What Has Come to Us

By

I peeled the sticker off my lunch pear, then ran it under the faucet, frustrated. It wasn’t a real piece of fruit. It was only a shadow of those knotty old fragrant pears Mom gathers every summer from Mrs. Janson’s hundred-year-old tree.

I shook it dry, scratched the skin with my thumbnail, and inhaled. The smell was faintly sweet, but a supermarket pear can’t fill a room with perfume. I could expect a watery crunch, not that honey-dripping mess of food you’ve just pulled out of the sun.

Later that night I prepared our beef for dinner. I had to cut away a sheet of plastic wrap before I could even touch it. I never saw the animal of origin. I didn’t know its farmer or its butcher. I didn’t know the state (or even the country) in which that life or its taking took place. Meat nowadays is stripped of all meaning. It has become an ingredient.

Anyone who has removed the head from a chicken will understand the difference between taking in a tray of meat and taking away a life. I remember being eight or nine and holding the body of a hen still as I could while Mom swung the axe. It was too much for me. At the last second I looked away and fell on my rear end in the Kentucky dust, overcome by the nerve force of death. The hen’s opened neck flung blood on my shirt, and I was too shocked to catch the body to stop it flopping.

The rearing of living food is a close and sober thing. It is one of those intimate jobs that has grown foreign because it’s too close and too sober. Chicken goes down easier when it’s shaped into dinosaurs and dipped in chemical sauces. Satiating our hunger has become numbingly easy.

The same has become true of my social hunger. Most of my family members have Facebook pages, and our lives have grown so busy and full that I see only whatever bits they offer online. They post pictures of children who are strangers to me; and when we intersect in person, it is awkward. At our gatherings we muck around smiling for an hour, thinking up questions to ask one another. I always feel like apologizing, “Oh, you. I used to actually know you.” Instead, we slip into the bathroom and click our phones, looking for community at arm’s length.

Criticism for all of this is so abundant I hardly need to summarize it. Experts say we need to return to our agrarian roots. Humans were made to live close to the earth and to one another; therefore, we must relearn the raising of bees, the growing of our own vegetables, slow time, local markets, and communities made of people we know who know us.

People need real people.

Besides, it’s dangerous to pump your private life into the cyber “out there.” To throw sincere ideas out into the e-wild is as carcinogenic as Red 40. After all, people might misinterpret. Openness can isolate. Truth can offend. There are safer ways of doing things.

Wendell Berry is my favorite living author, and I have savored nearly every book of his that I have ever read. I grew up in central Kentucky, so I remember the world he describes. He makes me miss it.

Yet, a truer truth is that I miss only some things about it. I don’t miss the apathy that ran like an epidemic through our county high school in the 1980’s. I don’t miss pockets of laziness, suspicion, abuse, religious manipulation, sexism, or ignorance. There were beautiful aspects of my world during those years, but at seventeen, these were the flaws that choked me. They made me want to shake the dust of that dirty little town off my feet and see the world.

Time has passed, though. My memories have softened. Last week I drove through those same hills again, and I was warmed.

I suppose the contrast of modern life has enhanced my nostalgia for old ways. I spend too much time staring into screens and too little engaging reality. I long for porch swings, Rook cards, a grocer I know, and Mason jars sealed up in neat rows in the cellar. I hunger for food that looks and smells like food.

I love those things because they were once close. I love them even more because they are now distant. The old world has become a sort of Platonic ideal to me. It is the perfect good that I can never fully regain. I am left with shadows of things. Shadows of relationships. Shadows of dinners. Shadows of community.

Sometimes I read Thoreau and vow to rid myself of electronic distractions. Or, I will decide to try my hand at an old craft. A few years ago, determined to return to simplicity, I bought three chickens. Predators broke through the fence and ate two of them overnight. (Predators! Wild beasts still exist?) I chased my surviving hen into a woods full of poison ivy, suddenly realizing my paradise regained had left little room for Calamine lotion. The next year slugs ate holes through all our root vegetables. Deer flattened the corn. A vague memory resurfaced. You had to be careful when you bit into those old pears. They were full of worms.

