Trajectory

Trajectory
 
 
Persistent ripples
scribe the surface of Bagley lake
evidence
that life breathes,
expectant,
beneath the season's fleeting veil.
 
Painstaking intent
flows along ages-old trajectory.
The Foundation of the world stretches ancient fingers
toward the fullness of time.*
Beginning to the end;
the end itself—endless.
 
Float, if you must
beneath this moment's sky
her sun not wasted.
Nor is winter's gloom,
though we tend to hasten time.
Who knows where our Spirit God hovers?**
 
jfig    9/2020
*Ephesians 1:4-10; **Genesis 1:2

Ephe. 1:3,4 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him.

In August, my Covid19 hiking buddy and I made it to the Mt. Baker Wilderness Area to circumnavigate the string called Bagley Lakes. Though not the most acclaimed hike in the area, its raw beauty still spoke volumes. Questions surfaced, just as they have in the past: are these really lakes, or just snowmelt puddles; and what is the difference? You can see right to the bottom – old logs and a dearth of fish. So what is the point, if you see the air for two of twelve months, with no trout nor tadpoles, and the rest of the time are covered up as if you didn’t exist by layers of ice and snow? Two things refuted my skepticism: Even though the water was crystal clear, the ripples were determined, not just from the wind, but from underneath. In its abbreviated season, the free-running water was determinedly going somewhere. And (2) in retrospect, we felt ourselves a part of the scenery, not merely observers. We could see where our footsteps had traced just 30 minutes prior; right there exactly. We were part of this day’s wilderness story, in a way that my companion visibly understood.

The reminder that any season, whether brief, seemingly benign, or harsh to the point of devastating, can still be part of God’s purposeful trajectory is hugely comforting to me. We don’t get to measure the seasons; they seem to take measure of us. But we can look across the valley to see where we have been; experience some surprise to see others who trudge there now. We can revisit the pages of story: how God’s triune company and unwavering intent have transformed us en route. I hope the thought that your story is not outside God’s trajectory, is comforting to you as well. Sincerely, jfig

Learning to listen: She Only Said It Once

She Only Said It Once

Her ‘voice’ barely registered

skimming along the fibers of my optic nerve.

Nevertheless

she spoke.

A concise, comprehensive gesture—

it’s in there.

 

In my haste

to keep us moving toward task completion

(that trajectory of necessary stuff

like getting to work, being prepared)

In my haste

I assumed

she ‘spoke’ of something else,

missed my question.

 

Thank God, I did not scold

just kept parroting my question.

But she only answered once.

 

Twenty minutes later…

when I stopped looking everywhere else,

and listened to her,

she forgave me;

but that is her story.

jfig   7/2020

 

My daughter Brie, is 22 years old. Clinically speaking, she is nonverbal, as well as discernibly developmentally delayed. In practice, however, she is at times profoundly articulate. This was one of those times.

Brie works two days per week at a farm supply store.  Stellar job coaches, engaged co-workers and graciously committed administration support her efforts. It is almost magical. Brie enthusiastically wears a vest that identifies her as part of the store family and the legacy that goes with it. She excels at go-backs, and job-site morale. Work was item #4 on the day’s list.  We couldn’t find her vest.

As we prepared (in advance, I might say) for her work shift plus line-items 5 and 6, I said, “Brie, it would help if you found your vest for work. It is almost time to get in the car.” We  finished putting on shoes and I left to load up activities 5 and 6. When I came back, she sat in the same spot, closing the zippers on her overnight bag ( she likes fasteners). No sign of the vest. It is not in its place in the closet. Not to worry, I think I have seen itWhere did I see it last? Vest or no vest, it is time to get in the car. As Brie buckles in, I ask her, “Where, ” and she makes one clean gesture toward her bag. Meanwhile I am looking: Perhaps it is in the horse bag, or still in the car from Monday…This may seem inane disorganization to you, but we take really good care of that vest. I could not find it in any of the places I had ‘last seen it.’

” I know you are excited about your overnight bag (item #6), but right now we need to find your vest…” By this time Brie and the bag were in the car, and I was still talking to the air about finding the vest – for twenty minutes.  Finally, we had to leave, so I grabbed the back-up vest, lacking her radio headphone safely stowed in the pocket; when it dawned on me that Brie had answered my question. Once. And I had failed to listen. I  underestimated her listening and her capability and the completeness of her response – repeatedly.

