Monthly Archives: January 2009

today: accompanied (and thursday posts)

So Naomi returned from Moab accompanied by Ruth the Moabitess, her daughter-in-law, arriving in Bethlehem as the barley harvest was beginning.
Ruth 1:22 (NIV)

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When Meghan and I took care of the kids for one crazy month, a friend accompanied us. That’s what Paul J, my friend and pastor in Toronto called it. He talked about how Ruth committed to go with Naomi even though things were messy and unpleasant, even though they’d both had loss. Paul J said the way of accompaniment is a picture of how God loves. Ultimately, Jesus would accompany humanity through the raw grittiness of our sin all the way to the cross and grave. In so doing, he conquered death.

That is the gospel.

Whenever I wonder what it is like to be loved when you’re loveless, cared for when you care not and befriended when behavior reflects friendship’s antonym (at times enemy but at times apathetic bystander), I think about Ruth and Naomi. And I think about Meghan and our friend. And how we made it. And how it was mostly good. And how most days we laughed. And how some days we cried. Sometimes all together. Sometimes with bewildered children tugging on our clothing demanding attention…

In the end we would probably refuse to relive the events of that season. We would refuse to relive them but without regret.

Today when I ran, I thought it might be good to write down some stories I can remember about the things that happened back there (wherever, whenever) that led me to here. Paul J, the aforementioned friend, called this reading life. In order to read life, I, apparently need to write it down.

I had lunch with my friend Sean today, and he didn’t know a lot of those stories… And it is hard to accompany or be accompanied when the story being lived is unknown. So I’m going to start writing some things down. That is only one-half of the accompaniment equation. Because Ruth thought she was going with Naomi. Eventually, though, Naomi started healing, and the one being accompanied becomes the one accompanying.

So we tell our stories. And we hear the stories of others.

That month contained volumes of stories. So do the days and weeks in other places at other times. Telling the old stories creates hunger to live new stories. At least, that’s what I hope.

For me. For you. For the God who accompanies us.

So what’s your story? Who has accompanied you along the way? Thursdays are going to be days to tell old stories.
loved

today: these memories

“The gladdest hours that we know begin with a friend or two.
-Wilbur D. Nesbit

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A weekend is too short when you have a pair of babies-becoming-toddlers who you love and who moved far away and who came to visit. A weekend is too short when their parents are friends you could (and have in the past) seen most days and never get tired of the mix of banter and quality conversation that flows. A weekend, though, is enough to remind me of how full my life is…

And it was a good weekend… one that we stretched to, oh, Wednesday.

These photos are from the Saturday night sleepover with the twins. I just love these guys. They make me wonder what it will be like when I have little ones of my own. I look at them and have such great hope for who they are becoming as they grow up. I look at them and have such deep affection for who they already are.

Sam, the steady little man, taking the world seriously, weighing options before making his move… he is dear.

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Lucy goes, goes, goes while telling you she wants to “go, go, go.” She runs and laughs and plays with all her might. Her hunger for life is contagiously beautiful.

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I love that I got so much time with them. Watching them be together is watching a friendship of birthright and choice. All they’ve ever known is life together.

two1w

Who’d have thought the help I was hired to give would come full circle? For now, they help me see and wonder and dream… They help me remember what really matters is loving people and loving them well. Of course, these two are not that difficult to love. And love them I do.

two2w

Goodbye, R family, for now… Miss Erin is already planning her next trip.

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these eyes, ever learning to see
the more of these days a little bit clearly
they hesitate for fear when perception lacks
they cloud as they grip known only, facts
they forget belief as they choose to go blind
they fumble faith as if a fixed line
explains it all
eclipsing the truth
these eyes, ever learning to see
though captivated, ever yearning for free
in love only will fullness be
revealed
and there perceptions of reality fall away
redemption seen in this, in every, day

today: morning

“You can only come to the morning through the shadows.”
-J.R.R. Tolkien

The other night, I stayed overnight with my little friends who are still visiting. In the morning, I was greeted (a little earlier than I would have preferred…) with this scene:

morning

I love how happy most kids are when they wake up, how they are ready for the day, ready for life, ready to be… I love how they want to play and laugh and eat. This seems pretty standard across the board for most little people. Some take a little longer to be ready to embrace the day, but they generally start out (if they got enough sleep) so ready. I think that’s where we’re supposed to live… so ready… for whatever is coming, eager to embrace life.