I was so irritated about the chickens, I blogged about them.

Perhaps my idealistic, Platonic tendencies are what make Aristotle’s teachings such a breath of fresh air. Truth isn’t just out there, it’s also here in the present thing. We must look down around our own feet sometimes, so that we might attend to what is close.

What then is close? Here is where you will begin to disagree with me, I think.

What if the close transcends the garden soil I tend so carefully? What if it transcends handmade meals and board games? What if it transcends every good, old primitive thing?

What if—along with these good, old things—my close also includes a group of six-hundred-something cyber relationships? What if there is good to be done among these souls collected from around the world; souls full of needs, hurts, loneliness, and dreams, drawn like moths to a glowing screen?

What if, instead of fighting the new world we have been given, we realize that these particular social intersections have been entrusted to no one in history except us? Society has changed, and still, we have been given to one another. Why? Are our imaginations big enough to step away from nostalgia and guilt to see that there could be a higher purpose, even in something so plebian as Facebook?

I am as ashamed to call Facebook my community as I am to call a dinosaur nugget chicken. Such a thing is not in vogue.

Besides, there are days when taking social media seriously exhausts me. People hurt me. I hurt people. There are gaps in communication, political volatility, pet peeves, and strangers who slip in side doors. There are weeks when I grow weary, shut the whole thing down, and hide.

But after a few days of quiet, it seems like I always come back to one question: What sort of good might there be in daring to walk among those who walk with me, giving them everything I have? What if I freely give them my best art? What if I freely give them my best honesty? What if I spend time pouring my imperfect love through these channels that exist, leaning on God to speak this new language through me? Am I willing to paint my masterpieces (or as close as I ever come to such a thing) on cyber-alley walls?

Secretly, many young writers believe that success occurs when a respectable publisher wants their material. (If yours is a different art form, please translate. A show in a gallery. A role in a ballet.) That “published” label somehow nails down our worth into something legitimate.

This is why it seems to be a running joke among better writers that blogs are full of low-quality work. I’ve heard industry professionals snicker through nasal whines that anyone nowadays can be published with a push of the button: the kvetchers, the try-hards, the regular Joes, the fakers.

I get that. I’ve read crappy blogs, too. Yet I have also seen common writers who are humble enough to give away the work of their hands in faith. God uses these people and their simple words written imperfectly. Their creations tend to enter my mind at silent, crucial, ordained moments. After all, Jesus has never been the sort to scoff at two mites.

My point is that there is a tremendous opportunity at hand, and I wonder sometimes if elitism and nostalgia might be causing us to miss it. Facebook. Twitter. Instagram. These are the art forms of the common man. They are untidy, coarse, dangerous, and unstructured. Yet, just sit and listen a moment. Don’t you hear in all of this flutter the poetry of the daily flux of humanity?

If you do, imagine this with me. What if some element of the incarnation involves coming down into our own skin and living amid the crass humor, the sadness, the grand ideas, the struggles, the waste, the normalcy, the formlessness, and the void of the grind? Do we have faith enough (humility enough) to kneel down to the earth, into this opportunity that is waiting for us, and make something meaningful of it? Are we willing to be so imperfect? So honest? So present? So woundable?

The idea of this has been turning round in my heart for years. I felt it on that first day Facebook became a reality to me. I sat in shock, clicking from page to page, thinking, “This changes everything. We can touch the world now. All of us can.”

I long for the old world like a pear that would run juice down my chin. Yet you, staring right now into your little lit screens full of unspoken groanings, I think you are my greater longing still. Sometimes I can barely sleep for thinking about what we could become.

pears

Rebecca Reynolds teaches Classical Rhetoric and Philosophy of Faith in eastern Tennessee, and is a contributor to the Story Warren website. She’s the author and illustrator of the pediatric series From the Medical Files of Dr. Phineas C. Bones and collaborated with Ron Block as the lyricist for his critcally-acclaimed album, Walking Song. She lives in Kingsport, Tennessee, with her husband and three children.


