Thursday, February 7, 2008

Fridge Space

Just for the record...
I'd like to say.
That I'm not the one responsible
for all the fridge space.

I didn't eat the whipping cream--
didn't even try it.
That Barbecue Beef in a Bowl?
Wasn't on my diet.

Nor was the stick of butter,
the pudding or the fries.
I didn't eat the strudel,
nor yet the apple pies.

Instead I saved my money
and sent it to the poor.
I cared about the hungry...

Well I like to say that...for the record...
But the truth is that I can't.

Hey. I'm only mortal, after all.

So I exercise at the gym to lose the extra pounds
and to bring my blood pressure back down
to a safe level so I won't have a stroke or heart attack
from all the clogged arteries.
I'm only mortal, after all.

Sunday Scribblings


Well yes,
I'm part of the

Grand Experiment!
Cutting edge!
New therapies!
Outrageous ideas

that just might work!
And send mankind into

great heights of wisdom

It's risky.
Maybe even laced with folly.
But I'm intrepid.
For the cause of mankind.

I'm also part of the control group.

Our Sunday Scribblings Prompt this week was Experimental.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Those Thirteen Fearsome Dragons

This evening I fought the thirteen fearsome dragons once again. All of them. I entered the circle to announce my presence and caught the little black one asleep. Jumping up onto his flat belly, I blared out my intentions to the others, who snorted and pawed at the edge of the ring:

"Alright. Here's the rules! I'll fight only one at a time. Line up, you scumbags. No fire breathing. No attacking from behind...absolutely no ganging up and no running away until it's all over and I've won. Because I WILL win, and you know it."

There were a dozen more of them, and I'd nothing to do but attack immediately.
The second beast I squeezed to death using just my mighty arms.
The third I easily swept out of the way with a series of vicious side kicks.
That fourth one was a little tricky, but intimidation won at last. With a fierce shake I pulled him toward me and thrust him away, rattling his head until he turned and collapsed in a pile of dragon scales on bone.
Ah, but the fifth one was uncommonly devious. Before I knew what I was about, she pinned my arms above me and I was left defending with only my feet. Kicking and kicking I strained the muscles of my calves against her leathery, relentless hide, until she released me at last and cowered back into her fetal position.
Not taking a moment to rest, I assailed the sixth with a series of upward thrusts to nail his jaw. Over and over I attacked until this treacherous reptilian foe squawked like a wet hen and crumpled to the floor.
Dragon number seven jumped onto my back and doubled me over. I think she thought she could snuffle me into the ground and smear my face on the mat...but no. I sat up...and sat up... and sat back up, until her claws released their grip and she stiffened with a sigh.
I ran for number eight, even as she whirled around behind me. Grabbing her arms I forced them forward, twisting and ripping relentlessly. She was no match for me.
The ninth dragon was an old fellow and much taller than I. He positioned his nasty, scratchy paws on my shoulders and heavy was the weight I felt as he forced my knees to bend.
"No. You shall not conquer!" and I struggled to my feet again and again with iron resolve.
At last he too was forced to quit the battle and I moved to the tenth and final enemy in the circle. Like Moses fighting the Amelek, I flung my arms into the air. Now I was winning. Now the dragon. Back hands to the sky! I was winning. Then the dragon. Then I. It took twenty times, and the last two or three my arms were shaking, trembling with fatigue and pain as again and again I held them high.
The sighing and creaking stopped. So silent they sat. Steel and not so formidable after all. I determined to chase them home. "
Run. Run. You sadistic creatures! I've bested the worst o' ye, I have!"
Alas! It wasn't over yet. Dragon number eleven came charging from the back room and took off running; I gave chase, running on a road that never led to anything, trying my best to catch up to him, but never gaining, never losing. There. With a last feeble peep, he stopped; but scaly beast Twelve took off on skies, and I slogged behind until he, too, fell still and smoldering.
Leviathan Thirteen took a bicycle; I grabbed mine. I pedaled. Again the feeling of inevitable defeat, as the road beneath was the same...same...same...same...
Then I knew...I could not kill them. Tomorrow they would be here again, in their circle of challenge, frothing angry and stronger.

Oh but I will be stronger too.

We meet tomorrow.
The fearsome dragons and I.

Thursday Thirteen

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Bellowing Turtle

Our Sunday Scribblings Prompt was Late.

I'm sitting here shaking my head in wonder. My husband has once again proven the validity of his nickname. Thirty minutes ago we received a call from one of the church families. They needed a visit from the pastor--something about wanting him to talk to their neighbor--so my husband obligingly agreed, saying, "Sure, I'll be there in fifteen minutes," and he hung up.

