"Graceland" is the name of my favorite song and album. It's by Paul Simon, but more importantly, it's what "home" sounds and feels like to me. We always listened to this album as we traveled from my home in Tennessee to my parents' childhood homes in Florida. But today, it's also a pretty good snapshot of my theology. Somewhere I really believe that the Christian journey is all about a wild trip to Grace-land. As I see it, Grace-land is the place where God is waiting to meet even us–with all the baggage and brokeness that we tote with us. Grace-land is the place where we will be received with open arms, even though our attempts at “getting it right” have been miserable failures at best. But, I think, every step we take is a step on the journey to Graceland.

Friday, December 16, 2011

It's beginning to look a lot like...

July.  Or maybe October.  But not Christmas.  Not even close to Christmas, what with the 72 degree days we're having. I'm still running my car air conditioner.  Once ten or eleven o'clock comes, I can safely open the windows and walk around the house in shorts and a t-shirt. We took the comforter off the bed.  And the sweaters I so look forward to wearing are still packed up in their rubbermaid boxes.

I guess I should be thankful, but instead I feel grouchy.  The weather is beautiful, but it's wrong.  As my dad says happily, "It feels like Christmas in Florida! This is what it felt like when we were growing up." I'm happy for dad, but this weather in no way makes me think of Christmas.  

My snow-flocked garlands and my silvery white and snow flake decked dining room feel ridiculous.  I'm kind of hating the idea of going Christmas caroling. I don't even check the weather anymore (which considering how much I love weather, is a pretty big statement.) And I can't bear (really-- it kind of makes my stomach turn this year) to hear "Baby, It's Cold Outside" or "Frosty the Snowman" or any of the other billion and a half Christmas songs that reference cold weather.

Maybe it's ridiculous to post on something inane as the weather.  Maybe it's silly to base Christmas feelings on something so unrelated.  Maybe it's sinful to send up prayers for a change in the weather when I should be praying for world peace or something.  But this wrong weather is bringing out grinch like grouchiness on my part.

"I need a little Christmas" is what the song says.  Christmas will come, of that I'm not worried.  What I need is a change in weather, and that is nowhere on the horizon.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

The Sleep that will not come...

They (the "experts", whoever they are) say that when you can't sleep you should do anything but watch the clock.  To watch the clock, these experts say, will only cause you to panic as you watch the night dwindle away, which will in turn cause more sleeplessness.

I've prayed.  I've read. I've watched seven or more episodes of Grey's Anatomy in one night.  I've taken Benadryl, or Melatonin. I've had a glass of wine or warm milk before bed.  I've given up my afternoon cup of coffee.  I've moved to the couch. But still I do not sleep.

 Oh, I fall asleep, but as soon as the slightest thing jars me, I'm awake, and likely for good.  Something must be troubling me and at least if I were anxious about something, I could tell someone.  But I'm not.  I'm just awake. Just watching the minutes tick by, thinking I should probably do something productive, but knowing I'm too tired to do it.

Somewhere, my heart must be breaking for someone or some thing, and this is how my body is responding.  I just wish that I knew who or what was causing the heartbreak.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Beyond Words

Several years ago, singer Bobby McFerrin (whose name you know from “Don’t Worry, Be Happy” and “Medicine Music”) came out with an album called Beyond Words. Considering words were a big chunk of how he made his living, that was an interesting switch.  I can’t say I loved the album, because I missed what he had to say.  But today, I understand that sometimes you have to say things other ways, because sometimes, you find yourself at a place that is beyond words.
I guess that’s where I am, and it’s odd, because I love words and putting them together.  But today, all the words I have are all a jumble and none of them come close to saying anything intelligent about the ways my heart is broken open.  I wish I could write beautiful words of lament like the psalmists did, but maybe that will come later.  For now I’m beyond words, and this is what it looks like:
Holding my husband’s hand, even in public, because it feels like the only thing to hold onto.
Eeking out a pre-dinner prayer that said simply, “Thank you for the food” because anything else was too hard to pray.
Being “kissed” over and over by my doggie, who doesn’t understand, but who knows that something is wrong.
Avoiding the phone, because I haven’t anything to say and there isn’t much I want to hear. Except maybe the voice of God, answering with a brilliant explanation that I hadn’t previously considered.
Going to the gym and running and running and running, as if a treadmill could take me to the far away places that my heart dreams of.
Sighs too deep for words, unintelligible to anyone but the Holy Spirit.
Tears running down my face, making a mess of carefully applied mascara, cracking my carefully constructed facade of strength.
Asking the question “why” but not really wanting an answer.
Still praying “O Come, O Come Emmanuel” because you know, somewhere,  that God comes to messy, broken apart people.  It’s just been so long since you were of those people, that you don’t remember what is it is to wait.