Tuesday, June 7, 2016

And we will be headed into the dawn for the next thirty-eight hours. Wake up, my spirit. Awake.

My heart is firmly fixed, O God, my heart is fixed; I will sing and make melody. Wake up, my spirit; awake, lute and harp; I myself will awaken the dawn. I will confess you among the peoples, O LORD; I will sing praise to you among the nations. For your loving-kindness is greater than the heavens, and your faithfulness reaches to the clouds. Exalt yourself above the heavens, O God, and your glory over all the earth. Psalm 57:7-11

Firmly fixed.

I WILL sing and make melody. WAKE UP, my spirit, AWAKE. I WILL sing praises. The dawn that began at 2:20 this morning.

Indeed, Your Lovingkindness is greater than the heavens and Your Faithfulness reaches the skies.

So yesterday I wrote a birthday letter to my sister. I awoke with the dawn then too. Each day, like today, again and again.

Dear beloved sister.

Another year evaporating like puddles of leftover morning watering during a Tucson June morning. Whap. Gone.

Each day like today, again and again.

A small cup of espresso brewed in the stained Turkish pot and while I was waiting I threw The Last Load Before The Trip into the washer and moved everything else through the cycle: washer to dryer, dryer to neatly folding up Elizabeth’s mostly t-shirts and leaving them on the dining table. The internet was down so I slipped onto Jack and Mary Anne’s back porch for Fixed Hours, Richard Rohr, and The Joy Dare: three gifts ugly/beautiful.

And a message from Nicole in Mozambique. Her phone was stolen during a group meeting, ironically on community and trust. But God is speaking to her so clearly about loving Him with her undistracted heart, soul and mind and her neighbor as herself. An Ugly/beautiful gift. So I filled out a claim with USAA before heading off to the pool.

Warm-up: 300 free, 200 kick, 100 pull. Monday Distance Day: 3 100s, 200s, 3 100s, 300s, 3 100s, 400s. A 600 lungbuster pull. Then a final IM100 and up and out as the U of A team muscles up to the edge ready to take their bi-daily leap.

And I bumped into Jack bringing over the local paper and he thanked me, and thus I found out that the person I was messaging with because he texted me a month ago and asked me to pray with him turned out to be the guy from church in a wheelchair, an amateur boxer until he got in car crash. And he is way cool and every time I see him I have to kneel and ask our Father to show His great power and love and heal him. And every time I wonder about that voice in my heart and this thing of time. And I try not to be crabby and impatient with the LORD God. Which reminds me of course of did I tell you Heather and Dustin and Simone Rose and Emily Tess were in a car accident on the way to the airport last Thursday and a lady smashed into them and totaled the car? A lady without a license, driving someone else’s car without insurance and she slammed into the back of their faded Honda Fit with an eight-day-old baby in it because “My tattooed foot could just not hit the brake.” Another so-close-to-home reminder of the fragility of time. An ugly/beautiful gift.

And I likewise plowed into our internet woes seeing as I was leaving town for a month and it turned out that we got cut off…temporarily…one too many copyright movie downloads by an unsuspecting international student, yesterday at 7 AM–could have been Manuel, Wali who was visiting and asleep on the living room couch or Daniel. Next time they will suspend service for six months. So I chatted with four Cox representatives with conflicting solutions but the same friendly script and who kept asking how my day was going so far. A third ugly/beautiful gift. 

And Scott swung by to drop off a suggested reading book for my trip about two easy ways to die in the desert: thirst and drowning and gave me a big hug. 

And I held sweet Simone Rose for an hour in the shade while Heather in the sun painted the frames of their new double-paned windows dark grey. Outside as the thermostat inched up past 100 before nine.

And Alan emailed me and asked me to pick up some drinks because it is his time to buy drinks for the post soccer game thing tonight: 12 light Mexican beers, 3 regular Mexican beers, 4 diet sodas and 2 fruit juices.

