the story room

Friday, July 21, 2006

my white chairs and dancing supervisor

I don't like autumn much. I don't know how to explain it, but the smell of the gray air, crisp and beautiful as it is, leaves me feeling unsettled. Maybe I just enjoy summer too much.

Whatever the reason, I noticed that the air smelled like autumn today. I worked outside most of the day, cleaning chairs from the cafeteria. Olfactory memories of fall wafted into my lungs and brain, carried on the cool breeze. And the clouds, heavy with rain, reminded me of the heaviness of people I know and those who are half a world away who mourn and are afraid. I couldn't help but feel heavy, too.

But the strangest thing happened.

The greasy gray chairs I was scrubbing became white when I rinsed them, and as I stepped back to get a look at my work, an unexpected joy overtook me. I tell you, they almost shone. I carried them back into the cafeteria and found my nearly sixty year-old supervisor dancing to a song on the radio, purposely uncoordinated and 'shaking his booty', casting aside his dignity to evoke our laughter. It works every time.

What grace.

Humanity is "born to trouble as the sparks fly upward"; it's true. My white chairs and dancing supervisor didn't make me forget. But in those gifts of work and play I was reminded that God is with us. I could feel it in my chest, in that place where joy so deep it is unspeakable resides.

Saturday, July 08, 2006


Well, I was thinking that my next post would be the one I recently plugged, the one I'm working on. However, I'm trying to find words that aren't so convoluted.

Instead, I offer something different tonight. It's a prayer I wrote this spring, during a time when I deeply felt the tension between 'reality' and hope. It's not polished, but it's honest:

When Ezekiel stood in the middle of the valley with skeletons strewn everywhere,
hot and dry,
you asked him, "Son of man, can they live?"

Can they live?

If anyone else had asked, he would have scoffed, or laughed,
or wept.

But you questioned him, and his certainty dissolved.

"Only you know, sovereign Lord," he said,
wondering if even that was a safe reply.

Now Ezekiel's words are mine.
They're on my lips,
though it wasn't me you asked.

But I'm standing in the valley, and these bones are brittle and bleached.

Will the dead ever rise -- will I see them live?
You've opened graves before, but what of these?

Can they live?

Ezekiel prophesied to the bones; you told him to.
Will I say anything at all?

Thursday, July 06, 2006

some plugs, and a personal note

This summer, I've been reading a blog that my friend, http://www.sacredfount.blogspot.comJames, recommended to me. The blog is called Real Live Preacher, and today's post really struck me.

The past few days I've been working on writing a post to share here, and I feel like the ideas I'm working with make more sense in light of what Real Live Preacher says. So, as I work to finish up my own entry, I highly recommend reading
this one. (His is better, anyway!)

And I have to say, I am so grateful for those who hold my own heart like RLP's hamster, enabling me to be safe, and to be known. Terrifying and sacred and one of the most precious gifts I've ever been given. So precious.