Archive for August, 2008

Darlene and Emma, Glen and Erica and “Protein Shake” guy

Duluth Art Fair, complete with blacksmith, at Glensheen

dead black bear cub on the highway by the Black Bear Casino

nervous waitress in the Cup and Saucer

quilt store ladies

“camp bunny” in the night

wolf scat rumors

bear bags

falafel and hummus for everyone!

meeting two teachers

“wolf tracks” ice cream

throwing rocks in the water (pebble toss)

pussy willow necklace and green stone pendant

handmade knives from saw blades and files

Helle knive from Sweden

too many art galleries

so many “weekend warrior” motocyclists

IGA and Super Food — indecisive Kent

staying up till 1 AM talking

“buggy” lunch by the river

too many tree roots

windy lunch by Two Harbors Light

not enough moleskin — 5 blisters! and sore ankles 😦

pretty sunset driving back thru cornfields

lots of cameras at the gas station

yellow flowers against a blue sky

waves like an ocean

“In memory of one who loved wind, water, and trees”

wind at the top of the cliff

scolding squirrels

soaking feet in river

sad Kent legs and feet — leg cramps and bad shoes

lots of houses for sale

train station

dying asleep to Lazarus story

successful cooking pots!

tree root in Kent’s back — the only one!

lots of sweat

hitting Kent’s head at the top of the Endless Stair

first time using latrines

“setting a perimeter”


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We search for light.  There is something beautiful about a warm summer’s night, when the stars are big and close and the air is filled with small living sounds, and also something awesome about a winter’s night, when the air is so cold the stars are glittering bits of ice and there is no sound but your own feet in the deep snow.  Nighttime is beautiful, but we crave the light. During the winter months, when we go to work and come home in the dark, many people get seasonal affective disorder.  They just feel sadder and sadder and don’t realize what’s causing it until they do get out in the sun.  Their whole spirit lifts up and everything seems better.  Even seeing the sun through the windows isn’t the same; they have to go out in it.  As the days get longer and they can squeeze just a little bit of sunrise or sunset out of their daily commute, it makes it that much easier to start the day with a lighter heart.  And then when the spring and summer come, their spirits rejoice, really in an inordinate way.

We search for light.  We crave the sunlight and get sick when we don’t get it.  We are made for the light, although we can exist without it.  So are we in a spiritual sense as well, creatures of the light.  Unfortunately, we don’t notice the lack of “Godlight” as easily as the lack of sunlight.  Maybe it’s because we don’t really know what it is to have enough Godlight.  We get bits, crystals really, as we go to church (maybe) or have an occasional study or conversation (less likely).  But we are used to operating in the dark and with a deficiency, so we don’t try for more.  It isn’t always easy to get more, anyway.  It takes time, thought, study, and prayer.  We live life too much on the surface, superficially.  No time for deep, meaningful relationships with anyone, much less Someone unseen.  There are too many distractions, too many demands on our time, too many things calling our names.  My own to-do list is hours and years long, even if I don’t take into account the time spent teaching and preparing to teach.  I have a lifetime’s worth of things to do.  no time to spend in a quiet place, searching for Light I might not really know I’m missing.  But when I do find a “crystal” of Godlight, my spirit rises and it’s like I’ve stepped out from the dark into the winter sun.  Somehow I have to find my way out of the cold and into the summer Light.

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“My song is love unknown, my Savior’s love to me;

Love to the loveless shown that they might lovely be.

Oh, who am I, that for my sake the Lord should take frail flesh and die?” — Samuel Crossman

The first thing I think of when I read this verse is the last line.  How undeserved is the gift given for me.  How great the sacrifice, beyond anything I could imagine or emulate.

One thing to become human; to deal with all the petty annoyances and recurring disappointments of daily life, knowing you could leave, as we only wish to be able to do!  Another thing entirely to take the death penalty.  Death by torture, but the worse torture of feeling yourself separated from the source of life, not knowing if you could ever return!  Who am I, indeed, to deserve such love?  I guess it’s not a question of deserving it, though, is it?  Otherwise no one would be worthy.  Who am I, then, to receive such love?

But the second part of the second line is just slipped in there; “That they might lovely be”.  I suppose, if we properly understand and accept (my hardest part) the gift, it will help us act that way to others.  Even those who don’t treat us well.

It’s actually not “who am I”, but rather “who is He”.  Nothing I am or do could possibly make such a gift worthwhile on His part; rather, who He is made it impossible for Him to do anything else.

Then, it will be the same thing when I’ve internalize the gift.  It won’t be how others act that will cause me to reach out to them with love (yes, really), but who I am, or rather, who I have become by absorbing that love.

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Is it more difficult to receive than to give?

Jul. 19

I think for me, it’s definitely more difficult to receive, especially in a situation where there is no opportunity to reciprocate. My mom, for example, just bought me two expensive pairs of shoes when I was up in Maine, and I had a hard time accepting them, especially with the other things she did and paid for that week, and knowing she doesn’t have a lot of money either. But she wanted to get them for me and she knew that I needed and wanted them. I did protest some but I eventually just said thank you. I still feel bad, though. It is very hard for me just to accept a gift with no possibility of repayment.

So what does this mean for my acceptance of the ultimate Gift? I think, when I meditate on the reality of the Gift, the magnitude of it, and the complete impossibility of doing anything to deserve or repay it, I cannot feel like anything but a complete wreck.

August 23

Something to help put my dilemma in perspective. We had insurmountable bills just come on us with no possible way to pay. We’re spending every cent every month on bills and food, and no way to save for things like car insurance. We also have no money for Kent’s classes, and he was denied financial aid because he’s taken too long to finish his degree (through no fault of his own). Kent called his mom, and she and her brother between them decided to take up the slack for us every month. It’s taken such a load off my mind.

But why am I ok with that and not able to accept salvation for free? Is it because it’s my family or because I know we can’t make it without help? Or because we’re in this situation through no fault of our own? Any of those reasons are true about salvation as well. I need to remember the hopeless feeling of drowning in a debt I can’t repay and the feeling of relief as someone fishes me out, and apply those feelings to my spiritual “salvation angst”. I don’t need to deserve it; I “deserve” it because I need it. I just need to feel relieved and grateful, and get on with doing something good with my life.

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