Divorce, Dreams, Genesis, Midway, The Inner Landscape

Call Me Israel

Jacob Wrestling

Jacob was left alone; and a man wrestled with him until daybreak.

When the man saw that he did not prevail against Jacob, he struck him on the hip socket; and Jacob’s hip was put out of joint as he wrestled with him.

Then he said, “Let me go, for the day is breaking.” But Jacob said, “I will not let you go, unless you bless me.”

So he said to him, “What is your name?” And he said, “Jacob.”

Then the man said, “You shall no longer be called Jacob, but Israel, for you have striven with God and with humans, and have prevailed.”

 (Genesis 32:24-28, part of a reading for Pentecost 21C)

It must have been quite a night. Jacob sent his family across the river ahead of him: his wives, his children, his servants, his livestock, all his property as a highly mobile desert patriarch. Was he looking for peace and quiet, or did he anticipate a struggle, or an opportunity?

In the middle of the night, at mid-life or really past it as I edge toward 50, I am struggling with God in the night and trying to call it an opportunity. How am I a different person than I was ten years ago? Or than I was at 24, the age of my oldest child, the age I became his mother? (A terrifying thought! Who ever rated me ready to care for an infant when I was so young myself?)

We’re shifting at home, readjusting our view of what life had been, trying to see what the future will be and bring. I have a new call, and a very sick dog, and my marriage is over.

I am striving with God and humans.

I wake in the night, and I wonder what’s next? And I look back at this year and I think I can never call it the worst year ever, no matter what, because my second son flew out of a car and lived, because all three of my children are wonderful, because I found out who really cares about me, and because two people who cannot live together anymore are doing their best to be merciful about it while caring for a beloved pet who is likely nearing his end.

But like Jacob, I am out of joint, and I may walk with a limp. So call me Israel.

Love, Marriage, Weddings

Things Go Awry

UnionChurch_wedding  (My last act as Interim Associate Pastor at Y1P is to officiate at a wedding, off-campus, this afternoon. I must admit that I usually lean heavily on old homilies…but this time I wrote something from scratch.)

Things go awry.

You can almost rely on it. Life is going along smoothly, as
beautiful as this gorgeous day, this lovely bride, this kind-hearted groom.
That’s what we want for you, the smooth ride, the good weather, the supportive
friends, the expansive blessings of providence showered upon you.

But the vows you will make to one another are for other

They are moments away, these holy and heavy words that will
bind you, making two people into one marriage.

The apostle Paul wrote to young communities of faith, not to
young couples, but he expressed himself in ways that we bring to weddings
because the words are not romantic but holistic. They prepare us for the times
when things are less fabulous, more earthly, not-so-divine and fully human.

River We read the words from scripture and exchange the historic
vows knowing that we are not alone in finding commitment challenging, knowing
that like so many other people all we can do is the best we can do, knowing
that we are standing on the shore of the great, glad river of God’s Love, a
river we will need to visit to draw a cup of kindness, a bucket of compassion,
a pool full of forgiveness when the moment calls for it.

You’ll need them when things go awry, these thoughtfully
crafted and poetically expressed promises, more grittily summed up this way.
You promise to be there for each other not just through highs, but through
lows, not only when it’s easy, but when it’s hard. You promise to forgive each
other not just for locking the keys in the car or forgetting an anniversary,
but for being fallible and broken human beings who will surely make worse
mistakes and say the wrong things and turn out to be somewhat different from the
people you believe yourselves to be today.

Wedding-gift You will receive many gifts, beautiful things you will appreciate and for which you will write many thank you notes, no doubt! But the real treasures are the promises you give each other today, word gems
that give you a place to look for help and encouragement no matter what the
future brings. It’s my prayer that you will remember these things when you need
them, and be blessed by having said them to each other.

Bearnaise Sauce Dogs, Chez Songbird, Photos

No Drama Sam’s Mama

Oatmeal Watch 001

After my meeting tonight I noticed two missed calls from home and one voice mail. I tried to listen to it while using my office phone to call home and ended up listening to LP’s voice saying two things at the same time.

She was upset.

Apparently, Sam went into her open backpack and ate one of her fingerless gloves. The second one he slobbered on and left on the floor. Meanwhile, Pure Luck is driving into the big Central Atlantic storm. At last report, he found Maryland drivers to be moving very slowly. I’m hoping by now he’s close to his destination.

I’m not sure what to do about Sam and his love for textiles. He’s going on 7, and his habits show no signs of abating.

On this busy day, I realized that for the past seven weeks I have had it easy on the home front. I appreciate how much Pure Luck does when he’s at home, that I don’t have to worry about the dog and have back-up to transport LP when she needs to go places or get back from them, company when I want it and a quiet, peaceable companion when I’m worn out.

There have been lots of times I’ve made myself totally miserable in his absence, and made things like Sam’s dietary indiscretions worse for myself and everyone else by Freaking.Right.Out.

But my resolution for 2010 is to make less of my own drama. So for tonight, I’ll be monitoring the dog, calmly. He seems fine, ate a cookie with gusto, and is certainly capable of, um, handling it. Let’s hope.


No Drama Sam’s Mama