Tuesday, October 27, 2009

The Past

I have thoroughly researched all I can on the Internet now about the past of these parts...specifically traced the roots of my current religious congregation, and of this area I live in--now called Beacon, once named Matteawan....and Fishkill Landing. It is fascinating history, dragging me in deeper. I took Camille to see an abandoned schoolhouse built in 1870...she chattered away and told me she "didn't like old things", while I had shivers running up and down my spine. Such beauty in that architecture, and such possibility in that abandoned place. My imagination would have gone wild when I was younger...it still is--as I am sucked in by those stories of long ago. But, I think her interest was piqued by the emotional tenor of awe I held for these missing places in our history books. There are so many missing pages--of those on the fringe, the outskirts of society. Where is that school created by freed slaves for instance? Did anyone record its meetings? As I feel myself being drawn farther and farther into the past, I need to take stock and breathe. Put my papers and mental wanderings aside, and return to the chattering girl in the backseat with all her questions.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Family Values

Elisa fell asleep in my arms tonight watching a Little House on the Prairie episode. This was after I read the girls two stories-- "Green Eggs and Ham" and "Puff the Magic Dragon". Elisa tells me-- "But I DO like green eggs and ham!"
Camille tells me that Puff the Magic Dragon has a happy ending now because Jackie Paper's daughter comes to visit in the end.

There are no sad endings anymore. Watching a Little House on the Prairie Episode, we see a man cured of alcoholism-- a man who once almost beat his son to death. And in the end we are happy because father and son are reunited. I wish real life alcoholism stories could end on that happy note, with Laura and Mary and Carrie dancing down the hill. Too many in the news today end in devastation and condemnation.

Well, there is plenty of dying and suffering in that show-- why is it unreal to think a man can be redeemed? I suppose the one thing that makes that show so different from the way life is now is the amount of faith that people have in the midst of severe hardship.

Faith in human goodness and sacrifice to help a neighbor are values worth holding on to. In the economy of the life I am building from scratch, these things matter.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Beginning the Journey

As one door closes, another opens. Or so the saying goes. Yesterday, I decided to remain present. The door of attending divinity school has closed because I just could not wrap my heart around the path of Plato and St. Thomas Aquinas. Western philosophy and theology were dull to the palate, and I longed for some living water to satiate my thirst.

Ministry takes other forms and other flavors in my life; the aromas of home are intoxicating: roasted beets from the farmer's market bleed on my hands. Camille forms a perfect 'a' with her pencil. Elisa and Camille are cuddled together in bed tonight--two peas in a pod--after receiving Mom's "love medicine".

Today we read "The Everything Seed"-- a story of creation, of how all life came from a tiny seed. It is a story of beginnings. Camille is fascinated by "Grandmother Sun". She remembers how yesterday in reading Pocahontas, we were introduced to "Grandmother Willow". Her questions about death are real, and we balance these with the story of beginnings.

Beginning, ending, and cycles of rebirth. Questions and stories. These are the religious lessons which are emerging in our conversations together. It is October, the month of mystery and awe. We will celebrate Halloween--with skeletons and graveyards and ghosts. We will wear costumes and march in parades and carve jack-o-lanterns into pumpkins and tell stories.

What is religion but this? The telling of stories about our ends and our beginnings. Yes, I may have left one path behind, but fully embraced another more in line with where I want to be in the here and now.