35 Comments

  1. Johnathan

    Such a great reflection of the lives we live today. I still can’t believe we live in the same town, have many mutual friends from different aspects of life, yet have never met!

  2. Julie Silander

    Becca – This is perfect. I’ve read it twice, and I rarely make the time to do such a thing.

    As we consider the culture in which we live, it’s easy to assume the posture of criticism. Or arrogance. Or denial. Or indifference. (Nod to Culture Making by Andy Crouch.)

    You’ve offered an alternative posture- one that embraces where we are, acknowledges the pitfalls, yet chooses to look through the haze to the heart of humanity.

    One that offers beauty and hope in the midst of (rather than in spite of) our current culture. Thank you.

  3. yankeegospelgirl

    I would actually argue that the very reason it’s so difficult to get any published these days is because there is so much good quality work out there for free. There are so many talented people out there who are, as you say, giving away what they do. Which means if you really love to write, you should probably content yourself with doing it on the side of your day job.

    I like your idea that we can touch and help people through media that are routinely scorned. Though I’m not on Twitter or Facebook myself (not a fan, especially of Twitter), I think that idea can apply to lots of things. Take rock and roll music for example. I heard none other than Billy Joel talking in an old interview the other day about how he thought his job was kind of like being a doctor. “People will come up to me and say ‘Hey, I’ve got this pain… HERE. Can you play me that song?'” Or somebody I know of who’s been through critical illness and depression but can still be cheered up by listening to the Beatles. Unlikely comforters, but used for good.

  4. S. D. Smith

    @sdsmith

    Well, my goodness, that’s awfully good. I think about these things as well, riding every pendulum swing back and forth like a nostalgic cyber-cowboy. Barriers exist to running wildly into this glowing horizon, it seems some are built of fear and pride, others of dignity and prudence. I am happy you see such opportunity, and am glad that such a pioneer as yourself should be one to go forth without fear. Because you are a poet with a serious mind.

  5. Amy

    🙂
    I’m so glad. Social media may be flawed, but it is often my link to Home, and the world beyond my little window.

  6. Caleb

    Excellent. It’s not wrong to be in love with and long for another time (as I do) but you have to live in the time God put you in. Thanks for this wonderful piece.

  7. betsy

    Thank you for so much to think about–for contributing to this important conversation in a fresh way. It also made me wonder–am I a talentless-“publish” button-pusher or a writer offering up my best in faith? I wish I could ask you that, Rebecca Reynolds. (But not in person . . . at “arm’s length” on a glowing screen.)

  8. Ron Block

    @ronblock

    Great thoughts, and warm, clear expression of them. You always have a way of looking at the heart of a thing.

    I love how you start out nostalgic in the article, then recognize that “the good old days” were not all good, and recognize that “the newfangled modern age” is not all bad. In fact, one day, these will be “the good old days.”

  9. Peter B

    Oh my. This is what the RR (or better, the family of kingdom-bringers) is all about, isn’t it?

    Thank you for the more complete perspective.

  10. Chris

    I have sometimes wondered if it takes more courage to live an ordinary, quiet, faithful life where we are than to run off into the blue.

  11. redheadkate

    Rebecca, I’m so thankful you embrace Facebook. I wouldn’t know you otherwise since we haven’t actually talked before (we are going to fix that). And my life is better for knowing you. You are such a blessing.

  12. Jeff M

    It is important to “stick to the old roads” as our Proprietor says…but I would argue that this community in an embodiment of the entire point of your post. The old and the new can, should, and will exist in harmony (I hope).

    Thanks for the great post.

  13. melanie

    This was wonderful, and put into words an argument I’ve been having with myself for so long. Beautiful writing, and such thoughtful, encouraging conclusions. I needed to hear all of this, so much so that I linked to it on my own blog today (something I rarely do, honestly).