Woe to me, when I am too busy multitasking to listen to a quiet, less frantic, vulnerable voice. Whoa to me when I am too busy getting the job done, to regard and listen to another who is participating in that work.

 In practice, Brie is sometimes profoundly articulate: some of my friends would say, Jenny, you are being too hard on yourself. She couldn’t say it out loud, and that would have eliminated the disconnect. (It has been a twenty-two year decoding journey.) But that would miss the point. She can’t answer me in words. Or in sign language. Or with a voice box. She can’t answer me in the kind of voice that I am most used to hearing. She answered me with a gesture, with the means at her disposal, and I failed to listen.  If I listen, with understanding, only to those who speak in ways familiar or readily comprehensible to me…perhaps I need to change my pattern of listening.

Some further thoughts: I probably understand Brie in real time,  better than anyone else on the planet (except perhaps my husband.) If we are invested and willing, yet still falling short; how narrow is her window for being understood?

How reflective is this incident of my finesse in listening to others who speak in a form to which I do not gravitate, of matters less readily understood? I am not comfortable with loud, angry voices. I am not attuned to all forms of oppression. I can tell you I do not like assumptions being made based on the color of my skin. In Brie’s case, as a parent, it is my job to ask Brie to be respectful and appropriate. To work on maturing. But it is my job, my choice, my privilege, to listen. Am I willing to miss critical information because I cannot fully appreciate the way it is delivered? Or will I choose to learn something new, in order to understand, to facilitate someone else’s better today?

Am I in charge? Not really… How willing am I to listen to others’ good ideas about effective solutions?

In spite of all we thought we learned from the early months of Covid 19 about caring for one another, and what I thought I knew about prejudice; I am invited anew in 2020, to pause in my frantic hurry to where I am going, and listen to those whose stories are different, whose needs are different, whose dreams may be different, but at the core, sound strangely familiar. To choose to listen, for the nuances behind the content and method without assuming that those voices sound strange to my ear because they are somehow less capable or accurate. To first lose the oppressions in how I listen, in order to lose the oppressions in living.

jfig     lessons of 2020

Grace in 12s: a reflection on pain

Wiggle Room

When pain is raw

out there pulsing on the floor

like a live thing—

wiggle room is scarce.

 

When pain thunders deep and wide

echoes reverberate

beneath one’s breastbone,

the fortitude to engage grace—

give and receive

is spare.

 

When suffering is long…

we don’t really know how long,

do we?

unless one asks, or has been there

trudging alongside

seasons of the journey.

 

Mud and muck cling to one’s shoes

and laughter bursts

at hidden ridiculousness.

Oh, God, let us

keep sharing laughter

in journeys long and deep.

 

When pain is raw

the wiggle room to extend honor

grace-filled speech and action,

is narrow – barely squeezing by

CAUTIOUSLY: so I don’t tear open wounds

that might just begin to heal.

 

My power to heal

to effect and sustain change

is only so great as the source from which I draw it.

Come to the well, dear sister.

Come to the well.

I am talking to me.

 

jfig     6/2020

RW pic grace & fire

After a career-long of assessing and addressing pain, it remains apparent to me, that each person’s pain, is enough. That our service is not so much to avoid or get rid of it, but to hold it with and for one another, in order to strengthen what remains. To carry it for seasons, in often less than capable hands, through the grey dusk of mourning,  while we wait together for healing to come.

