Wednesday, November 25, 2009

i have wept over last week's
blog. the courage to bare my soul.
not to bring people to the edge, but
to allow others to know the imper-
fections of life that no one usually
talks about. we hide behind the
shame. the fears of what others
will think.

my son gave me his permission
to do that blog. let me tell you
what has happened. one of his
brothers found out about his pain
where he lives out-of-state, and
called him.

i want you to come live with me.
my apartment has two bedrooms,
and one is for you. what will it take?
how quickly can i get you here, bro?

beautiful. magnificent.
one brother to another.
my son who is visiting
was in such shock.

mom, what did you tell him?
i'm going into my room and closing
the door, and i want you to call
and see if he REALLY means this.

i made the phone call.
i really feel right about this, mom.
there is no hidden agenda. i want
him to come. this is what families

i call it a miracle.
a gesture of vast compassion
that most brothers don't do
when they are 20 yrs. old.

i think of my son in college
who calls me, and all his buddies
make jokes and noise.

well! hello, mrs. anderson.
mother of this geek over here.

my son laughs, and says ,
be quiet. i like talking to my mom!
and laughter erupts.

no alcohol or drug problems, yet,
but we never know where our children
are going to take us. nor life. but i
know families take work. and Jesus
is the blanket that wraps around us,
and holds us all together.

my children knew that until they were
18, all the rules were mine. but when
that birthday came around, they were
considered men. and their choices were

every sunday,
we marched down the church
aisle to the front row. i never looked
around, and my children were mortified.
but i didn't want them sitting with their
friends, and missing the beauty and power
of the service. before they were 18.

my youngest worked
at starbuck's. one early saturday
morning, after he had been out
late with his friends. having too many
beers, he was still non-functioning,
and had his face in a bowl of ice.
he could hardly walk, but i drove him
over, and he just happened to be
very blessed that he had Jesus on
his team, because, somehow, he
made it through his shift. only God
knows what people got in their
coffees and lattes.

if you want your children to tell
you what they are struggling with,
listen with no judgement. no sermons.
just quiet thoughtfulness. reaction,
which i've wanted to do many times,
would have forever changed the dy-
namic of our relationships.

with four boys,
there were so many different
girls coming and going that
i got lost in all the jennifers
and amandas and ashleys.
i often, privately, rolled my
eyes, but my lips were zipped.

a time to ponder
ALL God has given us.
it's a time for families and friends.
good food. and a song. the wind
pushing the music through trees and
across oceans and into the cracks of
pain in all our lives.

did you know that sin is all level
at the foot of the Cross? that God
considers pride maybe more serious
than all the other offenses.

i love the Cross.
that it is never too crowded
for all of us to find a spot.
ALWAYS, there is room
for one more.

with bowed head,
i kneel. i reach out and
touch the roughness of the wood.
see the stain of Blood.
remember, again, that Jesus came
for me. for you. and it is NOT about
perfection, but clean, pure, uncondi-
tional LOVE. scraped and dragged
across the stony path to the hill
where Christ's Blood gushed into
our miserable lives.

take communion.
a piece of bread.
a touch of olive oil.
a sip of wine or juice.
celebrate the Blood because
without that vast, incomprehensible
gesture of torture and pain and love,
there would be no hope for all our wounds.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

most people think my children
are perfect. straight a students.
deeply devoted to Jesus. soul
winners. life changers. you know.
walking perfection.

but somehow, under will's and my
watch, we didn't get all the pieces
just right. missed things. even when
we thought we were doing our very
best because, next to Jesus, we
loved our four sons more than the
roar of the ocean or all the wonders
of the world. in an instant, we would
have given our lives for them.

one of my sons has come home a few
days early for thanksgiving. now under-
stand, my sons tell me things i'd NEVER
have told my parents. we are tight. the
five of us have fought wars together.
but tonight, in the car, my child started
crying. feeling so alone. no girl. the
guys he shares an apartment with have
both lost their jobs, so my son is left to
carry it all.

he's started smoking and doing weed.
it's so hard, mom, and no one respects
me and i do all the work. i'm so unappre-
ciated. feel so isolated. i go to the food bank
every day. they throw food from the truck,
and whatever you catch, you get to keep.
no one says 'thanks'...or offers to take
turns at my apartment.

despair began to roar in my head. my heart.
stark pain that made my bones feel
weak. my joy sheared by fear and dark-
ness. he is 21, and he feels the world
doesn't care, and he gravitates to anyone
who will embrace him. most of them lost
like he feels. most Christian parents
don't know, but i do. my sons simply
cannot keep secrets from me.

i know they have slept with girls.
Christian girls. having fun today is
to go to a bar, and have a few beers.

