Sunday, April 1, 2018

Little Feathers: When the Student Is Ready...

Little Feathers: When the Student Is Ready...: I hope I can capture in words this Easter gift I was given today. Actually, the gift has been revealing itself for a few weeks now. But toda...

When the Student Is Ready...

I hope I can capture in words this Easter gift I was given today. Actually, the gift has been revealing itself for a few weeks now. But today a shift in perspective, a changing of the angle, as my great friend Mary says, let a precious insight sparkle like the very best light for my spirit.

Appalled by injustice and oppression done in the name of Christ, I have had a lot of trouble embracing the church for a few years now. I have wanted to apologize for, more than celebrate,the church on earth. This has caused the field of my faith to lie fallow, or sometimes downright dying. It has caused me to repeat, ad nauseum, all the things I can't believe about God. Some of the most troubling things are in the creeds and prayers of the church, and I have felt at turns blasphemous and rebellious when faced with dogma I feel was created to keep some in power and others under the thumb. Some in the club and some left begging at the gate. Many mixed metaphors, I know.  I know you will understand just what I mean when I say I have wept that crosses -meant as the reminder of the ultimate sacrifice of a creator who would go to the very gates of hell to call "home free" to every creature ever made, those same crosses would be used to strike fear into the hearts of those who found them burning on their lawn. That's the best example I can think of to tell you the trouble in my heart. We won't even go into the Crusades, the Inquisition, the treatment of minorities of every kind, the blind eye to predator priests, using scripture as a battering ram or weapon of exclusion, etc etc etc.

A few weeks ago we started going to a nearby church. It could be any church, most likely, but this particular one was chosen for me. Because the Holy Spirit keeps giving words to the minister there, words that feel like living water poured on that fallow field. Little phrases that catch my imagination, the most important part of my brain, to me. Not new information, just little drops of water at just the right time.

Today the crowning moment came for me when the minister was preaching, and talking about the women who fled in fear from the empty tomb. As he talked about them running back the way they had come, fearful and confused, I saw my own self with them. Because I don't get it. I don't get so much of it. And the contradictions have dealt me a blow that I has left me reeling, for a while now.

But as the sermon went on, God had something private to say to me. The gospel reading today was not about the ones who later came and saw Jesus sitting in the tomb. But my mind went there anyway, led by a God who loves me. And instead of the words from the Bible, when Jesus saw me looking into the tomb, he said, just to me, "See, I have already been every place your fear can go. I have been in that place already. And you will not go there alone. No fear is beyond me."

I still have a lot of trouble with aspects of the church. But those are really people problems, not God problems. I have been left this day with a peace, a heart for understanding that God is so much bigger than the tiny parameters the church has given God. I know this is nothing new. But the peace is new for me today. And I am grateful.

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Little Feathers: Just The One Time

Little Feathers: Just The One Time: How did we get here? How did we get to this place of distrust, disrespect and lawlessness? One decision at a time. The one time we decid...

Just The One Time

How did we get here? How did we get to this place of distrust, disrespect and lawlessness?

One decision at a time.

The one time we decided not to let our child face the consequences of a bad decision. Because we wanted to protect them from disappointment or failed dreams. But we knew deep down, even then, that the only failed dreams are ones that don't belong to us anymore because we've sold out.

The one time we decided not to alert the retail clerk to an error in our favor. A little chink in our armor of self respect. But a chink non-the-less.

The one time we decide to jump on the bandwagon of dragging someone down. Anyone. Anywhere. Because mobs are always cool, until they're not.

The one time we get behind the wheel when we know we are impaired. There's just a little ways to go, and a cab would be inconvenient. There can be no finger pointing ever to someone else's bad judgement once we've made that rationalization. The difference between us and them? We arrived safely without killing anyone and they did not.

The one time we let a friend badmouth our spouse without letting them know that is stunningly bad taste. It doesn't have to end the friendship, but we do have to let them know that disrespecting our spouse is not okay. If we can't say it because we fear their reaction, we have made our choice.

The one time we continually watched (oxymoron, I think) a show where the people prove dominance of ideas or popularity by out-screaming each other. The cheapening of dialog starts with not letting someone finish their sentence. (I wish I had a nickle for ever time I've interrupted someone. Then I could send that money to a good cause and resolve, once again, not to do that anymore.) If we don't watch those shows, the money lenders, who are the enablers, will get the message.

