Monday, July 18, 2011

Epilogue, By Robert Lowell

Those bless├Ęd structures, plot and rhyme—
why are they no help to me now
I want to make
something imagined, not recalled?
I hear the noise of my own voice:
The painter’s vision is not a lens,
it trembles to caress the light.
But sometimes everything I write
with the threadbare art of my eye
seems a snapshot,
lurid, rapid, garish, grouped,
heightened from life,
yet paralyzed by fact.
All’s misalliance.
Yet why not say what happened?
Pray for the grace of accuracy
Vermeer gave to the sun’s illumination
stealing like the tide across a map
to his girl solid with yearning.

We are poor passing facts,
warned by that to give
each figure in the photograph
his living name.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

The Dreams that Greet You

Last night, I had this dream that seemed to symbolize something for me. I don't really know why God wants me to know this, but perhaps, it has some meaning for me that I'll need in the next little while, or perhaps, that someone reading this needs.

The cottage that my grandpa (recently deceased) and his wife, Fern, lived in for most my life, was recently sold to new cottagers, who then proceeded to tear down the entire home and start rebuilding again. It was a bit of a sore spot, as my grandpa had put so much sweat and work into that house, making it the perfect place for him and Fern.

Anyways, last night, I dreamed that my family was walking along the property of the old cottage that was still in place. There was a little girl with us that was somehow related to my family. I was also the only one who could see the ghost of my grandfather walking with us, and he looked sad. It wasn't scary for me, he didn't even really look at me. He was just walking with us, as if he just wanted to be with the family while we were there.

Anyways, everyone was commenting on how much they were going to miss this cottage, and how much work grandpa had put into it. The little girl ran off towards the dock and the lake, and I chased her and whisked her up into my arms and she laughed. And then I asked her if she thought she would miss the cottage, to which she replied, "Um, no. I don't really know it very well, so I don't think I'll miss it." Which I thought was fair - she was only a few years old.

And then we walked back up towards the house. And there in the house we commented on how beautiful everything was. My brother and I walked over to a new spot of the house, and there was a second floor (which never actually existed in real life). I was curious and said I never remembered that part of the house, and my brother didn't either, so he walked up the steps. I noticed he looked really startled and ran back down the steps. And then, behind him, came a much younger version of my grandfather, walking down the steps in his housecoat. And he sat down at a dinnertable with my family. I sat in the corner with the ghost of my grandfather, who still looked sad, while the rest of my family stared in shock at this man who was my younger grandfather in the flesh. And then my mother started crying.

And I woke up.

There's a number of things that I think I can get from this dream. There's the fact that we were all so focused on the house, this material object, that seemed to actually BE my grandfather. But it wasn't - my grandfather was actually walking with us. And while we certainly have very real memories there, they are the past - as seen in my 'younger grandfather.' The little girl also showed that part of things - she didn't have memories there, and she didn't associate the cottage with anything. It was just the cottage.

What matters is the people in your life. The little girl, who I loved so much in the dream, meant the world to me. My grandfather, who we always commented on how much work he put into his house, but not into his family. And I think that's why he was so sad - and why he wanted to walk beside us while we were there. He loved us so much, but he was sad that all we talked about was how much work he put into a thing, a house. A house without people is only a building, not a home.

And so, I think very much, that it is important for us to make that distinction - we need to treasure the people in our lives, the relationships around us, more than we value the objects and the things that we have. Because, in all honesty, it is not the objects that stay in our memories, but the people that made those objects have some kind of value.

Sweet dreams everyone.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

The Father's Love

It amazes me how, in the times when I feel the most distant, often purposely, from Jesus, how he chases after me as soon as I call out for help. Not only that, but he dusts me off, gives me a slap in the face, and says, "Get your act together girl. You ain't going anywhere if you keep treading down the same line you are. mmmmmmmhm." Or something like that. By the way, I could totally see God saying that.

God has, amazingly, in the span of... not even two months, brought to the surface, and then subsequently solved, about three major issues in my life. So much so, that I've decided to rededicate my life to him, because I realized how out of line my life was with everything Jesus had planned for me. I was, without even really thinking about it, chasing after what the world had planned for me, whilst God was calling me to the narrow gate, to live counter-culturally. To be a citizen of Christ's kingdom on Earth. Which I totally wasn't doing. So, first, I ended a non-Christ-centered relationship. Second, I have given up all alcohol, except for wine with dinner (and that's a rarity), and third, he spoke through someone I had just met to solve a complicated friend problem. It was, literally, exactly what I needed to hear, coming through the mouth of someone I had known for all of a few hours, and she had no idea that she was telling me what God wanted me to know. It was mind-blowing. And THEN, I had this amazing conversation with a friend, after she'd just prayed that God would allow us to talk about whatever he needed us to talk about, and we talked about something I had literally blocked out of my mind because of how much it had hurt me. I'd forgotten about it - and then suddenly, here I was. Talking to my friend about this part of my past that I never wanted to deal with. And soon I was in tears, crying about something I had no intention of telling anyone at all. ever. Blahhhhh. So this is now step number 4 - to deal with this particular part of my past in whatever way I can right now.

So all this to say, God's really doing a number on me. It's refreshing, but talk about a roller coaster. It's like, I'm on the ride right now and screaming my head off, feeling sick, but at the end, I'm going to be like, "... let's do it again!"

All I can think of is that song, "How Deep the Father's Love For Us." It seems to embody exactly how God is guiding me right now, as a dad would his daughter. And I'm just taking it in strides. I'm ready to see what's in store!