my children look perfect.
handsome. strong handshakes.
look you straight in the eyes.
are kind. give money to the poor.
they KNOW how i long for them
to go to church. but the church is
losing the fight for our children.
dreams aren't stirred and brushed
across their hearts, judgement
teases in every corner. not love.
but judgement.

my son came home with a mohawk.
oh, i'd told millions that we are to love
others. it is NOT about how anyone
looks. who they are, we can only change
the world with love. sweet, untarnished.
beautiful love. the strong arm of kindness.
of reminding others that God ONLY looks
at our hearts. period.

and my son walks in,
and he's needing me so much.
needing tenderness and embracement.

i was so scared.
what did this mean?
had he aligned himself with
a subculture so
desperate...that he's lost himself?

he got his mohawk shaved off.
today, for me. and i failed.
i made his outward appearance
matter too much. oh, my son and i are
still tight. but if i had only thrown my
arms around him. kissed him, and told
him i noticed he had a new haircut.
joked about it.

i learned to REALLY pray
when i became a mother of
adolescents. flat on my face.
praying more for me than for

love. tip-toeing across the clouds.
not noticing externals. and even, knowing
things are maybe screwed up, we are
singing our love songs. knowing that
under all the appearances...are yearning,
lonely people. and we LOVE then.
running through a stream, a melody.
a choir. salvation's Song. the process
of redemption.

Monday, November 9, 2009

i only know the dying heart needs
the nourishment of memory
to live beyond too many winters.

rod mckuen

frigid hearts.
dry wind blowing our
dreams and hope across
the hardened, cold earth of
futility. miracles gone.
frozen. and our hearts
shrivel. hope withered.
the ache and blasts of life.

i've been in a very tough
financial place. i have
two banks. calling, i found
i had $120 in one, plus $200
in savings. trembling, i drove
across town to my other bank.
the one that REALLY matters.
where my car insurance and
gym automatically are withdrawn,
and the card by which i pay most
my bills.

clutched in my hand
was the $200
from the other bank's account.
knew this account was slim, too.
barely over $100.

my heart was like a burning torch.
terror rippled through every muscle
and brain wave. at least i had the $200
from the other savings account.
chewing on my fingers. a shudder as
i walked through the second bank's doors.

when i'm in deep straits financially.....
(most single mothers are terrorized by
the thought that the day might come when
management will start throwing your
furniture and clothes across the lawn)
my shame thickens. faith the size of a pea. i
doubt the God of the universe.

i approached the teller's counter.
only one guy iin a long row of women
tellers. he's my favorite because he
hustles. quiet. well-mannered.

i slip my card through,
and weakly say...nearly above a
whisper...greg, what is in my account?

let's see.
you have a little over
$1700 dollars, with nothing
used in your cash reserve (bank
money to reimburse).

i stand there transfixed.
greg, this cannot be true.
the last time i checked, it was
close to only one hundred dollars.
i'll swipe my card again.
same results. $1700.

racing heart.
face flushed. greg, pull up a
couple windows. where
did this come from?

before greg can say a thing,
i start run-on sentences.

greg, do you know Jesus?
i mean the REAL God?
the Hope of the world?
have you ever thought of running
with Him?

i mean....
i just came from
home. lying flat on my face.
by my bed. begging Jesus for
deliverance. some way to survive.
i had read the daily light. well, you
don't know about the daily light, but
it's a little book filled only with Scriptures.
and here i am................

suddenly, i sensed that the entire bank
was like a whisper. no one talking. a
silent symphony.

ann, i know about the daily light.
spoken quietly.

you DO?!!!
yes, and i know Jesus, too.

whoa.... !
YOU know Jesus, too?

it showed my deceased husband's
social security check. a little over $800,
but we never could figure out the rest.

i took one of the two one hundred bills,
and put it on the counter. placing greg's
hand on top of it. this is for YOU.

ann, i can't take that.
i could get fired for doing that.

you mean a lady can't just walk in
from the street. give you this and
they will FIRE you?

yes. they would.

but i want you to have this.
i don't need it anymore.
sorry, ann....but thank you so much
for the thought. it's been a hard day
for me, and you've made a difference
in my life.

i backed away from the bank.
all eyes on me. disbelief written
across by forehead. gratitude brushed
on the walls. a dance in the middle of

so many winters.
i just seem to fall into holes
i don't even see. and then spend
hours and months and years, with God's
help. crawling out.

an old hymn says,
i saw the Holy City beside
the crystal sea....

Holy City,
come to me.
come. and salvation
reign in my neighborhood.
at my bank. the grocery store.
the family next door.
shine, Jesus, shine.

dispense with the winter.
warm the world by your love.
thank you,, Lord..for the sweet
taste of your sanctity in our lives.