It is not hidden in scripture, that God commissions his followers to heal. I love the passage in Luke 10:1-11, regarding this commission:

After this the Lord appointed seventy-two others and sent them on ahead of him, two by two, into every town and place where he himself was about to go. Luke 10:1(ESV)

Whenever you enter a town and they receive you, eat what is set before you. Heal the sick in it and say to them, ‘The kingdom of God has come near to you.’ But whenever you enter a town and they do not receive you, go into its streets and say, ‘Even the dust of your town that clings to our feet we wipe off against you. Nevertheless know this, that the kingdom of God has come near.’  Luke 10:8-11(ESV)

I love that we are sent – invited to go – where Jesus himself is about to attend. I love that we are invited to bring Jesus close to the hurting. I’m reassured that we are given permission to leave when we are not wanted. That we are not meant to carry away with us, the weighty dust of, ‘You are not welcome here.’ That we are meant to leave with the attitude of our message intact: Nevertheless, the kingdom of God has come near.” Jesus also reminds his followers, (vs. 20) that the thing to be celebrated, is not the ‘works’ they have done, the authority they have wielded over demons. The thing to be celebrated is that they are among the company of those who have received grace unto salvation. The thing to be celebrated is grace. So far as I can tell, none among any of us is given the authority to say who receives grace unto salvation. None.

“Nevertheless, do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.” Luke 10:20 (ESV)

Raw pain demands our attention. We look at our smallish hands, stunned…how can we, as individuals, as a society, hold this much pain?  “Nevertheless, know this, that the kingdom of God has come near.”  Oh, that I might be a bearer of the kingdom… with smallish hands.

The story in Luke 8, where Jesus, in the middle of a crowd, is called to the bedside of a dying girl, speaks. The child is ‘about 12 years old.’ Jesus is detained in responding. He chooses to be detained, to engage a woman who grasps his robe, pleading for help. She has been bleeding for 12 years. As long as the young girl has been alive. Each person’s pain is enough. Jesus attends to all: to the girl and to the woman; to the father oppressed by fear. He draws each of them up with kindness. He also has choice words for the ‘advocates’ in both situations. Please see Luke 8:40-56

“Luke 8:1 (NLT) – Soon afterward Jesus began a.” Blue Letter Bible. Web. 11 Jun, 2020. <https://www.blueletterbible.org/nlt/luk/8/1/p1/s_981001&gt;.

Jesus, may I be one who bears the news of your healing presence, as you draw near to those who are hurting. May I quiet myself enough to realize where you are about to make yourself known; what town you would have me visit. Open my eyes, not just to the pain of the one who is dying a distance far-off, but also to one who is bleeding out along my path. Help me choose to carry kindness, the comfort of your impending presence. Give me caution to not fan the flames of false heroics, nor torch anyone with my words, or actions,  but to look for the fire of Your Spirit in the night sky, and follow where you lead. Follow you toward hope and healing, toward freedom and abundant life. Gird me with patience to hold the pain of others, its hot unwieldy expressions; that together we might see the healing dawn of your powerful grace; watch you resurrect life from the ashes of our self-absorption and hatred, our disdain for others, and woefully, for You. We need you, Lord Jesus. We need you, Father God. We need you, Holy Spirit. Bring your healing love that honors and resurrects life in the tiniest of increments. Come Lord Jesus. Amen

“Luke 10:1 (ESV) – After this the Lord appointed.” Blue Letter Bible. Web. 11 Jun, 2020. <https://www.blueletterbible.org/esv/luk/10/1/p1/s_983001&gt;.
“Scripture quotations marked ESV are from the Holy Bible, English Standard Version, copyright © 2001, 2007, 2011, 2016 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.”

Photo: Corinthians 1:8-11

 

30 Days in Gennesaret: Day 29 Ship’s Log II/Stranded

“After they had crossed the lake, they landed at Gennesaret. They brought the boat to shore and climbed out. The people recognized Jesus at once, and they ran throughout the whole area, carrying sick people on mats to wherever they heard he was. Wherever he went—in villages, cities, or the countryside—they brought the sick out to the marketplaces. They begged him to let the sick touch at least the fringe of his robe, and all who touched him were healed.” Mark 6:53-56 NLT *

Ship’s Log II

Left Gennesaret at dawn.

Too many stories to tell.

We just drifted past a lad

walking on water.

Was that the six-year-old?

I am sure it was he.

 

Stranded

Shattered

got here too late—

accustomed to my sanctuary of pain.

Jesus and his disciples have left

the shore – boat outline

receding in the distance

 

“He gives power to the faint,

and to him who has no might

he increases strength.”

 

There is a question

dropped like a pebble on the sand,

“Who do you say that I am?”

jfig     4/2020

 

**Isaiah 40:29

***Matthew 16:15

Recently, a young man asked me, “You have been a believer in Jesus for a long time. What ‘advice’ would you give to a younger follower like me?”

