

This morning, after 5 a.m. reading, 6:30 a.m. meditation, 8 a.m. breakfast, the fuel has been exhausted and I am in a more ruminant mode. (Feel free to think "holstein".) Time away and rest? What a selfish idea! How dare he accuse me of wanting self-care?

Haha, the heavenly hosts chortle. Practice what you preach, sister, Wisdom proclaims from her streetcorner.

The truth: I do not come here to get away from them, or to get away from my church, or to get away at all. I come to get to: to God, to internal silence, to the present.

On a daily basis, the clutter in my own head threatens to pour out my ears, and I live in the next thing, rather than whatever thing is the thing now. I'm planning meals while reading Scripture, writing prayers while feeding Baby, pondering the dirty bathtub while eating dinner. Not having a next thing for a few days helps me to return to the thing now. My church as it is now. My health as it is now. My marriage. My relationship with God. My child. After a couple of days of silence, of reading, of meditation, of meals I don't have to make happen, clutter evaporates.

Two questions (or prayers) arise: 1) How do I bring this now into my regular now -- how do I arrange my life and my brain for more present silence? 2) How do I humbly accept the possibility that yes, perhaps I do need some time away in order to love better, and that spending quiet time with God is, in fact, a kind of vacation for my mind and soul?

Sunday, January 18, 2009

On retreat, entry one

Sometimes peace may be found in the unexpected appearance of ice cream.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Pro-life, finally?

Skye Jethani posted (and syndicated at Out of Ur) on an evangelical redefinition of "pro-life". The one comment so far (besides mine) states that "pro-life" has never meant only "pro-fetal-and-embryonic-life-and-anti-choice" to most evangelicals.

Coulda' fooled me, and about 200 million other people. If that's true -- if pro-lifers have had a broader vision in mind -- then the public rhetoric, and political platforms, and funding, and governmental focus, and judicial litmus tests, and protestors, and, (being a little unkind) domestic terrorists killing doctors they don't like, have been co-opted or duped by an itsy-bitsy fringe-y whisper at the edge of "Christian" faith.

Um. Probably not. It's certainly a lot easier to raise funds (and blood pressure) with pics of babies and aborted fetuses than it is with pictures of convicts, hungry mothers, welfare "cheats", and truants. I have never once been spammed, individually or through our church website, by someone imploring me to come to a public pray-in in front of City Hall, demanding higher taxes for better school funding. Not once. But during the last election season I was forced to create a new spam filter for all the emails I rec'd labeling Obama (and others) as "babykillers" and "not really Christians."

So good on you, Skye. Even if it's not quite yet true -- even if for most evangelicals, valuable life ends at birth -- saying life is life may make it so.

Thursday, January 01, 2009

on the premise that whatever one does on New Year's Day one will do all year

We reviewed the year last night, as everyone else did:
  • We didn't move, which, for a while in the beginning of our marriage, was the annual dislocation.
  • No one started a new job, though my wonderful husband left one. That was bigger than we knew.
  • Dear friends moved across the country just as the market was crashing: accidental but fortuitous timing, given the state of things in CA.
  • Revelations abounded -- of health, marriage, friendship, matterings.
And, oh, yeah, we had a kid. Bug turned one year old the day after Christmas, so officially she was an event of 2007, not 2008. But, really.

The world was just as...unsuspecting? as we were. Though how anyone didn't expect the crash is beyond me. I'm no economics whiz, and I saw it coming years before it happened. But I don't think we expected to elect a brown man, and I don't think we expected the banks and the automakers to be the big welfare recipients of the year. (BTW: you wanna talk socialism?) Israel's bombing of Gaza was a matter of time, as was Pakistan's rebellion against "the war on terror" on its borders and in its mountains. Prop 8's passage was a function of a truly lousy and lazy strategy on our side. People seem surprised by all this, and just a little Disappointed (by everything except the election, God have mercy on the President-Elect). Apparently the pony wasn't under there after all.

No. The pony and the rest of the treasure are peeking out through the silt and ash, way over there. Complain if you must, but:
  • Rick Warren is a bold move as Invoker-Select, since traditional evangelicals don't like him any more than liberals do, and he's a Boomer (hence elder generation) par excellence;
  • The barbarian hoards attacking the castle walls of common wisdom are finally the environmental version of flat-earthers, rather than the Gores among us; the lifeboaters; the antiseasonal produce-purveyors; the black/whit-ers; and the IwantitNOWers.
  • In the religion conversation (at least among my threads of X'y), Third and Fourth and Fifth Ways are being discovered, as we realize the Holy Spirit is less bound by either-or than we are.

Last night, my wonderful husband also asked: so how is your relationship with God these days? And I was able to answer, confidently: peachy. God and I are doing really well, like comfortable old friends who occupy a room together, occasionally chatting, doing things together and apart. When I feel distant, I know it's just me -- that I need to pick up the phone and call.

And that's a pretty good place to be with the Alpha & Omega & Everything-In-Between.

So on the premise that what one does on New Year's Day one will do all year, I'm not rushing, am blogging, am seeing my Renovare sisters, calling the right-coast friends, enjoying Bug and WH and the four-leggeds, drinking champagne, and hanging with the Big G(al/uy).

Happy End Of 2008, everybody.