Friday, May 22, 2009

Hearing God?

Last year I was asked to write a little essay for my church's newsletter. I was told it could be anything about my faith experience. In a moment of weakness, I choked out a "Yes, I'll write something." The following essay is what ended up on paper. I was reminded of this essay last week when I had coffee with a new friend. In the context of sharing a story about advice she had given a relative, my friend spoke words... words that I really needed to hear... words that were lovingly direct. The words were coming out of my friend's mouth, but as far as I'm concerned, I definitely heard God speaking. I continue to be amused, grateful, and delighted that God is so creative in engaging with me.

Hearing God?

Often I imagine God  is walking around with a huge network, finger pressed to ‘redial’ saying, “Can you hear me now? Can you hear me now?” I am  able to hear God…sometimes. 

I am able to hear God when I do the dishes and sometimes when I cook, but never when I do laundry.

I am able to hear God when I go for a  run, take a shower, and when I drive somewhere by myself. 

On a sunny day last summer, I think I heard God answer one of my BIG LIFE questions, but it makes me nervous and uneasy. So, maybe I won’t totally acknowledge it yet. (This might be considered ‘denying the call.’) 

I am able to hear God when I hold a baby, hold my husband’s hand, and when I stare at my children while they sleep. 

Last February, I heard God say, loud and clear, through my panic and fear, high upon the side of a flat-topped pyramid, “You need to let go of her hand.” An internal, spiritual & emotional, power struggle ensued: The parental primal need to protect vs. the power of faith to literally “Let Go and Let God.” I still haven’t quite recovered from that surrendering episode. 

I am able to hear God when I play the piano, walk  or have coffee with a friend, and sometimes when I read a book, or hear a song.

I am able to hear God when I eat lunch by myself, mow the lawn, and paint the porch. 

I’ve  heard God calling my name in the middle of the night.  At least I think it was God. It definitely wasn’t my husband or children; They were sound asleep. I didn’t realize  in the moment that the voice was God and so I turned over and drifted back to sleep myself.  I wish I’d had the where-with-all to say, “Yes, I’m listening.” 

I am able to hear God when I go to the beach to walk , or look for stones and shells, or to just breathe in the view.

I am able to hear God when I’m  doing so many other things, but rarely am I able to hear God when I pray. 

Lately, I am able to hear God more clearly when I sit down with a pen and a blank piece of paper. With a grateful  and open heart and no preconceived notions of how the writing should evolve, I am enlightened in some wonderfully unexpected ways. The writing, itself, is not stellar, but  it doesn’t need to be .  The process has become an engaging prayer. I experience more of a ‘dialogue’ with God  this way and the personal/ spiritual connection is deep and scary and intriguing. 

My faith in and relationship with God is a work in progress.  I am still learning, yearning,  and trying to understand it all ~ it is hard and frustrating at times, especially when I can’t hear God.  But, I know from a place deep inside my soul that even if I can’t hear God, God can always hear me.  And, I am  so thankful that God is forgiving and persistent and endlessly creative in trying to connect with me.  “Can you hear me now?” 

Exciting Season

Its that time of year again... the all consuming... sometimes frustrating... and if we're lucky, sometimes exciting season of Little League baseball and softball. Every year the same thing happens... the baseball and softball practice and game schedule comes out and I have a little (some in the family might say, big) hissy fit. The big R for resentment rears its ugly head as I see at least 3 months where our whole family life revolves around baseball & softball ~ the coming and going, scheduling/re-scheduling/ conflicting events or activities, eating on the run, eating junk, or eating late are just a few of the issues that make my jaw tense. I hate feeling that way! Fortunately for everyone, its a feeling that tends to pass when I take a big breath and look at my kids and see how much they truly love playing. These are their memories in the making and I want to be a part of the joy in those memories, not the angst.

Both kids had games this week. The sun has been out and the temp. has been warm, perfect for evening games. Both games were very exciting with lots of hits and runs and good and not-so-good fielding. I cheered alot for my kids, yelling, "You can do it, Honey!" (How embarrassing is that, to have your mom calling you 'Honey' from the bleachers!) Both kids did very well in their respective games; Both teams winning, always a plus.

Both kids have improved greatly since last year.  They are bigger, stronger, and smarter about the game and as a result, more is being asked of each of them.  I see them listening to and learning from their coaches and the other players. Their confidence and comfort increases with each passing game. I see their joy in being part of a team effort in the sparkle of intensity and purpose in their eyes. Like everything else in the natural world in Springtime, I see them, cleats in the soil and face to the sun, thriving and beautifully blooming ... and that makes it a very exciting season with no 'R' in sight.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Happy Ducks!

A couple of weeks ago a male and female duck (Mr. and Mrs. Mallard) were sunning themselves on our lawn underneath the forsythia. They looked so cute! I wondered whether they were preparing to nest nearby. Well, they have been frequent visitors to various parts of our yard and after the first day, several of their duck friends have also been visiting our yard. Hmmm... why our yard? And why just our yard and not our neighbor's yards which abut ours? Hmmm... mysterious! As it turns out, it is not that mysterious afterall. My husband spread corn gluten all over our lawn to try to manage those persistent and tenacious weeds.  Apparently, corn gluten is a very tasty treat for ducks and Mr. and Mrs. Mallard and their friends now seem to be the fattest ducks in the neighborhood! I'm pretty sure duck grazing wasn't part of my husband's plan for lawn maintenance and weed control, but the ducks sure do look happy!