Love Like We Do

Reflections on Shuffle-Play

Love Like We Do

Edie Brickell and the New Bohemians

Last night I preached at a worship service at my alma mater – Concordia College in Moorhead, MN. It is Homecoming week there and I was pleased to be invited to go back to preach. My class is having our 25th reunion this year. On the way west last night, I thought about the cassette tapes I loved most during freshman year – then, I turned up Edie Brickell and the New Bohemians loud.

I still wear my Concordia ring, but I always felt on the fringes when I was there. I was not popular or well-known on campus. I was usually working a couple jobs and not terribly dedicated to my studies. I spent a terrific amount of time writing in my journal and daydreaming about finding true love. That and some Habitat for Humanity trips, and making a few friends for a lifetime sums up my years there.

I felt immensely lucky to be a student at Concordia. Growing up poor, I never dreamed I would be able to go to a college so nice. I remember feeling so spoiled at living in the midst of all the nice furniture, shiny linoleum, warm and inviting rooms of that school. I could take a hot shower every day! I could tell when I went into the dorm rooms of the other girls that I had grown up quite differently. Most of them had plump new comforters and pillows adorning their beds, all sorts of decorations and storage systems that had been bought just for their daughter to bring to college. Whereas I brought nearly nothing. I looked longingly at my roommate’s fancy electric typewriter, her beautiful clothes, her ability to order a pizza on her credit card anytime she wanted. While I was a student at a nice private school, I was still a poor kid who grew up in a house that was held together by duct tape.

In the springtime each year, I learned to walk slowly and frequently by the dumpsters outside our dorm because many of the girls couldn’t be bothered to bring home a lot of their stuff. They knew they would just get new things next year – so they would toss out piles of beautiful, fluffy, folded towels, mostly-full bottles of shampoo and hairspray, school supplies, books, crates, even piles of cassette tapes and CD’s! I scavenged through what they discarded and I honestly felt lucky – so lucky that I could have their leftovers, their castoffs. I felt lucky that I knew I didn’t take anything for granted and I never would. I had the wisdom and tenacity of growing up poor, and then I had the luxury of living in the midst of excess and finery. Both taught me a great deal.

So I wear my Concordia ring and sometimes I smile because I know that perhaps when people hear I graduated from there, they get a certain perception of me. Spoiled rich kid who went to a private Lutheran college. But I know there were many of us who did not fit that mold at all. We may have been on the fringes. We may have felt like imposters there sometimes, and yet we did find our place. I found a lot of things at Concordia (in addition to dumpster treasures). I found some of my best friends. I found a school that honored and respected the faith tradition that is so dear to me and it nurtured my calling to be a pastor. I found so much laughter, many great challenges, some despair, and a home for four good years.

I am a Cobber. (Yes, our mascot is a corn cob).

concordia

 

“Love Like We Do”
Life is better than the days behind
What’s mine is yours and what’s yours is mine
No aggravation that we can’t get through
A situation for the lucky few

And every day is just a little more
Of time together to be happy for
I’m happy even when the times are rough
‘Cause any time with you is good enough

When we love like we do
Love like we do

I don’t believe in hatred anymore
I hate to think of how I felt before
When anger overwhelms your very soul
It’s hard to realize you’ll ever know

When we love like we do
Love like we do
Love like we do
Love like we do

Life is better than the days behind
What’s mine is yours and what’s yours is mine
No aggravation that we can’t get through
A situation for the lucky few

When we love like we do
Love like we do

Betty’s Diner

Reflections on Shuffle-Play

Betty’s Diner

By Carrie Newcomer

During seminary, I was a bartender for a few months in a tiny northern town bar. My mother needed some major surgery and so I decided to take a few months off from classes to live back at home and help out – although I’m not sure how much help I was. My dad and I couldn’t get along and so I spent much of that autumn smoking and reading in my makeshift office I had set up in the garage, and working at my jobs.

First, I worked as a telemarketer, which was horrible and easily the worst job I ever had. If you would like to steal someone’s spirit and their will to live quickly and efficiently, make them be a telemarketer. I was only there a few weeks when I just stopped going back.

Then, I tried to be a cook at a nursing home. I like cooking but since I am not a picky eater, I am not a picky cook.  Who cares if the toast is a little dark, the eggs a little crisp around the edges, the soup not piping hot – food is food, right? Well, turns out others care much more than I do about these little details. I quit before I could be fired.

