Multiple Choice Future

on Sunday, November 29, 2009

“No way! The bridge is shaking!” The plausibility for such a massive icon as Sydney Harbour Bridge to move was feeding my children’s already overstimulated dispositions. They stood motionless feeling the bounce of the bridge through their bodies, staring at each other in disbelief. In their excitement, they traversed the length of the bridge three or four times compared to me having meandered half way. They were running up and down the footpath like backstitch on a garment. I was amazed. What was it that was so exciting? Adventure? Discovery? Or was it just the new playground that the North Shore provided?

What did it matter? Their exploration allowed me to be a spectator, to retreat from an especially difficult season and to soak in life with, and also beyond, my family. I lagged behind and admired the group of walkers that was three generations of my family. My children living life fully, soaking up each other and enjoying being enjoyed. My parents reliving youthful adventures through the stamina of their grandkids. My husband with his commanding stride; gosh, I’d forgotten he was so .. err.. potent. Family are like air aren’t they? Something we cannot live without although almost never applauded.

I chuckled at the timing of these thoughts of my relatives. My great grandmother would have sailed into this very harbour, maybe even right under my feet, some seventy years back. How daunting would that have been? Bringing two small girls alone across an ocean to be reunited with her man. With age and hopefully growing wisdom now on my side, I can appreciate the emotional guts that journey would have taken. Fleeing war, leaving all their family and immigrating into a language they didn’t even understand.

It led me to wonder of how many stories have travelled through this port. My nana sailing from England. My father in-law emigrating from Holland. What did they feel, expect, and hope for? And before them; De Quiros, a Portuguese explorer who called our land “La Australia del Espiritu Santo” or “Southland of the Holy Spirit”. These stories aren’t random but have reached into the future and affected even my destiny. What young girl, separated from her family, looked at squaller on these same shores I see now? She would have come off the planks of a convict ship fresh from England, the country who declared herself mother over “New Holland” over two century’s ago? Would she have believed that her home land would be sailing a ship bearing her Queens name that just squeezes under this colossal coat hanger at low tide?

I appeared to be staring from the bridge right through the Opera House. Mark snuggled in from behind and rested his chin on my shoulder bringing me back from my mental wander. My babies were almost at the end of the bridge now. He must have walked back all this way just to escort me to our tribe. I felt loved but even more so when he offered me a dandelion he’d found growing in the cracks of the walkway. Some would see merely a weed but it was far more to me.

Here was my soul mate, my sojourner, keeping me close to his heart. We were crossing our own bridges, finding our own adventures and discovering substance in life together. Sometimes we find hard times like those in the generations before us. But like this flower which grew through adversity into an amazing, fragrant piece of beauty, we grow in the manure life dumps on us and come out as a sweet aroma, as God’s artwork, as living proof that no matter what life throws at us, we can still choose how we respond. And these choices, good or bad, will outlive us reaching into my children’s childrens generations.

Heir Raising

on Thursday, November 26, 2009

~ wordless ~

Unwrap Him

on Sunday, November 22, 2009

Seemed appropriate since we are navigating head on into Christmas again ....

The truck window was open wide to bring relief from the sauna our vehicle had become and the scent of the country filled the cabin. Christmas was going to be dry and hot. Recollections of snowmen and snug fires that fill the media over this season caused me to chuckle at the enormity of this paradox. Driving in eastern Australia, it wasn’t frost that filled my senses but the aroma of eucalyptus leaves dissipating in the heat. A chorus of cicadas screamed above the music which pumped through the speakers. Winding forward along the crumbling road, my face numbed and my hair stung my neck as it whipped and flung around me uncontrollably from the wind. This wind on my face was almost an overload of stimulation.

But not as much stimulation as was manifesting at our place. There was only thirteen more sleeps and the mountain of gifts below our nativity scene would be reduced to a pile of confetti. Our calendar for our family of one dozen, was filling out beyond the realms of achievability and was more overstuffed than an overdue mother. Each day enlarged my childrens expectancy for the ‘main event’, Christmas Day, but also increasing was my resolve to keep their hearts loaded with eternal perspective. But for now, I didn’t need to fatigue my mind with the choreography of this year’s celebratory climax. This long drive meant I could bring my mind back from the planning of the next few weeks and live in the moment.

