Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Wishes and Desires

A couple of nights ago I could not sleep. I got up and came down to write. I started writing about my daughters. Abby turned thirteen this week. My youngest daughter is now a teenager. How extraordinary. A paragraph came, but the piece was not ready.

The words were jumbled in my mind. Random. Chaotic. Phrases--snatches of thought--unfinished. Articulation eluded me. My tongue mute. I could not traverse the path from my mind, to my fingers, to the screen.

Sometimes if I just simply write and give myself permission to freely associate then the words come.

Someone reminded me that God's ways are not ours, and of course, ours are not his.

My random associations made me think of Daughtry's song:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SIUw4ZS1J_A

Every time I listen to this song it becomes a prayer. The truthful lyrics are far more about desires than about wishes.

This thought led me to think about Psalm 37:4.

Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart.

Desires are not the same as wishes.

Wishes are evanescent and ethereal--beautiful bubbles that silently explode when they touch your hand. Desires are solid and substantial. Desires can be dangerous. They take root. They go deep.

My wishes fluctuate and vacillate. I am flippant with my wishes. I toss them around lightly—unconcerned where they land. Like the bubbles wishes are transient pleasures--momentary prisms. But my desires are established. Enduring prisms that have been intentionally cut. They are sharp and have edges. And I hold them very close.

Then the connection came: if I delight in Him, then the pattern of my thinking will slowly change. My thoughts will be brought closer to the reality of His. And then the wishes have a chance to mature and become his desires. And light will play on the planes of the prism.

Daughtry says be careful what you wish for...but God says, "You have not because you ask not."

Sometimes I forget to ask him anything at all. I just simply sit and play with bubbles.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Daddy's Girl

I met my Dad and Brenda (my wonderful stepmother, not anything like Cinderella’s) for lunch today. They were on their way back to their house in northern Kentucky from their farm in eastern Kentucky. My dad called ahead and asked if we could have lunch with them.

My relationship with my Dad has just been restored in the last year. And as I have said in earlier posts this has been one of the greatest blessings my Father God has given me.

Today brought me a gift I will cherish forever.

We walked into Arby’s, and I was trying to get my dad to go first. I was going to buy my own lunch and was trying to subtly stay behind so that I could do so. I put my hand on my dad’s shoulder and tried to move him forward. He did the same to me. I protested.

For the first time that I can ever remember I got the “look” from my dad. Yes, the Dad Look. I have seen my own daughters receive this look many times. But I have never been on the receiving end. I was thrilled. I was gently, but firmly reprimanded by my dad. And the joy in my heart started as a small bubble and almost burst.

In Arby’s, standing at the front counter, I realized I am a Daddy’s Girl. I am a forty plus year old woman and I have just made this discovery. He is my Dad. Not a soul in the world can take this away from me. Not even my own poor choices or ill mistakes. Not even my stubbornness can take this right and privilege away.

I am so excited about this Father’s Day. The day is about fathers, but this year I will be rejoicing because of my new status: Daddy’s Girl.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Rain Dance

One morning earlier this week we had a storm pass through our area. In the early hours when the sky was still black, the storm started brewing. I was awake. I heard the rumbling, grumbling hints of what was to come.

I sleep with my window open. Mostly because it is just plain hot in an upstairs room when the outside temperatures start to climb. I also love the night’s orchestra. I like to hear the high whine of the train and the jumbled chorus of insects, and the patter of the local raccoon who thinks my front roof is her personal deck.

When dawn came the storm was in full force. The open window provided the perfect acoustical frame to hear and see with some relative safety. I do love storms (although my poor Zoe-dog does not; I heard her whimpering in her crate).

I laid there and began to wonder and ponder why I love storms. I do not remember ever being afraid. (I might have a connection because of the tornadoes that tore through Kentucky in the early ‘70s. One of them took the front porch off our small trailer—while we were in it.) The movie Twister has always intrigued me.

I am fascinated by the play and power of the lightning. The rolling, swelling thunder. The hushed silence. The pounding rain. The swaying trees. The unique scents.

Needless to say, I was content that morning.

I was content until a friend emailed me. They remembered how much I liked the rain and storms. This surprised me. But their subtly veiled challenge surprised me more.

Life is not about watching the storm go by…it’s about learning to dance in the RAIN.”

Often, for whatever reasons, we are content to watch the storm from our open windows. Sometimes we even get bold enough to venture to the front porch. We sit on the swing or in a lawn chair as if we were at a gigantic natural drive-in. But we are still observers. The lightning cracks and we jump. We feel the gravely thunder deep in our chests. And the wind carries the misty rain over and around us.

And we watch the storm go by.

My friend cut very close to the quick of who I am. This one sentence dismantled my content and exposed some of the hidden longings of my heart.

There is risk in stepping out into the storm and dancing in the rain. You get wet. You are exposed. The wind is no longer playful, but powerful. The lightning is no longer just an incredible show, but dangerous. The rain is no longer refreshing, but lashing.

We will come to a place where we can choose to observe or to participate. In observing we stand on the periphery of life. We keep our chairs pushed back and our umbrellas beside us. We cannot participate fully from the edge. We cannot completely engage the elements of a storm through an open window or from a covered porch.

I have several friends who are coaxing me to come out into the rain. Some of them smile and motion for me to join them. Others are teasing and playfully goading me to come off the porch. Others just simply play in the rain and every once in a while they look at me and wink. A few have even grabbed my hand and pulled me down the first couple of steps ignoring my arguments and hesitations.

And I am moved. I know observation is just not enough. I want to be wet. I long to let go to the utter abandon of a child. I long to be in the midst of the storm rather than on its edge.

If we want to participate, we must learn to dance in the rain.

Consider my friend's wise words.

I did.

I had my first dancing lesson this week.