Ponderings.

I take great joy in observing life. I spend a lot of time pondering my observations. So, one day I thought I would write them down. These are my ponderings. -dana

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Supper.

Supper.  When I was a little girl that was what we called the meal at the end of the day.  When my mother would open the back door of our house and call "supper", my sisters and I knew that playtime was over and something good was waiting when we came inside!  I'm fairly certain she never had to call twice when she used that word!  When I was a little girl, we played outside.  We were olympic gymnasts on our swing set. We would pull the streamers out of our bike handlebars and insert an old key and we'd ride all over our neighborhood pretending that our banana-seat bikes were cars.  We got dirty and we worked up an appetite!  So you see, "supper" was a wonderful word.

With very few exceptions, supper was eaten at home.  Mostly those at the table were Mother, Daddy, myself and my two sisters.  Conversation was always lively--at least amongst the girls.  Daddy was a man of few words, and usually only spoke up when the rest of us got out of control.  "Getting tickled" at the table was commonplace.  It could be triggered by something as simple as the configuration of green peas on a plate bearing a striking resemblance to our preacher.  Or it could be because my sisters saw me hiding most of my ham (which I did not like) inside the empty shell of my baked potato.  They thought it was funny.  I thought is was ingenious!  Eventually, before things got totally out of hand, Daddy would look up and say one word in a deep voice.  "Girls".  That one word spoken by him was guaranteed to quiet us down for at least 60 seconds.  I must also say that "girls" included Mother, who was always right in the big middle of it with us.  Though a quiet man, Daddy was always a stickler for manners.  Napkins in laps.  Elbows off the table.  No smacking!  And absolutely no television.

What happened around our table in the 60's and 70's in a little oilfield town in West Texas would never be called "dinner".  With dinner there is a connotation of seriousness. With the place settings.  With the food.  With the conversation.  No, what we had was supper.  And it was the best time of the day.

I'm uncertain as to whether families nowadays have supper.  I think "dinner" is more in line with these times.  We have dinner out with our families because we're busy.  We have dinner out with friends because it's easier.  I find there is a lack of intimacy in "dinner".  We're able to keep a safe distance from each other when we meet up in a public places.  When we don't cook together or clean up dishes together, there is less chance that we have to share ourselves.  Hmmm.  Here's what got me thinking about this.

A few weeks ago a friend that I had not seen in about a year invited my husband and me to her house for "supper".  When she said the word, it sounded almost foreign to me, but it immediately brought back all kinds of sweet, warm images from a time in my past.  It had been ages since I had been invited to "supper".  I had high hopes!  The night arrived and my husband and I set out on the 45-minute drive through the countryside to get to my friend's house.  We were greeted by her and her husband and took a stroll through the century-old house they'd recently moved into--the place where generations of their family had lived.  It was the house where I would be reminded of the importance of supper.

There was the time of fixing drinks together and chatting on the back porch while the food was in the oven.  Later, there was the clearing of the table together and rinsing the dishes together during which time the conversation never lulled.   The meal, as delicious as it was, paled in comparison to keeping company with sweet friends.  It was intimate and fun and honest.  It was casual and relaxing.  Four friends sitting around a table with an abundance of laughter and stories.  A glass of iced tea at the front end and a strong cup of coffee at the other end.  Photo albums came out.  The sharing of family events. It was the kind of night when you have to make yourself get up to leave because you really would like to stay a bit longer!  We left that night with goodbye hugs on the front porch  under the porch light. As we walked away to get in our car, I heard the screen door close behind us.  I had just experienced "supper".  And I was happier for it.

suppertime on the porch.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Conflicted....

I am basically a-political.  Oh, I can get going when debating certain issues, but it isn't a matter of politics for me.  It's the condition of my heart.  No matter what my head may say, my heart has no regard at all for what might seem reasonable or politically correct.   My heart hurts when my head tells me to be happy.  And my heart sings when my head says I should feel badly.  See why I'm conflicted?  In 51 years of living, I have learned that people seem to be wired one of two ways.  There are those who seem to follow their heads and those who follow their hearts.  Sometimes, I think a person can do an occasional "crossover", but basically I think we are either one or the other.  I, almost without exception, follow my heart.

