This Has Nothing to Do With Ministry (But My Mom Will Be Happy With It!)

This week a friend asked me to go with them to the mountains.

I said, Sure! Yes! Amazing!

Then I looked at my bank account. Quickly calculating out my rent check, which will go through any day now, and a couple other bills, I have roughly $55 spending money for the next two weeks.

So, yeah, I’m not going to the mountains.

But I’m making the best of it! I’m QUILTING!

Last year for my birthday my parents and I went in together to buy me a sewing machine. I have used it sparingly since then, getting far busier and more distracted than I anticipated this year.

That same birthday weekend, Mom and I went to the most amazing fabric store in existence, had a laughing fit that nearly killed us both in the parking lot, and then spent all of my money buying the materials for me to make a quilt. And I promptly neglected it, until a weekend when I had time to give it a proper start.

…Well, here we are almost 9 months later and I’ve finally found that weekend. Yay!

So, I’ll try to keep you updated over the next few months as this baby (hopefully) takes shape!

The (Hopeful) Final Product

The (Hopeful) Final Product

It’s not as ambitious as it looks. Okay, maybe it is, but here’s my logic: Each of the 120 squares is made up of 18 identical rectangles. And each square is identical. So, there’s nothing complex about putting this thing together– just cut 2160 identical tiny rectangles, sew them together into squares, and then sew the squares together. This makes a lot of sense as “easy” to me. …But I’ll get back to you in a few weeks, somewhere around rectangle 800 I’ll probably start to lose it.

Step 1: Wash Step 2: Iron Step All of the Above: Don't get burned or burned out!

Step 1: Wash
Step 2: Iron
Step All of the Above: Don’t get burned or burned out!

 

In the interest of full disclosure, I’ll also add that I needed something to do with my hands and eyeballs when The Walking Dead (which I’ve started in lieu of Breaking Bad) gets too scary for me. There’s nothing weird about quilting and watching The Walking Dead at the same time. Nothing weird at all. GET OVER YOUR GENDER STEREOTYPES.

 

Sorry I yelled at you ;)

A Word from Christ

I woke up this morning with a rotten feeling in my heart.

You know when you have a fresh beautiful tomato in your kitchen, and you’re waiting for just the right time that you can savor it in all its God-praising glory, and you reach for it only to notice a cavernous, white-black abscess somewhere on a round red side, a cavity that ruins your appetite and your hopes for any kind of enjoyment-based worship? That’s what my heart felt like this morning.

My heart is rent in two and rent in four and rent in seven times seven by a broken relationship in my life.

A woman I once called sister, a woman I hope to call sister again.
A woman for whom I cry out in prayer as often as I think of her.
A woman whom I have wronged.
A woman by whom I have been wronged.
A woman whom I love desperately,
understand not at all,
and with whom I am broken by frustration.
A woman who I fear–
in my secret hear–
has no feelings left toward me but
pity,
and anger,
and quite possibly hate.

I was near tears this morning thinking of her, looking at pictures of her, and thinking of the white-black abscess eating into our once robust love for one another.  Thinking that it is entirely my fault. Thinking it is entirely too late for anything, even hope. Thinking I should toss myself on my mattress like the Psalmist and cry out in his broken words,

“Be gracious to me, O LORD, for I am languishing; O LORD, heal me, for my bones are shaking with terror. My soul also is struck with terror, while You, O LORD– how long?” (Ps 6.2-3 NRSV)

***

As I sat in my windowless office on this beautiful Sabbath morning (the windowlessness a mirror to my sinful inability to look beyond myself, to be sure), miserable and tweeting (for twitter is somehow a place for small verses and mini-psalms for my ADD brain), the breath of God breathed. The Word of God spoke. The heart of God beat for a second in line with my own and I caught a whisper.

***

There was a poet I heard of once who said that she would be out working in her yard and she would hear a poem coming to her. She would see it on the wind, and she would break into a run, racing and racing to the house, to the pen and paper, hoping against hope she could catch it before it swept past her in search of another poet, a more ready poet. She said sometimes she’d catch it by the tail and force it down onto paper, and the poem would come out backwards, but she’d have gotten it down.

Blessed be the woman who has her thumbs on the iPhone keyboard when the Spirit moves, for this is what the Word said:

“Only Christ redeems, and only well.”

