November is here. Catkins, seedpods, tree shadows.
Sun sinking into fire, moon settling into frost.
Remembering Mom, with other people who love the mountains and their people, who knew her apart from her family, and who miss her still now to the point of tears. And God moved: with her spirit close on that cold mountaintop morning, in the shadow of the house of grace, I spoke my secret dream, and it was smiled upon and lifted up.
Apples, from the Webb House, now sauce, juice, hard cider, dried, and stored in a root cellar. Did Nick and Lura ever imagine those reds and greens sliced on the front steps of a house in the coalfields, their skins braided and lassoed and chased after by children? We know so little of what we leave behind.
But I look at some of what my mother left behind, and I have a bare inkling, and a deeper resolve to keep alive the love of beauty, the joy of making things, the comfort of being together.
Thank you, Jessica, Jonathan, Sara, and Grace House -- it was a wonderful weekend!
(How am I supposed to call you, anyway? This whole Yahweh, Jehovah, Father-God just doesn't work for me on a personal level, and on a community level? I'm still looking for a way to make peace with that.)
That question really works as a stumbling-block, by the way, distracting me from the real work of talking to you.
Being with you.
Centering in you.
There are even stories of those who let go of the duality this dense matter presents and become one with you.
And if that's not distracting, I don't know what is.
So, anyway, I heard a prayer in an unlikely place -- unlikely to me, anyway, and mine -- and I pray it again, hoping my faith is sufficient to know your presence and live your answers.
Let us pray.
Dear God, I am tempted to regard my fears and disappointments as setbacks, limitations, obstacles. Please grant me wisdom, your truth turned to action, so that I might walk in your way and shine with your light, no matter the trials. And so it is. Thank you for responding to my request.
I should be cranking applesauce. Or folding laundry. Or doing the dishes. All with gratitude.
Instead, I'm staring at pictures of petals unfurling.
Hoping for a metaphor, a signpost, a Rosetta stone.
I sure don't feel graceful. Or uninhibited.
I feel stuck. And scared. And to add the personal truth of responsibility, recalcitrant, a rabbit hole to get lost in for sure.
There is love being offered all around. Some I welcome and sink into, some just meets my recalcitrance. How to melt that stubbornness?
I miss my weekly infusion of song, prayer, community, worship. And yet, even as those words take shape on the page, a voice whispers in my heart, We've been singing all week, and our songs have been prayers, and we are surrounded by apples!
Surrounded by grace.
Sometimes, it just takes sitting down to stare at beauty stretching into the Great Unknown.