Tinsel & Term Limits

6-nity

I’m a few weeks into this 6-nity business (living into my 6th decade with humor and dignity). And I have to say it’s no big deal. Recently a friend grew apoplectic over the prospect of turning 58. “Ain’t no big thing,” I told her. And meant it. Like a reverse Advent, the anticipation is far worse than the reality.

I wonder what all the fuss is about. Actually, I’m pretty sure I know: we’re a death denying society. That’s why we spread make-up and hair gel on death, then bundle it into expensive packages which allow us to delude ourselves into forgetting that what no longer breathes decomposes.

Older people remind us that our lives have term limits that are not of our choice.

Why else would we reduce older persons to a set of embarrassing, age-related symptoms, treat them as pets, or tuck them quietly away (out of sight…)? Such practices insult persons who have earned the gravitas of years. And it harms those who perpetrate such practices. Such souls are rendered shallow; nothing deep can take root there.

Personally, I refuse delivery of such practices. Instead, I seek to live every day God gives me: to do what I can to make the world a better place. I will work, I will laugh, I will hope, I will love. To celebrate every second my heart beats and my brain fires.

***

The other day I met a septuagenarian. He’d wrapped his walking cane in tinsel and twinkling holiday lights.

“I love your cane,” I said.

“Tis the season,” he smiled.

 You are my role model for the next decade, I decided.

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Holy Saturday

When God Walks Away: A Dark Night Companion

When God Walks Away: A Dark Night Companion

PRAYERS OF SUFFERING

Jesus, it is our deepest honor to suffer alongside You: with children who ache for tenderness, with teens whose only companion is loneliness, with workers who endure mind-numbing jobs to provide for their families, with parents who stand baffled before their children’s graves. Whatever it takes, strengthen us that we may accompany Your suffering with our own. Amen.

I can’t stop crying, Jesus. Weep with me. Amen

My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?

 

Darkness invades the afternoon sky. In a final act of reckless faith, Jesus entrusts His spirit to an absent Father. He gives up everything. Every thing.

Now we stand, hushed and open, in the mouth of a cave. Listen. Is someone whispering our name?

When God Walks Away excerpt

Dark Night Collage

Dark Night

Dark NIght: Mixed-Media Collage

The mixed-media collage’s overall design depicts the Dark Night’s cyclical nature: successive nights and dawns accompany our entire life’s journey. The waves illustrate our sense of drowning in God’s sovereignty. Menacing, cold figures emerge beneath these waves, enticing us to give in to despair: one such “un-god” is depression. But leaping, resurrected, from the waves are souls who have emerged from the Night golden and grateful—beacons to the sufferers below.

The background, though dark, is not hollow of color—hues interplay in every section, for the Night is many-shaded and filled with marvelous diversity. It is the darkness of mystery and wonder. Two roads lead upward from the bottom portion of the collage. The first, coming in from the lower left edge, is a moving sidewalk. The other, coming up from the bottom of the piece, is a vacant house. I explicate these images in When God Walks Away: A Dark Night Companion.

The egg-shaped white sepulcher, housing both Dark-Night tomb and Dark-Night flame, is the center of action. The repeat flame above the sepulcher depicts a purgative Dark Night that awaits the sufferer. The sufferer within feels herself alone, off-balance, and tormented. She fears she has become one with the menacing figures that torment her, but her darkness is just a shadow—could she but see the transformation occurring in her soul, she would realize a golden glow is beginning already to radiate through her. She is, even now, becoming one with the One who blessed her with the Night.