Monday, December 14, 2009

The Long Dark Winter of our Waiting

Recently my husband said on his facebook status that the difference between Kansas Winter and New England Winter is that it gets just as cold but here nobody is complaining about it. I disagreed with him. I think the difference between Kansas Winter and New England Winter is that in Kansas when you make it to January the Winter is almost over but in New England it is just beginning. Spring comes in March to Kansas where as Spring does not arrive in New England until late April or early May (in Kansas we were lucky if we were not approaching 90 by then). Garrison Keillor (who is from Minnesota) is fond of saying that every winder mother nature has a good go at trying to kill us all. And I have to say living through each Winter might not be the accomplishment which it was for my foremothers and fathers but sometimes I still feel it is quite the accomplishment.

I have always spent Winter looking forward to the the coming of the buds on the tree, the crocuses, the daffodils, the lilacs and the return of the birds who had the brains to fly south to warmer climates while we all nearly froze for several months. I look forward to the relief of Winter's harsh chill. Now don't get me wrong. I love sitting with a cup of hot chocolate, curled up with a book in my favorite chair (and ten blankets), watching the snow fall outside my window, but I like the fresh newness of Spring, the warmth and the new life all around much, much more.

In Kansas I loved the feeling I received come January and I knew the end of Winter was in sight. The hope as we moved through the weeks into February and finally emerging into March with it last snow fall and the promise of great things to come by the time April moved in. I also remember what it was like to come back for J-term (the mini-semester during January which was between the Fall and Spring semesters) at Eastern Nazarene College here on the South side of Boston. I remember coming back and knowing there was an indeterminably long winter ahead of me full of cold toes and near frozen fingers.

Waiting for Winter is a lot like waiting for Christ to come. We feel like our wait is a New England wait, indeterminably long. It seems like we will never see the buds of new life which we look forward to with the coming of Christ. We just keep waiting and waiting and waiting. In the Advent season we remind ourselves of the Hope that is to come, of them hope we have as we anticipate the renewed, full, abundant life which will be ours. We remind ourselves of the Joy our waiting should bring. But we live in a winter which never seems to have an end. We look at the frozen world around us and wonder if we can even dare hope that all creation will be renewed, dare hope all the wonderful promises the Bible has to offer can truly come to pass. We know we are to hope. We know we are to rejoice but it is so hard when that for which we want to hope and rejoice for seems never to come.

But even as we live in the reality of was seems to be an indeterminably long wait, live functionally in a New England Winter forever waiting for a Spring which seems to be in the far distant future, we need to live as if we are in a Kansas Winter, where as Christmas, with our celebration of the incarnation and Christ first coming, we can see that Spring is almost here, just a few short months and new life will be springing up all around us. That for which we are longing, that for which we are waiting, is just around the corner. We need to live as if we KNOW Christ's coming is imminent. Live as if we expect our celebration of Christ's incarnation; our celebration of the birth which brought Jesus into the world the first time, is the turning point. Christmas should be the point at which we remember that Christ's coming is not a pipe dream but something real which can come and will come any day. We need to live in the Hope, live in the Joy, live in the anticipation as if we know that Christ is coming as surely as the Spring.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Surprised by Scripture

This week I am preaching on the last chapter of Job. I have been preaching on Job for the last month. Four sermons from four different sections of the book of Job. This week I am preaching on the last chapter. You know the chapter we all want to skip to because it contains the ever longed for happy ending. Well along with "And the Lord restored the fortunes of Job," this chapter also includes two other things, which if I was a swearing woman, would swear were not in the Bible the last time I read the book of Job. I just know that God slipped them in there this time just to keep me on my toes and of course he aligned a myriad of commentaries and what not so that almost all of them talk about the new content.

The thing is one thing in the last chapter of Job which I had not noticed before is believable but two? Surely I am not so unobservant as to not notice these two remarkable things before. God added them while I was sleeping. It is a great cosmic joke, which God has gotten a fair number of commentators in on.

So what, you ask are the two things of which I am positive were not in my Bible before? The first happens before Job's fortunes are restored but after he says, "Oh, yeah, sorry for all that yelling I did God." God apparently is not happy with Job's friends. They have not had much faith in Job. They seem to think he is a pretty rotten guy and must deserved to have all his stuff taken from him, all his kids killed and all the the terrible horrible and quite disgusting disease which Job seems to have contracted. They seem to think bad stuff happened because you have been bad, and some pretty bad stuff is happening to Job so they conclude that Job must be equally horrible. But really truly he has not deserved any of it. Bad stuff happens to good people. Job is one of the good people.

