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Something for today

I needed this today, with my husband in the hospital…

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After learning my flight was detained 4 hours,
I heard the announcement:
If anyone in the vicinity of gate 4-A understands any Arabic,
Please come to the gate immediately.

Well—one pauses these days. Gate 4-A was my own gate. I went there.
An older woman in full traditional Palestinian dress,
Just like my grandma wore, was crumpled to the floor, wailing loudly.
Help, said the flight service person. Talk to her. What is her
Problem? we told her the flight was going to be four hours late and she
Did this.

I put my arm around her and spoke to her haltingly.
Shu dow-a, shu- biduck habibti, stani stani schway, min fadlick,
Sho bit se-wee?

The minute she heard any words she knew—however poorly used—
She stopped crying.

She thought our flight had been canceled entirely.
She needed to be in El Paso for some major medical treatment the
Following day. I said no, no, we’re fine, you’ll get there, just late,

Who is picking you up? Let’s call him and tell him.
We called her son and I spoke with him in English.
I told him I would stay with his mother till we got on the plane and
Would ride next to her—Southwest.

She talked to him. Then we called her other sons just for the fun of it.

Then we called my dad and he and she spoke for a while in Arabic and
Found out of course they had ten shared friends.

Then I thought just for the heck of it why not call some Palestinian
Poets I know and let them chat with her. This all took up about 2 hours.

She was laughing a lot by then. Telling about her life. Answering
Questions.

She had pulled a sack of homemade mamool cookies—little powdered
Sugar crumbly mounds stuffed with dates and nuts—out of her bag—
And was offering them to all the women at the gate.

To my amazement, not a single woman declined one. It was like a
Sacrament. The traveler from Argentina, the traveler from California,
The lovely woman from Laredo—we were all covered with the same
Powdered sugar. And smiling. There are no better cookies.

And then the airline broke out the free beverages from huge coolers—
Non-alcoholic—and the two little girls for our flight, one African
American, one Mexican American—ran around serving us all apple juice
And lemonade and they were covered with powdered sugar too.

And I noticed my new best friend—by now we were holding hands—
Had a potted plant poking out of her bag, some medicinal thing,

With green furry leaves. Such an old country traveling tradition. Always
Carry a plant. Always stay rooted to somewhere.

And I looked around that gate of late and weary ones and thought,
This is the world I want to live in. The shared world.

Not a single person in this gate—once the crying of confusion stopped
—has seemed apprehensive about any other person.

They took the cookies. I wanted to hug all those other women too.
This can still happen anywhere.

Not everything is lost.

.

Poem by Naomi Shihab Nye (b. 1952), “Wandering Around an Albuquerque Airport Terminal.”

Reblogged from Olivia Circe.

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bruised head

coils of darkness writhe around Him
battered and staggering, His sword still raised
He stands in the breach
arms flung wide,
He seems to surrender
.
the lunging snake wildly strikes
fangs sink into His heel
with a fierce blow to its head
evil is pinned
.
in victory His eyes slide closed
“it is finished”
as the defeated serpent hisses
one last time
.
and the light breaks
over His bowed head
.
it is finished

it is finished

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movement

“movement”

DH spinning a string of Christmas lights on a long exposure.

A few more:

DSCN3132

DSCN3134

and one where I was trying to take a picture of something else and accidentally moved:

oops

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war on Christmas

The above was posted on Facebook on Friday.  I have to admit, I didn’t read it carefully the first time, and saw “no war on Christians”.  I thought about it more as I went through the day.  When I checked back to reply, I realized it was “no war on Christmas”.  I actually agree with the sentiments there, for the most part.  I don’t actually agree that wishing someone a “merry Christmas” is a bad thing — to me, “happy holidays” is fairly meaningless to the point of being vapid.  Sort of like the phrase “best wishes” — what does that even mean?  But I do realize that many people don’t celebrate Christmas but some other holiday at this time (some do both!), and people may not have the same expectations of the Christmas season that I do, since they aren’t Christian.  I don’t have a problem with that, and if anyone wants to wish me a Happy Hanukkah, fine!  All we’re saying is, “I’m happy right now because it’s a holiday season and I want you to be happy too!”  Everyone can stop having a fit — now!

But what I was thinking about as a result of misreading the post is actually a valid point.  Christianity (as a major religion in America) is becoming the minor majority.  Let me explain how Christianity is in danger.   There are a lot of other religions and cultures in the world, and in this country, each with their own customs, standards, expectations, and — yes — holidays.  In this age of global awareness and ethnic diversity, I agree with the idea that we need to be cognizant of, and respectful to, other cultures.  This same respect needs to be extended to Christians.  It is not.

