7 Timely Takes

7 Timely Takes July 20, 2018

Ah, Friday, I don’t deserve you.

Tried waking up at a normal time all week by setting an alarm, hearing it go, experiencing profound and bitter astonishment, turning it off, and going back to sleep. Thought that trying to embrace reality by waking up at a normal time would be a good and godly thing to do. Getting up out of bed in the morning would perhaps spur me on to do things like laundry and cooking, maybe, rather than just sitting on the porch gazing out over our struggling plants, doing their best in bad soil.

The garden—seriously. Such a venture cannot succeed if the soil is awful. Generous shovelfuls of mulch are slowly making it habitable for life, but it’s a long slow process. You put the mulch on and sit there, recriminating both the slow movement of time in dirt, and also the impossibly fast careening of time for children needing new shoes or that hour when you thought you were going to write fifty emails and it turned out the sand was gone when you had only written one. It’s the unevenness that irritates me. The impatience on one hand, and the panic on the other. I swing back and forth between the two.

In that spirit—of immoderation and panic—am going to clean out the attic and redo the school room sometime before school is supposed to officially kick off. I’m going to throw away everything we own, probably, and spend the rest of the year wishing I still had that thing at the bottom of that box. I will wander around as I do now, wondering where I put it, but, and this is the point, without tripping over the piles of junk I have strategically laid about for myself. The injurious arrangement of junk, that’s what I’ve been calling the attic.

Also am trying to workout again after taking a break for six weeks or months or whatever it’s been. “It’s a gift I should give myself,” I explain through clenched teeth, to myself, watching the cheerful person on the screen and hating her. I’m going to be 42 in a month or so and it’s time for me to face facts. The fact that I am still (what an evil word that is) “quite young” and I should have some physical strength. I shouldn’t languish before a new jar of jam. I shouldn’t desire to sit on a stool while I’m washing dishes. I shouldn’t pass over a hollandaise “because of all the stirring.” If only to be able to eat a lot more, I should exercise my will over the frailty of my flesh and make it stronger or something. But first I’m just going to see about the men’s bible study left over breakfast…there might be bacon.

Read this long interesting piece about how the very rich are, apparently, just as anxious about the Apocalypse as I am, but are trying to use their money to invest in technology that will help them avoid the worst. How can they download their brains to preserve them forever? What should they do to prevent their mistreated employees from turning on them at the critical moment? Will that settlement on Mars be the ticket to life everlasting? Seemed like an eerie realization of That Hideous Strength. And also very depressing. The idea of having your brain go on, unattached to the body, or living isolated and alone in a bunker afraid of all the people outside, was a pleasant wake up call. I may be dysfunctional and overwhelmed but at least I’m not Kreflo Dollar, Kim Kardashian, Mark Zuckerberg, or an idiot millionaire that thinks tethering my brain to a machine would be a good idea. #countingmyblessings

Amongst which is the relief that the neighborhood kids—who sometime wander into Shepherd’s Bowl and make my life hard by wanting to destroy my Sunday School Rooms and careening wildly through the sanctuary shouting and throwing paper—did sit down long enough last night for what I have been calling “a story” but is usually just one verse or two. I perch on a tiny stool, pleading for their attention, trying to say one or two things about Jesus and then pray for them. I had the Bible open, my face set in desperation, begging for enough quiet to read just two verses from John 10 about the Good Shepherd. These children are going to be moving across town, and their dad is in jail somewhere far away, and their mom is going to have custody instead of their grandparents, and she has a boyfriend…there’s a lot to be anxious about, in other words. Just one verse, I pleaded.

The oldest, who is most disruptive and least likely to listen, suddenly leant forward and asked why it was that “Jesus Weaped.” She didn’t know how to say it, which meant that she must have seen it on the page, which meant that she must have been reading the New Testament I gave her three years ago. For ten whole minutes, miraculously, I recounted the story of the resurrection of Lazarus, and read it, and described the body being able to be alive, with the spirit and heart intact, even after the catastrophe of death. She listened. They all listened. And then prayed. And then we sang. And then they went home. Every time they come I am anxious that it will be the last. But God has been very gracious. Every so often he gives a whole moment, he stills the raging heart, he gives time for a word, sometimes even two.

And now I will arise and go stare out at the garden, praying for good soil, and for life in the face of death, and for time to go as fast as God wants it to. You should go read more takes.

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