Friday, July 24, 2015

100 Word Story: Going, Staying




I pass a pair of shoes, blue, protruding from a dingy blanket on the sidewalk. A child sleeping while his mother sells fruit, walking between the cars halted at stoplights, trading apples and tangerines for dollar coins.
I like living in Ecuador: the abundance of fresh fruit, the use of US currency, and the mountains framing it all. When the mother and child count their coins, do they think of the country printed on them? Do they notice the beauty of the mountains? Fruit shipped to the US. Countries overlapping.  The sleeping boy stirs, and I wonder if he’s dreaming.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Give and Receive

"Cast your bread upon the water’s edge
And you will find the bread of life
Break your bread and pass with open hands
And you will find the bread of life"

 - Cast Your Bread, by Cool Hand Luke


About every three weeks I visit a safe house for girls rescued from trafficking, who can't go home or are too young (under 18) to come to Casa Adalia. When I first started going there was about fifteen girls, but now there are only two. There are other girls who could probably be admitted into that particular safe house, but the directors decided to take girls in groups, meaning that they won't take another group until the current girls have been placed in another safe environment. Because there are only two girls right now, our team has been going one by one instead of several of us, like before.

I boarded the bus for the half-hour ride to the safe house. Honestly, that day I didn't really feel like going. Other days, Rachel had gone too, the two of us teaming up well, me with a devotion and her with a craft/art project. That day I had to come up with it all on my own since she was out of town. I could have canceled because of the headache that wore me down that morning, but it was gone after lunch and coffee and more water, as I suspected it would be. So I got on the bus, hoping the girls would respond to the short devotion which I always seem to feel a little uncertain about, and the game of Farkle I would teach them how to play.

When the girls found out it was my birthday, they immediately hugged me. While I read the story of the prodigal son, and talked about having compassion for the oldest son, one of the girls held a notebook on her lap, obscured from my sight by the table. Eventually she handed me a page on which she had written Happy Birthday in careful, swirling script. She smiled shyly as I thanked her with genuine surprise and delight.

While playing Farkle, one of the women who worked there brought in large wedges of watermelon for us to snack on. Instantly, with a kind of glad ache, I was pulled back to summers in Texas, summers as a child when my dad would buy huge watermelons from roadside vendors. Specifically, I thought of the house my dad built when my mom was pregnant with me, the one we lived in until I was nine. Memories of that house will always hold magic for me, probably for the simple reason that it was were I was born and lived before turning an age which contained two digits. There is before ten, and there is after: some ages are just like that. I remember my parents cutting up slices of watermelon and passing them to my siblings and I while out on the huge wooden deck which overlooked the back yard and was shaded by a grand red oak tree. We would lean against the railings and eat the sweet, juicy watermelon, spitting the seeds as far as possible.

The girls and I wiped the melon juice from our mouths and grinned at each other. They enjoyed the game and the time we spent. I don't know why I sometimes still feel like a gangly girl who is clumsy and not to be taken seriously. I am clumsy, from time to time, but I think I'm graceful too. I think I'm capable and worthy of time. I may get nervous and sometimes stumble while reading and speaking in Spanish, but it's okay. When I left, I thought about how those girls gave me more than I brought them. I think they get a lonely, those two dear girls who may not have sweet memories of family summers. They asked me about the rest of the team, asked me who was coming to visit next. It's hard to believe I thought about not going. I would have missed so much. Give and receive. Hold our hands out to the world and feel the sun and the rain. Plant the seeds in the earth. Tell someone something beautiful and true, just to make them smile. Open you arms to give and be given a loving embrace. Give and receive.

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Ignite

Every now and then, I write a song. I finished this one a couple of months ago and it's been bursting out of my ever since. Hi world, here is "Ignite".

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uK5O8s5tXOI



Lyrics -

There's a newness to the morning,
although why, I cannot say
There's a tedium of splendor
in a simple, quiet way
Though I tend to look about me
at the suffering and pain,
Still the sun blooms bright the dawn,
igniting hopefulness again

I could draw a circle 'round me,
put on some protective hood
Try to cast the shadows out,
be a puritan of good
Yet a life behind locked doors,
surely that's not how to live?
Not when there is so much more
Which I could learn and try to give

Refrain:
Weight of glory, hold me down,
give a balance to my being
So confused that I could drown,
with every truth that I am seeing
For the terror and the joy,
battle stark as night and day
I will live with faith and love
I know no lovelier way

There's a magnitude of sorrow
with an overflow of grace
Days when loss makes thin the air,
days when mercy has a face
When I fall will I still know,
how to rise and walk and be?
Taking up shield and armor
using what is given me

Refrain:
Weight of glory, hold me down,
give a balance to my being
So confused that I could drown,
with every truth that I am seeing
For the terror and the joy,
battle stark as night and day
I will live with faith and love
I know no lovelier way

Bridge:
Hallowed ground, oh let me stand
Drinking from this well of life
Eternity blooms in Your hand
Let me fear not death’s cold knife
Spark in me some greater purpose
Truth and hopefulness, ignite
Running ever onward, upward
Know my soul’s one true delight
Running ever onward, upward
Know my soul’s one true delight

Refrain:
Oh weight of glory, hold me down,
give a balance to my being
So confused that I could drown,
with every truth that I am seeing
For the terror and the joy,
battle stark as night and day
I will live with faith and love
I know no lovelier way-ay!
Let me live with faith and love
Ignite my life to know Your way