Finally, I got the job as a bartender – I liked making and pouring the drinks. I liked talking to the regulars who came in, giving free drinks to friends and relatives who showed up – heck, if it was up to me, I would have given everyone free drinks. I liked the sense of community, the music, and how when the night was done, you cleaned up and went home and it was over. It was carefree for me, I didn’t have to figure out the books or wonder which rotten bartender was giving away all the free drinks and costing the bar big money. Luckily for the bar, I was only there a couple months before I went back to school.

While I may not have been a grade A bartender, that experience was a great one for me.  I still often say that people were much more honest with me about their lives when I was their bartender than they are with me as their pastor. People would come in after a hard day needing a place to sit and decompress or just be with friends and they knew they could do that at the bar. The bar was always open, warm, and waiting. If it wasn’t too busy, you could depend on the bartender to listen or just shoot the breeze.

It seems to me from what I know of Jesus, he would have probably much rather been a bartender than a modern-day pastor. He probably wouldn’t have cared a bit about church budgets or if the confirmation kids could recite the parts of the Small Catechism and their meanings. But I bet he would have liked being in a place where people felt welcomed at any hour, to listen to their stories and share some of his, to serve a hot meal and fill some stomachs, to warm some hearts in the process.

There’s a bar a quarter mile from our church – the last time it was up for sale I thought about how perfect it would be if our church could buy it and run it. A place to hang out, eat, listen to music and listen to each other without all the baggage that the church seems to bring with it for so many people.

The church’s baggage has never bothered me and I’ve always felt at home in a church. I grew up there and felt welcome. I see the steeple with a cross on top and it represents love and grace to me, a place I can completely be myself.

However, I know this isn’t the case for so many and when we invite people to church, we are inviting them into our experience of what church is even though they may see the church very differently.

So, I’m thinking about the middle ground between a bar and a church. How to create a space like that? We do Beer and Hymns. We have done Pub Theology. What’s possible now? How can we blend the best of what church and a bar/restaurant are? Here – in rural Minnesota. A place where people stop in after deer hunting or while out snowmobiling – come as they are and know they are welcome. Real community, real welcome – plus spiritual and physical nourishment.  Now, that is a place I would like to see…to serve…to hang out.

Betty’s Diner

Miranda works the late night counter
In a joint called Betty’s Diner
Chrome and checkered tablecloths
One steamy windowpane

She got the job that shaky fall
And after hours she’ll write till dawn
With a nod and smile she serves them all

Here we are all in one place
The wants and wounds of the human race
Despair and hope sit face to face
When you come in from the cold

Let her fill your cup with something kind
Eggs and toast like bread and wine
She’s heard it all so she don’t mind

Arthur lets his earl gray steep
Since April it’s been hard to sleep
You know they tried most everything
Yet it took her in the end

Kevin tests new saxophones
But swears he’s leaving quality control
For the Chicago scene, or New Orleans
Where they still play righteous horns

Here we are all in one place
The wants and wounds of the human race
Despair and hope sit face to face
When you come in from the cold

Let her fill your cup with something kind
Eggs and toast like bread and wine
She’s heard it all so she don’t mind

Jack studies here after work
To get past high school he’s the first
And his large hands seem just as comfortable
With a hammer or a pen

Emma leaned and kissed his cheek
And when she did his knees got weak
Miranda smiles at ’em and winks

Here we are all in one place
The wants and wounds of the human race
Despair and hope sit face to face
When you come in from the cold

Let her fill your cup with something kind
Eggs and toast like bread and wine
She’s heard it all so she don’t mind

You never know who’ll be your witness
You never know who grants forgiveness
Look to heaven or sit with us

Deidra bites her lip and frowns
She works the stop and go downtown
She’s pretty good at the crossword page
And she paints her eyes blue black

Tristan comes along sometimes
Small for his age and he’s barely five
But she loves him like a mama lion

Veda used to drink a lot
Almost lost it all before she stopped
Comes in at night with her friend Mike
Who runs the crisis line

Michael toured Saigon and back
Hair the color of smoke and ash
Their heads are bowed and hands are clasped
One more storm has passed

Here we are all in one place
The wants and wounds of the human race
Despair and hope sit face to face
When you come in from the cold

Let her fill your cup with something kind
Eggs and toast like bread and wine
She’s heard it all so she don’t mind

 

Seasons of Love

Reflections on Shuffle-Play

Seasons of Love

Rent Soundtrack

I knew this song long before my mother died, but now all I think of when I hear it is her. The winter she died, as the days grew shorter and colder, I ran at night and cried my eyes out.

“In truths that she learned,
or in times that he cried?
In bridges he burned,
or the way that she died?”