  14. Robert

    Thank you Rebecca. I appreciate your words and the honesty they draw from. That well, deep and full as it is, frightens many people. Who wants to post, at least what they feel is, their great work online. I struggle with this all the time. I struggle with it in the writing and delivery of sermon. How can I just give that story away? It sounds selfish, but that’s my confession. But the power of words and art and music and all things good is in the giving away. If always kept in a vault until they are purchased, well, they loose value and power. For they were created to be shared. And for that sharing to impact others.

    Thank you for fearlessly drawing from the well.

  15. Jennifer

    Enjoyed your lovely musings on past versus present. It reminded me of my sad (and sometimes hilarious) trials in home gardening and animal husbandry.

    For all my nostalgia about the “world that was”and my apprehension of the up-and-coming, there is one aspect of technology that I treasure…gleaned from among the crass, the trite and trivial. The moments when you exclaim, “What! You too? I thought I was the only one.”** Before the Internet, these thoughts only burst on me while reading the thoughts of ghosts on paper…ghosts that I long to meet, but who cannot respond. Now I can speak, ask, share in the joy of finding others whose hearts vibrate to the same pitch. It’s a sort of foreshadowing of the time when all that is and has been will be as ghosts and we will be in the reality and fellowship of the “world without end”.

    **a quote from one of my favorite “ghosts” – can’t wait to meet him!

  16. Amy L

    Becca, every time you write, it’s like you reached deep down into my head and heart and caught the thoughts rolling around that I have never been able to catch and put into words. This resonates so deeply with me. Thank you.

  17. Angela

    Makes me think of the Woody Allen movie Midnight in Paris. We long for the good old days and cannot see the present brilliance that will someday become someone’s good ol’ days.

  18. yankeegospelgirl

    You can get just so much from a good thing
    You can linger too long in your dreams
    Say goodbye to the “Oldies But Goodies”
    Cause the good ole days weren’t always good
    And tomorrow ain’t as bad as it seems

  19. Donna S

    Because these thoughts form an answer to something I’ve been struggling with and praying about, I’m having difficulty finding words to express how meaningful they are to me, and how much I appreciate your doing the work of so lucidly sharing them. May I simply say Amen?

  20. mallory

    Wasn’t sure were you were going at the beginning but oh so delighted were you ended. Perfectly expresses a tension I feel that we are all living in. Technology & books. Fast food & slow food. That tension isn’t wrong. It just is. Thank you for these beautiful words.

  21. Maddy

    I’m thrilled (and sometimes disapointed) by the poetry of Facebook too.
    Faces and fragments of past and present. And a lot of reading between the lines.
    I agree with you. I think it is an opportunity that shouldn’t be missed…even a small point of connection can be significant. An opening, unfolding of paths.
    Thanks for your open spirit, Becca.

  22. April Pickle

    Wow to the post and the comments. I mean, heart- and eyes-flowing wow. I think even if I could write as well as you, words would fail to expess my thankfulness for you and for this community. Dear Becca, you are a gem. I so love your bravery and your honesty, the way your words ministered to me in the Flannery O’Connor summer reading club, and the way they bless me in your facebook posts. BTW, I’ve missed your fb posts lately because I deleted the fb app on my phone for Lent. 🙂 Seems humorous in light of this post, but this has been a blessing, as I’ve been addicted to the thumbing through of junk in search of a golden nugget in there, and I think Lent coupled with your words here will send me back to facebook with a new and hopefully more grace-filled attitude come Easter. Thank you. Golly, gee whiz, thank you.

  23. Becca

    Thanks for your encouragement, friends. It’s so good to hear from others who share the same struggles I do. I love you Rabbit Roomers bunches.

    Betsy, I spent some time on your blog today, and I thought it was awfully sweet. Thank you for putting so much work into those pieces. Beautiful.

    For me, the question of whether or not I am offering my best work in faith is a boon to creativity. It sheds distractions (like insecurity) that tend to muddy writing with need. It also allows me to create with a piercing honesty, because I have Someone who knows me better than I know myself, walking with me as I write.