The friends are asked by God to go to Job and beg him to pray for them so they can be forgiven of their false conclusions and that is just what they do. The come to Job and are like, "Sorry, man, would you forgive us and pray for us." Job is a pretty neat guy even when his life is in shambles and he is covered in the nastiest boils you ever did imagine. So he in his terrible state prays for his friends and guess what happens? Life gets better. You got it. He prays for his friends and his boils go away. He prays for his friends and he somehow he manages to amass twice as much stuff as he did before. He is healthy and wealthy and his wife is super fertile. And Job has ten more children, seven sons and three daughters. Now how is that for the power of selfless prayer?

And now for my second surprise in one chapter. The daughters have names. I know, you are like, well of course they have names but the fact of the matter is only a handful of women in the Old Testament are named, as in the Bible has their names written down. Job's wife doesn't have a name but these three beautiful women (the Bible tells us this as well) get names; Jemimah, yes just like your favorite syrupy "Aunt"), Keziah, and Keren-Happuch. And not only do they get names but they get an inheritance as well. I don't know how much you know about Old Testament inheritance practices but here is the scoop. Girls get nothing, unless there are not sons, which there are seven of them, so these girls should have gotten nothing. But these girls get an inheritance alongside of their brothers how is that for equality in the land of inequality. They get names (their brothers don't btw) and they get an inheritance. This is pretty cool.

So yeah, I was surprised by the Bible in one chapter. It just goes to show no matter how many times you read the Bible there is always something new in there to discover.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Cidra's Flowers

At the beginning of the Summer I preached a sermon on the Parable of the Seeds. I spoke on how I may know logically from science class and grade school projects which involved growing a seed in a glass jar but that once the seed went into the ground I really had no idea what was going on. I mentioned the my daughter had received a packet of seeds promising if planted to yield a butterfly garden. Once we got settled here in Belmont, we planted the seeds in a half barrel floor bed next to the drive. Once we put those seeds in the ground I had no idea what was going on beneath the surface. I did not know if the seeds were actually sprouting. I did not know when they started growing or when to expect them to begin to poke their heads out of the dirt.
At the time I preached this sermon not one single little green sprout had shown itself. But my daughter checked the barrel ever time we went out to the car hoping today that her little flowers were growing. The point of the sermon I preached and the parable is that God is working to further the kingdom. The kingdom will grow. The kingdom will flourish. And much like the mustard seed (another parable I preache don that morning) the growth may astonish us all. We may not really know how but God is working. Just as you don't know what is going on beneath the soil when you plant a seed, but you have to trust that it is beginning to grow and that someday you will see the "fruits" of that growth, we trust that even when we do not see God working we need to trust that God is working and that God knows what God is doing even when we don't.
I preached this sermon before the plants had even started to show their little green heads. I have to say after using them as an illustration, I prayed that they would grow into flowers. I along with my daughter watched as something began to grow in the barrel and again I prayed the small green plants sprouting were flowers and not weeds. Or at least flowering weeds. But as you can see in the picture flowers did grow. The flowers were not the plethora of brightly colored butterfly attracting flowers the package promised but they are a pair of plants which have beautiful white blooms. Cidra loves them. She calls them her flowers and goes over and smells them every time we go out. It just goes to show God is working. The results may not be what we expected. It may take longer than we wanted get any results. But God is working. And the results are just what is needed. Cidra did not need a whole barrel of flowers to make her happy. She is not at all disappointed that there are not purple and blue and red and yellow flowers. She is perfectly happy with her two plants and their delicate white flowers.
When we rely on God. What we get is what we need. The kingdom will flourish and be beautiful, even if it does not look as we expected.
My daughter's little white flowers are perfect.
God was working beneath the soil, even when I did not understand how or what was happening. But what I did not know was God was growing a beautiful smile and a very much unexpected (at least unexpected by me) for my daughter and a little bit more faith and trust for me.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