I’ve written so many times about how my mom was like sunlight to me. I’m sure this is a story I will continue to write as long as I exist. There was no place as warm or as light as being with her. I hope I can be as good a friend to my children as my mother was to me. Sitting at her kitchen table, talking for hours about everything and nothing, laughing, eating, being. The good thing is that I knew how much she meant to me and treasured her while I had her. The bad thing is that it’s been nearly six years since she died. Think of all the cups of coffee, the drives in the country, the moments big and small we could have been sharing in those six years. I miss her. I miss her. I miss her.

She would say I need to focus on my own children now – and I do. Life is good and happy. But sometimes it is so good to write about her, because when I write about her, I weep – and I remember all that I lost when I lost her. Not that I forget – I still think of her all the time – but I don’t cry about her hardly at all any more, except when I write about her. The words pour out and my heart pours out and the tears pour out.

In all our pictures, she looks the same, but now my reflection in the mirror looks older than any photographs I have with her. What would she think about her gray-haired daughter? What would she think of her long-haired grandson? I know exactly – she would smile and love us. She would laugh and live in her grace-filled way.

It’s the little things, the little heart-breaking things…how whenever I would come home late, if she woke up she would come downstairs just to visit with me a little bit. Or how when she would go to bed but dad would still be awake, I would go upstairs to talk with her. No matter how tired she was, she had time for me. I miss her.

But now my sons come to visit with me. They come in the sunroom when I am writing or watching TV and we talk. They come in my room if I have gone to lie down and they tell me about this and that. I hope they feel the same kind of unconditional, grace-filled love and light with me that I knew with my mother. If so, then this life is such a great success.

How lucky I was, how thankful I am, I had her.

 

mom and me

Seasons of Love

Five hundred twenty five thousand six hundred minutes.
Five hundred twenty five thousand moments so dear.
five hundred twenty five thousand six hundred minutes.
How do you measure,
Measure a year?

In daylights?
In sunsets?
In midnights?
In cups of coffee?
In inches, in miles, in laughter, in strife?

In five hundred twenty five thousand six hundred minutes.
How do you measure a year in a life?

How about love?
How about love?
How about love?
Measure in love…
Seasons of love…
Seasons of love…

Five hundred twenty five thousand six hundred minutes.
Five hundred twenty five thousand journeys to plan.
Five hundred twenty five thousand six hundred minutes.
How do you measure a life of a woman or a man?

In truths that she learned,
or in times that he cried?
In bridges he burned,
or the way that she died?

It’s time now to sing out,
though the story never ends.
Let’s celebrate remember a year in a life
of friends

Remember the love…
(Oh, you’ve got to you’ve got to remember the love)
Remember the love…
(You know the love is a gift from up above)
Remember the love…
(Share love, give love, spray love, measure your life in love.)
Seasons of love…
Seasons of love…

Perfect

Reflections on Shuffle-Play

Perfect

By Pink

I was so angry and I didn’t even know why. I was feeling jealous, competitive, spiteful, and impatient.  I didn’t want to feel any of those things, but there they were in all their ugliness. I wanted so much for that friendship to heal – why couldn’t all those other feelings catch up with that desire?

I knew it had little to do with her and everything to do with me. Yes, she had done something hurtful, but she had apologized and I had forgiven her, hadn’t I? Then, why did I still feel so utterly bad, mad, sad? Why couldn’t we get back to the way we were before?

Grown-up hurts remind us of childhood hurts…perhaps this is why we act like children when we get hurt. Being hurt by a friend brings up every insecurity, every bad feeling I’ve ever had about myself. While I put on my preacher face and tell my congregation to forgive one another and to speak kindly and work hard at loving each other, I pout like a petulant child when I feel I have been badly treated. I retreat into my shell where no one can hurt me. I tell myself I am over it, but I’m really not.  Finally, I resolve to keep the violator at arms’ length so that I can’t be treated badly again.

But this is the thing: Friendships can’t survive like that. Friendship is like a marriage in that you can’t have a close marriage if you have walls and boundaries up all over the place. There has to be trust. There has to be a letting down of the guard and the ability to be real. You have to let yourself be open to being hurt again or else everything remains shallow and surface – in marriage, in friendship.

I stopped letting myself be real with her when she hurt me. I didn’t want to, but I did. The fertile ground of our friendship may have been harmed by her initial neglect, but it was my own that kept the soil dry and parched. Nothing could grow there anymore.

Real friendship can’t be lukewarm or halfway. Real friendship sacrifices – it is patient and kind and humble. It trusts. It doesn’t keep a count of wrongs. And sometimes, friendship can be painful – but you keep working at it. Forgive the friend, forgive yourself, and trust that somehow God can heal what you can’t. With time, with patience, with prayer, God will heal it. Perhaps the ground just needs to lie fallow for a while, but trust that good things can grow again.