    So often when I am pre-writing, I feel like the Lord says, “That last sentence you wrote isn’t true. It’s comfortable, it’s cliche, it’s artsy, but it’s not accurate. What’s really true? Why are you scared to admit it? Do you think I’m not big enough?”

    What happens next is really beautiful. God walks me into what I don’t want to see and shows me that it’s OK to look at the real truth, because He is strong enough for it. As a result, I sometimes watch my early writing fall all to pieces, and slowly let go of all the lies I have unintentionally created.

    The Lord urges me to go on and on, sentence by sentence, until what is left is finally more honest. More powerful. (Pete Peterson once wrote that you can always tell when an author is not telling the truth. It’s so true.)

    Paragraphs could be written about this process, but I don’t want to overwhelm you. I think, though, that this is why it is so essential artistically (as well as spiritually) to create in step with God. It’s not a restrictive thing. It launches.

  24. Tom Murphy

    Becca, I think you might really appreciate Norman Wirzba’s “Food and Faith: A Theology of Eating”. I met Norman, a good friend of Wendell Berry, at a retreat at Laity Lodge in Texas last year. He makes a lot of good points.

    http://www.amazon.com/Food-Faith-Theology-Norman-Wirzba/dp/0521146240

    You might schedule a retreat at the Abbey of Gethsemani (where Thomas Merton was a monk) about an hour south of Louisville. It’s totally free – hospitality is part of their ministry. They have pretty much figured out how to balance community with living close to the land. I am busy figuring out how to form deeply contemplative, creative, Christian community from a Protestant context. As a former Roman Catholic, my heart yearns for this.

    http://www.monks.org/retreats.html

    Our Hutchmooting is a step in that direction. I retreat at the Abbey every New Year’s if you and Bobby would like to join.

  25. S. D. Smith

    @sdsmith

    “I think, though, that this is why it is so essential artistically (as well as spiritually) to create in step with God. It’s not a restrictive thing. It launches.”

    I salute you.

  26. Carl

    This post reminded me of the book “Love Does” by Bob Goff. There is a certain winsome attitude behind the attitude to embrace what is in front of you, to say “yes” more often to whimsical love, to engage in the present, and to let the opinions of the trolls and curmudgeons, real or virtual, roll off of you. In other words, live and love without the fear of “doing it wrong.” What I am essentially saying is, I absolutely enjoyed this post.

  27. Misty Krasawski

    Oh my. How I needed to read this post. For the first half I was ready to shut it all down and confine my writing to (as-yet-unwritten) books. By the last, my mind was changed … and I’m not yet sure exactly how. Thank you for such food for thought!

  28. Brenda Nuland

    This was wonderful! You have given me much to ponder.

    I needed this so much right now. It is where I live at the moment, sometimes thinking about shutting down the computer altogether (especially after snarky comments on my blog from clueless people) and then at other times appreciating the wonderful friends I’ve met because of this screen before me.

    By the way, my mother was from the Elizabethtown area and while she hardly hit five feet tall, I have memories of her with a chicken and an axe and headless poultry running around until it’s body realized it had no head and died. Shiver… and they think TV is bad for children today.

  29. Dan R.

    “Fruit has to be tinned if it is to be transported and has to lose thereby some of its good qualities. But one meets people who have learned actually to prefer the tinned fruit to the fresh.”
    – C.S. Lewis from “Membership”

    Not to disagree with you (I actually feel about the same as you about these things); this section of that essay has just been bouncing around in my head the last couple days, and I thought it appropriate to share here. Keep up the humility and the good work.

  30. Beth

    The thoughts you offer about virtual and face-to-face relationships are so important. It’s a balance that I struggle with daily. We will never return to the world before social media, so how do we integrate it in a healthy and good – and God-glorifying – way into our lives. I use Facebook, I tweet, I blog … and yet, I long for real conversations over a good cup of coffee. Such a delicate balance. Thanks for adding your voice to this conversation.