In your lifetime, Jesus will many times ask you this question, “Who do you say that I am?” This is an invitation…

Be honest with yourself, and with Jesus, when you answer. Life-changing conversation will follow.   jfig

Mark 6:53-56 Scripture quotations marked (NLT) are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2007. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.
** ***Scripture quotations are from the Holy Bible, English Standard Version, copyright © 2001, 2007, 2011, 2016 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

You can access scripture passages here: https://www.blueletterbible.org/ This is a terrific site from which to access multiple translations, commentaries and concordance info.

Dear Reading Friends: Thank you. It has been so meaningful to have your company on this 30 day journey. One more day… Thank you for reading, for commenting, for pondering and following along. Over the next 30 days, I plan to stop in and see what you are up to. In all things heavenward, Godspeed. jfig

 

30 Days in Gennesaret: Day 26 Resonate

And when they got out of the boat, the people immediately recognized him
and ran about the whole region and began to bring the sick people on their beds to wherever they heard he was. Mark 6:54b-55 (ESV)

accident action danger emergency
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Resonate

Today I cried in my car

the radio said

15% of $ raised will pass

person to person,

buckets of silver encouragement

handed down the line

to be poured on the fire of sickness and death.

I could almost hear a spiritual singing out of the slavery

gifts no longer earthbound.

I cried because I know the person at the head of the line

fighting the fire

giving his all

 

Yesterday I cried in my throat

the county food bank picking up slack

of 5 ‘shutdown’ small banks

expanded mobile delivery

no child goes hungry…here

I cried because the effort

blew off the edge of the spreadsheet

shot heavenward

in a silver streak of visioned compassion

 

Last week I cried in my chest

foster parent added one more small wiggly body

to nurture like a fragile sprout

tho will take a while to grow

leaving question marks

what does it cost…

I cried because

I have raised a child – clumsy as it was

it takes more than one has in storage

 

I cried in a puddle in Gennesaret

because the people ran

ran the butcher and the potter

ran the farmer and his daughter

not just for their own

but for all the ones Jesus would own

by the bursting of his heart.

I cried because his heart

burst the confines of sickness

no death here

precursor to the grave

which could not hold him bound

 

Was it respect

with which Christ folded the grave-cloths

dismantling death’s power

but not the grace of having suffered?

Our all is earthbound

but when brought to Jesus – Gennesaret-like

human by human

penny at a time

minute offerings take flight

those ones that feel the coined weight, share the suffering

those ones marked all soar heavenward

toward eternity.

 

jfig     4/2020

 

photo of kid playing with kinetic sand while watching through imac
Photo by Julia M Cameron on Pexels.com

The title, I know…?
Today, listening to stories on the radio, of ways in which people are stepping up to HELP midst Stay Home Save Lives efforts, I just started crying. People are trying so hard both to cope and to care. Giving everything they’ve got to teach at or from home,  to serve frontline or across the lot line, wrestling with questions of safety.
This crying is not new. When our children were younger than they are now, they participated in the Jr Ski to Sea Race, a multi-challenge relay in Bellingham, WA. Every year I watched kids from all over Whatcom county, with varying levels of physical agility to apply, put great heart into this fun, crazy race, I would be moved to silly tears by their all-out effort, their enthusiasm. The same thing happens when I watch a cross-country meet.(I know – some people cry at the movies, I cry at the moving…)
During this reflection series, I have studied different words in the Mark 6:53-56 passage, comparing translations. Often the nouns and verbs change slightly, but this one word ran stayed consistent across multiple translations and then in meaning for more, with the use of the word hurry. When the townspeople recognized Jesus, they went all out, to get their hurting friends and neighbors to Jesus. Perhaps that is why this passage intrigues me so. Jesus gave his all on the cross. He also gives his all here, in Gennesaret, healing each one… The townspeople gave their all, running to bring the sick from among them, running until they had brought them all. Should we let this move us?
On all these occasions, perhaps what moves me to tears, is this giving of one’s heart in compassion toward a person or toward life itself. Jesus said, “I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.” John 10:10b
Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and thieves break in  and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. Mark 6: 19-21. Perhaps what catches our hearts in our throats when we see the goodness of others giving their all, is the image of Jesus, captured in that moment, in Gennesaret and in the here and now. “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
What have you seen Jesus do, or others do with his heart of compassion, that moves you?
Scripture quotations are from the Holy Bible, English Standard Version, copyright © 2001, 2007, 2011, 2016 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.”