 

Perfect

Made a wrong turn, once or twice
Dug my way out, blood and fire
Bad decisions, that’s alright
Welcome to my silly life

Mistreated, misplaced, misunderstood
Miss knowing it’s all good, it didn’t slow me down
Mistaken, always second guessing, underestimated
Look, I’m still around

[Chorus]
Pretty pretty please, don’t you ever ever feel
Like you’re less than, less than perfect
Pretty pretty please, if you ever ever feel
Like you’re nothing, you are perfect to me

You’re so mean, when you talk
About yourself, you were wrong
Change the voices in your head
Make them like you instead

So complicated, look happy, you’ll make it!
Filled with so much hatred… such a tired game
It’s enough! I’ve done all I can think of
Chased down all my demons
I’ve seen you do the same, oh
Pretty pretty please, don’t you ever ever feel
Like you’re less than, less than perfect
Pretty pretty please, if you ever ever feel
Like you’re nothing, you are perfect to me

The whole world’s scared so I swallow the fear
The only thing I should be drinking is an ice cold beer
So cool in line, and we try try try
But we try too hard and it’s a waste of my time

Done looking for the critics, ’cause they’re everywhere
They don’t like my jeans, they don’t get my hair
Exchange ourselves, and we do it all the time
Why do we do that? Why do I do that?

Pretty pretty please, don’t you ever ever feel
Like you’re less than, less than perfect
Pretty pretty please, if you ever ever feel
Like you’re nothing, you are perfect to me, yeah

 

Running With the Wolves

Reflections on Shuffle-Play

Running With the Wolves – Cloud Cult

The nights were so quiet there. Seven miles from one town, eight from another – our closest neighbors were cows, coyotes, and wild hogs. The Texas sun nearly melted our Minnesota bones many times over – so when I wanted to run, I ran at night. It was cooler, and I could run undisturbed along the long, thin driveway that snaked along the back of the church property – back and forth – from the church sign to the parsonage driveway. It was nearly a half mile from one end to the other and I never minded the repetition of winding back and forth beside that red brick church with its’ steeple stretching toward the sky, under the cover of the cedars and live oaks. If the moon was bright enough, I ran around the perimeter of the cemetery – round and round. Reverently so. One time around that old cemetery was nearly a mile and I ran there often – I wonder if there is still a path worn in the grass from my five years’ worth of miles?  The rock fence, the moonlight shining on the gravestones, the scent of wild honeysuckle, the Texas sky so big and the stars so bright – they must have all been made of dreams. Sometimes I felt so completely content there, enchanted with everything: the white limestone gravel, the charming balcony in the church, the stillness, the silence, warm winter days, my children so little, my congregation so beloved – I would just whisper “thank you” into the night air.

But the stillness and silence began to get deafening. I didn’t want it to be so. I wanted the enchantment to thrive, but bit by bit, day by day, I knew I wouldn’t be able to stay there. I knew the Spirit, my Self, my family, my goals were pushing me elsewhere, onward. Someone else would get to be the pastor there – and even as I resigned, I knew part of me would miss it forever. Even as I knew in my bones I needed to go, I never doubted a sliver of my heart would stay right there.

FullSizeRender (6)

 

“The Escape – Running With The Wolves”
We went running with the wolves. It’s time for us to go.
Left all our clothes with the car back by the road.
We were running for a reason- for the burning in our veins.
We were running for a reason.
I just need to get away.

We’re running with the wolves. We’re screaming at the stars.
We left all we own in a hole in our backyard.
We were running for a reason, left our cubicles in little flaming piles.
We were running for a reason.
I need to feel something different for just a little while.

I’m not coming home, I’m staying with the wolves.
You can burn all my mail and disconnect the phone.
Tell Mom I’m sorry- sorry for leaving, but I’m staying where I’m at.
We’re running to find meaning.
We’re gone, and we’re never coming back.

America’s Sweetheart

Reflections on Shuffle-Play

America’s Sweetheart

By Elle King

I just listened to an interview with Hillary Clinton on Fresh Air. It’s wonderful to finally hear her perspective of the events surrounding the election. I have always liked Hillary Clinton a great deal. She is smart, eloquent, accomplished, and tough as nails. I can’t understand why some seem to hate her so much and look for every reason to trash her and belittle her. During the election, I heard one elderly gentleman say that the reason she did so much better in the debates than her opponent was because she got the debate questions ahead of time. That was the only way he could make sense in his head that she was doing so well. It couldn’t possibly be that she was smarter, better qualified, more knowledgeable, an infinitely superior speaker, and more prepared than her opponent.  Nope, must have gotten the questions beforehand.