A new journey

I am little more than 3 1/2 month into my new life here in the Cambridge/Belmont area and I have embarked on a new journey in my life, almost literally. The journey of learning how to be a bike commuter. I am riding my bike the 4.5 miles to and from church. I know how to ride a bike. I learned (like most of the rest of suburban America) somewhere between 6-8 years of age. I rode for fun and enjoyment until High School. I have not ridden a bike since that time. So half a life time ago. But riding a bike is well. . . just like riding a bike. You really don't forget how to do it. I got on after over a decade and a half of not throwing my leg over the rail of bike and rode as easily and as well, perhaps not as recklessly, as I did at 15. The journey is learning to ride the city street of "our fair city."
But riding my bike to work is very different than riding my bike around the neighborhood with my friends. In our suburban neighborhoods cars were sparse during the day, drove slow and did not seem to affect my childhood riding much at all. Here in Cambridge the roads are more populated with automobiles than they are are with cyclists. And to be quite frank they scare me. I am intimidated by their size and the fact they could flatten me fairly easily if they so choose. In spite of this intimidation I am suppose to function on the road as if I were a car, except I (as a bike) should stay to the right of the road. Which is fine until I want to make a left turn.
I am thankful for Bike lanes. They are my safe zone. The place where I know I am allowed to ride and autos are not. When they are are present, the is. But even when they are present, buses seem to like to nuzzle up and see exactly how close they can get to me and my bike lane without transgressing the actual line which divides us. I am also learning how to get to work. There are ways to get to work which are good by car. Taking what Mike and I call the "S" turn from Mass Ave to Garden street and then the "Y" onto Concord with it's two rotaries is a fine way (if not somewhat stressful the first time or two) to go in your car, but it would be crazy to do on a bike. So I have planned out a route which includes the most amount of bike paths as possible, while not including rotaries or "S" turns.
I travel through the streets constantly on the look out for cars, trucks, lorrys, or buses whose sole desire seems to be to take me out and pedal carefully. I watch other bikers as they seemly travel the streets without fear weaving in and out of traffic as if they KNOW that not a single one will ever touch them, or run them over accidentally or with intent. I don't know if they are the stupid ones for riding like that, or if I am the stupid one for riding with so much caution and trepidation.
It makes me think that often times our relationship with God; our spiritual journeys are very similar. We know how to be a Christian, just like I know how to ride a bike, but there are times when God calls us to begin a new part of our journey, calls us into unknown, often scary territory. We are excited to go new places with God. But at the same time we do so with caution. We are frightened by any number of things. We pull back we don't go full out because we are afraid of failing, of getting hurt, of doing it wrong. We see others who seem to being going wonderful places with God, perhaps even the places we know God is calling us and we don't know how we can ever have the confidence and the faith they have as they are traveling down their roads with God.
Sometimes it is easier to stay where we are, give God excuses, to not the risk, to keep treading the comfortable path we are treading right now. To decide that God did not really wish for us to go that way, it was too scary, had too many obstacles, to many ways of getting hurt or failing. When we do this we don't grow, we hinder ourselves. We cut of wonderful and blesses ways God was going to bring us closer to being the people God created us to be. We cut ourselves off from having a deeper more satisfying relationship with God. We stay where we are. And we know we have lost out, but we tell ourselves we have not and God keeps calling to us, wanting us to follow, to trust, to remember that God knows what he is doing. God always knows. We just need to trust and go. Get on our bike and travel the scary, wonderful roads God calls for us to go down.
I personally have found my bike rides inspiring. I have been struggling with something all week and as I rode my bike through the crisp Sept morning, I was able to work through and get somewhere. I have spent time reading, and studying my Bible all week trying to get somewhere and a bike ride, alone on the streets with my God , surrounded by fast moving cars and winding my way toward church this morning, the answer came to me. God is in the journey. God is leading. We need only follow.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Making all things New

I am typing this blog on my "new" computer. Well it is not new and technically it is not mine, or at least it was not mine until my husband set it up in my church office. The shiny (my computer moniter is silver) "new" computer is my husband's Dell which he got while he was still in seminary. It stopped working sometime in the Fall of 2007. My husband took out it's insides put new insides in it, did some stuff to it (you all are now vaguely aware of how computer savvy I am not) and now I have a computer for my desk at my office in the church. I am sure what my husband did was "easy". I know it took longer than he had anticipated and needed more parts than he realized but between him and my father, that which did not work now works. And seems to me to not be "slow." I can do what I need on it, which is not much. Get on the Internet, and type my sermons. Yes all I need is a glorified word processor with a modem and I am happy. No matter how easy, or how much time it may have taken which my husband had not anticipated. As far as I was concerned this computer was ca put two years ago. We saved money, took Christmas money and bought him a new computer in Jan of 2008. This one has sat around "broken" since then.
This kind of makes me think about God. God is an expert at taken very broken things and making them new. God has takes us in all our sinful brokenness and uses us to work and minister and bring "Heaven" to earth. God allows us to be God's hands and feet on this earth and to be God's reflection to this world.
God takes the broken shatteredness of our lives and makes them new. God takes the horrible things we go through and can change them and not only use them for God but heal our brokenness but then allows us to use those broken and then healed circumstances to bless, heal and help others.
So much of who are we are are broken computers. When the computer came out of its box it worked wonderful. It was an amazing bit of technology. When God created us we were wonderful bits of humanity. God declared us good. But just like this computer which over time broke down, we are broken because of sin and evil in this world and in our lives. But God takes our brokenness changes us on the inside, makes us "new" and we are able to work and do the will of our Father in this world.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Parent Poems