The one time we called an elected official a derogatory name. Privately hating them is one thing, and I think we need to do a blood check on the level of hate in our 'stream, but demeaning them because they have a different point of view is another. We can say this is trickle down, starts at the top, etc. But we are not in charge of anyone but ourselves. Are we going to mimic behavior we hate in others?

The one time we fail to stand up for what we know is right, working for change, because we fear what the popular kids think. High school left a mark! Let's erase it. Who cares what someone else does or thinks if we know we need to be/act/talk/argue/ for something? This is opposite, in my opinion, of tearing someone down. It is building up what we know is good and right.

The one time we invented excuses for ourselves because the truth was too embarrassing. Lots of stuff is no one else's business, period. But we don't have to lie. Really. I don't know anyone who hasn't done this. Which is kinda my point.

The one time we let fear stop us. Fear of failure, fear of judgement, fear of losing our stuff. What we need to fear the most is the sellout.

I'm sad that we have come to accept mocking someone for their faith/size/intellect/talent. It's beneath us a nation. As a society. As an individual. I don't want to do it anymore. And since I'm the only one that I'm actually in charge of, I'm wanting to set a goal for myself to do the things I know are right. Just the one time. And the next. But let's start with just the one.



Sunday, January 14, 2018

Little Feathers: Turns From The Corner, Lullabies, A Pen, A Paint...

Little Feathers: Turns From The Corner, Lullabies, A Pen, A Paint...: Balance', balance', pique (single), pique (double), prepare and triple (honor demands you try again if you fall out of the first tri...

Turns From The Corner, Lullabies, A Pen, A Paintbrush

Balance', balance', pique (single), pique (double), prepare and triple (honor demands you try again if you fall out of the first triple pirouette, but if you do not pull up sufficiently the second time, you will double the next go round), glissade assemble' derriere (if you eat up enough floor with this, you can add a whole combo to your turn), inside pirouette (single), soutenu. Repeat as many times as you can fit in your diagonal run.

When I think of my teenage self in Miss Van Valey's studio, this is truly my favorite "turns from the corner" sequence. It must have resonated in my bones to be with me 50-some years later. I can hear Mrs. Erhardt playing the modest upright piano in the corner, Miss Van Valey calling out corrections, which were adamant and loud when we missed a position. Never was it an option to finish a pirouette in a questionable position other than the assigned one. I still long for the feeling of exact balance, the string from the crown of my head, a taught helper lifting, lifting, lifting me out the standing hip that can fool one into sinking into the floor, away from the sky that we aspired to inhabit.

I loved to dance. It snuck into my dreams, snuck into my identity. It studied ballet only until I went to college. Then I learned that the sky I had longed to inhabit en pointe was open to new, creative, limitless ways to dance.

One day, I traded my dancing for mothering. Another love. Another way to see beyond myself. A gift.  Though there were hard days, tired days, confused days, heartbreaking days, I was a mother to my bones. Maybe my favorite part was singing lullabies, reading to them, praying with them at bedtime.

Another day, in a bid to let the kids grow up to be their own people, I took up a pen. Or, more accurately, a keyboard. I wrote stories. I wrote devotions, and books, and poems and songs and emails and facebook posts and and and and. I was a writer. In my soul. Words made pictures, made conclusions, made unanswerable questions, made me stop stop stop and think.

Last summer, a day came along that put a paintbrush in my hand. At 63, I suddenly saw color and composition as an opportunity to seek that same sky, that rarefied air that called to me as a teen age ballerina. Now I'm painting everything that catches my fancy. I am a baby in the school of art, a novice of the first degree in all things art. But that is not a stumbling block for me, because I have the absolute luxury of learning something new.

I was so blessed that my parents worked hard to give me dance lessons. I was incredibly blessed to mother three of my favorite people. I was blessed to have the time, and support of my husband, and the means to learn to write. And I feel the same now with painting. And I am grateful.

Turns from the corner will inhabit the long-hallowed halls of my memory. Mothering lives on in my heart, long after the children are grown. Writing still calls to me, giving me voice. And painting is an exciting journey into new territory. Hello sky. I see you up there. Waiting.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Little Feathers: Of Garth Brooks, Poets, and Gifts

Little Feathers: Of Garth Brooks, Poets, and Gifts: If you haven't listened to The Gift, you must. Suspend your desire to be sophisticated, suspend your worldly cynicism. Listen to a story...