Friday, September 2, 2011

“If we consider the unblushing promises of reward and the staggering nature of the rewards promised in the Gospels, it would seem that Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, we are like ignorant children who want to continue making mud pies in a slum because we cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.” - C. S. Lewis

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Words for my Insides

"I stop,
gather wet wood,
cut dry shavings, and for her,
whose face
I held in my hands
a few hours, whom I gave back
only to keep holding the space where she was,

I light
a small fire in the rain.

The black
wood reddens, the deathwatches inside
begin running out of time, I can see
the dead, crossed limbs
longing again for the universe, I can hear
in the wet wood the snap
and re-snap of the same embrace being torn.

The raindrops trying
to put the fire out
fall into it and are
changed: the oath broken,
the oath sworn between earth and water, flesh and spirit, broken,
to be sworn again,
over and over, in the clouds, and to be broken again,
over and over, on earth."
-Galway Kinnell

You give, and You take away. My heart will choose to say, Lord blessed be your name. Nothing was ever mine anyway. 

Friday, March 25, 2011

Theraflu and Nostalgia

For five days I've scarcely left my bed.

Today I walked to a bench that overlooks the water. I wanted to see if I could walk that far without crawling. I could. I rested on the bench among the desert plants: prickly pear and ice plant. Crows rose from the water below, silent in the melting sun.

There's something about being very ill that always undoes the same things in me. I realize the fragility and helplessness of my own body. And it makes me feel old. Sleeping on ceramic tiles, bath mat for a pillow, bare legs curled around a toilet will do this. When I'm sick, I remember I'm not as young as I think I am.

I talk to my parents on the phone. They want to know every symptom. My dad jokes that he'll ground me if I don't go to the doctor tomorrow. It's a task to make it to the kitchen to get a glass of water or heat some chicken broth. I wonder if the pizza delivery man can deliver to my room, because when the doorbell rings, I don't think I can get out of bed.

When I was little, my mom used to buy 3 different flavors of gatorade and rent movies and make my favorite foods. I'd lie in her bed and we'd eat popcorn and pass the day away until my dad and sisters got home. I never minded being sick back then. Back then I missed a day or two of school. Now, it's a paycheck that's missing.

My mom sounds distraught on the phone. She reminds me, "I can come if you need me." When I'm sick, I remember I'm not as old as I think I am.

But in the end, I've spent these days alone. With a loneliness that comes from padding barefoot around an unlit house. Days measured not in coffee spoons, but in light passing underneath the blinds. Evening to gray evening. Asking for the day at every opening of the door.

Monday, February 28, 2011

Trying to wrap my mind around what this means for me right now: "The person who lives in right relationship with God does it by embracing what God arranges for him. Doing things for God is the opposite of entering into what God does for you." - Galatians 3:11

"Serve one another in love; that's how freedom grows." Gal. 5:13

5:16-18 "My counsel is this: Live freely, animated and motivated by God's Spirit. Then you won't feed the compulsions of selfishness. For there is a root of sinful self-interest in us that is at odds with a free spirit, just as the free spirit is incompatible with selfishness. These two ways of life are antithetical, so that you cannot live at times one way and at times another way according to how you feel on any given day. Why don't you choose to be led by the Spirit and so escape the erratic compulsions of a law-dominated existence?

 19-21It is obvious what kind of life develops out of trying to get your own way all the time: repetitive, loveless, cheap sex; a stinking accumulation of mental and emotional garbage; frenzied and joyless grabs for happiness; trinket gods; magic-show religion; paranoid loneliness; cutthroat competition; all-consuming-yet-never-satisfied wants; a brutal temper; an impotence to love or be loved; divided homes and divided lives; small-minded and lopsided pursuits; the vicious habit of depersonalizing everyone into a rival; uncontrolled and uncontrollable addictions; ugly parodies of community. I could go on.
   This isn't the first time I have warned you, you know. If you use your freedom this way, you will not inherit God's kingdom.

 22-23But what happens when we live God's way? He brings gifts into our lives, much the same way that fruit appears in an orchard—things like affection for others, exuberance about life, serenity. We develop a willingness to stick with things, a sense of compassion in the heart, and a conviction that a basic holiness permeates things and people. We find ourselves involved in loyal commitments, not needing to force our way in life, able to marshal and direct our energies wisely.

25-26Since this is the kind of life we have chosen, the life of the Spirit, let us make sure that we do not just hold it as an idea in our heads or a sentiment in our hearts, but work out its implications in every detail of our lives. That means we will not compare ourselves with each other as if one of us were better and another worse. We have far more interesting things to do with our lives. Each of us is an original."

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

"A poet is somebody who feels, and who expresses his feelings through words. This may sound easy. It isn't. . . The moment you feel, you're nobody-but-yourself - in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you everybody else - means to fight he hardest battle which any human being can fight; and never stop fighting. . . . If, at the end of your first ten or fifteen years of fighting and working and feeling, you find you've written one line of one poem, you'll be very lucky indeed. . . . Does this sound dismal? It isn't. It's the most wonderful life on earth."
- e. e. cummings

Thursday, February 17, 2011

The clock holds not enough hours
in its day for the exploit of
this life as we choose to have it,
so we pilfer from the night spell
and become accustomed warmly
to little sleep where dreams are far
more vivid - trembling in their
ephemerality - sparkling
and waking to the cracking sun
on waves through blinds and cat whiskers
to our "dream within a dream" is
waking to your arms cocooning
and golden eyes with your always
smile, and more not enough hours.

* * *

"Sleep, that deplorable curtailment of the joy of life."

- Virginia Woolf  

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

an email

On my flight to San Francisco this past weekend, I asked, "Can I sit here? I really want to be around nice people right now, and you look like a nice person." My new friend was indeed a very nice person and helped me with dealings with snarky flight attendants and navigation of the BART. I just received this email from him. 

Subject: The window seat doth beckons

"Red-booted Laura-Lo,

Your fellow jet setter and city tour guide Russ here. I've gotta say, I'm quite curious how the rest of your journey through space and time went," etc. etc.

I wish everybody would start calling me Laura-Lo. 

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