30 Days in Gennesaret: Mixed Metaphors Day 23

RW pic compassion celebration
Compassion Celebration: gleanings

Mixed Metaphors

Isaiah 61 has a plethora of mixed metaphors

sprouts, bridegroom, priests

everyone gets new clothes

as many as touched him

Gennesaret met with

extravagant benevolence

Jesus disembarks

strews healing around

prayers like confetti:

Praise and honor

glory and power*

unfurl the banner

market spice

not just anyone

can unleash such compassion

celebrate

we have a Jesus

who heals

jfig     4/2020

RW pic seahorse fern

 

Healer Jesus, we recognize that there is nothing indiscriminate in your extravagance, but that you invite all—all of us anywhere to receive from the storehouses of your grace and mercy; and in the marketplaces of Gennesaret, your healing. We acknowledge that you came to be about your Father’s business—that business of healing the scourges of sin, raising the dead, and giving LIFE in abundance. Restoring the beauty which you created. We are blessed to call upon your name in hope and longing for your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Help us to do our part; reach up the shallow distance to your threads, come to the table and bring others with us. Today we are flying your flag and singing your praise. Amen

 

You can read the full text of Isaiah 61 here: “Isaiah 61:1 (NIV) – The Spirit of the Sovereign.” Blue Letter Bible. Web. 26 Apr, 2020. <https://www.blueletterbible.org/niv/isa/61/1/s_740001&gt;.

*You can read the full text of Rev 5:13 here: “Revelation 5:13 (NIV) – Then I heard every creature.” Blue Letter Bible. Web. 26 Apr, 2020. <https://www.blueletterbible.org/niv/rev/5/13/s_1172013&gt;.

photo backstory: Compassion Celebration. Sa had recently returned from the Peace Corps, teaching physics in Africa. (in Portuguese!) Overstretched and overfull, she was willing to share all the goodness with cousin Bfig.

30 Days in Gennesaret: Imperatives Day 22

In writing this morning’s poem, I realized that I have come to hold some of it’s ‘observations’ as facts.; when , in fact, they are observations.  Aaah, the lovely thing about Jesus; He holds each story unique. May you feel the power of his reading of your story, and writing you into his own. J

Imperatives

I. we run toward healing

concept of ‘fix’ clutched tightly in hand

imploring

 

healing, the way things were before

before divorce, before cancer

before loss

 

before diagnosis of mental illness

if only we could heal ourselves

I should, I must

whooshing up the chimneys of one’s soul

cyclone-like

 

when the fire has burned itself out

hospice begs one consider another question

healing?

breathing better, or peacefully

allowing to breathe one’s last *

 

II. in Gennesaret,

healing comes

in meeting the Healer

face to face, masks cast aside

 

in ‘condescending’

to receive. Jesus could

heal a man (delicate subject)

while having breakfast over the ashes

 

if you are invited

say yes

one must let go of the clutchings

to take hold of the fringe

    jfig     4/2020

 

cooking pot near burning wood
Photo by @rrinna on Pexels.com

I reality, I have been ‘writing’ this poem for years, pondering the imperatives we bring to God when we ask for healing. The woman who was bleeding: what happened in the twelve long years leading up to the moment in which she finally reached out and touched Jesus’ robe, and He felt the power of faith go out? I recognize that thoughts of peaceful and breathing midst our current picture of Covid 19 seem mutually exclusive. If you are experiencing pain and personal loss as a result of Covid, I cannot begin to speak into your story in the moment. Only Jesus…

If you would like to explore further:

John 21:1-19; Luke 8:43-48

 

30 Days in Gennesaret: Looking for Lentils, Day 20

 

The poor, the old, the infirm were common to the marketplace in Jesus’ day. So were people who looked industrious – spinning, sculpting, bartering. And laborers arriving each day, looking for work. It is easy to overlook the pain another might be in, unless he/she chooses to tell us. Some shout it loudly but without clarity, for many to hear; others say nothing at all. While it is easy for us to make quick judgements, what was perhaps most unique in the presence of Jesus was that he knew, and still knows, the pain each of us is in, with or without our telling. I believe he invites this intimacy of story. On this day, however, the people invited Jesus to talk first, “Let us just touch your robe, simply that will make us well!”  Their humble, though ramped-up asking of permission, must have started many an interesting conversation. Jesus responded. I wonder if the villagers not only saw Jesus, but also their neighbors differently that day.