There is not a single woman who will be surprised at his statement, though. Our whole lives we have heard echoes of this. “Our new pastor is a woman, but she does a pretty great job!”(Impossible, but true!) “Oh, you are a pastor? Is your husband a pastor, too?” (Nope, I came up with the idea all by myself!) “So are you the youth and family minister? May I speak with the Senior pastor.” (You are speaking to her.) “Where do you get your sermons? Does the synod send those to you?” (Nope, just me and the Holy Spirit write those babies every week).

Now, I must admit that for every case of sexism I have encountered, there have been plenty more cases where people have been supportive, encouraged me, congratulated me on my accomplishments, and been all-around awesome.  This may be because in my denomination, women have been ordained since 1970. They are used to women being pastors and pretty much rocking at it. It’s mostly when I venture into circles outside my own church and denomination that I hear the most abrasive sexism. When I do experience it, I feel a mixture of anger and pity. Mostly pity. I know that for someone to say something that denies the strength and capabilities of women means that they are either trying to compensate for something that is missing in their own lives, are jealous, or have deep-seated anger issues toward women that they may not even realize. Perhaps they have been surrounded by patriarchal systems their whole lives and just don’t know any better.

While I still sit stunned and sad in the shards that remain from the election, I’m so thankful that Hillary Clinton ran for President, and now is telling her story.  Her strength is admirable. To weather all that she has in the spotlight, to do so with grace and class, to keep hammering away at that glass ceiling – she is a fierce champion to so many of us, no matter what the results of the election were. No, she may not be all of America’s sweetheart – but she still has my vote.

You keep on being you, Hillary. I dedicate this song to you today.

 “America’s Sweetheart”

No, there ain’t nothing that I gotta prove
You think your words will make me black and blue, but I
I think I’m pretty with these old boots on
I think it’s funny when I drink too much, hey
You tryna change me, you can go to hell
Cause I don’t wanna be nobody else
I like the chip I got in my front teeth
And I got bad tattoos you won’t believe

So kick out the jams, kick up the soul
Pour another glass of that rock and roll
Turn up the band, fire in the hole
Gonna lose control tonight

What do you want from me
I’m not America’s sweetheart
So beat the drum with me
I’m not America’s sweetheart
Well, they say I’m too loud
For this town
So I lit a match
And burned it down
What do you want from me
I’m not America’s sweetheart
But you love me anyway

My hands are dirty and my heart is cold
Them boys I’ve been with say I got no soul, when I
I need another honey at the bar
I’ll think it’s funny when I break his heart
My kind of medicine is whiskey straight
I got a mouth to put you in your place, and they
They said I’ll never be the poster type
But they don’t make posters of my kind of life

So kick out the jams, kick up the soul
Pour another glass of that rock and roll
Turn up the band, fire in the hole
Gonna lose control tonight

What do you want from me
I’m not America’s sweetheart
So beat the drum with me
I’m not America’s sweetheart
Well, they say I’m too loud
For this town
So I lit a match
And burned it down
What do you want from me
I’m not America’s sweetheart
But you love me anyway

You love me anyway
You love me anyway

Kick out the jams, kick up the soul
Pour another glass of that rock and roll
Turn up the band, fire in the hole
Holler if you ready, gonna lose control
Kick out the jams, kick up the soul
Pour another glass of that rock and roll
Turn up the band, fire in the hole
Gonna lose control tonight

What do you want from me
I’m not America’s sweetheart
So beat the drum with me
I’m not America’s sweetheart
Well, they say I’m too loud
For this town
So I lit a match
And burned it down
What do you want from me
I’m not America’s sweetheart
But you love me anyway

You love me anyway
You love me anyway

I’m not America’s sweetheart

Adventure of a Lifetime

Reflections on Shuffle-Play

Adventure of a Lifetime – Coldplay

This is my favorite song to run to lately – and especially a remix of the song I found on Spotify – the “Matoma” remix. I wasn’t a fan of Coldplay until this song – although I had a mild affection for “Viva la Vida.” “Adventure of a Lifetime” made me pay attention to them for the first time. I was so excited when they were going to be on the Superbowl halftime show that I made special snacks just for halftime – because of course, I never watch the actual game. I’ll post a video of the performance from the halftime show because it’s much better than the actual video for this song.

“We are diamonds taking shape,” Chris sings, and this is most certainly true. Whether we are brand new in an endeavor or if we have been working on a task, a career, a goal for years, we are in the process of being refined. When a person is just starting out, the world seems to take joy in helping refine you, smooth out your rough edges with their words of advice and/or criticism. As time goes by, we need to learn how to do more of that for ourselves – seek out change and challenges – because people begin to assume we know what we are doing and we do, too. We can positively lull ourselves to sleep in our own lives if we stay with the same way of doing and being for too long.

