SONGS OF THE LORD

fineartamerica.com

fineartamerica.com

By Lisa Huddleston

“How can we sing the songs of the Lord while in a foreign land?” (Psalm 137:4)

Do you ever feel as though you are living in a foreign land–okay, a foreign planet even?

I drive down the road and marvel as people speed through stop signs and cut me off just to get one car ahead as we sit at the next red light.

I’m amazed as I try to watch a movie at the local theater while other patrons carry on conversations in full voice without a concern in the world for the rest of us who are trying to hear the film.

And those are the most benign examples I can recount of this foreign land. You don’t need me to name the rest. Watch the news. Read a paper. Step out into the flow. You already know.

We are, and I am living in a foreign land so is it really any surprise that I don’t feel like singing songs of joy? Is it any wonder that I want to hang up my harp and sit and weep as the river of civilization flows by my feet?

Truth be told, seeds of this foreign land are found even within my own heart. So much so that there are times when I’m not sure where I belong.

Am I a citizen of Zion or Babylon? And often (always) the answer is “Yes!”

And still we sing.

 

THE WATCHMEN’S CALL

Lovie Dove--my new alarm clock!

Lovie Dove–my new alarm clock!

By Lisa Huddleston

I wait for the Lord, my soul waits,and in his word I put my hope. My soul waits for the Lord more than watchmen wait for the morning, more than watchmen wait for the morning (Psalm 57:5-6).

Some times are waiting times. Nothing very important is going on. There are no deadlines or goals to work toward. There is little more to do than the mundane tasks of day-to-day life. But these words from Psalm 57 remind me of the importance of waiting times … well, these words and a couple of very loud roosters who are living outside my bedroom windows.

I grew up without much rooster experience. Apart from one encounter with a very angry cockerel who chased me and my little sister on a frightening race from the chicken yard to the safety of my uncle’s house, I have had no interaction with chickens or roosters at all until now.

But all that has changed. As I’ve written about in earlier posts, we bought 12 chicks this spring, and we’ve been watching them grow and learning as we go. One thing we have discovered is that at least three of our sweet spring chicks are developing into roosters.

While most people know that roosters crow, the thing that I didn’t know is that roosters don’t just crow when the sun rises–they crow before the sun rises. It’s as if they sense the sun’s immanence and announce it’s coming. My husband laughingly says that they may even think they are responsible for the sun’s daily arrival. Cock-a-doodle-doo! The sun is coming! Come on, sun!

And that is how this waiting time–all waiting times–should be spent. Hopefully! In excited anticipation! Crowing and singing out that the sun is coming. Even when there are clouds, the sun is coming. Even when the rain falls, the sun IS coming. Even when the sky is as black as night, THE SUN IS COMING.

Cock-a-doodle-doo!

FIGHTING WORDS

Lone Cloud in Grey Sky

By Lisa Huddleston

I’ve been under a cloud of smothering, cottony grayness, and it’s time to either force my way out or just give up and breathe it in. Usually my best hope for escape is to write my way out, but without the right words I’m not sure I can muster up the energy. The only words I have today are weary and lonely and useless … not fighting words, not cloud-piercing words. I need words like purpose or creativity or community, but I can’t find them in my heart, and I can’t find the energy to stir them up.

I know I should do something. I should warp my loom. I’ve had lots of scrap yarn that I know would look pretty mixed together in a bohemian scarf, but it takes effort, and I am afraid to try. So many projects have not turned out as I imagined them.

I’ve also had good intentions to use my triangle loom to weave a bag. I can see it in my head, but I can’t seem to will it into my hands. It would be easier than warping the rigid heddle loom, and it may help to pull up those active words. But will I do it? Can I?

Even cleaning the house would be a stab at the cloud. But what a boring, repetitive task that is. I will clean the bathrooms and run the vacuum today because I must. But that may be the end of my efforts.

Somehow just writing these paragraphs, setting these pitiful thoughts into letters and words and sentences compels me to act. Knowing that someone may read them and know how lame I am makes me feel obligated to move. And that is a good thing, I guess. Even without the right fighting words.

 

DEJA VU

By Lisa Huddleston

Image

The sun is a hot one today

And they say there’s nothing new under the sun

And I do believe that is true

Sitting on a humid porch

Listening to flies buzz

And dreaming old dreams

Doesn’t exactly motivate one

Toward originality

But here I will sit

Dreaming old dreams as if they were new

And listening to buzzing flies

Until it’s time to dress for dinner

That will be like every other dinner

We’ve ever had before

SHEDDING SKIN

Gilley Hill Cemetery

Gilley Hill Cemetery

By Lisa Huddleston

Yesterday I watched a grandfather point out a snake skin lying in the grass of the cemetery where the family stood waiting to bury one of our own. His granddaughter seemed intrigued but hesitant to lift it from the ground.  And I pondered. How like that skin our bodies are once we have outgrown them in death. And how hesitant we are to touch the shell that is left behind.

As they were leaving I asked the young girl if she was going to leave her treasure behind. “The women talked her out of it,” the grandfather said.

Shedding skin.

Shedding skin.

But then the girl looked at him and his eyes lit up as she ran over to retrieve her prize. She handed the fragile skin to him, and the old man smiled, gently folded it, and carefully carried it to the car where he hid it in the trunk so “the women” wouldn’t see.

It made me smile, too.

ORGANIC DOESN’T EQUAL SIMPLE

Squash and onions. The fruit of the work in the garden.

Squash and onions. The fruit of the work in our garden.

By Lisa Huddleston

We tend to think that true friendship, true love, true relationship should be easy. We should be able to be ourselves, our truly true selves, and we should never have to change who we are to keep that relationship going. It should be organic, natural, simple.

But authenticity isn’t simple just as organic growth isn’t simple. Both take work–sometimes more work than the artificial kind of relationships do. After all, it’s easier to paste on a happy face, to look and act just like everyone else, to follow the crowd.

Being yourself is hard just like organic farming is hard. You have to be vigilant, to pull all the weeds you can find, to actually squash the bugs between your fingers, and to constantly be on the lookout for anything and everything that doesn’t authentically belong. As I said, it’s hard, hard work.

But it’s worth it. Organic farmers have the satisfaction of knowing that the fruit they produce is real, it’s authentic, and it’s healthy. Just like authenticity in relationships–it’s important to rid our lives of lies and artifice and besetting sins that rob us of who we were authentically created to be. Authenticity isn’t easy just like organic farming isn’t easy. It requires work, intentionality, and vigilance; but, it is always and ever worth it.

Gardens are not made by singing ‘Oh, how beautiful,’ and sitting in the shade,” Rudyard Kipling

LEGACY

By Lisa Huddleston

 

Unknown

Breathe in and the machinery whirs to life

Inspiration and expiration too

Letters and syllables and words and stories

Notes and phrases and melodies and songs

Symbols of life and breath but not life itself

Evidence of life one life all life lived out

Inhaled and exhaled

Until as expected but not really all breath runs out

And only the symbols remain

A legacy not of breath but of

Stories and songs