Archives for February 2012
This continues my attempt to write an autobiography in 4 blog posts
1 Childhood, boarding school, a novice at Mother Teresa’s Convent
|Sister Josephine, IBMV|
|St. Mary’s Convent, Nainital|
|Nainital in winter|
I. Childhood, Boarding School, a Novice at Mother Teresa’s Convent,
II. Undergraduate days at Oxford, graduate school in America, Marriage
III. Minneapolis and Williamsburg, motherhood, writing
IV. Back to Oxford, business, blogging. So…
Continued–Oxford, America, Marriage, Writing
My prayer life moved from lists, intercession and busyness to a more contemplative resting after taking a “Catching the Fire” course with John Arnott (of the Toronto Airport Fellowship and Toronto Blessing) in Oxford, in May 2010. He taught us “soaking prayer” which really, really resonated with me, and felt natural. And so now, I look at Him, and He looks at me. Ann Voskamp describes in One Thousand Gifts, how she cradled her plump 5 year old sleeping curly-headed daughter, feeling her warm, calm breath, feeling overwhelmed with love. And then the realization falls on her that that’s how God felt about her. Yes, sometimes, when I am unreasonably delighted by something rather small in the big scale of things, I can almost see Jesus look at me, and laugh in delight, for he’s given it to me. I see him smile at me. I sense his love, affection and attention.
And sometimes, I sense him look at me with seriousness and
* * * Ironically, I was working on a poem which flowed beautifully yesterday, which I almost felt Christ speaking to me, until the intensity of writing it exhausted me. I did not want to fight over trivia, and was annoyed by the fight. I wanted to get back into the zone, and overhear Christ dictate the rest of that intense, passionate poem. So I kept my temper, and said quiet, calm but mildly sarcastic, mildly snarky things, which, of course, heightened Roy’s temper. Okay, we are now factoring in New Year’s Eve fireworks to the thunder and lightning and hail which prevailed. And eventually, the fireworks and weather die down. We reach a compromise on some of the thorny issues which have emerged, but not on investing. (“Come on, Roy, do it my way. Weekly,” I urge my blog, but not the Fearsome Man himself). And I have quiet time. I look at Him and He looks at me. Sadly. Oooh, and I repent. I used to be a fiery girl. When did I become passive-aggressive–the coward’s behaviour, which, above all others, I have the most contempt for? So I kept my temper, but was as provocative as I had lost it. Didn’t fool Roy. Didn’t fool Jesus. “Keep calm,” I tell myself, when Roy loses his temper. But that is not the right word to say to myself. The right word, sigh, is LOVE. And if your blood is boiling, and you want to throw something at this infuriating stranger you loved last night, and this morning, and you now momentarily feel no love for? Well, say LOVE as a mantra, because that is what Christ would say to you, if he were physically present, counselling you. And if you cannot say it, if you say, “If I have to love him NOW, I’ll burst”—well say other things. Say, “Have mercy on me, O God, have mercy on me, for in you my soul takes refuge. I will take refuge in the shadow of your wings until the storm has passed. (Psalm 57:1) Or Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High
will sing in the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say of the LORD, “He is my refuge and my fortress,
my God, in whom I trust.” (Ps 97.1) Yes, I will hide in Jesus in future, take refuge in Jesus, until the storm has passed. I will love if I can. I will not exacerbate matters with gently spoken snark, but speak the gentle words which turn away wrath. Sounds good, doesn’t it? And not so easy when one is angry. And so I need to add, “So help me, God.”
Don’t you love the air after a thunderstorm? So clear, so full of promise. The birds and crickets sing. So, our marital blowup has cleared the air…. Though this is not the best way. There has be a better one. We will seek it.
And okay, the next time that infuriating, adorable, clever, wrong-headed, exasperating and good husband of mine provokes me, hopefully I will be loving, rather than just controlling my temper; speak words of gentle life, rather than gentle provocation; and hopefully, the next time I look at other Man who loves me, I will look at him, and he will look at me, and there will not be reproach in his eyes.
|Beauty among the ruins
Photo by Ross Becker, photographer
On this day, the emotions finally started catching up with me.
* * *
|The Lamb’s Book of Life (Image credit)|
You know that awkward moment, when you check a blogroll, kind of hoping you’ll be on it, and well…you’re not?
And your heart sinks.
And you say….
* * *
Well, 30 years ago–forget that, 3 years ago, if I were blogging then–I would have heard the word of torment, the word of the accuser of the brethren, the word of demand: MORE.
Blog more, comment more, network more. Get your name out there more.
I hear them, I hear them, and as Odysseus poured wax into the ears of his sailors so they’d be proof against the song of the sirens
I pour honey into my ears,
The honey of truth.
* * *
For this is what the Lover of Anita says.
“Who gave human beings their mouths? Is it not I, the LORD? 12 Now go; I will help you speak and will teach you what to say.” Exodus 4:11-12
And I still say More, but it is no longer a fist-clenched anxious more.
It’s a hands-open, humble one.
* * *
Help me to follow you more closely, Lord. May my blog develop in tandem with my spiritual life.
More of your spirit, Lord, more of you. Help me believe more deeply for you said:
Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him.”(John 7:38).
Ah, give me that, Lord. Streams of living water flowing through my blog, flowing to find readers to bless. And if my blog blesses people, well, I guess I don’t deeply care about blog-rolls.
Ah, let me swim, oh Lord, in the waters from your sanctuary. For it is written of the river which flows from your sanctuary: Fruit trees of all kinds will grow on both banks of the river. Their leaves will not wither, nor will their fruit fail. Every month they will bear fruit, because the water from the sanctuary flows to them. Their fruit will serve for food and their leaves for healing.” (Ezekiel 47: 12).
To grow in the waters of Spirit which flow from your sanctuary, and to bear fruit each month, fruit for food and leaves for healing—fruit from the Spirit!! And when you are swimming in the waters which flow from the sanctuary, when the tree of your life grows in it, and bears fruit every month—well then, blogrolls are secondary.
* * *
And I bring you again the two loaves and five fish of my talent. And I see you bless it. And, ouch, I see you break it.
And it doesn’t resemble the way I hoped to write, the way I planned to write, the way I was taught to write, the way I used to write.
And you—YOU distribute the loaves of words which have come from brokenness and quietness, words you have whispered to me in my distress—and seeing them read, I am satisfied.
I smile if I am on a blogroll,
And am content if I am not,
Because hearing, overhearing and recording your whispers, Lord,
That is the greatest work you have ever given me!!
|Jennie Bishop, author of
The Princess and the Kiss
* * *
C.S. Lewis in his essay First and Second Things says, “When first things are put first, second things don’t diminish, they increase.” You can’t get second things by putting them first; you can get second things only by putting first things first.
Putting second things first is a recipe for disorder in one’s finances, housekeeping, or personal and life organization.