In the Rockies

In the Rockies
Butler Gulch

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Holiday Thoughts

Yes--this is how winter in the Colorado mountains looks. It is not how winter in Boulder looks.
For those of you who know the park, you'll recognize this as a shot of Mills Lake taken on a snowshoe hike a couple of weeks ago. Alas, the ground is not white in Boulder nor has it been for more than an hour or two this season.
Sounds and smells of Christmas have enlivened gatherings with friends, old and new. A small but brightly decorated tree--the efforts of Sam and me--brings the scents and color of the season into this cozy abode. Lamb stew and Cornish hens graced the table, eaten heartily by friends. Cookie cutters are being gathered for that rolling, cutting and smearing of red and green across the likes of Santas and Rudolphs (photos will come later).
Yesterday's sermon reminded us to listen for God's voice in our dreams, in quiet moments, and to remember that His messages sometimes require us to step out, to show ourselves as the messy humans we are. The story of the Babe born in a manager reminds us that God's love is evoked in unexpected places. It reminds us of the new being born in us, no matter our ages. And it reminds us of deep love. May that love be born anew in all of us this Christmas season. May the light kindled in the Temple in Jerusalem long ago and celebrated in the Hanukkah season, continue to burn anew in our hearts all the year long. May all who remember losses this season, be reminded of joyous memories.
From Thomas Merton -- "Let me seek, then, the gift of silence . . . where everything I touch
is turned into a prayer: where the sky is my prayer, the birds are my
prayer, the wind in the trees is my prayer, for God is all in all.
Thoughts in Solitude

Friday, December 3, 2010

Exposure and Cover

Exposure has been on my mind and heart the past few weeks. I've needed to reach a place where it felt safe to write about it.

My reasons for pondering exposure have been (and still are) the feelings I continue to have that the time to publish my childhood memoir is near--that I'm being urged by the Spirit to push in that direction. Exposure for my little girl self doesn't feel so scary. Like the smaller bushes in the pictures, there isn't so much of me to show. It was more what was happening to me. The day I photographed the bare-limbed bushes I had to wait through a gale of wind so that I could hold the camera still. As a child in hard situations, words, switches, and snapping ropes were the gales I weathered. I was blessed to find nurture in the fields and woods of our farm, in the trees and skies in all seasons.

The teenager that still lives inside, however, hollers out in protest to my planned exposure. She relates to the tall bare aspen--so stark against the surroundings. Couldn't she borrow the cover of the evergreens? What about the snow? Looking at the snow scene, at the bottom it's difficult to know what's underneath. Higher up there are glimpses of the underlying rocks. That was how the teenage Margaret lived--cover, cover, and then a glimpse and more cover. Exposure of her nakedness and the violence done to her body should only be done in service to others whose exposure has brought them harm--and for whom her story might aid their healing.

There is beauty in the snow cover. What about the beauty of strength in the bare trees? The wounds on their trunks show. As a child, I decided that winter was a time for the trees to rest, but I worried that they had no protection from the wind and cold. Exposure and no protection--that was the teenager's situation so she covered herself and kept quiet so others would not know.

The exposed gnarled tree roots pulled out of the soil by years of strong winds, but holding still speak to the woman I am today. Exposing those roots as I have slowly done has allowed me to see the beauty and strength in that little girl with the golden curls--and to see and feel her anguish. I've hugged and loved her. It's that teenager who pushes away the hugs, who says leave me alone, don't expect me to care about helping, I want to hide under the white cover of snow.

My healing image these days is one that I wouldn't have expected. The Reverend Dr. Art Latta, in his work with me, encouraged a connection with the crucified Christ as I remembered the abuses of my childhood. For the most part I resisted. I didn't really believe that Christ had to be crucified for God to show love to humankind--and I still don't. My suffering wasn't about salvation either. So imagine my surprise when the image that came to me as I experienced the shame and pain of my teenage horrors was that of my body being carried by loving hands next to an image of Jesus' body being carried away from the crucifixion site by his friend. This image has continue to show up when I allow myself to relive those feelings and bring them up for healing. I must not yet have divined its full meaning. More pondering, more healing, and more exposure lies in wait.