Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Raven Street Notes #11

1. I am fasting from Facebook this month, and so naturally, blogging is the next best thing for satisfying my social media needs. But truth be told, I'm a little disappointed in myself--with my craving to dialogue with five hundred people at once about my offspring, my dinner, the articles I'm reading, a movie I watched.  Since January 1, I have been on the verge of pulling out my smart phone to take a picture of Tiny singing/baking/dancing (you name it) only to remember that I don't have "anyone" to share it with, and by that I mean I won't be able to make it visible to hundreds of people with one tap.  I could, I suppose, send it to my husband and Tiny's grandparents, but that doesn't seem as satisfying.  I want the world to know if anyone's going to know. I must broadcast to all audiences if I broadcast to one.  And what this means, my friends, is that if a tree falls in the forest and I don't document it for a FB status update, it didn't really fall.
This is pitiful. And I must take measures to appreciate, witness, and acknowledge the fallen trees sans status update.

2. I need a Vitamix, that $500 dangling carrot of kitchen appliances that facilitate healthy eating.  The big girls and I are enamored with the traveling road show that pops up at Costco every so many months.  And the young and peppy Vitamix Guy in his apron, hair net, Vitamix cap, and microphone headset (to be heard over the whirr of his demonstration) is as compelling and enamoring as the machine itself. He grins, slack-jawed and loose-tongued as he peels pineapple, squeezes an agave nectar bottle with a flourish from high in the air, sloshes puree into dixie cups and twirls the Vitamix plunger in and out of the bucket of rinse water. He's got recipes on bright yellow card stock he's handing out: "Derick's Recipe Cards" is printed at the bottom in a some kind of home desktop publishing scrawl. If corporate made these, they want you to think Derick did it himself, at home in front of his MacBook making sure he didn't forget the cinnamon in the applesauce recipe for the moms who make their own baby food. I'm totally hooked on Derick's enthusiasm, the Vitamix, and having someone else make food for me.  I remind myself that the $500 does not pay for the personal chef. I also have terrible luck buying pineapple in Iowa and, therefore, the tropical green smoothie is still truly out of my reach.

3. I am most aware than ever I have been of great joy accompanied by suffering. "It matters what we focus on," I heard Heidi Baker say earlier this week. It's true; it does matter because simultaneously I'm inundated by the goodness of Tiny's laugh and the celebrations of Oldest and Middle's art projects and the sorrows of calamities in places like Newtown as well as the geographies of my children's bodies and my own, which betray us with weapons that sound like, respectively, recurring strep, ear infection, asthma, miscarriage, hotflash.  Too many times, I departed from my happy oblivion-of-normalcy for the continent of Grief, although it might be less a continent than a rugged ice floe you stand around on in the bitter cold for endless months, jumping up an down in your thin, ragged parka (no hat, no gloves), blowing on your hands for warmth until you drift into whatever land Grief is taking you too.

I put my toes on Grief this month and then shrank back from its awful death-ice. I hate Grief.  And so I've decided to turn up my nose at its hospitable arctic habitat. I'm going to find another way to--I don't know--not skirt around it, but maybe keep one foot planted on warm undrifting ground and stretch my leg out so just a little pinky toe rests on the ice floe.  Why the pinky?  Because you can't ignore Grief--or maybe you can, and I'm thrilled for you--but I can't ever seem to shake it no matter how I try.  In the old days, on Grief's floe, I questioned things I won't question anymore. I've resolved not to. Such lines of inquiry as: Is God good? If God is good, then why am I on this ice floe? But like I said, I'm not getting on (fully) this time; I've got what I think is ample evidence of God's goodness: the hope that fires away in spite of calamity, the tenderheartedness of people in the midst of deep suffering, my children's laughter, and my two-year-old Tiny saying over and over last month as if this were truly significant to her, "Christmas is coming! Christmas is coming!", a reminder of Emmanuel, that God is With Us.