“Don’t live the same year 75 times and call it a life.”
― Robin S. Sharma

“Listen, are you breathing just a little, and calling it a life?”

― Mary Oliver

 

Earlier today I went to a large meeting with a bunch of other pastors. Sometimes I hate those meetings. I have usually thought I feel that way because I am an introvert – but truthfully, it is fun seeing many of the people. I think what I don’t like is how I immediately start comparing myself with the other people there. My mind wanders from the speaker to wondering if I look more interesting than this person or as smart as that person. I look in awe at many of the young pastors who seem so self-assured, so deftly competent in ways I surely wasn’t early on (or still am not). I look with fear at some of the older pastors who look so tired and weary to the bone. I know I am somewhere in the middle. Definitely not new at this, but not nearly done. Still a diamond taking shape. Not as rough as I once was, but all my sparkle is not yet revealed either.

I left the meeting feeling unsettled. I didn’t like the way that being around all those other people made me think differently about life and work. I spent the rest of the afternoon trying to get my focus back to the place it was before, but something had shifted. New ideas had emerged. New insights were bubbling. Being around other people does that – and of course, that is the point. That is the reason they stir us pastors out of our own churches and into groups together sometimes – so we can learn and grow together in new ways that we don’t when we are off by ourselves and our own congregations. This learning and growth is not always fun. I’m much more a fan of my own thoughts and ways than of those of other people…but indulging myself in too much of that is a quick way to stagnation.

My father did that. He hated being around other people so much that he shut himself away in a house for forty years. Nothing uncomfortable could touch him there, but of course, nothing good could touch him either. His happiness and peace shrank to the smallest bits while his anger and animosity grew. He was so immensely stuck that his stagnation became the very thing that defined him. It was the saddest thing I ever saw.

 

“Adventure Of A Lifetime”
Turn your magic on
Umi she’d say
Everything you want’s a dream away
And we are legends every day
That’s what she told me

Turn your magic on,
To me she’d say
Everything you want’s a dream away
Under this pressure, under this weight
We are diamonds

Now I feel my heart beating
I feel my heart underneath my skin
And I feel my heart beating
Oh, you make me feel
Like I’m alive again
Alive again
Oh, you make me feel
Like I’m alive again

Said I can’t go on,
Not in this way
I’m a dream that died by light of day
Gonna hold up half the sky and say
Only I own me

And I feel my heart beating
I feel my heart underneath my skin
Oh, I can feel my heart beating
‘Cause you make me feel
Like I’m alive again
Alive again
Oh, you make me feel
Like I’m alive again

Turn your magic on,
Umi she’d say
Everything you want’s a dream away
Under this pressure under this weight
We are diamonds taking shape
We are diamonds taking shape

If we’ve only got this life
This adventure, oh, then I
And if we’ve only got this life
You get me through

And if we’ve only got this life
In this adventure, oh, then I
Want to share it with you
With you
With you
Yeah I do

 

Raise Your Glass

Reflections on Shuffle-Play

Raise Your Glass

By Pink

I hardly ever drink alcohol anymore. This isn’t a religious decision – if you know anything about Lutherans, you know that we don’t mind drinking now and then. However, I have come to a point in life where I am able to clearly see how alcohol mostly just makes me sad and slow. When I do drink, I too easily have too much and then it messes with how much I eat and it is a downward spiral I don’t want or need.

I easily fall into addictions: food, cigarettes, alcohol – each of them have had their way with me at different times in life. I used cigarettes to eat less food. I used alcohol to numb my sadness about weight I had gained. I ate food because, well, I just loved food.  When I was a kid in a house with too much yelling and sadness, food was a quiet friend I could turn to. Food was always present, and I hoped it could fill up the empty spaces.

But it never did. Addictions never will. In forty-seven years I have learned this over and over and over again.

Right now I am at a relatively healthy place in life….I suppose that is why I can write about it openly. I have stepped far enough back from any addictions to really see them for what they are. Alcohol, cigarettes, and junk food each masquerade as happy, fun things, but they are so very sad. They pretend to be friends, but they are such fake friends. They promise fun and carefree – but what they deliver is muddled thoughts and diminished days.

I don’t say I will never have these things again – that would be pointless. Sometimes, I will and do indulge. Sometimes a glass of wine with my friends, or a cigarette alone on the church steps, or a bag of Doritos in front of the television will be just the perfect thing. But I have too many books I want to read and miles I want to run and thoughts I want to write about to set aside much time for these empty things anymore.

