…they were confused

Today, which is the feast of Pentecost, the first reading from Acts contains the line “…they were confused because each one heard them speaking in his own language.” I helped with music at mass last night, and again this morning, so I’ve had a lot of time to reflect on the readings, and only being confused.

At both masses, we were first asked “How many of you believe in the power of the Holy Spirit?” and then challenged to let the Spirit speak to us in the readings, and move us to speak during the homily time. It made for very interesting and varied reflections at the masses I attended.

Sometimes I am confused — I don’t expect God through the movement of the Holy Spirit to speak to me in my own tongue. I mean, really reach out to me right where I am. It’s almost confusing to try to grasp the fact that the Spirit comes to us right where we are — not when we accomplish something to make us worthy, or maybe only when we decide that we will go to a place and then be open. The Spirit is here and now. The Spirit is in the marvelous and the mundane. The Spirit is the power to that moves us to action, calls us to change and makes it possible to live fully.

I am so thankful that while the Spirit can “confuse” me by Her marvelous actions, She is also the power and presence that makes it possible for me to embrace the confusion and know that I am called, chosen and sent to make God’s love real in the world today.

Alleluia!

Friday Sunshine

Maybe Friday Sonshine?

Not so deep, but I am so glad to see the sun today… and to hear that we are expected to have sun and clear skies through the weekend. My ark was over half finished.

Gratitude sometimes requires reflection. And being grateful for the rain that we have had of late offered the opportunity to reflect and be grateful. We are no longer in a drought. Drought seems far away now as I wade through puddles and dodge raindrops.

So today I hum to myself a tune from my youth, with words from Ecclesiates: To every thing, there is a season… turn, turn, turn.

Framing

This weekend I’m answering a call that shouts out from deep inside me to create — more specifically, to work on something I can touch and feel and turn over and hold. Not something on a computer. And so, I’m “scrapping.” Rather, I’ve taken an empty scrapbook/photo album that has been languishing in the guest room and I’m filling it with my “photographs sans people.”

I frequently photograph flowers, trees, landscapes, squirrels, ducks and the dogs. I have images of ginger flowers and a great shot of a duck in Hawaii from the 1970’s (scanned from Kodachrome slides no less); I have plants I can name, and ones I can’t. I have a duck from Hawaii and a seagull from Montauk, NY. I have dogwood and azalea blossoms and crepe myrtle from summer and winter. There are pictures of daylilies from Alabama to Maine, and columbines where the seeds were brought from Maine and planted here in Alabama (beautiful flowers).

It started simple — put the pictures in a book and make a note about what, where and why – or something about what what going on at the time. But, it didn’t last that way. The impression is so much better if you frame the shot. You know — maybe a bit of cropping, or a bit of color around the edge. Follow that with something other than just centering the photo on the page. Group things that go together. Frame it!

Frame it. Not everything can be the most important all the time, all at the same time. Frame it so that there is a focus to the shot. Frame it to free up the observer to get the point. Pick up the proper colors. Use the best mat color and size. Frame it to make my point. And in the process, I begin to understand it all better myself. And I make it solid so I can go back and remember what I thought I learned.

In reading back over what I wrote above, it strikes me that in many ways Jesus is the image of God’s love… framed within the Gospel stories, framed in the shape of a human being, framed by the effect He had and continues to have on people. God’s Love made solid. Something we can touch and feel and at times hold.

[Note/Update: After posting this, I found that a friend had posted following link on Facebook: The Case for Working With Your Hands. Is there something in the air? I tell you, there are no coincidences. Or, maybe I’m just focussed on the same thing as Claire.]

What you say and read

Advertising is targeted — it’s really obvious if you pay any attention at all to the ads that show up in the sidebar of a google account or a Facebook page or have every bought anything from Amazon and get on their mailing lists. Some of our other utilities try to figure out what we will like – It seems that Tivo will try to figure out by the shows you record what it thinks you might like to watch and can record things for you. It seems that programs — just like people — can draw some very odd conclusions.

There’s a story about a guy who had a Tivo that thought he was gay. When he tried to make it change its mind, by recording lots of war movies (“guy stuff”) it decided he was a crazy who wanted to see everything about Nazi bigwigs. I have ordered books from Amazon so I get email because they want to sell me everything Mary Daley and Sue Monk Kidd have every written… and watches, fancy lotions and camera equipment. Facebook sure seems to think I want desparately to lose weight and get rid wrinkles while studying photography. And just this morning, as I read my email from The Daily Gospel I found ads for The American Monk (Accelerate your spiritual growth…), Speaking in tongues today, Dr. Oz’s Real Age Test (???) and the Gnostic Bookstore. But, the ones that intrigued me the most were the learn more about the Easter Bunny and Kindergarten Sightwords.

Kind of scary, huh? I find it to be a warning to me. As one human in a community of humans, I hope that I do better at seeing the whole, real person underneath these external expressions. But, I probably don’t. We all make two mistakes — we observe through the particular focus of our own eyes, and we so often see only the things that we are keyed in to see (keyword searching, anyone?). It might be all I CAN do — so just be aware: I’m only slightly better at judging you than Google Adsense… and therefore I shall attempt to leave that judgement to God.

Self Portrait

I was reading Susan’s post this morning ( Portrait of Ourselves ) — I don’t think I have ever been so self-assured. My mistakes or missteps are more often because of being so uncertain that my view of the world is right or has any value. That may have saved me from some missteps – but it certainly has caused many others.

I am only getting to the point of “I will no longer serve that which I no longer believe in…” only in my 6th decade. Only now am I beginning to be brave enough to figure out what I no longer believe in. There are things that I have never believed in, true. But, there are some things that I have to look in the mirror and say “Honey – give it up. You just don’t believe that. Not now.” And that is rather scary to me.

I discover these things about myself often through reading – through characters I find in novels. The authors that put those stories into words do affect me by letting the characters speak and act.

Thanks Susan for the reflection — and for the focus it helps to bring to my own discovery process.

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