Saturday, September 18, 2010

Written by a friend.

The ache of sorrow in my breast,
The hurt that gnaws deep at my chest.

I must confess...

I feel like nothing is made right
Oh where, oh where is the light

Here I stand again it seems
Taken back to horrors dreams

O death you wheeled your power free
Yet I look for life found upon the Tree

Still my heart will feel the sting
And miss our loved ones set free to sing

Our lives entwined there too short a duration,
I trust, will one day be rejoined in joyous celebration!

All tears and fears will be washed away,
As we sit together on that happy day.

Yet now as I say my last goodbyes
I must confess...I still feel....

The ache of sorrow in my breast,
The hurt that gnaws deep at my chest.

--- Isaac Ring, 2010

Friday, September 17, 2010

A lighter hearted post...

Tuesday evening we headed back from the UK to our home in Granada after a few days of wonderful time with friends in the Oxford area. We took the train from Pangbourne to Reading, enjoyed a half hour break with some wonderful enormous coffees and took the hour and half long train to Gatwick airport.

After checking in, and walking through security, we saw our plane was delayed a half hour. I had planned that we would arrive mostly on time and have over and hr to pick up bags etc, and then take a cab to the bus station in the South of Madrid, and then the 5 hr overnight bus ride home. Yes, it was the slow boat to China as my aunt Debbie says, but it was cheap, and that saved us over 150 dollars to do it that way.

Needless to say,we were delayed out of Gatwick and arrived in Madrid at 12:45 in the morning and we had only 45 minutes to get out of the plane, get our two bags, grab a cab and then make the last overnight bus at 1:30 in the morning.

AS we descended from the plane on steps to a waiting bus, Andrew groaned, "We aren't going to make it." I was already on the handy Blackberry chatting with my mum in the States asking her to help me find out exactly when the last bus was and which one of the two major bus stations it left from. I groaned when I realized it was the south bus station, about twice the distance from the Avenida America station closer to the city center.

We grabbed our bags as soon as they came out after having run ahead to go through passport control first. I told Andrew "RUN" and we ran through as fast as we could to the front of the Taxi Cab line. AS we threw bags into the trunk, we breathlessly asked the cabbie at 1:17 if he could get us to the bus station. He in typical Madrileno fashion, said, "No pasa nada, 10 minutes."

He drove so fast we laughed most of the way there from sheer nervousness. I had to pay him with a credit card, so I threw Andrew out and I paid whilst Andrew ran into the bus station to buy the bus tickets. It was a machine and Andrew is horrible at such things, and the security guard was patiently coaching him through it by the time I burst through the stations doors. We bought the tickets, clattered down the steps and RAN across the bus station to clamber aboard the last bus that night to Granada. The driver was having his last cigarette so we had a moment to throw the bags underneath and then madly climb aboard.

For the next half hour we laughed at the impossibility of it all. But to me, it was just proof that God really wanted us home that am, so we could rest and start back up again. Sometimes we want everything to run perfectly in life, no delays, no running madly across half of Madrid to get the bus. But I think sometimes God likes to keep us on the edge of our seats, waiting breathlessly so we don't miss His miracles, small or big. Those were small miracles, but all together they formed a big one to show me, He's in control and I'm not.

Monday, September 13, 2010

This week we wandered to Oxford. Strange you say, why Oxford, England? Simply put, its cooler here, we like it here and finally, but most importantly, some Very Dear Friends live here.

It has been several months since Andrew's mom slipped into the next life, and this long months have been hard, and difficult and painful and poignant in so many ways. There have been tears and laughter, moments of its so hard to talk you choke up, and lots of moments for me personally, sitting in church, in prayer meeting, in worship practice, in church service, where I soaked it all up like a sponge and squeezed it all dry by the time I came back a few minutes later.

Never have I so dreadfully needed my own faith in the Next Life. And so wandering onward to Oxford, we have been with friends, no, really, family, that have reinforced our desire and faith for the next life.

