Friday, July 20, 2012


“to love life, to love it even
when you have no stomach for it
and everything you've held dear
crumbles like burnt paper in your hands,
your throat filled with the silt of it.
When grief sits with you, its tropical heat
thickening the air, heavy as water
more fit for gills than lungs;
when grief weights you like your own flesh
only more of it, an obesity of grief,
you think, How can a body withstand this?
Then you hold life like a face
between your palms, a plain face,
no charming smile, no violet eyes,
and you say, yes, I will take you
I will love you, again.”
― Ellen Bass

Interestingly, this quote showed up on a friend's Facebook page yesterday.  And, here today, we grieve.  I sit in the wake of this ugliness in Aurora, CO, and the poem quoted, which seemed so knowing and haunting just a day ago in a removed sort of way, hangs heavier than it did yesterday, so much heavier.  I ache for those whose bodies have to withstand this unbearable, this weighted and raw agony.  I pray from some deep place for every family, even for James Holmes and his sad family.  I long, in that way we all do, for the impossible--the ability to turn back time and refuse to allow the event.

As a mother, this sadness is like a kick in the stomach.  I watched an interview this morning with a young man who had taken his little sister and his girlfriend to see the new Batman movie last night.  It's not that his story was chilling that made me hurt so much for him, rather, that he is not the same person he was when he walked into the theater.  And he never will be.

I ask everyone reading this to stop just now, and pray.  Pray for an unmistakable holiness in and around each person.  Pray that each broken heart would mend, and that each person will one day be able to take life between the palms and "say, yes, I will take you/I will love you, again."

Monday, July 9, 2012

Never A Dull Moment

To say that we run around like chickens with our heads cut off would be a gross understatement.  To say we fall into bed each night exhausted from a busy day at work and play would be one, as well.  It's more like we have been forced into an obligatory life-imposed Attention Deficit.  What happened to the lazy hazy days of summer we spent the colder months dreaming of?  I don't think they exist for any of us.  When I was a child, one glorious summer day blended with the next, and the next, and the next.  We got up early, ate breakfast, arrived at the beach before the lifeguards, left the beach long after the lifeguards, ate supper, played at the playground and went to bed.  Sprinkled in the middle were odd chores like walking Stormy (the favored pooch), playing with Matt (the favored baby brother) and gathering kindling for regular campfires.  For a child, life really doesn't get much better.

Sadly, my children have never experienced summer life in that way.  They pack for camp, go to camp, get picked up from camp, pack for camp, go to camp, get picked up from camp, and so on.  For most of the summer.  They have very, very few days to lie around and do nothing.  I feel bad for them.  For instance, our 17-year-old daughter went to Girls State (week-long mock government activities--so awesome!--sponsored by the American Legion) two days after we returned from our crazy little vacation in Williamsburg, VA, with another family (see previous blog).  After Girls State, we both spent a super intense week preparing for the Miss West Virginia's Outstanding Teen pageant to be held in Morgantown, WV.  She hit the pike for the pageant and I finished up the particulars.  A friend and four of her five children stayed with us and then we all headed for Morgantown.  Once home from the pageant, where our dear daughter made the top eight, she took a nap, re-packed and headed out to Bible camp in Pennsylvania for a week.  Hubby picked her up Friday evening and Saturday morning she and her younger sister went to a Pirates' game and concert with friends.  Yesterday, the girls unpacked from the game and concert, re-packed and joined two of their brothers and lots of others for a local week-long mission trip in Capon Bridge WV (sponsored by our church).  She is planning to attend another youth activity in Cumberland, MD, over the weekend.

While our daughter is running with her choke out, her parents and siblings are neither twiddling their thumbs nor lazing around.  Rather, we are working here at home and out in the cut-throat world of business, packing and unpacking for other camps, preparing for and performing at various storytelling events, harvesting vegetables, killing fleas (on the pets and in the house), teaching Boy Scout Merit Badges (okay, just one so far, but it's time-consuming), having babies (congrats on John Patrick's healthy birth, Cheryl and Bill!), holding an Eagle Scout ceremony, completing long-neglected writing projects, and trying to find a dependable cheap/free car.  There are lots of other things on all of our plates but there is really no need to continue.  Everybody's busy--cold, but true.

So, what do we do to reclaim the summer?  Well, as far as I can see, we finish up the last camp experience (Boy Scout Camp) and guard August jealously.  Unfortunately, our college student returns for R.A. training on August 8 and our daughter's Trojanette activities begin around the same time.  Grrr--to what do we say, "NO?!"  I wonder if you can imagine how happy I was when the power went out last week and did not return completely for five days.  The phone and Internet lines were damaged and stayed that way for eight days, and I wasn't one bit sorry.

A complete collapse of technology in our world?  Bring it on, at least until we get tired of having nothing to do.