Thursday, April 7, 2011

Linger... a magnificent portrayal of God's care

Like so many of my friends, I've been enjoying an eagle's nest livestream video coverage. From the laying of her eggs to the exchange of duty between mother and father eagle during incubation, to the hatching and care of new life, all of it captured on a camera hidden strategic, from the eagles' view. The eagle family's day-to-day events are taking place live via

And what a magnificent portrayal of God's care for us...

I watch smiling as the mother eagle tenderly tucks her tiny eaglets in. And then, like any other toddling youngsters, they stray from the safety of their mother's feathered shelter. Diligently, patiently, she tucks them in once again. And when the the little ones sleep and all is still, mama eagle never lets down her guard. She scours the landscape and sky above ready to protect her young ones from danger. I watch as she spots something loom too closely above, perceived as a possible threat. She hovers close her head and breast dipped low, but never her eyes. She, guardian of life downy, is fully present. The danger passes.

The chicks hunger. And mama responds. Her nest full of lifeless prey. Fish, squirrels, chipmunks... they are all there. A platter of delicacies to fill the child princes and princesses of this majestic bird. She rises from incubation as tiny beaks squawk impatient. Gingerly she rises and walks powerful talons around her young. She takes a small bite of a fish, works to prepare it for easy digestion. The eaglets stretch and lift beaks high and open, ready to receive nourishment they trust is coming. They bicker over who's beak finds food first. Sometimes one receives more than another. I'm sad for the neglected one. But their mother knows best how to raise her own, and I have no say in the matter. I trust her chicks' care to her.

I do the same for me...

... and mine. Alert and present fully He watches and protects.

He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart. (Psalm 91:4, NIV)

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

the still commotion of His Creation...

A headache keeps me home today, yet the day is beautiful and good. The tempo of pain out of sync with breath drives me to quiet. Physical body slowed, mind settled with raw concentration of rest to restore.

I'm outside, and the sun is bright today. I lean back gentle in my wicker chair and capture the warm comfort. Breathing deep and even, I close my eyes and listen. And then a fluttering and a melody. I raise my head careful and slow to find a pair of red birds on the feeder. Yes, a couple. He, vibrant and crowned. She meeker in color. Cardinals. I smile and thank my Father for painting Creation lovely.

The phone rings and I answer. The love of my life on the other end of the line. I melt in love all over when I hear his voice. He asks if I'm feeling okay. I think he hears the headache in my voice. He wishes me better... I tell him about the pair of red birds on the feeder, and how they still feed even as I speak quiet on the phone.

... and then another lilting song. The familiar tug on the sides of my lips and I smile, careful to be tender. A bluebird sings on the fence. I share the view in words with my husband, and he says, "Sounds like Sharen heaven in the back yard today." And I laugh light and say, "Yes, it is, isn't it?" Before we hang up... "I love you." And "I love you too."

A coolish south breeze lifts the fringe from my forehead, soothes the thrum, thrum, thrum of the headache. The cardinals still feeding, the bluebird diving from the fence to the grass and back up again. A commotion calm and delightful.

I lean back into the chair, and a tear squeaks from the outside corner of my eye. Not a tear of pain, but a tear of grate-full-ness. I know the aching pain will pass, but even in the midst, today, I find another smile light. And the warmth and comfort of the Son brings peace. I praise Him in the still commotion of His Creation. And I feel it... He delights in me, His daughter.

The Lord your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing. (Zephaniah 3:17, NIV)

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

linger... even in the clutter

The Kiwi carpet guys came by today. It was a last minute sort of visit. I let them into my son's house to repair a puppy chewed corner of carpet, and they asked if he needed a carpet cleaning. I told them his carpet was only two months old, so not yet. But a good carpet cleaning piqued my attention. And the idea of another job, piqued theirs.

So, they hopped in their truck and drove right over. I asked them to start in the loft because I needed to pick up some clutter in the master (mostly the closet) before they started in there.

... and then the mad dash. Stuffing unused pillows here, dusty silk vines there, an unhung picture on top of the stuffed pillows, and bags of various kinds hither and to. And more. The carpet, now completely visible, was ready for a good cleaning, deodorizing, and Scotch Guard-ing. Finally finished with preparation, I took my worn out self upstairs to let the Kiwi guys know.

As they sprayed and buffed my bedroom rug, I sat my weary mad dash self on the couch to catch my breath. I did my part, and now it was their turn to complete the job. De-cluttering takes effort, but finishing the job is for the pros.

All of this leads me to ponder...

A simple fact: sometimes I'm just a mess. And to clean all my life clutter would leave me exhausted, and mostly... unfinished.

... and still a mess.

Yet thankfully, God invites me to Him just the same, clutter and all. So in the middle of my sometimes messy life journey, I can simply rest in these Truths:

1) Jesus invited children to come to Him. My mothering days made it very clear that children are seldom clean. Mostly dirty from play, and messy from mudpie baking, Jesus held their messy bodies and loved them in spite of the mess.

2) Jesus washed the filthy feet of His disciples at dinner. Those sandaled feet had seen the dust of many dirt roads. And He actively invited each disciple to offer their mess to Him, so He could make it clean.

3) Jesus made mud and placed it over a blind man's eyes. Yes, He used a mess to heal.

The fact is, I can de-clutter my messy life only so far. But there is only one way to make it clean, and with no effort on my part.

... except complete surrender.

Monday, April 4, 2011

four seasons in as many days...

These past four days I've cried. I've also laughed. I've smiled sublime - yes, a gentle, reflective, liquid smile transformed then to a smile preceding laughter, unwavering and planted there.

... and then, quiet

This thoughtful place, Linger, has suffered my absence. Yet maybe it hasn't, but I have suffered as result of its neglect. I haven't written words of what Linger looks like in real life. Authentic, raw, time-consuming, emotion-draining day-to-day life. So many seasons - days four - a fast, a fury-some journey.

A friend remembered... and laid to rest. His wife grieves deep emotion from a place where only one who has lost the promise of, "until death do us part." Her dad holds her, patting her back tender as she pours hot, heaving tears. Winter as day one. (And will you pray for Kay?)

Day two begins as day one draws to a close... Not in the thought of day as between sunrise and set, but day two in season. An evening of celebration (and public signing) with a dear one who's words are finally birthed new - as spring - in print for all to see. Her wisdom available to any who need a warm, tender book "conversation" offering support to parents of adult children. (Secrets to Parenting Your Adult Child, by Nancy Williams)

Day three rises with the sun... and laughter, summer and carefree. Not with anyone else; only me, alone. A day unfolding with joy. A gift, I believe. A grace moment of holy joy. And a time to learn, and linger with sister-friends who gift my life with presence.

And as the sun cools and the evening breeze blows twilight near, the love of my life and I shared dinner, family style with the dearest of friends. And then movement of twilight into dark night brings slumber. Day four... Autumn settling the flow of four seasons in as many days.

And my soul is transiently quiet...

And again... another set of seasons arrives today, morning autumn strikes furious with storm, another beloved family. And they set their face as flint...

I pray this Scripture.

Because the Sovereign LORD helps me, I will not be disgraced. Therefore have I set my face like flint, and I know I will not be put to shame. (Isaiah 50:7, NIV)

... and I prepare to journey through the seasons again.