My hope is to offer encouragement to writers as well as those who simply love to read. You will find eclectic snippets here—news of projects I’m working on, comments regarding books I enjoy, favorite authors, quotes, and reflections regarding my own experiences. I especially like to write about my dreams—those parables in the night seasons. Symbols and metaphors delight and intrigue me. You will find them here.
I feel exhausted. It takes energy to be intentional, to carry on, to maintain the basics. Please, though, let me not despise the manna.~Journal entry during the COVID-19 Pandemic
My coffee cup sits on the table by my reading chair. I note the lipstick mark that encircles the white rim. Why do I bother with lipstick when I'm at home? Yet I cling to that tube of ginger spice that I bought at the Dollar General a few days before the shelter in place mandates took effect. Little did I know then when I browsed the aisles of the store for lipstick and cheap sunglasses, that day would mark an ending to life as I knew it. Maybe that's why I smooth ginger spice over my lips in the morning, the gesture like a ritual, the bright color like a badge of assurance that all will be well.
But then the news.
Giovanni's mother, Emma, tested positive for COVID-19.
...what we wish for most, even more than paradise, is to be recognized.~Hisham Matar (From A Month in Siena)
How could this be happening? I watched as hundreds of caskets were covered with dirt, the unclaimed bodies of the dead in New York buried at a mass gravesite. The announcer on BBC World News America said something like, "One of the most well-loved cities in the world, in the richest country in the world has resorted to mass graves during the COVID-19 pandemic." The darkness of the reality matched my feelings of despair on Good Friday, of all days. I couldn't quite believe that so many people had died, not only in the United States, but all over the world.
I have questions. I ask God, "What good can come of this?" While my faith quivers in light of this world trauma, I still believe that God can work things out for good. Like He did after Good Friday. The cross was a way that He saw us, saw that we needed a savior. But when that good man, that good shepherd died, it was hard to believe that anything positive could come of it. And then Easter. The day life came back. The miracle that gives us hope now.
Perhaps it is there in His gracious rhythm and merciful pace that I find my answers.~Journal entry during COVID-19
Even amidst the stay-at-home order, I've struggled with exhaustion. Mentally mostly. I've felt pressure to continue to be productive and create routines inside my sequestered environment. Yet often, I've merely wanted to collapse on my bed and lament, "This 'new normal' is overwhelming and I have no beacon for the struggle."
One of the coping tools I've used in my daily routine is to listen to several podcasts throughout the day. One of my favorite resources is Brilliant TV where I listen to Graham Cooke and Allison Bown. There is a format where listeners can make comments. On one of the podcasts, I became attracted to a phrase that Mr. Cooke used, "the weight of His mercy." I was especially attracted to this expression, because I have felt "weighted" during the pandemic--not by mercy, but rather by depression and dread, anxiety and lethargy.
I ventured to write a comment stating how much I identified with the phrase, and this is how Allison Bown responded...
The butterfly effect is an idea that is more commonly used in chaos theory. It shows that a small change can make much bigger changes happen; that one small incident can have a big impact in the future. The idea started from weather prediction.~From Simple English Wikipedia
Today I pulled out the box where I store the love letters Giovanni has sent me over the last twenty-two years. Things started so quietly, like the whisper of butterfly wings. I penned a letter in the days before email was the norm, and social media hadn't yet evolved. I slipped the letter in the mailbox, heard the swish of the envelope dropping down into the box with all the hundreds of other pieces of mail. No plan on ever hearing back. No expectation. An exercise in purging old feelings. Nostalgia released.
Then by some tsunami of chance, there was a reply echoing across the ocean. "I am here."
God remembered us when we were down...rescued us from the trampling boot.~Psalm 136:3 (The Message)
The flawless spring day lured me outside. No one about, so I could honor social distancing. How could a day be so glorious in such dark times? If only I could drink a cup of that sunlight.
Then they appeared. Had I been so lost in thought I'd not noticed the pair? The girl trailed miles of finely plaited hair down her back, bright purple, red and golden beads threaded through the braids. When she smiled at me from across the road, perfect white teeth seemed to be synonymous with the sunlit day. A blond puppy danced at her feet. The young woman and I both stopped and turned toward each other, like we needed to. She laughed when the puppy bounded toward me, not scolding her. I could see the pink inside its ears, like the subtle color of a seashell. I wanted to pet the dog's round belly, but didn't, not risking that my touch could somehow hurt this striking individual. Then the puppy ran back to its owner. "Her name's Pearl," she shouted. "Pearl helps me not be so afraid." The girl and I lingered a moment, making eye contact, Pearl now sat panting. I could see the sharp puppy teeth, and I noted her gentle eyes.