These are poems several friends and I wrote this morning when we all should have been doing other things. Amused us perhaps they will amuse you.

Daughter Song
oh how sweet is the melodious
sound of my daughter's voice
rising from the basement
in the refined timber of a whine

Kaza Fraley

my son was beating my duaghter
over the head with his toy screwdriver
Chris Lyons

plastic screwdriver
pounding katie's head with rage
Micah in Time Out

Chris Lyons

Some haikus make sense
Others however do not
Mike Fraley

No I Can't
No I can't do it
no magic wand have I to
create a potty
::applauds mike::
Chris Lyons

is that the right way to ask?

Chris Lyons

For Mike
I scream
I scream
I scream
I want
I scream
I don't get what I want
Perhaps the same action will create a different result this time
I scream
Kaza Fraley

curtain on the floor
nobody knows why its there
i guess it fell, dad

Chris Lyons

Sing song rhymes
The Cat Returns
Strawberry Shortcake
Finding Nemo
Opiates for preschoolers
They sit they stare
They are not in your hair
Kaza Fraley

Thursday, July 23, 2009

The Unstoried Man

I have a strange affinity to those that get the short end of the stick in the Bible. I feel bad for poor Thomas who does something completely reasonable he doubts it when his friends tell them that they have seen their dead friend alive. He has a little trouble believing that a dead person is alive and I have to say in his position I would have done the same thing. Dead people are by definition not alive. So he doubts the sanity of his friends and their wonderful fish tail of walking talking, breathing, eating, dead Savior, once he sees Jesus with his own eyes he makes a profound statement of belief, not to mention recognizing Jesus for who he really and truly is, that is God incarnate when he falls at Jesus' feet saying, "My Lord and my God." Also Church history tells us he was an amazing missionary to India bringing the truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ to there.

The Bible character whom I feel for today has an amazing set of names and not much else to his story. Joseph, aka Barsabbus, aka Justus. Here is what we know of "poor" Joe. He was with Jesus and the disciples from the time when John was baptizing until the day when Jesus was taken up from them. He was also a witness to the resurrection, I take that to mean he was with the disciples when Jesus appeared to them. He was one of the two people whose names were put forth to replace Judas among the 12 apostles. The lot did not fall to him. He was the one not chosen. He was the one left standing when everyone congratulated Matthias for being elected to be counted among the 12.

That is all we know of him. Christian tradition says he later became a bishop but little is known about him and his work. So we are left with Joe the man who was not chosen. Joe the man on whom the lot did not fall. Joe the one who was not an apostle. As I search the Internet for a pictorial depiction of this man there seem to be none. He is always a foot note under a picture of Matthias. Matthias is the one they chose and oh yeah there was this other guy, he was kind of cool, he has three names

I think when I get to "heaven" I will pull up a seat and let Joe tell me his story, since after all he has got be be better than the one recorded in the Bible.
Perhaps someday, I will be inspired to write his story for him and others like him. Kaza's supplement to the Bible where I give all these stories to all the storyless characters who show up as one liners in the Bible.

I will put it on my list of things I will write about when I become a writer.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Just a little amature poetry

I passed into another universe
I do not know when
I passed into another universe
I do not know how I got in
The sky is forever purple
All the people are green
Their breath is blue
And all their songs are too
I wonder and wander, I don't know where I have been
I watch them go by
I don't see me, they do not greet me
But yet I feel they and look and say, "Hi" with a turn of an eye
I like here.
I don't want to go home.
And I don't know why
Without word am known
I feel I know them
We get along
they are my friends
The sun sets and I close my eyes
Whisper, "goodbye"
When I wake will I be in this world or mine?

