Saturday, August 23, 2008

The train leaving the station.

Climbing atop the platform
bustling with traffic of passengers
going to and fro.

Of tourists with suitcases in hand and with bags brimming with goodies for friends and lovers.

Of the cletched hand of a child within a mother's hand.

Of those trains of thought that we just had within our grasp.
of those dreams that could change our world.

Of where those ideas could lead us if we would only listen.

A dominant man once stood among the crowds in Bethlehem and Cana and Capernum and Jerusalem.
Taking those trains from above. Going through tunnels of darkness. Emerging into the light.
Letting its passengers see a much better way to live.

Of a sunlit sky shining down at the edge of the platform.
creating shadows of opportunities for mankind.

Of those rhythymic patterns and echoes etched upon the quilts of time.
Marking a passageway for us to travel through.

Of the train in the distance
approaching ever so slowly.

Hearing the choo choo of the train as it slows to its stop.

The doors open
conductors step out to survey and guide the crowds going in and out of the train.

Slowly heading into the distance as the train goes out of sight
becoming smaller yet leaving behind it the plumes of white and black smoke.

Yet, let us listen to the conductor of our lives.

On the intercom of our life.,

How to live it better and to our fullest.

A Patchwork Quilt

The olympics have been going along well and have limited my ability to create posts. I have been watching them from the opening ceremonies, through the dynamic swimming by the American Michael Phelps and the gymnastics anchored by the strength of the american beauties of Shawn Johnson and Nastia Luikin.

Many commentators have brought up the idea of how political the olympic games have become. But for me they can inspire me to become better. to aspire to be someone else. To maybe begin swimming again. Not to reach the prowess of Phelps but maybe to begin something that I dreamt of becoming. Who knows. If taken seriously, it will take a commitment. We will have to see.

Bringing together our nations and each other. Of having one side join the other. Shaking hands before and after the matches are over. To leave the sweat and smiles on the floor-to give it all we have. That is the olympic spirit.

To twirl and to give it our best. To parade through the squares of time and open up a country that had remained closed for a long time.
A chance maybe to open some wounds , to patch together stitches that will heal and mend one another through time.

So let us celebrate what has been accomplished and also celebrate what happens at the paralympics of those with even greater odds.

Just as Jesus defeated the odds of death and came back to life, so we all can face our odds and come back ahead in the end.

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Being photographed and interpreted.

The weather was forecasted to be a heavy thunderstorm. When I left work, it did not appear to be too ominous. Then, an hour later, the heavens opened up and relented upon the earth.

On the way to the bus station, I read a recently purchased book by Anne Lamonte, Bird by Bird, that I picked up at Borders Books in the morning. A book that I meant to read for quite some time but was turned off by one of the chapter titles called, shitty first drafts. As I read and approached the pages, I enjoyed how she relayed how we are to share in our struggles with life and how taking the ordinary events of the day and while we wrap words around our experiences, they emerge with a meaning with which we can share with relatives and friends as a present before they die.

As I approached the downtown Bridgeport Transportation center, the sky was beginning to darken considerably. I was surrounded by a cloud filled sky and as I got off the bus, it began to rain hard. The wind carried the rain rushing through the terminal and past the open spaces and onto the benches and it covered the concrete columns as well.

Some excellent strikes of lightning were thrown as loud claps of thunder were heard. Gaps of time existed between each strike. Creating suspense within the moment. Not knowing which way to turn. Willow, a friend's daughter, says that when it thunders, it is the angels who are bowling strikes, and lightning is like fireworks. What a show that produced for me to see. And a good way to view what is happening on the other side of this world.

I was surrounded by the wires overhead and feared that lightning would strike near where I was standing. I huddled around the concrete columns of the bus station and soon decided to weather out the storm inside the clean glistening white terminal. I saw outside of the floor to ceiling windows the rain that came down heavily in slants. It danced across the pavement as the wind whipped it along. I never saw the rain dance before like that. It almost looked like the incoming tides at a beach moving in rhythmic patterns.

