March 29th, 2003

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Remaining

You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in Me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in Me.

I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in Me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from Me you can do nothing.

—Jesus (John 15:3-5)


My response to the restlessness of longing has so often led me to not simply remain. Uncertain or uncomfortable with even a moment's silence or inactivity, I run, run, run to occupy myself, to fill the silence with noise and the inactivity with busyness. The fact that I am surprised when I do not rest is nearly the apex of my foolishness. Nearly. But the pinnacle is this: I am surprised to be fruitless and withering when I choose to do something other than remaining in the vine.

Feeling it is a blessing. I must know my branchness, be aware of my dependency, hurt because of my need. Realizing this, even if only for a quick moment of gracious clarity, moves me toward prayer of a dangerous sort: "Lord, may I be a continual failure apart from Christ. May I know nothing but frustration and powerlessness when I do not simply let myself abide in Him. May my resources never be enough; may my pride be put continually to death."

I am critical to my response to the restlessness of longing, not to the restlessness itself. It is good. The restlessness is what calls me toward rest; the longing is what tells me I was created for more. They are the beckonings of God.

And His exhortation, somehow, is to remain: "Remain a clean man, for I have made you clean. Remain a loved man, for I have loved you and am loving you still. Remain, and know life fed from Me into you. Remain, and see wondrous fruit borne in you, that you may enjoy and nourish others. Remain as close to me as you can ever be, where I Myself have placed you— we shall abide in one another and I shall be your life. Stay here, with Me. Remain."

Remain...
  • Current Mood
    loved loved
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Sunny Saturday

Think I prefer the workflow of this past week better than the norm— shifting bulletin finishing from Friday to Thursday made me feel as if I had more time in the week; last minute details seemed less cramped. Gave me time for quality conversation as well, something I'd been missing a great deal.

In an effort to feel like less of a delinquent friend, caught up a bit on my overfull e-mail inbox yesterday evening. Two e-mails to old Houston friends, two to Maryland, two to Michigan...symmetry is particularly elegant when unexpected. Paid some bills, too. Connor and Sara invited me to a late Denny's run, just after I had changed into the Plaid Flannel Pants of Ultimate Comfort. Decided to change back and take the plunge anyway— who can resist the allure of Moons Over My Hammy®? I confess, I did, instead ordering the French Slam as the "Freedom Slam" and thus demonstrating my commitment to ridicule in all things.

One of my late night/early morning wake-ups brought the fragments of a poem, but I haven't yet been able to do much with them with my conscious mind. Thinking I should push myself a bit more in this area if I am to grow.

Facing the sun without sunglasses is uncomfortable, somewhat painful. Will need to fix this soon.

Want more answers to this question to consider. It's important.
  • Current Mood
    relaxed relaxed
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Bookkeeping

The problem's simple, really:
Take inventory of wounds.
Tally them up.
Deduct liberal estimates
for time, forgiveness, and healing.

Compare this total
with the lingering ache
somewhere behind the sternum.

If there is a balance outstanding,
check your work.
Perhaps there are accounts
you've overlooked;
interest compounded in forgotten corners.

And please,
don't be surprised
if you can't reconcile—

The hardest part
of doing the math
is when something
comes up
missing.