This living in the now let all my attention return to focus on the scenery which was rushing past. I had seen this route many times before but every time it seemed to offer a different perspective. This intrigue caused my eyes to not casually, but almost desperately soak in all this lands stories. The history of life in every old farm house; the wonder and depth made by the shadows as the sun slid behind the mountains; the seamless knitting of the undulating slopes meeting the winding river which we repeatedly crossed. Bursting with an overwhelmingly satisfaction, I was thankful that God had put me in such a breathtaking place, that He had given me the eyes to see His land for the exquisiteness, the life it held.

Breathing deeply, I soaked in this life; His life. It appeared to me that God gave my present early. Such a generous gift wrapped in such a huge package, too big to join the growing mound in our living room yet I was totally absorbed in it and totally full of awe for its creator. His gift? He let me enjoy Him. To feel the substance of Him. To soak in His pleasure of me. To see His reflection of His heart in all that He made and continually lives and breathes through. His reason? Intimacy. His very purpose for creating us.

So resolute to woo us, He even purposed an insurance package of grace a fistful of Christmases ago. A gift that didn’t need wrapping, that won’t break, be outgrown or clutter the house, and one that doesn’t require the social seasonal protocol of parties, cards, feasts, holidays or bling. So pure and simplistic yet so full of substance that our lives depend on us discovering and embracing His gift’s essence. Astounding. He did everything so all we need to do is unwrap Him?

"{in your} Face Book"

on Tuesday, November 17, 2009

~ wordless ~

pen and paper status updates from my man,
stuck to my computer with sticky tape;
works for me

My {out}Back Yard

on Friday, November 13, 2009

Away now ... this one seemed relevant to run again ...

We were someplace smack between Alice Springs and the Devils Marbles travelling a stretch of desert which could have been confused for the moon. There were no buildings, mountains or vegetation here. Just dirt, heat and the horizon. This meant no trees. Here, trees are your friends as they become convenient camouflage in the need of relief. Retired “Grey Haired Nomads” had told us to avoid public bathrooms as unbelievably, they were often inhabited by locals.

Knowing this, I noisily approached a crudely converted concrete tank my concern for confrontation far outweighing my greater need. I knew I would need to pee now or never. Well at least now, or to never again live down the disgrace that would come from a watery accident. I realised as I turned in that she was definitely not expecting to see me. Her eyes met mine then hit the floor fast. I was clueless what to do next. Awkwardness heightened the longer I stood in indecision, as for me to continue, I would need to physically step over her.

Politely, I dropped my gaze only to notice the last thing I ever expected to see. At her feet, the most beautiful, dark baby lay on a tattered blanket. A mess of wiry black curls and dust was all that covered his plump body which could be but days old. All my female hormones gooed over the sight of him and any fear of my harm or trespass dissolved spying this new life.

Everything in me wanted to scoop him up, to snuggle into his neck, to soak up the smell that only newborns own, to share in details of his birth and wallow in her pleasure of a new son. In an attempt to communicate these feelings, I found that the English language was not something we shared but obviously my maternal gushing gave her cause to relax a little more, so she offered a tentative smile.

Our short but intense encounter was interrupted by a rather protective and clumsy entrance of a tall aboriginal male. I assumed he was the babes father; the young girls man. He assessed the situation nervously but stood waiting for my next move. My next move! What was I to do? I had just unfolded my body out of our dust embalmed Troupe Carrier which had cocooned me with my family for most of the morning. Nature was definitely calling.

Still, do I intrude on what was now their home? There was no furniture but from the amount of cooking debris, kitchenware, and rough bedding, it suggested home. I playfully wondered how their mail was addressed? And even if I felt comfortable walking into their outback bathroom, would my prissy self be able to bring myself to use whatever I found lurking behind that fence paling door? My husband pealed out an encouraging honk from the truck which sank all my indecision. I chose the ugly toilet moment over the horrible generational story.

Slotted back in my space in the people shaker and mover feeling physically relieved, I digested what had just happened. I became emotionally overloaded. Comprehension for how they existed was not coming. Appreciation for their culture was minimal due to my lack of knowledge. Understanding of how I could have sincerely offered help would have been better utilised a good twenty kilometres back.

I berated myself. Should I have given them my own son’s clothes? Or maybe a bit of cash slipped into her hand? My heart was aching for what I perceived as incomprehensively hard. Or was it? A still small voice was revealing an inconsistency in what I believed to what was reality. Who was it that carried more burden? I discerned their lack a prison. But who was travelling trying to buy freedom? Funny, I was seeking freedom from the things she didn’t own; the juggling of stuff and self imposed responsibility.

