The Words of Her Mouth

More than enough

IMG_2812We’ve had more than enough mockery from the self-confident,
    more than enough shame from the proud. Psalm 123:4, CEB

How do we keep faith when we are persecuted in your name?
We keep our eyes on you.
We live our lives for you.

We are not waiting for your mercy; we trust we have it.

When earthly powers claim you, claim your authority, but act without love, we know better.

You are more than enough; we keep our eyes on you.

The Words of Her Mouth

I was glad

I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go into the house of the Lord. – Psalm 122:1, KJV

I was glad to put on
my patent leather shoes, O God,
and go to your house,
where I sat in a little chair
and learned that Jesus loved me,
that you love everyone.

I kept going to your house,
gladly,
but I began to notice
how some people wanted
to close the doors,
to keep your house
to themselves.

Yet your love for all
is in the world,
is in the Word.

I dream of the day
when all your holy places
are like the hoped-for city
where all people will gather.

I will be glad to go there.

The Words of Her Mouth

Written on a napkin

The Lord will keep
    your going out and your coming in
    from this time on and forevermore.
– Psalm 121:8, NRSV

I reversed the words
As a show of confidence
In God
In my love
In my life:
“The Lord will keep
Your coming out and your going in
From this time on and forevermore.” 

The Words of Her Mouth

(parenthetical)

I cried out to the Lord when I was in trouble
    (and he answered me)
 – Psalm 120:1, CEB

When God appears in parentheses 
may I safely assume
(or have I taken God for granted)
She is there between the words –
dwelling in the subtext –
(does He sub-tweet?)
layered in the lines
of my life
(did They answer me)?

Knit Without Ceasing

Something Beautiful

Various knitters and their Carbeths, including my friend, the Rev. Stacey Simpson Duke, bottom left.

I follow a lot of knitters and yarn dyers and pattern creators on Instagram, and sometimes I will see a sweater in progress and click on a hashtag to see other knitters’ versions of the pattern. I enjoy investigating what kinds of yarn they are using and seeing the variations of colors. Often I navigate to Ravelry and look at the pattern, and I might even do the math on a yarn purchase, but I never actually make a sweater. I tell myself, knitting for others is more satisfying (it’s true I love to knit for others), or you know you prefer to knit socks because they are so portable (also true, they really are), and sweaters are *so* complicated (which, usually, is also the truth, but I know knitters who would gladly advise me), and there are more excuses available, but when I see my friends in their sweaters, I kind of wish I were among them, banging out a Carbeth or whatever the sweater of the moment might be. 

Here’s the truth that has mattered the most. What stops me from knitting one of these sweaters myself is seeing them on people who don’t look like me. The patterns may come in a range of sizes, but it’s hard to imagine what they would look like on me, since I am short and round.

This is the body I have.

And I wonder if knitting a sweater for the body I have might not be exactly the right project for what I am calling The Year of the Body? So I am going to go back to scrolling Instagram, but this year, I’m going to give it a try, and pick out a pattern and colors and yarn I love, ask for help if I need it, and make something beautiful for me. 

What are you going to do for yourself and your body in 2019?

Reflectionary, Year of the Body

Slumps

“Let’s do your slumps,” said the physical therapist, as if I had any idea what she meant. I had been in the pool for an hour, activating my core with every fiber of my, well, core. What are these “slumps” of which she speaks? The word summons up images of unremitting failure, as when a baseball player cannot hit the ball or the housing market drops off and does not rebound. 

It turns out it’s meant to alleviate sciatic nerve pain, which I didn’t even realize was one of the things I was trying to fix. I literally slump over, then stretch out one leg at a time and bend my foot to loosen what is so tight it hurts. This exercise, which sounded so counter-intuitive, requires me to do something I am trying not to do at all, by replicating a reflexive posture that I want to avoid in the many hours I spend sitting at my desk while writing, coaching, and engaging in the online work I do for RevGals. 

It was a new exercise for me, so of course I needed an explanation of how to do it and why, but I have to think there is a spiritual lesson here that goes beyond the obvious need for better communication. When I have one idea fixed in my head, what possibilities am I missing? What system, belief, or self-definition do I hold with every fiber of my core that could use a slump and a stretch and a little pulling back?

Today, I hope you will give yourself permission to slump a little from some upright stance and see what you notice. 


This post was originally published in the RevGals Weekly e-Reader.

Reflectionary

The Year of the Body

I am still waiting for my Star Word, and I rarely make resolutions, but for 2019, this is my declaration. 

2019 will be The Year of the Body. 

Well, maybe I should say, The Year of My Body. 

There are things I want to do this year, and next year, and the year after that, and they would be more readily accomplished if my body works well, or as well as it can work. This requires sorting through the mess in the back of my mind that my foremothers handed down to me: your body should look right and work right without any obvious effort, because after all, it’s primary function is as God’s temple, so please don’t be too embodied, just enough to house the holy.

I’m in Week 4 of my second round of physical therapy for my hip and lower back, trying to regain some functionality lost to arthritis, both rheumatoid and osteo. PT has a rhythm. First the routine seems too easy, and then it feels impossible to maintain – my current situation – and then I get the hang of it and feel strong and even powerful! 

And then it will be over because the insurance-approved sessions will run out, and I will  leave with recommended destinations for arthritis-appropriate exercise. Last time, I resisted. I’ll walk, I said. I don’t want to join the Y, it’s too expensive. Who has time for those water-based exercise classes? They all meet during the work day, anyway. 

The alternative, though, is circling back to where I was when I started four weeks ago. 

I want to think this wasn’t exactly what God had in mind, image-wise, in the beginning. In a perfect world, I wouldn’t be gradually adding minutes on an underwater treadmill or doing sit-to-stands to try and regain flexibility. In this imperfect world, though, in the Year of My Body, I have to hope that God knows what it’s like to favor what is sore and to stretch what has grown stiff. I have to believe that even in my brokenness, I can still be a reflection of God. 

Help me, Holy One, to live in the body I have, to care for it as best I can, not just to house the holy but to see in it a reflection of you. Amen. 


This post was originally published in the RevGals Weekly e-Reader.