Pastoral Musings from Rain City

it's about 'what is church?' it's about whether 'emergent' is the latest Christian trend or something more substantial. it's musing on what it means to live the city, in America, in community, intergenerationally, at this time in history...

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Simple Pleasures

In a world of consumerism, injustice, global warming, nuclear proliferation, terrorism, and so much more, it's easy to allow oneself to descend into a pretty dark place. What's needed, in all of our lives, is the capacity to receive those moments of grace that spontaneously erupt, reminding us that though this is a fallen world, it is still a world of staggering beauty, interwoven with gifts of friendship and intimacy. For example:

It's Monday - 5:20 PM. I'm weary as I walk in the door at the house, for about a 90 minute respite before an evening meeting. I'm cheered by seeing my oldest daughter's car. A new high school teacher, she sometimes swings by for a cup of cheer or conversation after her days - days which aren't always encouraging as a new teacher. My days can have their stresses too, and this day has had its share. The house is empty. She must be running. When she returns, we chat a bit and then she says she needs to get home. I sit at the piano and start to play: am - em - F - am - em - F - G - C. Simple. Plaintive. She sits and listens, and then picks up her viola and joins in. Soon our hearts are entwined in melody and we move from "Ode to Joy" to overtones of "Jesus Loves Me" back to the simple progression - ascending, descending, until finally we finish. "Thanks Dad" she says as she puts her instrument away. We hug and she walks out the door, both of us knowing that our souls have shared a moment together - nothing deep, or planned, or special - just a moment.

A window of grace has just been opened. Unanticipated, it's waters refreshed both of our souls, giving us just that sustenance that helps one move forward, honestly, into the needs of the world. Cherish relationships. Create. Listen. Absorb. Worship. It's all part of the fabric of life.


At 20/9/06 21:59, Blogger Jim Underhill said...

Your story reminds me that each of us are the only ones to bring such needed pleasures into our lives. Just as only I can workout to receive the benefit, so it is with wonderful things like music, conversation, the smell of saltwater from the Sound, etc. And as you point out, doing these things then with others just adds to the moment. May we make time to plunk our pianos and do whatever else brings life-giving pleasures to our lives.

At 21/9/06 10:57, Anonymous kristen gough said...

beautiful. thank you for sharing.

At 21/9/06 16:52, Anonymous Kristin said...

Its been a rough start to the year for me this September. Some of you may have seen the article in last week's PI about the Lake Washington Apartments in Rainer Beach. Yup, that's where my school is. Right smack dab in the middle of all that violence and filth. There have been days, when we are scrubbing graffiti off the playground and picking up drug paraphernalia from under the slide that I don't think I can hack it anymore. Add to the apartment problems the budget cuts, politics, families in crisis that I can't help, and its all too much.
But then today when I just thought I didn't know what else to do, I put on one of my favorite Raffi songs in the classroom. As loud as the stereo would go. I shouted 2 words: "Everybody Dance!" The children and I all grabbed each other’s hands, twirling and jumping and clapping and singing. We danced until we couldn't dance anymore, repeating the song until we were spent. We collapsed in a heap of exhaustion and giggles. For that one moment, lying there on that old worn-out rug, there were no bullet holes in the walls, no mommies in the hospital. There was no Spanish or English or Somali or Vietnamese. For that one moment of bliss, we knew only the universal language of joy.
And I remembered this post. And I remembered the power of telling a story. It was a moment that was over all too soon. But I tell you about it because I know that in its telling, it will get me through the next day I think I can't go on. And it will honor him who makes the moments possible.


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