***

My languishing is not for nothing. My terror will not be spilled out for nothing. When my bones shake and my spirit trembles, Christ is with me, and with the woman for whom I shake and tremble.

And Christ is not still, or small, or quiet, though His voice is still and small and comes quietly at 8 AM with no fanfare but my tears quietly rolling and the notification that a Tweet was successfully posted. He says,

“For a long time I have held My peace,
I have kept still and restrained Myself;
now I will cry out like a woman in labor,
I will gasp and pant….
I will lead the blind by a road they do not know,
by paths they have not known I will guide them.
I will turn the darkness before them into light,
the rough places into level ground.
These are the things I will do,
and I will not forsake them.” (Is 42.14,16 NRSV)

Christ comes with His redeeming arms ready, His womb fit to burst, His hands poised to create new suns and new paths for me, so terribly blind, to see and walk by. The abscesses will be healed, the cavities filled, the broken things healed up and sealed up once more.

Only Christ redeems, and only well. He needs no superglue, or knives, or antibacterial disinfectant to restore, to heal, to purify. He will not be silent any longer, but He will do the things He has promised. And He will not forsake us. Amen.

Some things that are going on.

Note: This is not a post about ministry. This is a post about life as an adult. Or a so-called adult.  A quasi-adult.  Someone who still calls her mother roughly once a day.  (What am I supposed to do, figure out how to freeze meat without her wisdom?)

 

Things in my life that are not working properly:

— I have not yet turned on the gas (heat) in my home.  I could see my breath when I woke up this morning. I could not feel my toes.

— My computer’s mouse touchpad, shift key, and general good spirit have gone on strike. Also, every time I press the spacebar, little backslashes begin running away with my cursor.  Incidentally, the backslash key refuses to work in its own right. \\\\\\\ (<- example. What the heck?)

— The cat is furious about having been boarded while I was in Europe and refuses to be on the same floor of the house with me.  Currently she’s upstairs, probably plotting to leave mean messages about my poor parenting on my mirror in mouse blood.

 

Things in my life that are working properly:

— I feel refreshed, rejuvenated, and renewed after the pilgrimage to Assisi.  What an unbelievable gift.  I’m not saying that God lives there more presently, or tangibly, or densely than She does here in Charlotte, but I do somehow believe that the people there live more presently, and tangibly, and densely than we do.  (Note to self: cultivate spiritual density, as opposed to carb-based tummy density.)

— Jet lag has given me a new perspective on morningtime.  Did you know that if you get up at 4 am you have time for four cups of coffee, a personal MSNBC mini-marathon, and a load of laundry before it’s even time to get ready for work? Oh, also, some devotional time.  How great!

— Someone is here installing something on my water heater… or air filters… or something. So maybe … something is going to start working? Start working better?  I dunno, my landlord sent him over. Whatever. There is a vague smell of something burning.  I’m choosing to be very Zen about it.

 

Things in my life that are what they are:

— I’m still not great at personal life-management.  In fact, it’s possible that I’m worse.  My house is a wreck, I’m so out-of-shape (I’m looking at you, Italian pasta that ruined my life while also making it wonderful), and I’m out of Anne Lamott books to read (her new book on prayer, Help Thanks Wow comes out soon soon, though!).

— I’m finding that I really only want to be friends with those kinds of people to whom you can say– without fear of shaming, reproach, or anything but a good “Oh honey”– things like, “I don’t really feel like doing anything but eating a whole pizza tonight,” “Can you come do my laundry for me?” and/or “I’m pretty constipated.” It’s the people who frown and judge and say, “Erin, you’re an adult now. Adults don’t say things like that out loud,” that really bum me out.  I don’t think Jesus would ever say that.  I think Jesus, in fact, says, “Oh honey” to me a lot.  And then He goes back to His knitting with a little secret smile about my silliness.

— \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\ (that was from the spacebar. It sends its regards, apparently.)

 

I’m not going to publicize this post on Facebook and Twitter. It’s just for me and you, my most faithful readers.  Feel special– you’re clearly in a different class of holiness than everyone else, most of all me because I hardly ever read other blogs unless they’re REALLY good.

And please don’t stop following me because I ‘fessed up to being boring, a mess, and potentially fatally constipated from all that Italian pasta.  You would be too, and you know it.

All my love!