  31. JamaRowena

    I add my thanks to the writer for this thought provoking essay. It helped me to recognize some ‘extra baggage sentimentality’ that I tend to carry while failing to engage, along with Jesus, in the here and now of my time on this earth.
    I have to confess, though, that unlike the writer’s, my relationship with the internet has been almost wholly unhealthy. I rarely engage in the worthwhile things the internet has to offer. I spend 90 percent of my internet time watching old episodes of ER on Amazon, looking at Craigslist for no particular reason, compulsively checking my Juno account, surfing for interesting but useless items on Ebay, and looking at properties I will never buy on Realtor.com. As a 53 year old New England Christian, I find myself disenchanted with the church, trying to keep my eyes on Jesus, and often turning to the internet for ‘something to do’, for some of the meaning I used to find in my relationships with other believers. Am I alone in this experience?

  32. Becca

    JamaRowena,

    Disenchantment with the church is something I have struggled with as well. By the time I was in college, our family had been part of so many broken congregations. There were cases of adultery, embezzlement, ungrace, gossip, weakness, abuse of children, and even a suicide/murder involving people I loved. I rebelled against the church for several years, then I did the one thing I had sworn never to do. I married a pastor.

    I’ve now spent almost twenty married years watching the body of Christ from the inside out. If I tried to describe all of the painful things that have happened to us in ministry, you would think I was exaggerating. Sometimes it seems like I have spent my whole life trying to find Jesus in his limping, deformed bride. I loved the church while I hated the church. Doing both somehow made it harder.

    About four years ago, a lot of this sadness and disappointment swelled to a climax. We were finally betrayed so deeply, I couldn’t process it. My stomach hurt constantly. My body was sore from tension. I trusted almost no one. I felt numb spiritually. We had given our time, our financial security, and our private dreams for an organization that seemed to find new ways to ravage us every year.

    I’m the sort of person who loves deeply, and I think all those decades of wounding finally just grew too painful. I looked for ways to dull the pain. I used every PG distraction I could find just to get a little adrenaline rush to keep going. Sometimes I used the internet, other times I used venues like shopping, food, political causes, etc.

    The point wasn’t the internet so much, though. The point was escape. I wanted a way to engage with people (because I was lonely) without giving those people access to a heart that was tired of being abused.

    I don’t know what would have happened to me during those years without the music of Andrew Peterson. There were days I would get in my car, slide in one of his CD’s, drive, and weep. Sometimes I would park the car and cry, because I couldn’t drive. In the midst of my darkness, I heard an honest hope in his words. A promise that somewhere “out there” were other people who loved deeply, who struggled deeply, and who sought a community I had never experienced yet.

    Love for his music lead to the Rabbit Room. I remember how disappointed I was when I first saw that AP’s blog had been “commandeered” by a community of people. I thought he was just caving to success, finding a way to spend less time writing for folks like me who needed him. I didn’t want a stupid group. I knew what groups were capable of doing. I wanted the one person I trusted to sound like a prophet in the wilderness.

    But he left me no option. Every few days I clicked on the RR site waiting for his articles to appear. Because AP was a lame-o and didn’t write often enough now that it was a “room,” I eventually caved and read a piece or two by other writers. I liked them despite myself. Their diversity was enchanting. There was a synergy and love among these folks that I had wanted all my life.

    The Rabbit Room became a place I could hide to watch a sort of community from the sidelines. I could test the waters here. I watched giant Jason Gray deflect biting comments with humility and love. I watched brilliant Jonathan Rogers receive criticism with gentleness. I saw variations in theology and principle that rose above pettiness, choosing respect and tenderness instead. I saw new dreams regarding community and art, things that made me ache with longing. It was like finding home. God began to use the fountains of love and honesty that roll through this place to wash out my wounds and cleanse my infections.

    Slowly, I began to develop friendships. Slowly, I began to let some of my knots untangle. And the beautiful things is, through the love and vision of the Rabbit Room, I was able to go back into my local church with renewed strength and hope. I was able to give as one full, not needing so much, not devastated when close things went wrong or when people wounded me, because God had filled deeper wells in my heart.