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

The Wonder of a rainy day

We have had a fair few of rainy days here in New England.
A rainy day usually makes me think of green and growing,
Of fresh flowers glissening with life giving water,
The moist warmth which follows on a summer day.
But this Summer in New England rain is bringing rot and death.
Mike and the girls ventured through the rain to the local vegetable farm
The veggies are dieing.
Too much of a wonderful thing is horrible, is deadly.
Reminds me of a lady Mike knew in Kansas who "got drunk" off of water.
She drank so much water she flooded her system and the end result was something a kin to being drunk, funny thing is she did this on a hike through a desert.
She needed water.
Her body needed a lot of water.
She gave it too much water and it nearly killed her. (aside from the "drunk" effect)
Too much water is killing the melons and zucchini I helped weed.
Too much water is rotting the roots of the tomatoes I helped tie up.
Too much is never a good thing.
Although it seems to me we are good at too much.
When I lived in Mulvane I shopped at the tiny little grocery store in town.
I rarely needed anything which it did not provide.
Here I shop at two different grocery stores, a farmer's market and the veggie farm.
The first week I was here I spent five minutes trying to decide which jar of pasta sauce I would buy.
I only needed one jar, but I had 20 or so to choose from.
Too many choices.
Sometimes it seems we are good at having too much.
Too much water can kill you;
As will too much meat or too much cake.
All of which are good in certain amounts.
I have to say as I was packing and unpacking my house I began to wonder if we (our family) suffer from a horrible case of too much stuff.
I wonder what in our lives we have too much of.
I wonder if any of those things will eventually rot our roots, or bring decay and destruction in our lives?
Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but if we continue to allow too much of * whatever * to be in our lives will we perish, just as the poor veggies are perishing because of too much rain.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Community amidst Disunity

One of the things which bothers me the most is I perceive that those of us living today live much more isolated lives than generations before us.
We are strong independent lonely people.
Each of our families live in their own house, with a closed door. People need permission to enter into our space.
When ever we venture out, we get into our own cars. We drive our cars on roads, alongside of countless other people all in their own cars driving where ever it is they are driving. Each of us alone amongst the throng of people who flow down this very stretch of pavement each and everyday.
Perhaps some of us ride public transportation where we share our traveling space with others, but even though we are sitting touching people on either side of us we are completely and utter disconnected from them.
We stare forward, trying not to really look at anyone in particular, perhaps reading the advertisements on the wall over and over again so as not to invade someone else's personal space by looking at them.
We go to stores and various other places where other people are but do we really interact with any of the other people who are shopping all around us.
We may talk to our cashier as we purchase our items but that is only what is necessary in order to make the transaction. We may never see this particular person again anyway, so who ever they are not individuals whom we deem worthy of investing our time or breath.
It seems to me as we march forward though time the things which are invented do more to separated us than they do to bring us together.
This is why sometimes I am surprised when our technology brings us together.
This week is the General Assembly of the Church of the Nazarene, huge denominational wide conference were "we" gather together to make important decisions about where our denomination is going and who we plan to be a people.
This assembly includes six worship services.
Many people from all over the world are gathering, worship, and making decisions together in Orlando, Florida, but not everybody does not get to go.
I being one of them.
The powers that be have decided to live stream the six worship services.
Last night while watching the service (and admittedly doing other things as well). I jumped on my friend's Facebook page. Where four or five of us chatted about the service as it was going on.
We made up a sort of invisible pew where we all sat and experienced the service together.
We were sitting at computers hundreds of miles apart but we were all together watching the service and making little comments to one another (whispered behind our hands so as not to disturb the row in front of us - although I am sure the lady with the flamboyant hat kept looking back and glaring at us).
We were each alone in our own little houses in front of our own little computers but we were at church together experiencing it together. United, connected.
In a world which does its best to create disunity we used the very vehicles which so often separate us and cause us to be alone (seriously my husband and I will sit in the same house not talking b/c we are both on our computers making use of the vast resources at our disposal which can be found on the world wide web) to unite us and create a small even if transitory community who shared a moment in time together, who laughed, shared and enjoyed each others company at an even none of us were attending.
United in being separated.
A community amidst the disunity.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