So, for example, take a piece of chocolate cake.  I know I should have an apple instead.  I can even try to convice my heart that I could grow to love it more than chocolate cake.  However, my heart will not be fooled.  It knows the joy even a single bite of chocolate cake brings and it knows an apple, even with all its health benefits, can't produce that kind of joy.  I follow my heart.  I eat the chocolate cake.  My heart rules me 99% of the time.

Now that you know this about me, I will move on to something much more serious than chocolate cake.  It is something that I feel conflicted about--it's like my heart and head are having a tug-of-war.  I'm pretty sure my heart will win, as it always does, but I am having more difficulty than usual wrapping my head around it because it deals with life and death.

Osama Bin Laden is dead.  My head says, "Ha, ha!  That sorry, evil so-and-so, finally got his!"  My head says it's time to feel proud for my country and thumb my nose at the middle east and haughtily say "Winning" in a sort of Charlie Sheen way.  And add to that, "Well guess there'll be no more chocolate cake for you, buddy!".  But wait.  My heart can't be quiet anymore.

I saw an image of our Statue of Liberty holding the head of Bin Laden.  Blood is dripping down her arm.  It gave me a weird feeling in the pit of my stomach.   Last night on the news, I saw American streets in Washington D.C. and New York City where mobs had gathered to celebrate death. Honestly, at first glance, it could have been a scene straight off the streets of the middle east.  I remember seeing that kind of celebration when terrorist groups received word that the target had been hit on 9-11.  They celebrated death while me mourned it.  My head tells me that it all depends on which side of death you're on...the "for it" or the "against it" side.  My head tells me I'm on the "for it" side now.  My heart isn't letting me believe it.  Somehow it feels wrong to harbor that much hatred.  But then again, I didn't suffer tangible loss on 9-11.

I mourned with all of our country on 9-11.  I remember I had just taken my children to school and had arrived back home.  My husband called and said something awful was happening and he said I should turn on the television.  So, along with everyone else in our country, I watched utter horror unfold.  On my  pre-dawn walk with friends the next morning, the sky was eerily quiet.   The world was holding its breath.

 I cannot for one minute imagine the terror of those whose lives were forever altered on that day.  My heart is letting me weep with them for the years they've lost waiting for justice.  I weep for those in our military who fought the fight to protect our freedom and lost their lives doing it.  Justice has come and it was deserved.  It was the necessary consequence for the sin.  And my heart feels at peace about it.  Still, my heart will not rejoice as one who places no value at all on human life.  Deep within me is a sadness that it had to come to this in the first place.  A sadness that in this world there lives such hatred that we celebrate death.  They celebrate ours and we celebrate theirs.

So I'm sitting here feeling conflicted, wondering why in the world I can't celebrate this death.   Then I suddenly know why!   At the center of my faith is a loving God who hates any kind of sin at all and allows natural consequences to happen.  Paramount to my faith is the belief that God, in the form of the Holy Spirit, lives in me. IN ME.  IN MY HEART.  That same God created a man named Osama Bin Laden. And though his death had to come and was necessary, God is not celebrating.  He is weeping for a lost son. That is why my heart cannot celebrate death. 

Make no mistake, I will not miss the terrorist who stole moms and dads from their children and husbands from their wives.  I am at peace that in his death justice was served.  But there is no celebration for me over death.  My heart tells me that's wrong.  As usual, I will follow my heart....and pray that God will bless America as I  give my greatest effort to love when my head tells me to hate.

"As surely as I live", declares the Sovereign Lord, "I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that they turn from their ways and live". Ezekiel 33:29.

A simple plea. ( My visit to Ground Zero-nine months after 9-11).


Immeasurable sadness. (Wall of Memory-nine months after 9-11).