Thursday, December 6, 2012

--enough of the small idols.

I'm sitting in front of the Subway --now we have no internet at home, but there is  free wifi down this end of town, so I came to see if it was just us wireless, or the whole town again. Looks like it is just us....

Anyhoo --I cannot tell you enough how grateful I am that you all come and "visit" --even if you don't comment. The wonderful thing about this internet stuff is that it is never a one way street. You all being "out there" cuts the edge off the extreme isolation of this place.

Which reminds me --I was remembering the other day --the first time we drove home to Eagle Butte from Rapid, and the vast expanse of the prairie surrounded us, without towns and no houses and we hadn't seen a car for 50 miles --the gnawing fear of vulnerability we felt... Now that same road and those same expanses have familiar landmarks and places of refuge. The growing sense of being at home is, however, still tempered with a very humble respect --folks who have lived here all their lives die out there....

And tonight we begin --we have a wake and funeral for D tonight and tomorrow --a wake and funeral for C Friday and Saturday --L's family called and are trying to arrange something --and a wake and funeral for DT on Sunday and Monday....

--and I am remembering when I had to see a counselor who would give me a thumb's up or down in the ordination process, and they all looked at me cross-eyed when I said --yes, my father was an alcoholic womanizer and he abandoned me and my younger brother when I was just 16 and then he skipped town so he wouldn't have to pay child support --but he was also creative, big hearted, a healer, liked to build stuff --and showed me parts of the world I wouldn't have known otherwise --so I love him, and I have forgiven him....

The counselors just couldn't understand.... But, here --here, that kind of love and hurt is a way of life.... And one can choose --bitterness and a swan dive into self-destruction, or choose bittersweet with a little love mixed in....

--and yes, there are still parts that hurt too much to pick up --not necessarily with my father, but with my living breathing family. But I know where those parts are. I have planted trees there in my soul. Wilderness landmarks. And, one day, love will overcome.

For all of us.

You know --anxiety is an idol... as is bitterness... as is self-destruction....

At prayer this morning (Psalm 18:1-20)

I love you, O LORD my strength, *
O LORD my stronghold, my crag, and my haven.
My God, my rock in whom I put my trust, *
my shield, the horn of my salvation, and my refuge;
you are worthy of praise.
I will call upon the LORD, *
and so shall I be saved from my enemies.
The breakers of death rolled over me, *
and the torrents of oblivion made me afraid.
The cords of hell entangled me, *
and the snares of death were set for me.
I called upon the LORD in my distress *
and cried out to my God for help.
He heard my voice from his heavenly dwelling; *
my cry of anguish came to his ears.
The earth reeled and rocked; *
the roots of the mountains shook;
they reeled because of his anger.
Smoke rose from his nostrils
and a consuming fire out of his mouth; *
hot burning coals blazed forth from him.
He parted the heavens and came down *
with a storm cloud under his feet.
He mounted on cherubim and flew; *
he swooped on the wings of the wind.
He wrapped darkness about him; *
he made dark waters and thick clouds his pavilion.
From the brightness of his presence, through the clouds, *
burst hailstones and coals of fire.
The LORD thundered out of heaven; *
the Most High uttered his voice.
He loosed his arrows and scattered them; *
he hurled thunderbolts and routed them.
The beds of the seas were uncovered,
and the foundations of the world laid bare, *
at your battle cry, O LORD,
at the blast of the breath of your nostrils.
He reached down from on high and grasped me; *
he drew me out of great waters.
He delivered me from my strong enemies
and from those who hated me; *
for they were too mighty for me.
They confronted me in the day of my disaster; *
but the LORD was my support.
He brought me out into an open place; *
he rescued me because he delighted in me.

And I'll finish it with a song...

Canticle: A Song of True Motherhood
by Julian of Norwich

God chose to be our mother in all things *
and so made the foundation of his work,
most humbly and most pure, in the Virgin’s womb.
God, the perfect wisdom of all, *
arrayed himself in this humble place.
Christ came in our poor flesh *
to share a mother’s care.
Our mothers bear us for pain and for death; *
our true mother, Jesus, bears us for joy and endless life.
Christ carried us within him in love and travail, *
until the full time of his passion.
And when all was completed and he had carried us so for joy, *
still all this could not satisfy the power of his wonderful love.
All that we owe is redeemed in truly loving God, *
for the love of Christ works in us;
Christ is the one whom we love.

Yes --see. It is Christ whom we love, Christ working in us.... Life itself.
--enough of the small idols....

Off I go.
Finding new connections in an unwired world today....


Ann said...

So easy to find idols and love them - much smaller and cozier than the "wild God" who loves with such abandon and can be quite terrifying in that love.

btw -- since you approve all comments anyway - how about taking off the "prove you're not a robot" letters and numbers that usually take me 3-4 times to make work? Thanks

it's margaret said...

Sorry about the no-robot tricks --but, I was getting spammed to death.

Grandmère Mimi said...

We have much in common in our fathers, margaret.

You know --anxiety is an idol... as is bitterness... as is self-destruction....

Oh so true and right.

And then Dame Julian with Jesus as our mother, words which I know well. You made me cry.

Prayers for the dead and for those who grieve.

PseudoPiskie said...

The day isn't complete until you have posted, Margaret. What an inspiration you are! How you deal with constant funerals is amazing. And your ability to adapt to the situation is a real gift to the people you serve. I'm sure there are many of us who keep you in our prayers as you need inspiration too. As well as courage and endurance. You are such a blessing to all of us and TEC. Thank you for being you! And writing about it.

it's margaret said...

Grandmere --I didn't mean to make you cry... bittersweet, I hope?

Thank you PseudoPiskie. I am glad you are here.

Paula said...

What PseudoPiskie said. <3

Grandmère Mimi said...

Grandmere --I didn't mean to make you cry... bittersweet, I hope?

margaret, for a few minutes, I felt as if all the sadness in the world rested on my shoulders, which made me cry. Thank God the feeling passes, for we can't live like that. Thank God for Advent, the season of hope.

Nurse Philosopher said...

Did you know you have my mother's name? Which we see all too seldom in these days of trendy names. I am a permanent lurker here & a reader at least several times a week, if not daily. I appreciate your candor and always find something of value in your stories of the struggle of your Lakota congregations as does my husband. I sometimes read you aloud to him. My walk is among the people of the foothills who are recovering from physical ailment (I'm a visiting nurse.) You are always in my prayers & I not only think of you & Joel often, but I send people to your site regularly. Blessings!

it's margaret said...

Nurse Philosopher --no, I did NOT know I had your mother's name! --and did you know MY mother was a nurse!?

Thank you for commenting --and thank you for 'being' here.

Anonymous said...

You say "I cannot tell you enough how grateful I am that you all come and visit - even if you don't comment". This made me blush 'cos I've never commented yet still wonder at the loneliness of your task and the harsh conditions in which you work.

So let's say that as we worry about being merged into a ten parish benefice of scattered communities we can see we're much better off than you are, that when we complain about the distances involved you show we don't know what we're talking about, and in comparison with your mission we're so rich we should be able to do anything.
Regards, Charley farns-Barns.