Tag Archives: The Broken Way

21 DAYS

It is 21 days till Easter. 21 days of a journey left. 21 days to follow a path. 21 days till the stone exploded, breaking the binds that tethered it to an earthly kingdom and releasing the radiant light of Grace from the spiritual kingdom.

For the past few weeks, I have not written much. Instead, everyday I have been reading, walking, observing, writing, praying, and drawing a small inked cross on the inside of my wrist. I didn’t think of this idea myself. One of my favorite authors has been doing this on a regular basis for a while now, Ann Voskamp. She talks about it in her book, The Broken Way.

At first, I wondered why she would do this. What possible difference in a spiritual walk could a tiny, inked cross on a wrist do for anyone? Yet, during this Lenten walk, I have noticed a difference. A difference that – perhaps – is more on the inside of me than the physical ink on the inside of a wrist. However, true to my silly Gemini self, that ink is often different colors. One color layered on top of another on some days. Other days, completely washed away by the blessed business of the day.

There is a path just down from our house that our neighbors have given me permission to walk. The dogs and I love it. There are no cars or even so much of the sound of cars, lots of smells, lots of deer prints, and I’m sure a few snakes in the grass that I hope I never see. (Lucky for me, the dogs always run ahead of me.)

As the temperatures warmed, the grass began to appear until it has become a green carpet that pulls us forward every time we walk. Trees and tall grasses from a not too distant past line its edges. Occasionally, a fallen branch from a recent storm also lie beneath our feet waiting to trip us up. Further up the way, there are other vestiges of an older life as well. Man-made reminders of that which was: large trees around a yard of a small deserted cabin, a log shed, horse-pulled tools now covered by weeds, a small, empty water trough.

As always, I wonder about the people who walked these lands before me. Indians, slave, indentured servants, landowner. I wonder and in some weird strange way, find myself praying for them as they walked these lands.

The cross on my wrist catches my eyes as I switch the button on the camera in my phone. For a minute my breath catches, “Baruch Hashem Adonai,” I whisper, “Blessed Be the Name of the LORD.” Koey sniffs the scent of something and is off running. Ryndi rolls in the leaves and tall grass for the umpteenth time. All, just reminders that this world is temporary, and all our education, ownership, accomplishments are -eventually – just “dust in the wind”.

Baruch is the Hebrew word that means “to bless”. It also means “to kneel”. When God sent His Son to walk a footpath on this earth, He knelt in front of all humanity. He squeezed the limitless into a limited body. He folded His greatest sacrifice into His greatest blessing and laid it on the path for all to find.

Easter. Grace. Salvation.

“Therefore strengthen your hands and set your shaky knees firmly. Make straight paths for your feet, that the lame member may not fail, but that it may be healed.”~Heb 12:12-13

My knees don’t bend so well anymore, but there are times when I force them because I can’t imagine not kneeling when His presence is so close. Tonight, it is warm in our house. The cross on the inside of my wrist is faded and fuzzy. My eyes are hurting as I try to hold them open for a few more minutes. It was a warm day in NC and when you have a bit of a fever, the house feels even warmer. But – it has been a blessed day. A day to sacrifice a little. A day to sleep a lot more than usual. A day to whisper a few more times, in thankfulness for these 21 days, “Baruch Hashem Adonai.”

NAP DAY

Today was the absolute, perfect nap day. The book I am reading was almost finished. The dogs were already curled up on the sunny deck. Me? I thought about going out and curling up in the sunshine, but it was just too chilly. High 50’s and a consistent breeze are really not conducive to a restful nap.

I usually don’t take naps during the day, but a cold has been trying to grab hold of me, so I didn’t go anywhere today. I slept a little later this morning and decided to pamper myself with essential oils and sleep. After all, if the dogs could do it, so could I. I traipsed around the house, but we don’t really have a sunny window area, so I just curled up in my chair.

Luckily for me, I can fall asleep at the drop of my eyelids. Often, short prayers will dash past my lips, blips of stories might also drift through or perhaps, or a lullaby of songs may carry me off to sleep. Today, just the notes of a song did the trick. No words. Just notes. When I woke up, the words of that song had made their way to the forefront of my mind.

Stretching, I sat up and realized it was the first Christmas song I had ever learned that sang me to sleep and woke me up. However, it was not the first verse that most of us sing routinely, but the last verse that was singing through my mind.

“Be with me Lord Jesus, I ask thee to stay….”

