a tale of two feet

I waited patiently for the Lord;
he turned to me and heard my cry.

He lifted me out of the slimy pit,
out of the mud and mire;
he set my feet on a rock
and gave me a firm place to stand.

He put a new song in my mouth,
a hymn of praise to our God.
Many will see and fear the Lord
and put their trust in him.

from Psalm 40

Today is one of those early fall Oklahoma days: a bit cloudy with incoming storms. I could smell the clouds. A window open to catch the cool, humid breeze said “Take your coffee outside;” so I did and just sat for a bit. It was a nice “sitting” because nature was performing it’s fall dance of early color.

After a total of maybe five minutes, I needed something else to ponder. My toes. They were right there–bare to the elements.

Naked of polish.

I stared at them for a bit noticing some dry cracks in the toe knuckles and how swollen they were. Tiny sausages created by my psoriatic arthritis and the weather.

My toes are meteorologists. Small giggle thinking about my foot on camera pointing to Tulsa, Oklahoma and saying–while pointing with the big toe which is quite flexible– “Here comes the rain! It will soak mid-town around 8 p.m. according to my swollen left pinky toe.” [camera pans to left pinky toe]

Ridiculous thoughts turned introspective as I looked at my feet while I was doing little leg bounces and ankle exercises while sitting in my plastic Adirondack chair and staring at the tops of my neighbor’s oak that has some delicious red at the very top branches.

While contemplating just how many calories I could burn sitting outside, wiggling my legs back and forth and up and down, and reading, I looked at my feet again. And this time I saw them differently. It was weird, but I suddenly realized these were the feet that my mother took such delight in when they were baby feet.

Then they were walking feet. Little white shoes walking carefully over the floor furnace. They were even running feet.Running from my “terrifying” baby brother, from imaginary monsters. . . just running. Not even thinking about the up and down movement or the rotation in my hip joints. I ran on trails in Littleton, Colorado. I ran around the neighborhood in Broken Arrow. And then I couldn’t run anymore. It hurt. So I walked.

These feet hiked trails in Colorado, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Oregon, and Washington.

These feet were also teaching feet–at first in heels and not long after, clogs and squishy flats and Birkenstocks.

Now they’re 55-year-old swollen feet that don’t move to places I want to go anymore. But thankfully, I still have them. I can twirl them around and wiggle the toes.They still delight in my grey and yellow Chucks. They can walk around Target and around the block a bit. They enjoy being naked in the soft grass and on the warm cement. Right now they are on the 62-yr.-old hardwood floors. They are in a good place.

Wee Ponderings

I have three favorite blogs that I read every time they come to my email. 

  1. “Sometimes I Ramble” Jeffrey is my dear hipster friend who keeps me up to date on all things music. http://jeffreyaward.wordpress.com
  2. “Butterfly Mind” by Andrea Badgley. Andrea teaches me regularly how the small, everyday things we forget to see are priceless. And she makes them beautiful. I don’t know her, but I love her writing. http://andreabadgley.com
  3. “There is a River” by Christie Purifoy. Her crisp, spare writing is a pleasure. Young motherhood and a farm and food allergies and books. Her book recommendations are always on target–except for one…. http://www.christiepurifoy.com

Currently Listening: my favorite playlist right now:

  1. Over the Rhine, The Long Surrender (thanks Jeffrey–I love love “All My Favorite People”)
  2. Alison Krauss, A Hundred Miles or More
  3. John Mayer, Badge and a Gun
  4. Sara Bareilles, The Blessed Unrest
  5. Norah Jones, Little Broken Hearts
  6. Ingrid Michaelson, Human Again
  7. Audrey Assad, Fortunate Fall —she is my favorite Christian artist. Rich, original lyrics and vocals. She writes and plays. No Christian pop stuff. There are echoes of her Catholic faith that hum throughout her work.

a meditation note for the dark night…no, not batman

So many prayers going up today. My brother-in-law was furloughed from his position due to the government shut down. (He has a PhD in microbiology–a brilliant man who is cancer free after a long, scary though inspiring bout with a lymphoma of the central nervous system.)

No politics here. Just praying that our leaders will start thinking about how their infighting is affecting the people they represent.

Praying for my baby sister (married to said brother-in-law mentioned earlier) who continues to take care of her extended family even after teaching a full day…with middle schoolers.

These two people inspire me. Despite the many many trials they encounter, they continue to trust God both in word and action.

My sis and I have lovely text conversations. I am not a phone talker and neither is she. We convey our lives and love for each other via extensive text conversations. And we lift each other up in prayer daily. Or almost daily. I love it and need it. Just a little note that says, “prayers going up” seals my day with promise.

I think my sister and I are both experiencing the “dark night of the soul.” I’ve heard this phrase periodically and it describes that valley we all experience at some point where God seems so distant and we feel so disconnected. It’s hard to see past the immediate pain to a place of peace and rest–particularly when the “night” continues over a period of years.

Despite the desolation during the “night,” my sis and I both crave the Word of God and turn to Him constantly for hope and promise. Our parents provide great examples. Their Bibles sit right beside them all the time.

We need some Bible-sitting time. I’m headed there now. To my “closet” where God meets me. I talk; He listens. He talks (through the Bible–not in some crazy Morgan Freeman voice);  I listen. And take notes so I won’t forget. And then still forget. Definitely need some closet time.

 But first, another incredible ditty (Meditation Note) from My Utmost for His Highest by Oswald Chambers: 

“The true test of our spiritual life is in exhibiting the power to descend from the mountain. . .We are not made for the mountains, for sunrises, or for the other beautiful attractions in life–those are simply intended to be moments of inspiration. We are made for the valley and the ordinary things of life, and that is where we have to prove our stamina and strength.” (emphasis mine)

 The dark night of the soul. 

Have you experienced a “dark night”? Please share if you are comfortable doing so.

As Paul so eloquently writes, grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. 

 *The “Dark Night of the Soul” is a poem by St. John of the Cross written in about 1578. It chronicles the soul’s journey from suffering on earth to its final resting place at home with God. Give it a Google. It’s interesting.