I've Never Seen the Mona Lisa

So we went to the R.M.V. (Registry of Motor Vehicles).
A wonderful place full of lines and amazingly pleasant state workers.
The great State of Mass has the smarts to put all things which need to be done in one building, which is great but it is not smart enough to invent a system which does not include, "now you have received your plates return to the end of the line to begin a new process to get your license."
Not to mention (although I am - Jon :D) they must have 84 different items to prove your identity and that you live where you say you live, some of these items are hard to obtain if you live in a parsonage, don't have a renter's agreement, mortgage, utility bill or other such indisputable proofs of your residence.
Funny side note: on item you can have to prove you residence so you can get your license is checks with your name and address pre-printed on them. It took a long time for my new bank to want to take my money b/c they wanted me to have a MA license to prove I lived where I lived. You need a check to prove residence to get a license and you need a license to get a bank to give you a checking account. Hmmmm.
So after three hours, with two pre-school children, and handing over quite a bit of money, my husband and I are now bona fide residents of MA.
While we were in the line the second time a lady offered to let my children listen in while she read a really cute book about a duck and rat and their adventures in Paris.
Seriously sweet and thoughtful.
The story was adorable and had all these little statement which only the adult reading the story would get - they went to Notre Dame and met the hunched over bell ringer (ala The Hunch Back of Notre Dame).
When these little gems would come up she would look up at us and smile or make a little comment on our behalf.
At one point the duo went to see the Mona Lisa at the Louvre, at which point the sweet lady looked up at Mike and I and said, "I have only been to Paris twice and neither time did I manage to make it to the Louvre." and then went back to reading.
There was no value judgment in the statement.
Nothing snotty or uppity.
But Mike and I both felt inadequate.
We have never been to Paris and seeing the Mona Lisa is not even on our radar of things we missed out on doing thus far in our lifetimes.
I am not saying anything about this lady.
She was kind and generous.
She simply made a statement to us, which she thought we could relate to but were completely unable to do so.
She was trying to connect to us. But she failed.
Visiting Paris is simply not something our lives and lifestyles have allowed us to do.
But her statement made me wonder.
How many times do I say things to people and unintentionally make them feel small, inadequate, or less than myself?
Do we in our attempts to connect to people actually am doing things to push them away?
Is any of our well intentioned friendliness actually alienating the very people we are trying to include?
How do we know when/if we are doing this? And how do we not?

Friday, June 12, 2009

nest in a box

We just moved.
"Just" as in four weeks ago.
We are down to about 10 boxes left to unpack.
These things take longer than one would expect.
As we have unpacked our boxes we have stacked them up on our back porch. . . behind our porch. . . next to our porch - all around our porch.
We have A LOT of boxes.
It looks really bad.
I feel sorry for our neighbors who can see this horrible pile of trash outside of our house.
I hope they don't worry that we will just leave it there.
I know I should not worry about "what they will think" what they think is their own business.
But we really just want to take one day cut the boxes up, tie them with twine and then as space in our recycle bin allows put the stuff out to be recycled (yeah for curbside recycling!)
So we have this largish pile of cardboard boxes exploding off our porch.
But not so badly that it covers our whole yard.
But an eyesore nonetheless.

Yesterday, the sun was gently making its way through the cloud cover.
I was working in the kitchen.
I had the back door open and the storm door shut.
I would look out and look at a out small but beautifully green (I just moved from Kansas) backyard.
As I did so a sparrow landed on the top of the boxes.
She looked at me and I looked at her.
My mother has instilled in me a love for all things bird and I was thrilled to see her.
I noticed she had some twigs or whatnot in her beak.
As I watched her, she hopped inside a box.
That is when I noticed it.
She had a built herself a nest inside one of the boxes on our back porch.

Here I am feeling bad because we have this horrible eyesore in our backyard and within is this beautiful little nest.
What I think is a horrible thing on my back porch, she saw as wonderful, perfect and safe.
She is willing to build her home in my eyesore, lay her eggs in my eyesore and raise her family there.
I am embarrassed by it.
She believes it to be wonderful and safe.

(brief interlude where I sing, "His Eye is on the Sparrow" in my head)

Her little nest in my "trash" makes me wonder.
Is there beauty in all the "trash" out there?
Are we too quick to judge that something or someone as useless?
When all it takes is a different person with a different eye to see something completely different, something completely perfect?

I look at my life.
Often my life if it is not trash, is so filled with trash, my trash as well as the trash from the world around me.
Trash with which I have filled my life.
As well as trash with which others have filled my life.
What does God see when looking at me and my life?
Does God see all the trash?
Does God see the mess that I have made of my life?
Or does God see something perfect, something wonderful?
Is God like this little bird?
Willing to make a home inside that which I see only as a huge mess?
Willing to dwell within the mess I have made of my life and by inhabiting me, making something (me) that would otherwise just be a huge mess made from the turmoil of life into something beautiful and wonderful.
Using me, making me into what I am not. Perfect.

Update: June 16th - All the boxes but this box are gone from my porch and the nest now has eggs!