Christianity is in danger when people who usually preach open-mindedness feel free to say and spread mocking things about Christians and their beliefs.  I usually see this as Facebook posts (such as the above), with a comment about how silly, or stupid, or backward, or ________ (fill in the blank) Christians are to be thinking or saying XYZ (usually to do with something political).  If statements in the same vein (mocking Christians’ belief in literal creation rather than the theory of evolution, for a recent example) were made about the Muslim, Buddhist, or Hindu religion, there would be an uproar against that person.  See what happened when the Danish cartoonist lampooned Muslims!  If a Christian mocked Muslims for wearing hijab, Hindus for drinking Ganges water, or Buddhists for looking within themselves to gain enlightenment, there might be a few who agreed, but mostly that person would have unleashed a storm upon his head.  But many people, whether they style themselves, pagans, atheists, agnostics, or just plain nothing, feel free to mock, satirize, and ridicule Christian beliefs that may seem just as odd to outsiders as the non-Christian beliefs I listed.  It has become popular to ridicule Christians.  And no one raises a fuss.    That is why many Christians feel their religion is in danger — the ‘minor majority’, if you will.

That isn’t the real reason, however, why I feel Christianity is in danger.  Christianity is in danger right now partly because it is being attacked from within.

  • Christianity is in danger when those who call themselves Christians use their religion as a front for bigotry, hatred, and power playing
  • Christianity is in danger when people use Christian beliefs as a stick to beat others with (who may not believe the same way)
  • Christianity is in danger when people who call themselves Christians (part of that 243,186,000, actually) refuse to adhere to basic principles of integrity, mercy, justice, humility, and service.
  • Christianity is in danger when Christians blindly accept the unbiblical teachings of leaders who counsel them to follow tradition and an easier, more acceptable path, rather than pointing them to truth as clearly stated in the Bible (no matter how personally inconvenient it might be).
  • Christianity is in danger when Christians look for a “feel-good” religion rather than conviction of their sins and their personal, constant need of a Savior.
  • Christianity is in danger when Christians focus on the trappings of food, decorations, rituals, and gifts that surround the holidays (Easter too!) and lose the real point of the holidays we celebrate in memory of the work God can do in our lives.
  • Christianity is in danger when we would rather give money, or even time, to people in need and neglect to tell them about God and His saving grace. “These things you ought to have done, and not left the other undone” (Luke 11:42).
  • Christianity is in danger when we are more worried about offending people by sharing our faith than offending God, who has commanded us to “go into all the world”.  Think about it.  In a world of nearly 7 billion, just over 2 billion (2.18) are Christian.  That’s a drop in the bucket of what God has asked of us!

My Facebook friend is right.  No one is making war on Christmas.  Not overtly.  Our greed does that just fine.  No one is deliberately making war on Christians, not really.  Not in the physical sense.  Not in America.  We are allowing our natural, unsanctified human tendencies to take charge — as if we had no Savior to help us deal with our sinful nature — and showing the world what an un-surrendered heart really looks like. No one is hindering the spread of Christianity.  Not really.  We are allowing our fears of embarrassment and social criticism to dissuade us from sharing what should be an unpopular message to most, if it is truly spread.  Truth is always unpopular, and no more so than truth that requires the person receiving it to change.  And the best example of that is every single Christian (including me!) who has not opened their heart and asked God to sweep it clean and dwell in it.

So as we begin December — let’s begin the Christmas season not with greed, aggression, busy-ness, or desire for control.  Let’s surrender that stubborn self to God.  Ask Him to save Christianity, not from others, but from you.  And start Christmas with a peace treaty — with the Prince of Peace.

https://i2.wp.com/1.bp.blogspot.com/_ZgL6TE5BZfc/RqSJDbq9J5I/AAAAAAAAABQ/QMZ1ldwXHRk/s320/Broken_Heart_by_Tortured_Raven.jpg

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drafts

Don’t worry, my faithful reader (s)! I have two drafts waiting to be posted; I just had other things I needed to do yesterday and today.  But they will be better for having percolated for two days. 🙂

Tomorrow’s post will be about my day substituting for first grade 🙂

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Hmph

I’m sick.  Not dying, just a cold.  I made it through two months of sleep deprivation, sugar eating, and stress and didn’t get sick, and now that the new year is here and I’m trying to be healthy, what’s the first thing that happens?  You got it.

Grump.

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