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Showing posts from September 13, 2015

Welcome lessons

My husband Ian wrote a lovely post on some happenings at church a few years ago. Here is a re post of his note here... I was greatly encouraged by my son, Nigel, yesterday. We were selling snow-cones and cookies outside of our church, raising money for camp scholarships. A man who was obviously mentally ill approached our booth, asking if we were giving away food. I told him that we had enough to share and wrapped him up a plate of cookies. My son then invited him to the fellowship breakfast that our church holds every month between services. Now I don't know if the man will remember to come back in three weeks, but it was amazing to hear Nigel respond so readily to someone's need. I know that I never reacted with such confidence and grace around the mentally ill when I was his age (12). A half-hour earlier, the worship team at our church led us in the song "All Are Welcome" during communion: All are welcome, friend and stranger at the banquet of the Savio

Clumsy lessons

"I am not good at everything I attempt to do." "I'm not an expert." "This feels clumsy." Statements like this, I think, that keep people - me specifically - from trying new things Better yet sticking with something that does not come naturally is actually harder. It may seem too extrovert for me to say this, but I actually love trying new things and going new places. But when it comes to working through things I'm not naturally good at - I struggle. My internal voice may say things like,   "Why aren't you getting this?" "Look over there - they are not having any problem with it." Sometimes the internal voice slips through my lips and becomes audible sound. In fact, this nasty voice spoke from my own lips when trying to coordinate my breathing, kicking and arm position while swimming the breast stroke. Before I could stop it these words popped out: "Why are you SO clumsy!!"   I was so shocked I st

Gardening lessons

Sometimes the earth is hard. The soil is dry and covered in clay.  Water is in short supply and seeds fail to grow. But in the face of such harsh reality, there remains something unspoken in the human heart. It's not as if we believe that things are perfect. We know by the ache in our back and the silver at our temples that life is imperfect. Yes life is imperfect, unfinished and impossible. But this is not the only thing life is. Each day the sun rises, even if rain continues to fall. Each day someone smiles and loud laughter bounces around the room. Each day there are those that pass into eternity - and those that take their first breath. Life and the earth are hard, but tender hands continue to till the hard ground... in hope of the harvest yet to come. T.L. Eastman Copyright 2015

Crying lessons

Have you ever started to sing a song, perhaps a hymn or another favorite, and find yourself caught up in such a wave of emotion that singing is impossible? The tune that you adore can't be sung as your breath is hijacked from the emotion that just so happens to be pouring from your eyes? I met a fellow this week that came to me for an answer to that question. Why do these hymns I love and know by heart always cut to the chase and bring tears to my eyes? All I could say is that I've experienced this song/tears response as well. In fact, I had an unexpected experience with this "Pavlov's response" this past Sunday. Before worship, we were practicing a song for the prelude that is called, "Love can build a bridge" by the Judds. For those that know it, you probably understand why it pulls on the heartstrings. I invite you to take a moment to watch this video for the song here: This song is new to me and I may have heard it year ago when it first ca

Lovely-Hip lessons

As you may have heard me mention before, my vocation as a vicar gives me wonderful opportunities to meet some amazing people, some of which have seen a bit more of life than I have. In meeting and getting to know some of these folks who are many years young, I learn a great deal about life and how to keep on keeping on with a smile on my face. Some times the words I hear, like in a visit today, make me smile for a good long time. "You certainly are a hip one!"  - is still ringing in my ears after a visit with a lovely lady approaching 90 years of living life. Her smile ranged from ear to ear as she spoke these kind words to me. I smiled back at her noticing her quiet elegance and said, "Thanks, you are lovely too!" As you might imagine, the smiles kept getting wider as we shared some time together. Hipness and loveliness, I'm learning, has not as much to do with how we look compared to the attitude that lives underneath what we wear. Lovely-hipness is someth

Living lessons

Last week I had the privilege and honor of meeting a 94 year old woman who captured my heart in the first moments we met. It was once again an honor and privilege to be asked by her daughter the morning of her passing to officiate for her funeral today. In all of the stories her family shared about her, it was clear that she lived life to the full everyday. She loved life, her family and was always willing to learn something new. After her kids were grown she re-entered the world of education in taking an art class. This art class led to her going on to earn two masters degrees and starting a second career in elementary education. A few weeks ago, my dear friend Deb gave me a hand made mini book pendent and chain that on the inside says: Image found at art quote of the day Deb's handmade quote book and Miss Mildred's 94 years of life have given me a wonderful gift. Merton's quote is one I've held close as a reminder to stay active in creative endeavors. Mildr

Love lessons

Today was full of familiar songs, joyful clowns (literally), parish fellowship and an afternoon of witnessing the hands-on caring of people at a funeral home visitation for a church family. It's hard on these kinds of days to be apart from loved ones. I see families assembled. I hear their stories and laughter. I feel the closeness of this space and long for my family, their stories and hearing their laughter. But just yesterday I heard their laughter in my ears. It was just a moment ago. Time in its wonder has a way of tucking pockets of love in tesseract folds. In a moment I'll unfold a moment and we'll all be together. In that moment I'll tuck away tears and hold fast to the music of the laughter that is ringing - in real time- in my happy ears.