When you grow up in the top half a large family, you can either love little kids or be resentful all the time. All of the older kids in my family opted for the former while yielding to the latter sometimes. We adore ’em. And yet we’ve all held out on having some of our own… that’s a whole different blog post worthy of unwanted psychoanalysis…

Sam and Lucy came into my life because of that genuine love for kids. Spending an early morning with them allowed us to be together, just being. I love, love, love my mornings most of the time. I generally get them to myself and don’t like to share. Being with them, though, put a little exuberance in the start of my day. It suited us all just fine.

weekly photo challenge 1: wish

Joni and I decided, post our Toronto extravaganza, that we would do a weekly photo challenge… Week 1 is “wish.”

For the weary… which has been myself a lot of late…
sleepw

today: right place, right time

“If you’re alive, you can’t be bored in San Francisco. If you’re not alive, San Francisco will bring you to life.”
-William Saroyan

Boredom is something that routinely sneaks in and wreaks havoc on many a twentysomething Western life these days. Our eyes wander. We lust after the next big thing, unable to see the proverbial forest as we hack our way through the trees. We chase entertainment instead of change.

The wanderlust itch cannot be scratched today. Yesterday, though, I met some friends for lunch, and the littlest of those friends ran from her mom’s van, arms outstretched, calling my name… or the name she has chosen to call me. “Beh Beh,” she cried. Then she laughed when she saw me and ran away.

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I don’t want to miss the moments for the days that sometimes seem long and uninteresting. I believed God called me to Texas for a while when I moved home. May this place, then, be the birthplace and the nurturing facility for many a new and old dream. Boredom repels wholeness, hunger and interest…

I proofed that photo of Grace this evening, and she allowed my gaze to drift towards some of what matters here. Then I proofed these photos and want to be more intentional about seeing the yahoos in my life as much as I can while Texas is where I am… Because they bring me to life.

crazies

today: I’ve missed…

“My friends are my estate.”
-Emily Dickenson

In her truest form, Lucy let me take her out of her stroller as soon as she saw me. A quick hug from her dad, a kiss on her brother’s cheek, and we were off on a walk down the sidewalk outside of the DFW terminal. She squealed and giggled as she gripped my hand, her tip-toed stride fast for such a wee girl.

lucy

In his truest form, Sam clung to his dad while he eyed me curiously. He let me kiss him, staring. He watched me go, shy and seeming suspicious. But I know better. When Lucy and I returned, he let me pull him into my arms. His smile, more reserved than his sister, cautiously played on his face.

sam

Last year I spent a few days each week with the twins and their parents. They are some of those like-family friends who make your life better just because you know they exist. They moved away in May. I visited in August. They’re visiting this weekend. My world seems wonderfully fuller when they are around.

Amber says the twins matter to me so much because I knew them when they were newborns. I hoovered with their parents when they cried too much or ate too little. We celebrated good naps and belly laughs and an abundance of firsts. I love them all. Lucy, for her exuberance; Sam, for his contemplation; Catherine, for her questions and wisdom; Shehzad, for his humor and encouragement…

And I’ve missed them. These next few days are going to be good. I love, love, love the kindness of God revealed in the people he’s put in my life. I’m overwhelmed with the abundance. And thankful. So thankful.

Tonight we hung out. Shehzad’s family was there. We ate. The kids played. Everyone cooed over them. Times like these are the good stuff of life. I did think, though, that I’ve never been loved by any kid as much as the twins love their uncle who was there… They kept running to him, laughing, hugging, kissing, would-have-been-smothering… if he hadn’t been so delighted…and then I was kinda glad I don’t have to share them with him when I see them tomorrow.
lucysimon