    This comment is growing too long, and I’m fighting the temptation to go back and clarify some things that seem contradictory. But it’s a complicated story, and I think it’s best summarized.

    My point is that I understand church pain. I have lived it my entire life. And I think that when a heart is prone to wasting time online (or anywhere, really), that reflex is often rooted in a deeper sorrow. All those activities are looking for a little lift, a respite from the loneliness and sadness life has handed us.

    But God has a plan for our losses. Beauty to grow from ashes. He loves His church, and He loves you. Don’t be afraid to let Him unpack those deep wounds and minister to them. I don’t know if He will use the Rabbit Room, or if He will use a completely different method in your life. But that numb, biding of time is a sadness in itself. I know because I’ve been there.

    I imagine there were bright things you wanted early on, and their loss into hard disappointments has led your heart to the sleepy droning of your now. If so, maybe they were indications of an eternity that hasn’t grown full yet. Indications of how things will be when everything sad has become untrue. I don’t think we should be afraid to want more instead of less. This world (and the church) will break your heart. There is breaking, there is breaking, there is breaking. It hurts. It hurts. It hurts. We are lonely too often. Yet, there is also beauty, growing through the thorns. There is a God who is redeeming His bride, with all of her flaws. And there is yet love to be explored and lived out in this short gift of earth time.

    Rebecca Reynolds (Becca)

  33. JamaRowena

    Hello Becca,
    Thank you so much for your compassion and wisdom. I, too, am a pastor’s wife, and we, too, have unfortunately been deeply hurt… by the Church. Where there are people, including church people, there will be hurts going both ways, I know… yes, even in the Church. Sigh.
    Funny you should emphasize loneliness in your reply to my comment; you are right on, of course. Here in New England, where I became a Christian 35 years ago, and where I experienced and fell in love with Jesus and His (at that time vibrant) Church, I now look around and see, well, a lot of tiredness. A lot of stale. A sad lot of empty ritual and old wineskins. It can be very discouraging.
    I have also found Andrew Petersen’s lyrics very grounding, and have wept loudly for joy and sorrow- alone in my car- while blasting his music. Particularly meaningful to me during painful times have been “Mountains On The Ocean Floor”, “Hosanna”, and “After The Last Tear Falls”. He is truly gifted by our Father.
    Thank you again for your words. I have already printed them- both your original post and your reply to my pain- and will be re-reading them as I wrestle with my Friend about all of these things.
    JamaRowena

  34. Jacqueline

    Thank you so much for these thoughts and bubbled up emotions. What an Art-piece this is ! I’m a professed Facebook (ie: “hatebook”) hater. I shut down my account over 4 years ago. But these words may actually make me come up for air ! We ARE certainly called to “the least of these” , so, I’m thinking we need to BE where they Are.
    I, a nurse, was once caring for a hospice patient in her home. Every day I would go get her groceries. I learned the value of fresh vegetables, that brought back memories of my Moms garden in Wisconsin. And everyday, the search was ON, to find a Pear for this sweet lady taking her last days’ breaths. She was adamant that it Be a Perfect pear. She described it to me, with a longing in her eyes, saying, “It must be ripened to perfection, so that the juice runs down my chin when I bite into it” …..I searched with diligence and many prayers. Pear, upon pear meeting her rejection scowl- but I understood…….Well, I did find her just -That- Pear, and that night she Resigned, happy. I will never forget that look on her face, the now satisfied glint in her eyes as she bit down on that pear. It was her utter-bliss moment. I will hold that as a moment in my heart to be savored till Heaven. As the epitome’ of Appreciation of the small things in Life, the Real things….
    I may or may not go back to Facebook (hatebook?) , but if I do dare traverse it again. I will just approach it to gain nothing, but to help find that one perfect pear for the rest of those longing souls. When giving of what I have, I will likely gain everything I never knew I was looking for. God Bless You ! You are a Gift .

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