Becoming Mary

I watch my Littlest ascend the platform, graceful in cranberry satin and black velvet, her tiny violin tucked beneath one arm. She waits. Looks at the director. The piano plays an introduction. She lifts the violin, dark eyes steady, fingers poised.

The director nods, and she begins. This song she has played every day for weeks. This song that is second nature and must visit in her dreams. But the notes do not fit. She looks at the director as the piano plays on. Her fingers search the strings for notes. Any notes that will fit this moment. My Littlest stands very straight, dark eyes steady, even as my throat begins to tighten, my mind race.

The pianist suddenly remembers what key she should be playing in and switches to G. Too late, for now the director is whispering to my Littlest. "Can you play it in D?" Dark eyes steady, my Littlest fumbles to a new string and searches for notes to fit this moment. She finds the tune, but still the notes do not fit. I am sinking into the back of my chair. Breathing quickly. Choking back tears.

After what seems an eternity, the piano and violin come together in the key of D. My Littlest stares, quietly plays this song she has played every day for weeks. This song that is second nature and must visit in her dreams. But who knows any of this? My Littlest looks to be a child who couldn't find the right notes to fit this moment.

And suddenly, in some small, very small way, I think of how Your mother Mary must have felt. As you walked into a world ready to share a grace that You had known forever. But so many people could not see this. Could not hear the beauty of Your song.

Labels: , ,



Oh, God.


Why do the wicked prosper?

In Him all things hold together...

Oh, Lord.


Why do the wicked prosper?

In Him all things hold together...

Oh, Emmanuel.


Why do the wicked prosper?

And a star arose...

The wicked...

A star...

Hold me, then, while I cry.

In Him all things...

Labels: , , , ,


Wild One

You are no shy Lover today. Tossing the maples, the grand old pine, like they were a scarf in Your hand, in some Bolero dance. You rush to the tops of the trees, shake them strong, say, "Look, just look at Me!"

The sun is a brilliant fire surging from Your fingertips, passion sparked, laughing, "Look, just look at Me!"

The snow is everywhere shining. Blinding. So slippery I can barely stand in your Presence. And yet I hear you crying, "Look, just look at Me!"

With slow steps, I take my sled and settle in to the side of this little woods, to watch You dance.

You are no shy Lover today. And I am looking, laughing! Admiring You, my Wild One. Shining, flipping your scarf to the wind.

Glory. Wild glory.

Labels: ,



I look at my Littlest across the table, in our sunset golden dining room.

"I love you," I say.

"I know."

"You know? How do you know? Is it only because I tell you I love you?"

"I don't think so."

"How do you know?"

"You hug me. And you kiss me. You're kind to me..." she smiles.

"Most of the time I'm kind to you."

"Most of the time," she says and moves into my lap. Her head is on my shoulder.

"Except when I'm crabby."

"Except when you're crabby."

"And tired. Sometimes when I'm tired, I'm not kind. Or when I'm just crabby."

"Or when you're in a hurry," she smiles.

"When I'm in a hurry?" I pause. She is looking at me straight on, not blinking, not turning. Looking at me straight on. "When I'm in a hurry... I should work on that, I guess..."

"Maybe if you want to," she touches my arm, kisses my cheek.

Out of the mouths of babes, You speak to me. Out of the mouths of babes, you ordain not only praise, but also truth, to silence the enemy and the avenger. Out of the mouths of babes, my Child, you speak. And touch my soul.

Labels: , , ,



At last the snow stops. I step out into the night, bundled. To shovel. Breathe deep. Look up at the sky. It is a strange peachy color.

Dip. Shove. Toss. Dip. Shove. Toss.

Down the stairs, I make my way. At the sidewalk, I see that someone has dumped all the snow off his car, and off the street, onto my sidewalk, where I must now shovel. "You're kidding," I say out loud. I am angry. Shove the snow back where it came from. Later, repent a little and put some near the edge of my driveway.

When I am finally finished, my heart is pounding. I make my way 'round the side of the house. A startled bird "chrr, chrr's" and takes flight. I fetch the sled and walk up the side of the yard, leaving a blank palette of snow for my Elder Daughter. ("Don't step on it!" she always cries.) Under the pine tree, I lie down. Quiet.

The wood-winged bushes are little crosses against the peachy sky. Crosses upon crosses upon crosses. I am SO not You. Sacrificing for the ones who crossed you with worse than a little snow upon your sidewalk. I am SO not You.

I turn over and put my tongue in the snow. Four licks. I turn back over, sit up, stand. The licks have made a little flame shape. And when I lift the sled, there is no snow angel. Just a sort of wedge.