We have needed desperately this step away from Granada, even though we love and miss our church family in that incredible, passion town when we are gone, we needed for our own sakes and their own sakes to step away, to recharge and refresh, so that when we returned, we would be better, healthier and encouraged people again.

Oxford is delightfully green, and surrounded by beautiful rolling hills and lots of farms and villages that feel like you've stepped back into time unless you run across a Bentley or BMW that whizzes past you instead of a horse drawn cart that you somehow fully expected to see.

The city and its awe inspiring spires, its bustling streets and anxious and worried professors and students are soothing to our harried souls. Its warm and comforting coffeeshops, meat pie shops (YES!) and bookshops remind us the world is much, much bigger and scarier and welcoming and rejecting and desperately needy for salt and light. We leave the city wanting more and hoping to return.

And after countless cups of coffee and tea, fruit and vegetables along with wonderful cooked meals...after learning what roasted marrow was, and enjoying it full, and long, rambling walks and some very wonderful and enlightening conversations and processing through the laughter and pain of this last year, we are ready to go back to the dusty, still rather hot streets of Granada, continue onward in the Sacred and Secular, and hope yet again this year as we pray..."May Your Kingdom Will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven."

For those of you who find this blog per chance, and wish to know more, write me a comment, and I'll happy return it as soon as I can. I hope this year as I wander, you can wander with me, and see God's Kingdom come to our little corner of the earth.

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

We all want "meaning" to our jobs, all the more so when they seem lacking in meaning. I mean, what in the grand scheme of life can a secretary, or receptionist, or sales clerk, or waitress, or whatever you want to fill in the black, can contribute to the grand and glorious tapestry of life?

I've been all of those, secretary, receptionist, sales clerk and waitress. I've been told I can't wear backless shoes because it might hurt me or worse yet, offend a client. I've had trays of food and too many half empty glasses of liquid tumble from my hands. I've answered calls and said, "I'm sorry, Jim...(or Don or whoever) isn't available, would you like his voicemail?" Again and again and again until your toes and brain and knees are numb from your conservative shoes, or stupid clients, or your countless times of traipsing up the stairs in the smoking section of the restaurant.

And I've cursed at the copier, made too many trips to the toilet cuz of too much coffee to try and unnumb the brain, and been so bored filing my nails sounds exciting.

But now, I don't struggle so much with the bordeom with the menial tasks, but I wonder, do my efforts of translation, grammar exercises, pronunciation drills mean anything? Can I get my class as a whole to say Spaghetti instead of ESpaghetti?

A beer commercial says, Experience the Extraordinary. We want to drive the Lambrghini instead of the Ford,go to the Bahamas instead of the beach closest to us, drink imported beer when we can't even afford Coca Cola, wear the Gucci Boots when Target is what is in our closet. We want to experience it to the fullest, and menial jobs don't seem like the highway to happiness.

And we sure as heck don't want to pay our credit cards, write the checks to the electricity company, and deal with a landlord. We want to be a rock on our own island and have a fluffy drink next to our hammock and have it all.

But, we know we can't.

So, when it all goes awry, when the systems don't work they way you were told they were, when you get stung by a bee on the way down the stairs, what do you do?

Last thing on my list today, was my overwhelming desire to praise. Praise God for what? I knew I was supposed to, even in the crap of it all, and so I did it cuz I knew it was right, even though it didn't feel like I should. Why should I praise God for a house with no electricity, for crossed communication, a bee sting on my hand, and no desire to do anything and desire to do everything that couldn't be done.

But I did. And in a good Christian article, my lights would come back on in my house ASAP. my bills would be paid by some anonymous donor, and everything would be good.

Didn't happen. But I remembered that even though life is hard, and evil things happen, God is still good, and God. A friend prayed for me, others were happy to see me, and small victories were won in relationships that have been difficult in the past. And somehow, I heard a voice singing, and it was mine, and it said, He is Exalted, and I'm not, and that's good.