Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Broken Glass

I broke a glass in my office a couple of months ago. It was part of the random collection of things I love that dots my shelves and catches my eye on those days when I stare, praying for a sermon to hop down and preach itself.
This glass was an old one -- an antique, or at least part of the vintage kitsch that speaks to me. Frosted white glass with green polka dots, Fire King, if that means anything, a tall tumbler. I have one with red dots, too, but that one was treated unmercifully to a dishwasher's abrasion and the dots are more orange than the red they were created to be. That one, however, rests at home, on a top shelf, far away from my bumbling hands and dropsy days.
When the green-dotted glass broke I was reaching for a book to share with someone -- reaching carelessly, really, because I could have easily moved the glass to a different shelf. The glass fell and bounced, shattering upon impact, though retaining much of its shape. I placed the larger pieces of glass into the remaining form and tucked the smaller shards into a paper envelope before discarding them. But I couldn't bring myself to throw the rest away, and so it sits.
These days, when I gaze at my commentaries or my preaching books or poertry or the pictures that are tucked between, hoping for inspiration to float on over to my desk, my vision is caught by the sharp, pointed glass -- a contrast to the smooth edges of the dots and opaque, frosted glass.
I suppose, theologically, there is the reminder of this being a broken world, of God's restoration, of there being beauty in the midst of despair -- most of which are too melodramatic, even for me.
Someday I'll throw it away, I imagine, though I'd rather find a way to dull the edges and craft something pretty if not useful out of it. In the meantime, though, there's broken glass on my shelf -- right there in front of theology and commentary.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

I would...

Sometimes I think in terms of the things I would do "if I could..." You know the line of "if-thinking" -- if I could only do what I wanted, I would do these things -- play in the dirt every day, stay up reading until my eyelids fell together or the book was finished, travel around the country and the world, at whim... If I could, I would...

It's that kind of thinking that often spirals me deep into a place of "I can't... do this, or that, or..." and eventually, I can't do anything except sit in one place and breathe. It's a frustrating place to be, and perhaps moreso, a frustrating place to watch myself go as if I can't truly control it or turn myself around.

I have moments and times when I feel especially gifted at asking good questions of other people -- of being able to say quietly, and gently, "What would happen if we looked at this another way?"Of asking, "Does it have to be this way, and if not, how can we change it?" I am rarely that gentle with myself, and therefore am not often able to change my own perspective.

Today I sat down and thought, "If I could, I would play in the dirt every day..." and a little voice said, "Why can't you...?" and the thought continued, dancing through my mind, to say not just "Why not?" but to say, "How could that be possible, and what would it take?"

I suppose that if I could, I would want to have such clarity all the time -- I would want to stop the spiral before it began. For now, though, I'm grateful that I had a moment of thought-shift ... for my dirt-playing, world-traveling, late-night reading indulgences. I'm holding these questions gently so that I can ask them as other dreams float to the surface and instead of saying, "If only..." I can ask, "How..."

Tuesday, May 26, 2009


My hands are dirty and my feet are tired.
We're watching baseball and the hockey's still going.
We've celebrated birthdays and taken a little trip.

The walls are still standing and the paycheck's still coming.

Some days that's enough.