Monday, September 1, 2014

New possessions

There are two things I've bought lately that have pleased me very much.

A few weeks ago I ordered a silver bracelet from Monastery Greetings. It has the most famous saying of Julian of Norwich stamped on it:

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"All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of thing shall be well." From the 13th revelation of the Revelations of Divine Love of Julian of Norwich:

But Jesus, who in this Vision informed me of all that is needful to me, answered by this word and said: It behoved that there should be sin; but all shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of thing shall be well.


Synne is behovabil, but al shal be wel and al shal be wel and all manner of thyng shal be wele.

I first encountered this saying in college, in a seminar on T.S. Eliot. In Little Gidding, one of his Four Quartets, he quotes it. I always liked the singing, round feel of it, as well as finding it a comforting saying.

For the past two years, almost, I've been looking for a renter for the upstairs of my house, so that I can continue to live here. In July, that was accomplished, so in August I bought myself this bracelet as a celebration.

The second new possession, which I just bought this week, is an oak sideboard for in my kitchen.

My kitchen has less than ample counter and cupboard space, so I was looking for such a piece of furniture. I searched the local craigslist under "buffet table," but realized from the search results that I needed to look for a "sideboard." One of the first things that came up was this beautiful oak sideboard.

I had received an oak table from my parents when they moved into their retirement home, and I felt that this sideboard would go with it perfectly. I wanted it so badly that I almost wanted to pray for it, but I didn't know if it would be right to pray for a material possession just because it is beautiful. Anyway, the Lord blessed me with the ability to buy it, and with dear family members who helped me move it into my house, and I love it.

So I hope I am not materialistic to love these things. Instead I will claim the rabbinic saying that God will hold us accountable for every good thing he provided that we did not enjoy.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Knitting up that old ravell'd sleave of care

Tonight I hope to sleep the night through and wake refreshed. Lately, I either don't fall asleep or fall asleep for a few hours then wake up for a few. It doesn't help that I can't resist turning on my phone and opening my Kindle to see if anyone in my family has written an e-mail or if any friend has either posted something on Facebook or "liked" a post of mine.

I got back out my light-thingy, as the technical jargon goes, to help regularize my sleep schedule.

After I came back from my travels in April, I had favorable jet lag, and then the days started getting wonderfully long and the mornings beautifully light. Now the sun does not come up quite as early, and it's been a long time since I travelled into an earlier time zone, so I need to train myself to wake up again with this light.

It has a timer so that the light turns on after my alarm (aka my cell phone) rings. I see that and think, "Oh, good, now I can wake up," then my eyes roll up in my head and I start snoring. Fortunately I have a small furry backup alarm that sticks its nose in my face and perhaps even gives me a hearty kiss. Being woken by a kiss makes me just like Sleeping Beauty.

Anyway, I am mostly getting up on time, but I want to get up more easily and feel less tired during the day, so I'm trying to train my body to sleep for 8 or more hours a night. Here I go.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Ordinary time

In the past two weeks, I've had beloved visitors, first my brother then my sister and her husband. I've been relaxing and enjoying the family time.

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Yesterday, my sister and her husband left, bringing a close to the family visits for a while--of family out of town that is; the nearby family is still get-at-able. Now the festive season is over, and I return to ordinary time. Fortunately--or I should say providentially--my ordinary life is one that I enjoy.

Today I went back to work. A good number of my co-workers are on vacation, so it was a relatively quiet day, a good day to clear paperwork off my desk. Over the next few days, co-workers will return, and soon work will be busy. That's good, too.

So I guess I have many blessings to count.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

All living things are messy

A cousin of mine put up a quote on Facebook by someone named William Leal: "It's all messy. The hair. The bed. The words. The heart. Life..."  It reminded me of something I used to say to myself at a certain stage in life, which was, "All living things are messy." If you have living plants in your house instead of fake ones, the pots will leak when you water the plants and ruin rugs and wood finishes. If you have a dog or cat instead of a stuffed animal, the dog or cat will pee on the carpet, poo on the floor, vomit on the upholstery, and shed their hair on every surface in the house. (Also, I can testify, smear their nose on every window in your car.) Babies are messier than dolls. You and I are messy. We do all the same things dogs and babies do, albeit in a more contained fashion. (Okay, maybe we don't smear our noses on the car windows.) So, if we are going to have any living things in our lives--plants, animals, friends, family--we will always have messes. And if we are alive, we will be messy.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

And so to bed

Today I mowed the lawn.

I was going to write more about my day, and although the events were mundane, the writing would have been light and amusing, even witty. Take my word for it.

But I'm kind of tired, so forget it. Instead, good-night.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Rain and Wind

I guess I was so tired the last time I posted that I took a 2-week break. We had a lengthy spell (several weeks) of hot weather (hot for Northwest Washington), but today we're getting well soaked with rain. That'll green up the lawn again.

My dad seems to be doing fine with his pacemaker.

I'm having good developments in my own life, but some of my friends and relatives are facing challenges. I have lots of reasons to pray for lots of people. I told one of them last Saturday night we should remember that when we don't know what to pray for the Holy Spirit intercedes for us with groans too deep for words. Then the next day I went to church, and here was the text:

In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God. (Romans 8:26-27)

The preacher pointed out that the text does not assume that most of the time we do know what to pray for but on those occasions when we don't the Holy Spirit intercedes for us; rather, it says simply, "We do not know what we ought to pray for." That's our state of being. And all the time the Spirit intercedes.

He also pointed out the Trinity in this passage: God the Father is listening to our prayers, God the Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness and intercedes for us in accordance with God's own will, and God the Son, Jesus Christ, is "he who searches our heart" (cross reference Revelation 2:3: "I am he who searches hearts and minds"). The preacher suggested much of our praying should be listening for the Spirit to teach us the will of God so that we can pray for it. Also, that God chooses to act through the prayers of his saints -- thus we are his partners in accomplishing his will.

Good stuff.