Revelation was painfully and slowly focusing. 10,000 kilometres were travelled all up for God to use a young aboriginal girl, still reeking in puberty, to start exposing how freedom starts inside of me. How liberty lives in my thoughts birthed from core beliefs. The source of freedom wasn’t in dumping my daily routines, or having financial dexterity. It’s in believing Gods grass roots truths … I am accepted, I am secure, I am significant, I believe the truth therefore I am free.

Throw Your Head Back And Laugh

on Tuesday, November 10, 2009

~ wordless ~

Beyond the Brickwall

on Friday, November 6, 2009

Still walking through a bit of a 'foggy' season ... a little like this re-run ...!

"Can you come and help me get these sheep in please.”

The voice broke through my semi conscious state although I wasn’t quite sure if it was part of my dream or reality. I forced my eyes open real wide and tried my hardest to determine the origin of the request.

“They’re eating your flowers out the front.”

The consequences of sheep in my newly planted blooms was enough leverage to care less if I was dreaming or not and my feet hit the floor and traveled to the bathroom much quicker than usual. I tiptoed past my sleeping baby trying not to wake him so I wouldn’t have him on my hips, like a sack of potatoes, scurrying after these lambs and donned my knee high back gum boots not even contemplating the fashion statement I was making as they accessorized with my Winnie The Pooh singlet nightie.

“They're around the front” was the next instruction which guided me as I shuffled down the back steps and honed in on the flower munching critters.

They nervously glanced my way and promptly ran in the opposite direction, lamb tails bobbing above the dust they stirred up on the driveway. I didn’t halt my journey toward the sheep enclosure until I knew that the last escapee was again unable to eat any forbidden fruit. This was rather an abrupt start to my day, but lately, not an unusual one.

Only a few weeks ago, we approached our four-month-old beef steer while the children were riding our dairy calf to see if he would accept a little pampering. As usual, he refused, very reluctantly got to his feet and limped toward the river. His tender hoof had been concealed until now his lack of movement considered lethargy from the searing heat. Hopefully his leg was asleep from lying on it but I know it was more.

That evening we locked him up with our usual routine so we could absconder his morning milk from his mom and tried to assess him a little closer. Although I was now armed with the knowledge that his feet were pussy and smelt real bad, this information meant nothing to me having only owned cattle for a little over a year and not being knowledgeable on the symptoms for cow ailments. Our neighbor deciphered his symptoms with a label of “foot rot.” Visions of vet bills and dead cows flashed in front of me.

The pain the little fellow was obviously in, planted a seed of worry in my mind and a well known wrinkle reformed across my forehead. The manner and technique of the young vet catching the ailing beast was a little unsettling although, without doubt, he knew more about this than us. So he was left to dig and scrape the rotting flesh away from between the frogs of his hoof, blood oozing over the earthen shed floor. This left Mark to restrain a kicking and bucking animal.

Our baby cow did survive this episode as did Mark, and we came away from the crisis now wiser in cow disease, and the administering by injection of various drugs through the concrete hide of bovine. This was just in time to be able to treat our milking cow that was showing signs of the same fate.

Each day brought similar hurdles which seemed to be chipping away at my cope-ability and sanity. Living in my own strength, I was frazzled and I entertained the idea of climbing into bed, pulling the sheets over my head and pretending none of it was happening. But I had six little people, and one big one, relying on me to be positive, cheerful and to meet their needs; I had to move forward and make decisions, not decisions happening by default, and most importantly, I wanted to live a life enjoying and knowing the depth of Christ. So I chose to trust; to live in God’s strength.

My circumstances didn't change but when focusing on how awesome God is and staying constantly in His company gave life balance; the full truth. The greater concern is not just ridding myself of these problems, because they will come. I resolved to not let my attitude sink to a poisonous level, to guard my mouth and heart from soaking all in a barrage of poisonous words and to respond from a place which knows and remembers Hiz goodness by giving perspective to what is true, noble, pure, right, lovely, admirable, excellent or praise worthy.

Yup, I forget constantly, I loose sight of Him but He graciously taps me on the shoulder and reminds me we are forever friends and He is big enough to carry us through. His grace allows me to live through the valleys and live in an increasing quality of life with Him now, not living my life at the bottom of a brick wall.
written 26 Sept 2000

Sister Act Icky

on Tuesday, November 3, 2009

~ wordless wednesday ~