FLOCKS OF CROWS

By Lisa Huddleston

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Flocks of crows

Ca-caw ca-caw

Black v’s and checkmarks

In the misty rain and fog

 

Dripping orange, yellow, and red

Saturated and bright

Against the black and gray day

 

And flocks of crows

And flocks of crows

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FRIENDS WITH EARS TO HEAR

By Lisa Huddleston

ears-to-hear-11As I approached the door to the sanctuary this Sunday morning, I saw two of my friends smiling and chatting away. One was a long-time pal and the other a fairly new acquaintance, but as soon as their eyes hit mine I could tell that my new friend wanted to talk to me–and I knew what about.

You see, the last time Chuck and I attended our home group, I spontaneously announced to everyone there that I had serious depression and had even struggled with the idea of hurting myself at times. What the heck??!

Well, the group was very sweet, and I could see their concern, but their reactions were awkward for me because I felt a little misunderstood–my fault of course. The leader suggested by asking a question that my depression could be a spiritual difficulty. Since I know that prayer helps in any situation and that was kind of what I was requesting (although I meant prayer in their own homes as they thought of it), I agreed to have the group pray for me right then. Before I knew it, I was surrounded by genuinely, loving believers placing their hands on my back and shoulders and voicing requests for my peace. It truly was well-intentioned and kind (and possibly/probably even very effective), but I am at best a socially-awkward introvert and felt a little freaked out by this reaction and the amount of attention I endured. (To anyone from this group–I LOVE YOU DEARLY! Please, no offense.)

Therefore I knew what was on my friend’s mind; however, I was pleasantly surprised when she began an inquiry of depth and openness that I truly appreciated. I want to write this post to say thank you to her for taking the time to ask some uncomfortable questions in order to understand what I and other depressives are going through.

First, she asked me if depression is a spiritual problem. I answered as honestly as I could that depression is a term used to describe many emotional and physical situations–and that while I believed it could sometimes have spiritual causes–I did not however believe that to be my current situation. My healthcare providers, my personal and family histories, and my symptoms all point toward my experiencing major clinical depression. I did share with her that depression definitely dampens my ability to worship, to pray, and to hold on to faith (thus affecting me spiritually), but that I have been reminded in many ways that it is not my faith that saves me but God’s. My prayer is that when I cannot hold on to Him that He will faithfully hang on to me. And so far, He has. My experience is that my depression is not caused by a “spiritual issue or battle” any more than any other disease is (or is not.)

My friend also asked if depression was the same as feeling sad. Again what a thoughtful question! And my answer is no. When I am sad there is a reason for me to feel that way. I’m too fat for my favorite jeans. One of my cats is missing. Or maybe I have learned of a dear friend’s passing. But depression is much more generalized than sadness. When battling depression, I feel exhausted and disinterested in most things. Sleep is my best friend, and very little can be done to make me less irritable or discouraged about my perception of the hopeless condition of myself or any other life on this planet. My brain feels like either mush or a bouncing pin ball, and I frequently wish I could either simply shut down or completely disappear. Depression is very different from the emotion we call sad.

This thoughtful friend asked me a few more questions–all equally good–offered her help, promised her prayers, and then it was time for us to take our seats. I just want to say thank you to her for taking the time to ask me how I really felt and to listen to my responses. I intend to follow her great example in the future when I have a friend facing a difficulty I know very little about.

Oh, Father, give me ears to hear.

 

WEAVING A LIFE

By Lisa Huddleston

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Over and under

And pulling it through

Weaving the wool

To make fabric new

 

Red wool and blue wool

And purple and gray

The over and under

Help me through the day

 

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Like yoga sometimes

It’s more undo than do

So over and under

I’m pulling me through

 

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Teasing out knots that

Ravel my brain

Picking apart to

Lessen the strain

 

Over and under

And pulling back though

Undoing the old knots

But still making new

ANNIVERSARY

By Lisa Huddleston

 

Days of births,

Years of service,remembering

Weddings and deaths,

We are all about such things.

So we mark them with stars on calendars

To remember and not forget.

 

 

What year did you build this house?

When did your daddy pass away?

Was it fall when she first learned the truth about her man?

 

Anniversaries—a ticking off of

Weeks and months and years.

Marking the hard work,

Rewarding the perseverance,

Remembering the pain as well as the joy,

Or simply acknowledging a lazy

Dislike of change.

 

Did you try to reach this milestone?

Was it more than breathing in and breathing out?

Did you believe the promise that time would heal all wounds?

 

Time, of course, does help; but stubborn scars remain.

White hash marks etched in small groups of five,

Silver lines cut in the thin skin of time,

Fading and fading but never quite completely

As long as we continue to mark the day

And call it, “Anniversary.”

KICKING AGAINST THE GOADS

By Lisa Huddleston

Pastor Jim read the 26th chapter of Acts for yesterday’s sermon and focused on three primary points:

  1. God calls us to testify on behalf of the Gospel
  2. Christian faith is both true and rational
  3. Christian faith reorders our priorities by putting God first, then others next, and finally ourselves last.

They were good points, and as always I took notes and pondestart-with-whyred my own thoughts throughout the message. Yes, I am prone to ponder—Lord, I feel it. I have lots of questions and sometimes wish I could raise my hand and ask, “Why?” Instead I satisfy myself by writing why or a big old question mark in the margin of my Bible.

Yesterday there were a couple of whys that caught my attention, and although I know I could pull out concordances and word studies, I think I’m just going to ponder freely.

First, when he is telling his conversion story why does Paul add the information that he heard “a voice speaking to me in the Hebrew language?” (vs.14). Does the language help to clarify that it really was Jesus who was speaking to him—in the Aramaic dialect as other translations note—rather than Greek or any other language? Is this detail included in order to point to Jesus? Maybe so.

And consider verse 16: “But get up and stand on your feet. For I have appeared to you for this purpose, to appoint you as a servant and a witness of things you have seen, and of things in which I will appear to you.” What did Jesus mean in that last phrase? How would he appear to Paul in future “things?” Jesus continues that he will, “Rescue [Paul] from the people and from the Gentiles, to whom I now send you to open their eyes that they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a share among those who are sanctified by faith in Me” (vs.17-18). If I were Paul, I would have been asking, “What things, Lord? Why will I need to be rescued? How will I know you when you appear to me?”

I’m sure I would (and do) try God’s patience many times a day. But prone to ponderers are also prone to askers!

One statement that I jotted in my notebook Sunday stands out to me. “The question ‘Why?’ leads us to the question ‘Who?’” If I’m going to have a chance in—well you know where—of receiving true answers to my questions, I’m going to have to bring them to the only one who can possibly know the truth: the Author and promised Finisher of my faith. Please, keep working on me, Lord, and help me to be satisfied with the Who even when my Whys sometimes get in the way.

Amen.