Sunday, November 13, 2016

A Much-Needed Prescription

With four children, the oldest age six, the twins age four, and the baby not quite a year old, it was no wonder the mom felt frazzled, and she looked it too. Holding her youngest on her lap while the pediatrician checked the baby’s ears and listened to her heart, the mom allowed herself to relax a little in the chair. A sigh, one of those involuntary sighs that she was famous for, chose that moment to escape. The doctor scooted his wheeled stool across the room to his desk, and picked up his prescription pad. He smiled at the mom. “Baby is doing fine. But I’m going to write a prescription for you, Mom.” He scribbled a few lines and then handed her the slip of paper. She read it over.

“Are you serious?” she said.

“Yes,” was the smiling and emphatic reply.

The prescription read: “One weekend with [your husband] and without children at my vacation cabin on Lummi Island.” 

In the four years that her kids had been under this doctor’s care, she’d seen his kindness, patience, compassion, and gentleness with them, as well as his skill as a physician, but to be the recipient of his generosity and obvious concern for her mental well-being brought tears of gratitude. She felt that the weekend away did much to help her hang onto her sanity. A move to another state shortly after meant a new pediatrician but she always thought of him as the best one her kids ever had.

Thirty-some years later she read on Facebook that a certain Noemi Ban, holocaust survivor, would be giving a lecture at Western Washington University about her experiences. Always interested in knowing more about this, she signed up to attend, along with her sister. She pondered the woman’s last name. It was the same as that of the wonderful pediatrician who cared for her children. Could they be related? 

If you haven’t already guessed, I was that frazzled mom. It was this past week that I went to the lecture. And there was the pediatrician in the front row proudly watching his mother, at the age of 94, talking about having hope and love, instead of hate, even after suffering so dreadfully at Auschwitz. I spoke with Dr. Ban for a few minutes during intermission. I said, “You must be so proud of your mom!” He smiled and admitted he was. I went on to express my gratitude for his care of my children, and of me with such an unusual prescription. He said he recalled that occasion and how my husband had done a little carpentry work for him on the cabin to help defray our medical expenses with him as well. He asked about my kids. Then giving me a hug, he thanked me for connecting with him that evening. 
My sweeties, 1984

Hearing and reading Noemi Ban’s story (Sharing is Healing, a Holocaust Survivor’s Story with Ray Wolpow), I realize that it was she who influenced her son to be the kind and generous man who took a personal interest in his young patients and their parents. She raised her children to love life and to overcome hatred, a much-needed prescription in our world. I know my children were just a few out of the hundreds who were benefitted in part by this one woman. I feel blessed to have heard her say, “Life is for living. I love life!” 

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

It's All Playing!

Playing in the leaves and the pumpkins, playing with words, playing with photos, it's all playing! I'm no poet but when a prompt for Haiku showed up in my writing group, it called forth some words that may or may not be considered poetry but it appealed to my desire to play. Take a moment, dear reader, and play with me. Be refreshed.

With edges curling
Crisping to red and yellow
A lone leaf resting

Once shady partners
Simmered in sun, blown in breeze
Task complete, they fall

Yes to the pumpkin!
Forget past seasons’ neglect
And doom of compost

Friday, July 29, 2016

A Ladybug Speaks

Nobody notices the wallflower. You know, the quiet, shy person sitting on the sidelines, alone, not drawn into conversation or even approached in search of a listening ear. Yep, I’ve been a wallflower; occasionally I still am, by choice thinking erroneously that my company isn’t wanted anyway. 

I’ve noticed lately that God enjoys initiating conversations with me. Not that I’ve had the burning bush experience or instructions to put on a stone tablet kind of thing. Actually, according to Chris Tiegreen in the Hearing His Voice devotional book as he referenced Hebrews 8:6 (He is the one who mediates for us a far better covenant with God, based on better promises), we’ve got it way better than dear Moses in the communicating with God department. 

It may be a mysterious sounding concept but having the Holy Spirit as a constant presence, I’m increasingly aware that God welcomes interaction with me. And He usually starts the dialogue. He doesn’t limit Himself to one mode of expression. I think I have a favorite though. Well, a close second after the Bible. He catches my eye and my ear with the tiniest details in His creation, His home away from home. 