I walk out of my little, little woods, back to the hill, slide. Glide down the edge of the blank palette lawn with a whoosh. Snow goes into my left boot. And I laugh. You make me laugh! Even when I'm cross.

Labels: ,



Each night brings something new, as I run on broken sidewalks, past houses, in the cold.

Here is a wreath with a bright red bow, where yesterday stood an empty door. And here, a wire reindeer, grounded, grazing, lit white. I round the corner to meet a smiling snow man and his smiling snow woman, bound in a globe where snow falls onto their carrot noses. Along the weathered grey of a picket fence, white lights create a contour I did not notice on other nights.

Garlands and bows, gingerbread men hung from a roof line. Spiral Christmas trees that look like lost cones from a child's giant double-scoop ice cream. Simple, single candles in quiet windows. A star of Bethlehem hanging from a tree.

Each night brings something new. It is a slow unfolding towards Your birth, the remembrance of Your birth.

Come, my Child, unfold yourself in me.

Labels: ,


Drench Me

Sometimes it is not enough. The silent coexistence of You and I. Trusting the familiar, the past, the little water marks of Your glass upon my table. Sometimes I am like the world I saw tonight. Empty branches reaching heavenward. A blank sky.

And I need you. To drench me.

Drench me like the mist that played upon my face, as I ran into the night. Encase me in silvery brightness. Let the slick run of your holiness touch every curve and point. My God, my Lovely One, drench me.



Peace Candle

It is Advent. And a woman is talking about the peace candle. Lighting it. The plum taper is a rich vision of expectation. Everything feels cozy and right.

I'm holding a small cup of water in my left hand. My littlest is on my lap. Her amber curls are brushing against my chin. I can smell the warm, earthy fragrance of her skin. Everything feels cozy and right.

And now my littlest is flipping her hair or stretching with a quick gesture. I don't know what she's doing. What is she doing?! She hits the cup. Flips it. The water is all over me now. Cold, going through my dressy black pants. Water dripping down my arms, threatening towards my elbows. I'm glaring at my littlest. Colder than the cup of water, spilled.

The glare does its work. She slips off my lap, retreats into my spouse's arms.

Now the woman has finished talking about the peace candle. She's praying. Giving us a moment for confession.

And this is my Advent. Nothing feels cozy, nothing feels right. I am not at peace. I am a woman who glares at her child while the peace candle flickers, burns. And this is my Advent.

Labels: ,


Grace Falls

I walk into the dark, the cold. Breathe deeply of the crisp air.

The hemlocks are frosted, tipped in softness...snow. My heart bends with them, in thanksgiving. For Your grace.




Upon my soul.

Smooths the edges of days past, of a childhood lost.




Upon my soul.

Labels: , ,



Sometimes there is nothing going on. No words I want to say to You. No thoughts in your direction. We are just... together. Spirit brushing past spirit in the small places of the day. The sound of each other's breath. The stray piece of a garment, peeking out from the edge of some moment. Quiet glances, or none at all. And it is enough.



Black Mama God

What can I say, Lord? I see you everywhere. Why, just yesterday, you met me in the library. What a vision you were. It wasn't really you, of course, I know that. And yet...

A big-hipped woman, dark and lovely of skin like the Shulamite. Fleshy, abundant. Smiling. White teeth, thick and strong, made a showing between full, pomegranate lipsticked lips. Smiling. Printing my list of fines. A long list, I admit. Too many forgotten moments when renewals slipped past my vigilance. Smiling. "You're forgave."

My daughter looking up at me. "What? What does she mean?"

"I'm forgiven. See all this? A long list of fines. She let me go. Let me off."

I'm forgave. Forgiven. And you reminded me of this, my black mama God, smiling through some woman in the library. Some woman who printed the long list of my neglect. Printed what I owed. Then threw it all away.

Labels: ,



Somewhere along the page, Gardner said it: "...seems that only those works that represent radical departures gain attention, but...nothing is so boring as endless unalloyed novelty." (p.124, Changing Minds)

And suddenly I was off, reveling in You. My long loved Love. My God who's been with me all these years. You are not new. Ours is not a young love.

I went out into the darkness, into the blustery wind, reclined beneath the flailing pine tree. I traced your invisible form with my fingers, the arch of your holiness. I warmed my heart by familiar fires of your Spirit. Familiar like the scents that meet me when I open the door to my little Tudor. Familiar like the stars, the same Big Dipper drenching me with awe, the way it has since childhood. I opened my mouth as if to drink you. My long loved Love. You are not new. Ours is not a young love.

Come again, after all these years, let me revel in You.

Labels: , , ,