So, I raise my glass (of iced tea) and toast to experiencing these years in as healthy a way as I can. I raise my glass to the simple but lasting joys of living without the need for anesthetics, numbing. I raise my glass to wholeness, peace of mind, and experiencing the fullness of this good life. Here’s to temperance and tenacity. Cheers.

 

“Raise Your Glass”
Right, right, turn off the lights
We’re gonna lose our minds tonight
What’s the deal, yo?
I love when it’s all too much
5 a.m. turn the radio up
Where’s the rock ‘n roll?

Party crasher, panty snatcher
Call me up if you’re a gangsta
Don’t be fancy, just get dancy
Why so serious?

So raise your glass if you are wrong
In all the right ways, all my underdogs
We will never be, never be anything but loud
And nitty, gritty, dirty, little freaks
Won’t you come on and come on and
Raise your glass!
Just come on and come on and
Raise your glass!

Slam, slam, oh hot damn
What part of a party don’t you understand?
Wish you’d just freak out
Can’t stop, coming in hot
I should be locked up right on the spot
It’s so on right now

Party crasher, panty snatcher
Call me up if you’re a gangsta
Don’t be fancy, just get dancy
Why so serious?

So raise your glass if you are wrong
In all the right ways, all my underdogs
We will never be, never be anything but loud
And nitty, gritty, dirty, little freaks
Won’t you come on and come on and
Raise your glass!
Just come on and come on and
Raise your glass!
Won’t you come on and come on and
Raise your glass!
Just come on and come on and
Raise your glass!

So if you’re too school for cool
And you’re treated like a fool
You can choose to let it go
We can always, we can always party on our own

So raise your glass if you are wrong
In all the right ways, all my underdogs
We will never be, never be anything but loud
And nitty, gritty, dirty, little freaks
Won’t you come on and come on and
Raise your glass!
Just come on and come on and
Raise your glass!
Won’t you come on and come on and
Raise your glass for me!
Just come on and come on and
Raise your glass for me!
For me

 

 

Things Happen

Reflections on Shuffle-Play

Things Happen

By Dawes

Last Summer, my older son had his tonsils taken out. We knew he wouldn’t be feeling good for a bit after the surgery but had no idea that the healing process was going to be as long or complex as it was. Our poor boy pretty much sat on the couch for a week, woke up during the night crying from the pain in his throat and ear, and lost thirteen pounds. After a week had gone by, it was time for both the boys to go to Bible camp in North Dakota but Owen was nowhere near ready to leave the couch yet. So, I left with our younger son and Owen stayed home with my husband. We decided that if he was feeling better in a couple days, Chad would bring him to camp to join us.

It turned out that Owen was feeling better, so he came to camp but we realized quickly that the loud noises of 100 other kids made his ear throb with pain. So instead of him staying with the other kids in the cabin and joining them for their activities, Owen spent much of his time with me in the Retreat Center. He watched movies and rested his ear on a heating pad, I read, we talked.

I take pictures of country churches. The smaller and more remote, the better – and being in North Dakota for a week I was excited to take some time prowling around the backroads and looking for churches. There was one I had read about that I particularly wanted to see but it was a couple hours away. I didn’t want to leave Owen alone all day but I also knew he doesn’t enjoy the picture-taking days as much as I do. In the end, he decided to come along. We stopped at Walmart and found some little warming pads that he could use if his ear started to bother him.

It was a splendid and simple day. Somewhere in the middle of North Dakota, there was a crazy-good radio station that was playing some great stuff. The lyric, “may all your favorite bands stay together” caught my ear and before I knew it, I was searching for the name of the band. It turned out to be Dawes – so when the radio station faded out, I looked them up on Spotify and fell in love with them immediately.

Their songs became the soundtrack for that day. Riding around the countryside of North Dakota with my eldest son, who is so close to being a teenager it takes my breath away. We rode along through sunshine and then pouring rain, along interstate and then miles of gravel road until we found the little church we were looking for. Like a tale in a storybook, a man with a glass eye was there and he let us in the church and told us stories about that magical little place on the prairie. He lifted up the trap door to the cellar fellowship hall and we went down there to see pictures of that congregation’s rich and beautiful past. Even though the thunder and lightning kept me from taking many pictures, it was worth every minute and mile to get there.

We headed back toward camp, stopping at some other churches on the way – I took photographs and Owen did bottle flips on the front steps. We stopped to eat. I had soup. He had 1/8 of a pancake (still not much appetite). The sun came out and the shadows were growing long.

