Sunday, January 23, 2011

Crazy Quilt Day

By Belinda 
This is another "smattering," or crazy quilt day..
I lay in bed late, luxuriating in the knowledge that it was sabbath. No chores to do, no list to follow, not even a day of hospitality after church with last minute preparations to be made. Just a generous getting-ready-for-church time ahead.
While in the bathroom, sipping on a steaming cup of delicious black coffee as I powdered my nose and lipsticked my lips, the phone rang. 
"Did I wake you up?" It was my friend Frances.
"I called at 8.30 and there was no answer," she went on with the urgency of a friend who "needs to talk."
She told me of having a shadow week; a week of silence from God; of feeling adrift somehow and worst of all, knowing partly why; choices made.
Late yesterday evening, she had driven home from work through dark night spun with finest diamonds. As they danced and sparkled in her headlights, she thought with regret of the diamonds God offers and what we trade for his best. She had been disheartened, dispirited and discouraged  and wanted to tell me that yesterday's post here, New Day, had given her hope.
It was what God gave me to write, but when it was done it felt so little an offering, Knowing that it had encouraged Frances reminded me to trust God and not second guess him.
We marveled over the Daily Light for today and the comfort in the morning reading, all about hope, starting with Romans 5.5!
And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.
A ride then to church, along country roads bounded by brilliant white fields, like billowing snowy sheets hung out to air in sunshine. My soul danced in expectation wondering what God had in store; knowing he never disappoints hearts hungry for him.

Entering the church I found Susan in the foyer, dear friend that she is. We hugged and she teased me for my exuberant joy at seeing her and my, 'It's so good to see you," with a smiling, "Yeah, it's been two whole days!"

From the first song the whole service found me fighting to stay in my pew, not wanting to make a spectacle of myself by running to the altar, which was what I wanted to do with every fibre of my being. Thank goodness God obliged me with an altar call at the service end and there Frances and I met, with others hearing God's call, kneeling, standing, weeping, our pastor moving among us, laying a hand on each shoulder, praying for his flock of hungry sheep.One of the songs we sang, one of my favourites, was this one, Chris Tomlin's How Great is Our God.




Frances brought with her the plaque she told me she had bought for me iin an antique store last week, knowing how much I love swings (see the photo above left.) She thought it was a bit cheeky, as if if meant that I should know when it was time to get off the swing. I read it differently. To me the message is to know that moment to take flight, airborne, free from wood and chain, confident of a safe landing. I love it.

After church Paul drove some friends he'd picked up home, and I went straight to Simcoe Manor to visit Fanny and Bunty. I went to Bunty's room first and found her having a nap, but at the first tap on the door she was up, and delighted to have a visitor. Because of her daughter's request for visitors while she is away, we are getting to know each other. I know that she won't remember my visit, but I hope that a sense of "something" stays behind; an awareness of care and company. Half an hour in her company is a special kind of blessing to me. I went at first because it is what I would appreciate so much if my own mother was in a nursing home, but Bunty, in spite of forgetting from one moment to the next what we have spoken about, gives so much by simply being the beautiful person she is.

Her daughter told me that Bunty loves poetry and can recite her own and others' from memory. Today I brought with me  one of my favourite books of poetry, Sitting by My Laughing Fire by Ruth Bell Graham, Billy Graham's wife. We took turns, she reciting Joyce Kilmer's poem, Trees and I reading some of my favourite poems out loud. Each time I read, she expressed delight at the beauty of the poem and at my voice with its English accent. I love reading out loud and she loved listening. Each time she recited Trees, I revelled in the beauty of the poem. Before leaving, we held hands, hers warm and fleshy and mine cool and winter weather rough, and we prayed together for needs we had confided. Then she, leaning on her walker, walked me to the elevator, wondering if she would find her room again afterwards and I laughingly commiserating that I hoped I would find my way out of the maze of hallways that all look the same.

I found Fanny asleep and this week not waking to my voice. I softly sang a verse of Amazing Grace, hoping that it would gently bring her out of her deep sleep, but it didn't. I laid a hand on her shoulder and prayed silently. I hadn't the heart to do more to rouse her.

Pressing in, holding hands with friends, my crazy quilt day.

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