Monday, June 25, 2012

The Queen Mother Sleeps

"You have fifteen minutes."

I cross the threshold and throw down carry-on and run for the shower to wash off the residue of airports and airplanes... And then I emerge to run around the house with cuffs unbuttoned, nibbling Rosemary and Olive Triscuits-- my substitute for lunch.

But still this isn't real

When I left, my little grandmother was tired. But she was alive...

No longer.

. . . .
In this house, my mama is the Queen. 
So my abuelita was the Queen Mother.

And sometime while I was guiding blind campers through the locker rooms at a swimming pool in Hellen Keller's hometown in Alabama, she went to her rest. 

So, Sabbath a few hours gone, I sat and watched the morning born out a window over the left wing.
And then landed in Albuquerque hours later, a few minutes before my cousin, inbound for the same reason.

But still, it wasn't real.

It wasn't real until I walked into the little church and saw her pretty face, all full of peace. 

And I was washed over with gratitude...
Because though many call this nightfall, I think of it as just the moment before dawn.
Her night-- al chained in by the blackness of a world increasingly impossible for her to understand--

That night is over. 

So even while tears washed the piano keys, and I groaned for grace to keep going-- happy that everyone was singing and my back was to them all...

Even when, after all the nearest and dearest of our friends had mingled tears with ours, wet our shoulders and let us wet theirs,

Even when they were gone and I knelt before the open casket gripping the side with one hand, and stroking her little, cold, white one with my other-- shaking with sobs...

Even then, through tears I could only repeat one thing.

Thank You, Jesus...

Thank You. 

Thank you for those little hands. Those hands that would reach around me from behind and suggest chords and harmonies when I was sitting at the piano pecking out compositions... That musical mastermind that always insisted I nail the progression without compromise, and would cheer and clap with glee when I did. She, with the equivalent of a Doctorate in music from the most prestigious conservatory in her homeland, the composure of unnumbered ballads; I, the upstart child that tried...

Thank You, Jesus.

For the gift she drove home for me, starting before I even knew my own name... By her endless creativity, her bottomless passion--
The gift of love for beautiful things.

Butterflies. And flower petals. And shimmering plumage. And harmonies just, just so
And symmetry, and color, and shades and songs, and sunsets. 

She's why I'm drawn right into the heart of a flower the size of your headphone jack.

And she's one of the great reasons I'm drawn right into the heart of God Whose idea beauty was [is!] in the first place...

Thank You, Jesus.

The Queen Mother sleeps.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Twice a Crime

To deprive Christ of His bride by flirting with His enemy--
This is high treason. 

But to shrink into a corner when the morning illuminates the sin, 
And to refuse the open arms of the God Who is Love because

I'm filthy dirty. And guilty.
And I'm not good enough, 
And He deserves something better; someone better.
And that someone else could make Him so much happier...

This is twice a crime. 

Let Him be the judge of all that.

Just let Him love you.

"I have loved thee with an everlasting love..."

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Light Up Your World

My phone rings and it's my friend with the ever-cheerful chuckle.
(Even at 11:00 pm.)

The onions are all out drying on the lawn up at Grandma's house... And the thunderstorm is at the county line.

The thousands of onions.

Might I lend a hand?

But of course. I peep through the blinds. The clouds west blink like they're being hotly pursued by an army of strobes.

I jump in the waiting truck. And we race. Pallets, and crates, and two hay wagons full of onions. And just as we run the last of them into the shed, the wind slams into us in all its Oklahoman glory. And the showers of blessings begin to fall. And we jump into cars to keep our pajamas dry...

I'm suddenly seized by the urge to watch the light show.
So I duck into the house just long enough to grab 5D and tripod, and return to the hilltop alone...

It doesn't take long. I've sat for 10 minute waiting to get the shot before. I only dare stay for 10 minutes this time.

But the light is so captivating...

I suddenly understand why Jesus said "Let your light so shine... that they may see... and glorify your Father."

Because light in the darkness rarely goes unnoticed.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Just Like Your Father

Radio in my lap, yellow lines blink by out the driver's side.
The feeling is familiar, but the road... not so much.
I'm not coming from home. And I'm not wearing my uniform.

I am, in fact, wearing light blue with french cuffs. And my tie is branded Kenneth Cole Reaction.

But just the same...

"Catron S.O., 2466 on Davenport"
"On Davenport, go ahead."
"Yes ma'am, we're on scene at the rodeo grounds."

I loosen my collar a bit, single windsor slightly adrift.
And I push open the back door of the ambulance to smile down at a mother and two seriously good looking little boys.

"Hi there..."

"Hello, my son hur-- [gasp]

You must be Dr. Nebblett's boy!!"

And I wish you could have seen her smile.
I wish you could have seen mine.

"Yes ma'am, I am indeed Dr. Nebblett's boy."

I sit on the gurney, across from the brave little boy with big dark eyes. He with his cowboy hat, me with my cufflinks.
And I examine, and poke, and ask questions, and watch his eyes. And compare and consult... and tell his mother what she should do.

And we are instantly friends.
And someone pulls a pack of instant ice out of the cabinet, and I squeeze it until the bubble breaks, and it transforms in my hands.

And when he steps down from the ambulance, his mother tells me to tell my dad I'd seen them, and that they sent greetings.

And I did. And my father lit up the same way she had...
Because those boys were his friends, who'd moved away. The ones that would reach for him whenever they came to the office, starting at 4 months of age...

I watch them go for a quiet moment. And I turn to Jared, stethoscope around his neck--

"I think I look like my dad."

He smiles; man of well-chosen words.
"You think?"

-  -  -  -  -

I ponder. I wonder...

That reaction-- Do people see in my face the likeness of my Father?
Is that likeness striking enough for them to catch His features at first glance?
Even when distracted by some other stress?

Even if they've never met Him?

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