RWpic Jerusalem market
Jerusalem Market by Elizabeth Figgie

Looking for Lentils

Husband, we are out of lentils

I traipsed early this market day,

before the sun went steep.

 

The market wavered before my eyes

miraging people who usually

‘take up space.’

It was not the glaring sun, no, that gave them new dimension

but the shadow of Jesus. I am certain of this.

Lentils I have forgotten.

 

I thought to buy goat

Oy, that dry old butcher is so gruff (though his lamb the most tender)

He was not there, his carcasses left hanging.

His young wife Abishah is sick – they say

for more than a year. Six children…

He left town at a run…is what they say.

We will feast on goat another time.

 

Looking for iron…the tool for your plow.

The Skeptic’s in his usual corner…

Offers plenty of opinion, he does, with his high prices.

Well-smithed, his tools! But unfeeling is he…

Today,  he was joking

instead of kibitzing.

 

I went to market looking for news

well, gossip really

My friend sits with the potters;

gossip I got. She said

“I only sold two pots today…two pots!

Still, I’d take rampant joy over coins any day.”

Joy…perhaps she is lonely like me.

All those pot-makers… Who knew?

 

Jesus – how can he make things so different?

Melons and baubles dropped obsolete.

Olives an afterthought.

On display today—

patience, kindness, goodness.

 

That rascal Enosh carried Merari

all the way from far hill. They say

he found him, fallen in the ravine

on his way to barter grain.

Enosh usually has time for no one.

I wonder what changed…

 

And Rahab’s daughter, she is often out of town.

Aloof

She rarely comes to market…

at least not this one.

She waited here with the rest of us

quiet, no harm in that,

after we heard Jesus was on his way.

 

Blind Ezer’s parents – every market

they kneel and pray

At day’s end, I saw them walking

walking minus their usual basket of chicken and fruit

Ezer was not with them.

First time I have ever seen them standing tall…

 

And the children. Husband, the children

You know how they play in the giant sycamore?

Nothing… they were all hanging on Jesus today

dancing at his skirts.

“Jadon, Jadon, our friend Jadon. His leg is shrivelled…shriveled like a stick.

Touch him…touch him, Jadon!!! I bet you could run real quick…”

 

Enough stories, husband, I’m tired now

To market I will go, another day.

Kindness and goodness all around

I will look for lentils…

unless Jesus is in town.

jfig     4/2020

RW pic pain messages
art generously permitted by Elizabeth Figgie. http://www.elizabethfiggie.com

 

 “And when they had crossed over, they came to land at Gennesaret. And when the men of that place recognized him, they sent around to all that region and brought to him all who were sick and implored him that they might only touch the fringe of his garment. And as many as touched it were made well.”

? for reflection: How are your current circumstances changing the way you view others? Yourself?

? How might inviting the Healer Jesus into the picture, change your perspective?

“Matthew 14:34 (ESV) – And when they had crossed.” Blue Letter Bible. Web. 21 Apr, 2020. <https://www.blueletterbible.org/esv/mat/14/34/p1/s_943034&gt;.
Scripture quotations are from the Holy Bible, English Standard Version, copyright © 2001, 2007, 2011, 2016 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Art used by permission from ElizabethFiggie. http://www.elizabethfiggie.com

 

Message from the Woods

 

Little Miss Sweetness and I took to the woods. Some of us are occasionally creeping out to isolated places concerned that to not do so might bear worse consequences than our exposure to the elements. We brought back a message for any who need to hear it.

