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Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Fear Issues

For the past several weeks, I have been helping my friend and pastor, Jeff, around the church office. The church is currently between administrators, and while the search continues, I am temping: authoring the bulletin, checking email, and occasionally answering the phone.

Tuesday is Tidy-the-Sanctuary Day. This morning I was alone in the building, when out of the periphery I saw a strange man walk past the front windows towards the front door.

Immediately, the following thoughts went through my brain: he is going to break in; rape and murder me with a blunt knife; my kids are going to be motherless; my husband is going to be wifeless; good thing the life insurance is up-to-date.

I dove behind a silk palm tree to hide.

I am somewhat familiar with hiding from strangers at the door. It’s what you might call my default response. Whenever one of those twenty-something guys from the Lower 48 inner city comes by to sell magazines, or when those nicely suited men from the Seventh Day Adventists come by with colorful leaflets, some visceral reaction instructs me to shush the children, hide ourselves, and let Seamus bark like hell. We’re not here. We’re not here. No one’s home. Go away. Safety first, afterall! You never know might be behind that door.

Now, when I’m alone at church, which is often, the doors are locked. So, though the stranger tried the door, it didn’t open. But where the morning sun was streaming through the front windows, I could see the man’s shadow as he paced back and forth in front of the building. Obviously, he was casing the joint. Or sociopathically high on meth. Since the church was locked, I worried he might settle for stealing my mud-streaked Kia minivan parked just outside the front doors.

Please God, make that man lose interest and go away. Like to the church across the parking lot, next door. Let them handle him.

There, trembling behind the potted palm, I deeply regretted that my cell phone was two floors away. I deeply regretted that my keys were just inside the front door, in plain view of the pacing stranger.

For awhile the pacing stopped. I peered around the corner to see if my car was still there. It was. But so was the man. Back behind the silk tree as the pacing began again.

After awhile, the shadow-pacing stopped again. Several more breathless minutes passed. Just about the time I thought I was in the clear,I suddenly heard someone try to get in the building from the rear door behind the sanctuary.

I considered my options. Run for the front door and my keys, dive into my car and drive to the nearest police station, leaving my purse upstairs in the third floor offices. Make a mad dash through the lobby to the downstairs phone and call 911. Find some way to get upstairs to my purse and the phones, and also be able to clearly spy the front of the building.

I opted for the latter, but felt I would be safest crawling on hands and knees around the periphery of the santuary, hidden by pew chairs, and head for the back stairway, avoiding the large front windows and prying eyes from outside. I am stealthy; I am low to the ground. In this jungle of blue-gray tweed chairs, I am invisible.

I crawled my way to the back stairs, then bounded up two flights to the third floor. I looked around: out windows, inside classrooms, under chairs. The stranger seemed to be gone.

This accomplished, and feeling I had outwitted some malevolent force of depraved humanity, I found my cell phone in case I was cornered again, and headed back downstairs to bravely continue doing my job of straightening chairs and gathering attendance registers.

About that time, my cell phone rang. It was Jeff. Jeff was supposed to be out for the day. Why was he calling my cell phone?

“Uh, Linda. I just wanted to let you know that the church handyman is outside the building trying to get in to fix a broken doorjamb. He’s a really nice guy. A pastor, actually. He does repairs on the side. Sorry I forgot to tell you.”


Malevolent force of depraved humanity. Not.

At least I know I haven’t yet lost the ability to crawl on my stomach. You never know when it might come in handy.

Ice Axe

I don't write much these days. Poor practice for someone who once fancied herself a writer.

I have, however, been reading a lot.

Yesterday, while reading Eugene Peterson's "Eat This Book," I came across this fabulous quote by Franz Kafka: "If the book we are reading does not wake us, as with a fist hammering on our skull, why then do we read it?... A book must be like an ice-axe to break the frozen sea within us."

If I cannot be an ice-axe, why bother writing? Why, indeed? I am surrounded by ice, made of it, but seem quite unable to find a sharp implement with which to break its surface.

The wisest man who ever lived, King Solomon, said: “There’s no end to the publishing of books, and constant study wears you out so you’re no good for anything else.”

Well, that isn’t very encouraging.

So, what then, is the wise King Solomon’s advice? What is his final conclusion about the meaning of life? It is simply this: Fear God. Do what he tells you.

And so, what does God tell me? There are a lot of things I think he is telling me. However, there is little I know. In this way, I am a fool.

And so, I walk, blind and foolish. Listening. I want to do what he tells me.

Monday, February 25, 2008

A Few New Pictures

I haven't posted any photos for a long, long while. The following series were primarily taken during the past week with yet ANOTHER new camera, during a visit to friend Dave's cabin on Brocker Lake:

Ellie posing stylishly. She will be six in May. To her mother's delight, her reading abilities are improving steadily.

Ah, not at Brocker Lake, but posing in front of our new/old piano, is Evan the Maestro. His fourth birthday is March 5th. Haven't started party-planning yet. He is my baby, so I'm delaying the inevitable. However, I frequently happy-dance over his being fully, completely, irrevocably, potty-trained. Isn't he cute?

Our oldest, Jack, will be ten in late June. He is a remarkable human being. Not sure how my and Bruce's DNA could produce such as he.

The ethereally beautiful and unconventionally brilliant Sabrina, designer of fairies and writer of dreams. Everytime I look at her, I catch my breath. God himself calls her "my delight."

Bruce's sister, Liz (age undisclosed), and her boys Brendan (11) and Patrick (6) visited in mid-February during their mid-winter break. They were with us at Brocker Lake.

My first snowmachine ride. I clung feverishly to Bruce during our modest 20 mph ride. Any excuse to squeeze my beloved.....

Blessings to you and yours.
(Go to www.cabelasiditarod.com to follow the 2008 Iditarod - The Last Great Race - being run again this year by the AMAZING author Gary Paulsen, not mention many others, including one of Bruce's coworkers.)

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Strange Times

So, something weird is happening. I've gotten very little "proper" reading done this week because I've been so busy obsessing over my new "boyfriend", Barack Obama.

I am the most politically apathetic person I have ever met. I'm probably the most politcally apatethic person YOU'VE ever met, too. But for the last several days, I've been watching speeches, donating money, ordering lapel pins, cutting and pasting pro-Obama HTML code, checking numbers of "won" delegates between the leading Democratic nominees, poring over the newpaper.....
Whew. It's exhausting.

Everytime I think about how this man is causing people who were NEVER before interested in politics to become interested; everytime I hear about people crossing party lines to support Obama; everytime I watch some new music video online dedicated to Obama, I have to dab tears from my eyes.

For me to get interested and involved, this means something is different.

I live in a state where, until a couple days ago, Mitt Romney was king (until he pulled out). It's a weird place to live being a fundamental Christian and an Obama supporter.

TRULY GREAT men and women rarely make it to the public forum. Worldwide, it happens maybe a few times in a generation. And often, the public doesn't realize it until after-the-fact. Many of the passionate, others-oriented people who might make a profound difference in the world, avoid the spotlight, and even more so, avoid playing games.

Barack Obama is a light in the darkness.

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