BEGIN AGAIN. AND AGAIN. AND AGAIN.

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Sometimes I take a step back and look at everything I have written in my blog to date and just laugh. I think of all of my friends from high school and through the years that ‘knew me when’ and what they must think as they read the weird stuff I write.

I was always a little weird in school. The relatively quiet girl that was in the theater department, a collective group of weird people, a girl who walked down the halls at school humming a tune from the musical that was at any given time in rehearsal. Or the girl that was rushing to her locker to see if her boyfriend had left her another note—often a Shakespearean love sonnet—“Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day? Thou art more lovely and more temperate…” I was the girl backstage in the shadows who was silently reciting every line of the play. The one who did makeup and costumes and props. Behind the scenes girl. I have kind of been that way all of my life. I never felt the need to become ‘center stage’.

Which brings me to why this feels so strange to write down and put into a public blog all of the weird spiritual, unexplained phenomena that have been occurring to me since—well since early high school. But there was a restlessness within and a relentless voice telling me to tell the stories. Tell them NOW. Wow. (“she’s hearing voices in her head….oh-oh…”).

I’ve been a good Lutheran girl since my infant baptism. No, from my mother’s womb. My faith was instilled and nurtured within me by my family, even when I became that growling teenager who fought tooth and nail to stay in bed on a Sunday morning, I’d be the last one in the car, carrying my shoes, grumbling about how church was boring. Mom and Dad ignored my grumbling, although Dad threw me knowing glances. He was a semi-reluctant church goer too. Crowds bothered him.

I married a great guy that became a Lutheran pastor (what was I thinking??) and although life as a clergy family is rather fishbowl-ish, we managed to keep our boundaries and have a good family life. I was a working wife and mother (which didn’t earn me any brownie points in the rural parishes that we served), but I wouldn’t say I was much in the spotlight. I loved our people (even the cranky ones) in each church that we served from Illinois to Texas to Louisiana and Florida, but was always content being backstage, in the shadows.

I can’t pinpoint when the relentless urging to write and publish these stories rose up within me. Perhaps it was shortly before my mother died, when I was in such deep grief over watching her go through the surgeries and eventually losing her to infection. I was doing a LOT of crying and wailing and screaming at God during that time as I did when I lost my dad when he was just 54 years old. A turning point happened when I had had a vision right at the same time mom was in surgery, miles away from me and I was praying and screaming and begging God to keep her safe. I wrote down that experience and was able to share it with mom before her second surgery, as we cried together, the story of what I saw gave her great peace.

After her death as I went through her photos and jewelry and aprons and glassware and papers and things, I found a folder with scraps of paper in her handwriting with bits of poetry that she had written long ago. Words of wonder at the beauty of creation and God’s grace. That’s when I knew that I had to give voice to the gift I had been given.

“Capture the moment. Share the visions. The time is NOW. The world is hungry for hope and beauty.”

And so I begin–again.

William Shakespeare – Sonnet #18

Shall I compare thee to a Summer’s day?

Thou art more lovely and more temperate:

Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,

And Summer’s lease hath all too short a date:

Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines,

And oft’ is his gold complexion dimm’d;

And every fair from fair sometime declines,

By chance or nature’s changing course untrimm’d:

But thy eternal Summer shall not fade

Nor lose possession of that fair thou owest;

Nor shall Death brag thou wanderest in his shade,

When in eternal lines to time thou growest: 

So long as men can breathe, or eyes can see,

So long lives this, and this gives life to thee.

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