I have recognized from experience that weather turns quickly with these sudden thunderstorms. I chose to quickly dart between the raindrops. As I waited inside the station with a slightly drenched exterior, I was glad to be in shelter as I saw the storm unfold.

everyone was huddled in the bus station along with me, while outside the rain fell in parallel sheets as it danced across the parking lot. I could see outside a few brave people waiting for their buses . I enjoyed watching the storm but I was not sure how long I would need to stay inside. I knew that if I left in the middle of the storm, I would get wet leaving my bus to walk down my street, I would be totally soaked from my head to my toes. Which has happened before with rain of such strength from an earlier morning commute.
Being exposed to the weather makes me feel a little uncomfortable and uncertain of my future at times. Being like a tiny dot against the vastness of the sky and the power of God.

Yet, the passengers in the terminal just stood inside and the security guards dressed in their white and blue shirts stood there exchanging pleasantries among the patrons waiting for their next connection. Some passengers wore t-shirts and baseball caps. And they had their umbrellas in their hands as well. Some read their newspapers.

About 30 minutes later, the rain let up and the end of theintermission let me wander back to the show of my commute. I boarded the bus and reflected on this journey . Having participated in a storm which often comes my way but with a newer meaning having participated with it in my mind.
I boarded the number 10 bus toward Fairfield Woods, and I took in a few good whifs of the sea air and the fresh scent of this summer rain. Having refreshed the air and sky.

As the lightning struck with the bold and ominous flashes-that zig zagged from the sky, it almost felt that I was having my picture taken by God. Now, God has in His rolodex a picture of me that He can share with His angel friends. Even though He knows what I look like since He created me when I was in my mom's womb, it is a comforting reminder that He knows what I look like and think and feel. But getting the immediacy of that through an image is always important and reassuring.

Thus, this would make an electric recipe if I could only replicate in my own kitchen the following; three strikes of bold lightning, two claps of thunder and a bucket of rain. A little more exciting than my bland combinations of shells, bread crumbs and butter. Yet, I need to take the ordinary flavors and add toppings and spices to make the hot dog in me come to life.
That is indeed what Anne Lamont taught me as I read some of her insightful reflections on life as it intersected with her life as a writer. Those ordinary events placed a back drop, a blue screen so to speak to see life in a new and fresh way.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Becoming like a little child

I had a chance to hold a 5 month old child in my arms and feed him his bottle of milk. Having the warmth of him against my chest and his little fingers gripping my big hand and hearing and seeing him squirm as Christian drank his bottle made me feel a little bit like Jesus when He said, "let the little children come unto me."
I had my friends place him into and out of my arms since i could not do the heavy lifting. But I am glad that I went to the picnic and had the unexpected chance to be like Jesus.

Also was able to listen to a new person from church and thought to myself If I was Jesus, how would I handle the conversation in the way He would. It is kind of hard for me to come up with comments or questions of what I do or what someone else does in their line of work. Lord, help me to understand how to initiate those conversations with others as to what you would have them be.

Praying for others is easier when I see the real struggle that people go through in their relationships. It hurts when I see a single mom struggling with her child or a friend who struggles with a relationship that they are in. But it feels good to be able to apply and speak what I know by praying it back to HIm who hears me and somehow maybe change the course and trajectory of someone's life.

Even if that struggle means staying up a little past my normal rest time to be able to breathe in a truth of God to their heart when they may need it the most. And to see God work through my friend's life and maybe to bring Jesus more to the center of my friends' lives.

And my friend, Gary Davis, turned 60 this past thursday and we at the church celebrated his special day with a cake and by singing happy birthday to him. So these little ways I am glad that I am able to be like Jesus whether in prayer or just being able to orchestrate a cake or just holding one of your children in my lap with a bottle.

Lord let me be held in your arms for a while. and thanks for that opportunity just to sit over my steaming bowl of Wild rice soup and pour my heart to you for my family. May the Lord bless all who hear and read these words.