RW pic H
h is for ‘hello’

h is for hello: We are your woods, growing still because some wise individuals collaboratively discerned that you would need us. May you have wise individuals still. You are not here; we have noticed. That is okay. We are practicing being: being green, flashing our native color, and growing, after  winter’s semi-hibernation. And we are taking an arguably needed sabbath rest. We are all in this together…

Do not worry. You will return to the woods once more; the Douglas fir and hemlock will be waiting, sentinels for your return.

 

RW pic ll sand
love letters in the sand

love letters in the sand: the nematodes and copepods are dancing;

we will be so*excited!!!to see you~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

Today was just hard

In spite of having what we need of food and projects and space, I felt blue – that unsettling mix of thankful and sad. It was sad, to see cars in people’s yards with fresh ‘for sale’ signs. Demoralizing to see a SWAT team at the foodbank in a rural county. It feels heavy to hear of friends’ struggles to homeschool for the first time without the benefit of distance, the perspective that one’s children will survive. In reality, many of you have been teaching your children from day one. They will bloom because of and in spite of you. They will benefit from your efforts, but they will survive in large part because of God’s mercy, and his bold creative design that gave us curiosity and a thirst for knowledge. Our brains LOVE having problems to solve.

On the other hand, our hearts were built for nurture – of bodies and other beings.

RW pic message from the woods
the nurture tree

 

I wonder how many living, growing things this stump has nurtured – seedlings to saplings to trunks. An army or two of ants. Squirrels, lichens, ferns. It appears that we have been taking nurture for granted: teachers, transit drivers, nurses. When I was growing up (about a hundred years ago) the school cooks made sweet rolls for the teachers on meat and gravy day. Now the cooks and librarians are packing lunches and shipping them on the short bus to a neighborhood down the road. I wonder if school levies will pass more readily now; teacher salaries go up? Truck drivers, and maintenance workers and the kid at the pizza shop. Volunteers, and anyone who whistles or sings. In January, there was an article in the Week magazine, “Bad bosses: Will they ever reform?” This month, my friend’s boss is giving her unmandated hazard pay, because she is grateful for her staff, and wants to nurture their being…

My friend Nancy says, never waste a crisis. We are learning that some of our collective strength is found in the least celebrated places, and in our willingness to try something new; in being creative, and being brave. Everyone I know is tired, because we are all working hard to feed the cells of society; sending pipelines of aide up and down the stories of real, or imagined, class.

We are also being more honest, about when we are frightened and lonely and sad. We are wearing cloth and paper masks, but we’ve taken off some of the invisible ones we used to hide behind. Donning gloves, but looking for new ways to touch each other.

RW pic bleeding heart
bleeding heart

I believe in us, in the Creator’s God’s design that imbedded his image, creativity and nurture and sacrifice.

‘You will return to the woods once more; the Douglas fir and hemlock will be waiting, sentinels for your return.’

They will have grown. perhaps so will we.

jfig    4/2020

To my regular readers; I apologize for the radio silence. Poem 20 has been a challenge, both it and the fig fam needs refuse to stay within the necessary margins for concentration and productivity…everything keeps popping out at the seams. Just want to let you know that I have not given up on the poems or you.

30 Days in Gennesaret: Easter Tim’s Poem

Tim’s Poem

My husband is a man of succinct words, much preferring the efficiency of a short video clip to the expansiveness of pages. But he listened quietly when I told him about 30 Days in Gennesaret, and Jesus healing the sick; how the scene intrigues with its words ‘all’ and ‘marketplace’. He listened about the juxtaposition of pandemic, and how the thirty days of April provide a creative vehicle.

Then he said,

 

Yes,

and then came Easter

and Jesus healed the whole world.

 

tfig     3/2020

IMG_5101

The construction of this cross was prompted by the creative mind of Carlo Furlan, and the willing hands of Tim Figgie. You can find Carlo’s music here: https://www.facebook.com/watch/CarloFurlanMusic/

30 Days in Gennesaret is a creative reflection project focused upon the scene of Jesus healing the sick in the region of Gennesaret. The scene is described in Mark 6: verses 53-56. In the passage, it states that all around the region, people brought their sick to the marketplaces. And Jesus healed them when they touched his cloak. For the next few days, this word marketplace will seed our poems.