Some people say they don’t know where the time goes. Some people say they missed out on their kids growing up. But I know where the time goes – I have every second of it stored in my mind and heart. And I have not missed out on my kids growing. I have been here every day. I’ve reveled in their laughter and I’ve dried their tears. I have shown them the joys of cupcakes, meteor showers, watching for the space station to fly over on a quiet night, a great movie, singing around a campfire. I’ve taught them to say “thank you” and “I’m sorry” and “have a good day,” to say their prayers, that love is the most important thing.  And I have understood with each day how precious these days are. I have not taken a smidgen, an iota, the tiniest whit for granted.

Sure, there were times I got tired of them always wanting to sit on my lap or weary that as soon as I went to the bathroom they needed me DESPERATELY! All that is mostly gone now. With each day they get more of their own lives and need less of mine. I know we will always be knit together, but it changes.

So, I’ll treasure every second I get.

I’m a mom who never thought I wanted to be a mom, but dear God, my boys fill my heart full.

bottle flips

 

Things Happen by Dawes

I could go on talking or I could stop
Wring out each memory til’ I get every drop
Sift through the details of the others involved
The true crime would be thinking it’s just one persons fault

Like an honest signature on a fake ID
Like the guilty conscience with the innocent plea
You can just ignore it, put it out of mind
But ain’t it funny how the past won’t ever let something lie

Let’s make a list of all the things the world has put you through
Let’s raise a glass to all the people you’re not speaking to
I don’t know what else you wanted me to say to you
Things happen, that’s all they ever do

In a different time, on a different floor
I might mourn the loss of who I’m not anymore
So I’m driving up to Oakland for a good look back
And a few revisions to my plan of attack

Let’s make a list of all the things the world has put you through
Let’s raise a glass to all the people you’re not speaking to
I don’t know what else you wanted me to say to you
Things happen, that’s all they ever do

I think I’ll see Lily, see where she stands
I can’t help how I feel, I don’t think anyone can
Sometimes we’re lovers, sometimes we’re friends
Behold the magnetism between two dead ends

Let’s make a list of all the things the world has put you through
Let’s raise a glass to all the people you’re not speaking to
I don’t know what else you wanted me to say to you
Things happen, that’s all they ever do

Lets’ make a list of all the things the world has put you through (we can qualify the spirit guides we listen to)
Lets raise a glass to all the people your not speaking to (or why are moms compelled to bronze your baby shoes)
I don’t know what else that you wanted me to say to you
Things happen, that’s all they ever do
That’s all they ever do
That’s all they ever do
That’s all they ever do

 

Still Be Around

Reflections on Shuffle-Play

Still be Around – Uncle Tupelo

This was the song playing in my mind when I woke up this morning. It is important to pay attention to the songs running through your mind – particularly if they come to you in your dreams. I’m not sure why this one visited me, but I’ve always loved it ever since it was released on Uncle Tupelo’s second album, “Still Feel Gone” in 1991.

The tune is happy and melancholy at the same time. It’s like when you are living in the happiest times and you hardly want to sleep because you know that one of these days it will be different – the bad news will come, or the lights won’t shine so bright, or it will be cloudy and rainy a few too many days. So, you soak in all the goodness while you can, every moment, even as you live into whatever comes next.

Maybe that is how autumn feels. Right now some of the trees here are brilliant red, yellow, and orange and some are still green. While there are some leaves on the ground, the weather is still warm enough that the windows in my office are open. It’s the best of everything – but so soon the winter will be here and one too many icy and snowy and cold day after another. It’s okay. Around here we know that winter has to happen before spring can come around again. We know how to make it through the cold…but it doesn’t make these gorgeous fall days any less bittersweet.

Still be Around – Uncle Tupelo

I don’t see you through the windshield
I don’t see you in faces looking back at me
Alcohol doesn’t have much that matters to say
Can’t imagine where you and time to kill will stay

When the Bible is a bottle and the hardwood floor is home
When morning comes twice a day or not at all
If I break in two, will you put me back together?
When this puzzle’s figured out, will you still be around?
To say, you’ve just been there walking the line upside down

Walked and breathed many a cancerous mile
Where the bat of an eye is too slow to beat the coffin
And they won’t tell it on the TV, they can’t say it on the radio
They pay to move it off the shelf and into our minds
Till you can’t tell the truth when it’s right in front of your eyes

When the Bible is a bottle, the hardwood floor is home
When morning comes twice a day or not at all
If I break in two, will you put me back together?
When this puzzle’s figured out, will you still be around?
To say, just been there walking the line upside down

Writer(s): Jay Farrar, Mike Heidorn, Jeffrey Scot Tweedy