And I am taking Elizabeth to Fry’s today to teach her how to shop for the family. And I already showed her how to start the dishwasher this morning.And sometimes you have to jiggle the button a little bit. She is the sweetest alma de las casa possible and already has found a job at Panda Express and USwirl next door and mostly we just need a lot of fruit and vegetables and milk. And Mexican beer.

I stopped at some fancy dancy Western store on Broadway and bought a faux sheriff’s badge for Manuel’s dad. The building is going to get bulldozed soon for the street-widening project that was approved by voters over twenty years ago and they are just about getting ready to do it at last.

And here I sit at Midas, getting an oil change for Nicole’s inherited Uncle Ted Cadillac for Alan who likes both the sentimentality and roaring–the engine and air conditioner. I bought a groupon this morning but I can see that it was more expensive than the summer special posted out front. Such are groupons.

And I will swing by mom’s for glass of iced tea and it will probably change into lunch. Since it is already 11:32.

It did turn into sliced fruit and sliced quesadillas and lots of phone calls on hold as I helped her figure out if there were any doctors in a fifteen-mile radius who were accepting new patients. New patients with Humana Community HMO insurance that is. And there is one. His name is Dustin and he has an appointment available at the end of August. Check.

Yet another morning.


And of course everyone is asking me if I am excited about my trip and I can’t even wrap my brain around it. Although Facebook reminded me that exactly two years ago today Nicole and I were in Bordeaux, France staying at an AirBNB about to take the bus to San Sebastian, Spain where Max’s uncle found us in the park at two in the morning and took such good care of us before we rented two bikes to ride across Northern Spain. How did that happen?


And all I can really think about is what is the purpose of it all.

And I am reminded of the Love God and Enjoy Him forever mantra that Jack Voelkel taught Nicole when she was in middle school.

Day by day.

And how much I love my beloved sister, who walks through life with me all day, every day, the continual conversation in my head because she offers wisdom, grace and unconditional love.

Happy Birthday.

What can I bring you from Turkey, Greece or Italy? I bet we will go to the Grand Bazaar. And the Farmers Market in Lugo.

You are the best gift buyer ever. So clever and thoughtful.

I am, well, not.

But I do love you ever so dearly and am so glad that I could not get a flight past Denver with my frequent flier miles.

Yep, feeling like God has this whole thing planned. Laid out.

From the beginning of time.


And there you have it. Time. From the beginning.

And here I sit in the very still Admiral Lounge in LAX. Soft-spoken gloved waiters wander about gathering up small dishes of olive pits and empty latte cups. And there are always the rolling suitcase wheels. And the steady background roar of the air conditioner. The morning haze is burning off. I am reading a chapter or two from The Black Book, deniz’s recommendation that tastes of the tangled rich flavor of Istanbul, “a provocative meditation on identity.” And it needs to sift down and settle every twenty pages or so. The timefull-ness of the Bosphorus River is captured in Chapter Two in which a newspaper columnist imagines what one would find were it to dry up, relics of two and a half thousand years of continuous civilization buried in its mud.

Each day like today, again and again.

As each of us, each day, “plunge(s) into the silent darkness and make (our) way through the stench of rotting corpses…the remains of a looted Genoese treasure, a short-barreled cannon caked with mud, the mussel-caked idols and images of lost and forgotten peoples, and the shattered bulbs of an overturned brass chandelier.”

And what does it matter beyond Love God and Enjoy Him forever? Loving Him with an undistracted heart, soul and mind and our neighbors as ourselves.

My heart is firmly fixed.

Because of the faithful love of our God in which the rising Sun has come from on high to visit us, to give light to those who live in darkness and the shadow dark as death, and to guide our feet into the way of peace.

The way of peace. Here in the stillness of navy vinyl club seats and no CNN or Fox News even though outside in the rumbling sprawl the last weary gasping remnants of political primaries are taking place in The Big One, California.

Exalt Yourself above the heavens, O God, and Your glory over all the earth.

And please, because of Your faithful love, give light to those of us who live in darkness and shadow, and guide our feet into the way of peace.

Unbound by time faithful love.

May I be a light-bearer, wherever this path may lead.