An answer to my unspoken, unexplored questions came in red with tiny black dots.
All alone on a leaf, quivering in the breeze.

Life’s breezes have me all a-quiver, with some uncertainties and unknowns as well as exciting potential. A ladybug spoke God’s message to me, “Hold on to the living vine. He won’t let you fall. And He makes all things beautiful in the midst of it.”

Monday, July 25, 2016

Garden of Desires

“Hope that is put off makes the heart sick, but a desire that comes into being is a tree of life.” (Proverbs 13:12 NLT) 

I don’t have green thumbs and I have no desire to dig in the dirt. But I love to look at what others have planted and brought to bloom.   

There are things other than plants that I have great longings for, where growth and ripening seem to be a far off dream. Will the branches of those trees ever be covered with leaves? Do my longings have anything to do with what God longs for? What are His yearnings? 

I believe the yearnings and desires of my heart are shaped by God. He is the Gardener who planted those desires, so like a child with both hands grasped by her Father in a never ending circle of dancing grace, I’m going to keep on expecting fulfillment and satisfaction from Him.
When I lean in to watch as He waters and weeds my garden, I am assured He will reap what He has planted in me, a tree of life.

Friday, June 10, 2016

Opening the Shell

Here we are, approaching the halfway mark for 2016. It seems like just yesterday I was opening up Hearing His Voice by Chris Tiegreen, the new devotional book I’d chosen to peruse for the year, fitting as it did with the sense that God was calling me to listen more for His voice. In my own journal I’ve scribbled down impressions on my heart initiated by the daily readings. If you’ll have me, I’d like to share some of those with you, a little at a time. Maybe they will resonate with you. 

God already knows me down to the very nucleus of every cell in my body and all the vastness of my soul. After all, He created this shell of mine and breathed life into me and then redeemed me. He is not only aware of me, He is deeply interested in me. This sixty-two year old woman who still has doubts about so many things, who feels scattered in her thoughts and beliefs, who isn’t consistent with her habits (the “good” habits anyway), who gets irritated with herself and others.

Yes, His interest in me is personal and intense. I want to turn my attention to Him and become deeply interested in Him. Not just stories about Him, but in Who He is and what He has to say to me. I do believe He speaks and I am opening up to hear Him.

Saturday, January 16, 2016

An Invitation

When God instructed Moses to construct a place, a tabernacle, in which the Israelites could worship Him while in the desert, He gave an invitation to the people to join in with the gifts He'd provided for them. Craftsmanship, materials, precious metals, and design abilities to name a few. And so,

All whose hearts were stirred and whose spirits were moved came and brought their sacred offerings to the Lord. They brought all the materials needed for the Tabernacle, for the performance of its rituals, and for the sacred garments.” (Exodus 35:21, NLT)

An invitation came my way recently. It began with me wanting snacks for my tummy. I got a feast for my soul.

One evening last week on vacation with my hubby on the Pacific Coast of the Olympic Peninsula, we set out for a walk to the little grocery store. I glanced ahead and my heart skipped a beat. You know when that late afternoon light hits and everything goes golden? My view of the western sky was blocked by some foliage and buildings but up ahead I could see the cabins were aglow. It was almost like I was in a dream and unable to make my feet go faster so I could see what was happening out there.

And then! And then! I was past the blockage and I wanted to dance. Oh, I did dance. With my iPhone camera. The views at Kalaloch are always beautiful but this was spectacular. The low-lying clouds had rolled up like a stage-curtain that had then gotten stuck and the sun poured through the slit in red and gold profusion.

As I snapped picture after picture, I felt like God called out to me, inviting me to participate with Him in creating art. This stretch of beach and bluff, the trees, the sky, all His creation beyond our comprehension. And it was a privilege to be there, to respond, to find angles and perspectives, to create.

It was never clearer to me than in that moment, and I hope to carry that realization forward, He is always inviting us to participate in His creation. Photography, writing, teaching, whatever the gifts He's given, we get to create with Him.