Now I happen to know that the aforementioned family lives about eighteen miles from our house--not so far away, but I also know that with the speed limit being as low as it is, the construction zone being particularly sloppy, and snow lightly falling on the newly-rained-on road, it will take at least twenty five minutes for him to get there. However, I've have lived with this man for thirty years and learned when to keep my mouth shut. He moseyed around for a few minutes, unwrapped and ate a low-fat, sugar-free fudge bar from the freezer--hey, I'm trying--and headed out to his pick-up. Suddenly, he was back in the kitchen, having run across two UPS boxes that had been delivered to our back door. My husband derives great pleasure from opening boxes with new stuff in them. Even though he knew exactly what was supposed to be in each one, he proceeded to open them and count the items--9 black sharpie pens in one and a multi-pack of sharpie pens in the other. Then he explained why he really preferred that kind of pen, why they had to arrive in two boxes, how he could have misunderstood and thought he was getting half black and half blue in the multi-pack when it actually contained a lot of colors that are not manly enough for him, namely aqua, purple, baby blue and pink.

Meanwhile, my blood pressure was steadily rising. I just wanted to push him out the door. Not because I particularly wanted to get rid of him; I just couldn't help but remember that he had said "fifteen minutes" and that was fifteen minutes ago.

Some people, like my husband, have no sense of time. For others, days go by in measured hours. I'm, unfortunately, one of the latter. I'm even used to bells sounding out the end of each hour. I push myself to exercise until the "long hand reaches the four", or until "the second movement of the first symphony is over", or until "the calorie count reaches one hundred" on the treadmill. He would argue that fifteen minutes really just means "a little while".

Strangely enough, the man has never been able to wear a wristwatch. Over the years he has bought and been given many. They do fine for a little while, but they always begin to lose time eventually. After a week or so they are at least twenty minutes behind. I know that this doesn't make scientific sense--batteries should not be subject to taking on the characteristics of their humans. Never-the-less, something slows them down when he wears them on his wrist. If he wants to know what time it is, he has to carry a pocket watch or a cell phone.

So it is fortunate that we are together, I guess. I push him to do things on time. He makes me slow down and turn that type A personality into a type A minus. Tick...tick...tick. Did I say I was a little ticked? (Ok. I apologize for that terrible pun.)

Monday, February 4, 2008

Stars on the Ceiling

My Juniors are doing a unit on "Great Heroes of the Christian Faith". They've each adopted a famous life to research and present to the class, and they've each made a star for his or her person. These three dimensional bits of biography hang from the classroom ceiling in splendid tribute to the life lived and the deeds accomplished by giants who were not committed in a paltry, mediocre fashion, but in a grandiose self-sacrificing way. Some were martyred for the sake of Christ; some did the more difficult task and lived their entire lives without regard to this world's comfort, surrendering everything for the sake of God's call; many did both.

Inspiring? Yes. Overwhelming? That too. How could someone like Lottie Moon--raised as a wealthy, spoiled Southern Belle-- starve herself by slipping her food ration to Chinese victims of famine? How could Gladys Aylward--deemed too weak in mind and spirit to be a missionary candidate-- deliver one hundred children safely to an orphanage, by walking with them for days through the mountains in a war zone, before she collapsed into a coma? How could Nate Saint, Jim Elliot, Pete Fleming, Roger Youderian, and Ed McCully stand there being speared and hacked to death with machetes, yet not use the guns they were carrying to mow down their attackers? How could Adoniram Judson survive being hanged upside down by his feet every night for eight months with his head dragging on a filthy prison floor, and yet not give away the fact that the Bible translation he was working on was hiding in that very cell inside of a filthy pillow? How could Sundar Singh walk barefooted through India and over the Himalayas to Tibet to preach to people who did not want to hear what he had to say, who subjected him to abuse time after time? He could have sat comfortably on an estate in India, ignoring those who were born in the lower castes. These people were amazing. They gave and gave and gave...and the world was not worthy of all the giving. But when were we ever worthy?

I'm sure every one of these people would say quite simply that he or she was simply doing the work God had given them to do. Humble obedience shaped their star.

And, no, I'm not saying we should all follow those examples. Suffering on purpose serves no purpose and glory is not derived from the suffering itself; the glory comes from loving others so fiercely that one's own life is not the pampered, paramount motivation for all deeds. It comes from our lives being bound in Christ's life so that our eyes see like His, and our ears hear the cries that He does.

Neither am I saying that God's work is all danger and adventure, risking a life with every calling. In fact, there may be many days of tedium, persisting, plodding.

A life--the life God has given each of us, in fact--is a wonderful thing. When I consider the lives on my ceiling, I know why they shine...yes they did great work, yes they suffered, yes they slogged away tirelessly, yes they were intellectual and spiritual geniuses; but when I look at the stars and see pictures of the babies they saved, the homeless they fed, the prisons and leper colonies they reformed, the bodies they doctored, I realize that what shone was their love.

It blazed!