Monday, December 08, 2008
SWB: Lightening rods, momentos and celebration
It was a year ago this weekend that Phyllis Tickle came to the church I was serving at for a weekend long retreat to discuss the emergent/emerging church and her then upcoming book, "The Great Emergence". This year there was another weekend gathering in Tennessee called, "The Great Emergence". They had additional speakers, ( Tony Jones, Doug Pagitt, Nadia Boltz-Weber, Lisa Samson and many more!) but the main focus was on Phyllis's newest book discussing the shifts and changes occurring in the church today. In recalling last year's mini preview event, I feel so blessed to have had the opportunity to meet and get to know Phyllis as well as Karen Sloan, (author of "Flirting with Monasticism") who attended and led a session last year.
It is exciting to have people in our lives that are something like lightning rods. People who challenge us, help us focus on the important things, and help us to remember the importance of joy and love that energize us. I recall how filled up I felt after that weekend last December. My mind was buzzing with all the knowledge that Phyllis shared and my heart was hopeful for the possibilities of the ministry at the church. I was encouraged to always listen to my gut, to seek after the things that make me curious about life, to pursue the things that are life-giving. So even in the midst of some difficult times last year, being laid off, job searching, and all the questioning that was a part of that time; I tried to be a lightening rod too. It's perplexing to look back over last year and realize how much of what was taught that December weekend were only ideas then, but as the year progressed the words that were spoken, they kept me going.
Thank you lightening rods.
(Snapshot of my sister Heather and I when I was about 6 months old.)
One word is the greatest memento in my life and that word is Grandpap.
This weekend marks the sixth year anniversary of my Grandfathers passing. He taught me how to belly laugh, sing with my whole heart, and putter in a garden. I really don't have physical mementos of him, except for the necklace I purchased with some of the money he left to my Mom and she passed on to me from the sale of his home and estate. I'm content with my mind being full of childhood memories of my Grandpap. The summer days sitting on his patio in the glider, the quarters he used to give me before I piled into the back of my parents car to return home after a visit and the wonder bread he'd buy just for me because I never had white bread at home.
(Grandpap and Grandma Dunn)
Even the difficult times when I was estranged from my parents and felt I couldn't attend a family anniversary party, my husband helped me (before we were married) to make a video where I wished them a happy anniversary and then sang them a song and mailed it off to them, the letters of encouragement that my Grandparents sent when no one in my family would speak to me, the way he smiled at me a knew me as he sat on his hospital bed that last time. We sang together in tears and laughter then just like we always did. People used to say we were cut from the same cloth, I think we were something more than that. We were one and the same heart.
This last week, my Aunt Carol passed away after her fight with cancer. Her funeral is taking place this morning as I type. Our relationship was not as close as mine with my Grandpap, but I still have precious mementos of her tucked away in the corners of my mind. (Full glasses of Pepsi, playing "Don't break the ice", and strawberry shampoo.) These memories help us stay connected when the physical connection is no longer there. Memory is our means of communicating the truth of love and that has no barrier at all.
Saturday was my son's 12th birthday. It is fantastic for me to imagine how we've all managed to become twelve years older. He's gone from being so tiny, to beginning to look like an almost man. Shoulders broadening, voice wobbling, and getting much closer to looking me in the eye without having to stand on anything.
We went to the movies, played with tech decks, had a feast with a few of his friends at a Mexican restaurant on Saturday, and celebrated with pasta, sparkling grape juice and cheese cake at Grandma's house on Sunday.
(Nigel at about 8 months old)
My little son is now twelve. I remember the look on his tiny face moments after he was born. I called his name and he turned his newborn eyes to meet mine we both knew something very important. We are each others lightening rods, memento and celebration. We are made from the same heart, and still are to this day.
We are made from the same heart.
(Nigel and Heather after this weekend's bake fest)
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