Monday, November 28, 2011

Raven Street Notes no. 8

My blog is ugly and outdated. 
To the right, my blog lists “current faves.”  These are over a year old.  I don’t have time for web design.
I know, JBeyer, you have offered to do this for me.  I’ve been too lazy to take you up on the offer.  Yet, I wince with shame at the ugliness.
Also, my printer is slowly printing coupons from the web site. One sheet at a time, every 20 seconds. 
The saying comes to mind, right at this minute, in regard to productivity (mine and the printer’s): Off we go now like a herd of turtles.

Want to know something?  I thought of something really deep and meaningful that I wanted to say last week, for a minute. And then I forgot it. But take my word for it: it was deep. And meaningful.

I think I forgot that very deep, meaningful thought because I have been so busy, like you all have been.  I’ve been packing and traveling for a family of five.  Been doing lots of church work. And laundry. Lunch packing. Reading. Studying. Praying. Fretting. Mopping Floors. Cleaning Bathrooms. Grocery Shopping. Clipping Coupons. Baking Pies. Gingerbread-house Building. Cooking Dinner. Reading Aloud. Watching Alias. 
Yes, watching lots and lots of Alias because I have to finish all five seasons now that I’ve started re-watching the series from the beginning. It’s almost a curse, I tell you, because I can’t don’t want to stop until Sydney and Vaughn can live happily ever after with their two children, Jack and Isabelle, on a sandy beach in what appears to be SoCal.

I tell myself that watching this series is about more than soul-soothing entertainment.  No, I dream to myself, metaphors abound in Alias, the profundities of which I am still in the process of ferretting out. But WILL.

I WILL, mind you.

And if I don’t, I’ll just like it and like it forever and ever, like how some ladies still like (and wear) that same big frosted hairdo they loved in the 80s.

We can’t help what we love.
But then, I think, sometimes I have to help myself to love--or do the loving thing. Like getting up at 5 a.m. or dark-thirty to soothe a crying Tiny. Or making those lunches. Signing those school papers. Washing someone’s favorite shirt when I’d be happy never laying eyes on a washing machine again in my life. Practicing patience. Practicing hope.  Helping the children practice patience and hope.  Refereeing conflict. Instituting discipline (because I love them, I say).  

Maybe it’s all the “helping ourselves” to love--every choice in a series of choices that conveys the message I love [you]--is what leads to things like ugly web pages and outdated reading lists and having to print out stupid coupons from Target at 9:30 at night when I’d much rather be wait for it watching Alias.

Then there are the other things love makes us compels us to do. For instance, I’m going on a trip. At least I think so.  A trip to Africa all because of a bad case of love.
See, once, a long time ago, I heard a woman talk about her love for Jesus. She talked about the Jesus I already knew in such a way that made me wonder if I really knew him. She talked about knowing him where she lived in Pemba, Mozambique, and how one day she hoped to and believed she would  I know, this sounds crazy dance on the waters of the Indian Ocean with him. She meant it in the most biblical way, alluding to Peter, his walk of faith in the middle of the storm, Jesus just yards away, eyes on him and so nothing else mattered. When she said this, I knew I wanted to know a Jesus whose eyes on me could make all my fears stop mattering, stop overpowering my puny body and soul.

I wanted to know that Jesus like nothing else.
This woman was not flaky, although you might wonder. No, she spoke of gritty realities and of living in a place where she and a team of others cared for the needs of widows and orphans—the children of Mozambique who came daily to their missions base for food, physical contact, love, prayer.  Pemba was a place, she said and so have others, where for so many God was the only hope, the only solace, the only excitement, the only entertainment, the only joy.  And strangely, ironically, perfectly--because of the raw need for him in a place so bereft of other comforts—the woman said that in this place she saw God. Well, not in the flesh, exactly. But she saw his handiwork in the ears of deaf villagers who suddenly could hear, in the sight of mothers who’d never seen their own children.  She knew God in the exuberance of miraculous provision of food for the children who came for their daily bread.  And when she spoke of this kind of God, this God I claimed to love, I knew I really did not know him in the same way, yet I wanted to so very badly, so achingly badly—a far worse ache than my need for Sydney and Vaughn to arrive at just closure to their narrative.  This was far more serious than my need love for Alias.

And so events have scrambled to this moment, now:  It seems I’m going this summer to serve alongside an organization that serves the people of Mozambique, near the boundaries of the Indian Ocean.  I am going, God-willing—and by that I mean that (I think) God is willing but I’ll know for sure once I miraculously have in my possession the eight thousand dollars required for me and Oldest to go.  And yes, Oldest is going (we think).  She hates the idea of immunization shots, of long plane rides.  In fact, these factors reduce her to tears at least twice weekly.  But when I tell her she doesn’t have to go, that I’m not making her, she cries even harder, setting her jaw, and says I have to, I’m going as if she’s been hardwired for this decision her entire life.  Then I ask her why, just to check, to double check, to make sure that my Oldest realizes that this is not Disneyland we’re going to, that the toilet situation is far from glamorous, that rice and beans will be our only daily fare.  And every time she says unapologetically for some kind of irrational can't-help-what-she-loves love: “Because." She sets her jaw, "I want to play with the orphans.”


Kate said...

Heather, even in a blog post where you are just writing fragments you are a beautiful, lyric writer.

heather weber said...

thank you, dearest Kate!