The dogs came running in from the deck. When I looked at the clock, I knew why they were bouncing and smiling at me. It was supper time and heaven forbid, if I am ever late in getting it into their bowls. As they munched away. I started preparing our human meal for the evening as I sang the words softly to myself.

“Close by me forever and love me, I pray…”

The nap was a good thing. The blessing of the song was the best thing. I’ve been thinking about it all night and wondering why it was that song and that verse. Lent is generally a time when people “sacrifice” something they love in honor of what Christ “sacrificed” for all of us. Last year and this year, I’ve kind of walked away from that.

I’ve been reading a book by Anne Voskamp, The Broken Way. In one chapter she quotes an Auschwitz survivor and author, Viktor Frankl. Man’s search for the meaning of life become clear when it “…points, and is directed to, something, or something other than oneself…by giving himself to a cause to serve or another person to love.” p.92

Such a perfect description of Christ’s journey on earth. Every step He took for three years was devoted to pointing exactly towards how to find our meaning for life. We were created in His image. A Father who completely empties His bucket out for those He created. A Father who continues to seek the lost sheep. A Father who sent His Son to point the way.

“Bless all the dear children in Thy tender care…”

So this Lenten cycle, I am trying to pour out my bucket for those who have been placed in my pasture. Writing letters to shut ins. Giving time to others. Crocheting more prayer shawls for those in need. Scrounging change out of the dusty corners to share with groups that I admire. Praying more than I ever knew was possible. And still, there are a couple of other things I want to try, but until I do them, they are just ideas, and I haven’t really emptied my bucket.

Lent is a time to direct our steps just as Christ directed his steps towards Jerusalem. I’m not sure where this journey will lead me. I’m just focusing my steps day-by-day. Today, they led me to a nap, a Christmas song, and bouncing, smiling dogs who are now curled in their beds. Hmmmm….I think it is time to join them an listen to my lullabye one more time.

“And take us to heaven to live with Thee there
And take us to heaven to live with Thee there.”

PROMISES REMEMBERED

“The seed breaks to give us the wheat. The soil breaks to give us the crop. The sky breaks to give us the rain. The wheat breaks to give us the bread. And the bread breaks to give us the feast. There was once even an alabaster jar that broke to give Him all the glory…Never be afraid of being a broken thing.”~The Farmer, Ann Voskamp’s husband in The Broken Way, p25

Our families are broken.

Our country is broken.

Our world is broken.

I am broken.

This world and all its people have been broken since two humans stood beneath two trees in a Garden.

One thing I love about being retired is I can be a total learner again. Journals, paper and four books litter the table and floors around my chair in the living room. Two books sit on my desk with stashes of writing in various stages for decoration. Note cards have suddenly returned to my life, Not as something to be graded as when I taught research skills to grumpy junior high students, but note cards full of things that are still roughened gems waiting to be polished by my grasping mind that runs a little slower these days.

“B’RESHEET BARA ELOHIM…”~Gen 1:1

The Jewish words circled back around for the second day in a row in my devotions today. “In the beginning, God created…”

Three simple words. A plural noun. A singular verb. A mystery.calling out. Three words that began the story of a beloved group people – one broken man – one broken family – one broken people traveling in a broken world.

Broken people who walked away from that perfect Garden with a promise – found a path – strayed off the path – over and over – time after time – and yet – – – YHVH, LORD, loves them – calls to them – became them. He was. He is. He will be. Promises of infinite Love and Grace made in the past, remembered in the present, fulfilled in the future.

YHVH. Broken. Mashiach.

As I walked around the house, running the roomba, dusting the bookshelves, the Hebrew words continued to turn in my mind. And and when, after several days of clouds, the sun broke through, I was not surprised. God has been winking at us from the beginning. Trying to catch our attention. Trying to remind us of the very first promise He made. Sending the Annointed One when we needed Him most and is sending Him again when we need Him even more.

Promises made. Promises remembered. Promises fulfilled.

I AM.

More than we can imagine. More dreams. More hope. More treasure. More Love. More blessings. More Grace. More possibilities than could ever be learn in a lifetime. We may be broken now, but not forever.

“For a seed to come fully into its own, it must become wholly undone. The shell must break open, its insides must come out, and everything must change. If you didn’t understand what life looks like, you might mistake it for complete destruction.”~Ann Voskamp, The Broken Way, p.26. [google images]