Sunday, July 29, 2007

too wonderful for me.

just got back from a weekend with my grandparents. grandpa's in a rehab center in florence, sc after heart surgery and a series of complications. been in the hospital pretty much the whole summer. this was the first time i really saw him awake in a long time.

and he's just as sharp as ever. cracking jokes. recounting detailed stories from long ago. his body still has a ways to go. but his spirit is alive and present.

one of my favorite moments was going to physical therapy with him. mom, andrew, and i joined in on the exercises with grandpa and a lady named ms. shupe. we sat in a circle as grandpa led us in count. we tapped our feet. lifted our legs. raised our knees. it was a neat moment of being alongside grandpa. we got a hold of an exercise ball and started kicking it around in our little circle. grandpa was smiling. i love it when he smiles. and ms. shupe seemed to be having fun too. we came to a consensus that the five of us would make a pretty sweet soccer team. with the stipulation that grandpa and ms. shupe would have to play up front to score all the goals.

other moments were not as lighthearted. grandpa tearing up in his hospital bed, admitting his own weakness, continually asking for prayer. grandma breaking down in a local diner when someone asked how mr. huggins was doing. dad and grandpa exchanging tearful i love you's. andrew commenting that that was the hardest time saying goodbye. me knowing that i'd be leaving very soon.

and amidst all of this, i started reading a little bonhoeffer. life together. his thoughts on christian community. deepening my perspective of spiritual love. of spiritual brother and sisterhood.

at some point, bonhoeffer discusses the beauty of the psalms as something to be shared in community. he reveals his secret of the psalter. to consider a different dimension to the psalms. not as our own individual prayer. that we may or may not identify with. but as prayers uttered by Christ. on behalf of His Body. on behalf of the Church. prayers that we can share in together. with Jesus. with each other.

and i heard dad and grandma mention the same story. of grandpa's adoration of two particular psalms. 100. and 139. that grandpa said there was power in those words.

o Lord you have searched me and known me. you know when i sit down and when i rise up. you discern my thoughts from far away. you search out my path and my lying down, and are acquainted with all my ways. even before a word is on my tongue, o Lord you know it completely. you hem me in, behind and before, and lay your hand upon me. such knowledge is too wonderful for me. it is so high that i cannont attain it... (beginning of psalm 139)

and the intimacy expressed in these words is too wonderful for me. between the Lord and the psalmist. between Parent and Son. between God and my grandpa.

and when i read it now. i hear the voices of Jesus. and grandpa. harmoniously interwoven. quite beautifully. and i am overwhelmed by the depth of it all.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

paint on my feet.

so my apartment has this long narrow hallway. right as you walk in. kind of a waste of space. and when we moved in, my roomate laura and i thought it needed a little something to liven it up. so naturally, we painted the hallway with blue and coral squares. no order to it. completely random. we even threw a few rectangles in the living room. it was slightly ridiculous. but beautiful still the same. a very laura and abby thing to do.

and today, i painted over the squares.

primed them first to cover the color. then painted over the squares with kestral white. to match the rest of the wall. but something was a little off. slight difference between old and new. so i sort of ended up painting the whole hallway.

and its still imperfect. but the squares are gone. which was the goal, i guess.

and as i was painting, i was mourning the loss of the squares. but more so the loss of what the squares stood for. of my last year of college. spent in this sketcy apartment. with people i deeply adore.

and the idea of painting over the familiar. of changing what i've known. was almost too much.

and then i started noticing the transformation of the wall. kind of fascinating to see the colors shift. and i realized that the squares were not gone. they'll always be a part of that wall. but that the wall will always be changing. new holes. scratches. scuffs. paint. and that is real. and that is good.

then in a sort of cliche kind of way. stevie nicks sang about being "fraid of changin" on the radio.

and my mind wandered to the transformations that will happen in me. ones i can't anticipate. ones that are bound to happen. and it terrifies me. overwhelms me. overjoys me. to consider the next adventures. the next changes. in this lifetime process of restoration.

and now there's paint on my feet. paint on the walls. and even a little on the carpet. oops.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

foot fetish.

so this is all new to me. this blog thing. writing flows much more freely when i know no one else is reading it. takes a certain amount of vulnerability. writing where everyone can see it. but here goes.

i've been thinking a lot about feet lately. even more than usual.

just returned to north carolina from a three week stay in new york. training alongside some truly amazing people to be young adult missionaries. we'll soon be headed out in all different directions. all over the country. all over the world. incredibly thankful for the community that was created within those three weeks. a community rooted in Christ. a community with a common vision for social justice. a community that will stretch and connect us wherever we may be.

realizing that my soul craves community. to be with people. living. listening. loving. sharing. serving. cannot fathom the community i'll discover and become a part of in grenada. overwhelmed by the thought of it. but in a good way.

early on in training, david wildman led a bible study. showering us with his wisdom and insights. challenging us to consider scripture in different ways. one of the phrases he used was: praying with our feet. that acts of love are prayers in themselves. beyond words.

and i would notice people's feet on the subway. flip flops. tennis shoes. ridiculous heels. wondering where these feet had gone. wondering where these feet were going. wondering what stories they could tell.

and quite often, as we'd gather, we'd sing a spiritual, as taught by david hosey.

guide my feet while i run this race.
guide my feet while i run this race.
guide my feet while i run this race.
for i don't want to run this race in vain.
race in vain.

and the young adult missionaries have some pretty rockin voices. enough to make up for whatever joyful noise that comes out of my mouth. but all those voices together were breathtakingly beautiful. and the idea of a God that is guiding us on this journey. even more beautiful.

and this song. along with don't stop believing. dancing queen. and the avett's famous flower of manhattan. rotated through my head. perpetually.

sometimes i would retreat to the park. usually nearby riverside. occasionally central or prospect. something about the trees. the grass. that was refreshing. and as i would sit, i would take off my chacos. grass between my toes. a certain freedom.

and i would think about God's command to moses. when that burning bush thing was happening. to take off his sandals, for he was standing on holy ground (exodus 3).

and taking off my shoes reminds me to be open to the holiness around me. makes me want to run around barefoot all the time. recognizing an omnipresent holiness. a God moving and being in all things.

and so. it is my hope that i might pray with barefeet. continually aware of God's guiding presence on this journey. always open to the holiness that exisits on whatever ground i'm standing on. in whatever people i'm standing beside.