Reading: Everlasting is the Past: A Memoir by Walter Wangerin, Jr. I’m enjoying it very much. It was an interesting chain of events that resulted in a friend loaning the book to me, and made it seem truly providential.
Working on: The Creative Call: An Artist’s Response to the Way of the Spirit by Janice Elsheimer. This book was recommended to me by a friend some years ago, but the right time did not arrive until last Saturday.
From the introduction titled, “Wondering”:
“Teachers and parents said I had a gift for writing and a talent for music, and even as a child I felt that these gifts were from God, that they were not just something he gave to me, but something that came through me. When the music moved beyond me, or when my writing produced just the right effect, I felt uplifted, light, complete.”
The truth of it is that I have felt this way nearly all of my life whether it was writing, or caring for someone, or in preparing and serving beautiful food to various groups. Sometimes it was when I stood in front of a full church presenting my writing about something that was meaningful to all who were there. To feel that power come through my hands in the kitchen while preparing food that would be nourishment for others, to see and hear a church building full of people visibly moved with happiness, sadness, or with a murmur signifying some real kind of truth felt deep in their spirits is a profound, “This is what I was called to do” moment. These are gifts coming through me. And the difficulty of this is that I have only known one other person who had that same understanding. It was a joyful thing for me to read those words.
I’d already been giving serious thought to my life long process of developing and using my gifts, so I was ready to work through the exercises in the book and have found it more enjoyable than challenging.
Generosity: The open invitation given by a generous neighbor to cut as many camellias as I like whenever I like. Glorious flowers filling vases in three rooms of my home. Then the kind care of other friends after a painful, unresolved experience. One brought a large bouquet of blooming bright yellow forsythia, left by my front door in spaghetti sauce jar with the label faded after a trip through the dishwasher. Like sunshine on branches they made that jar look important. As I drove up to my house after work I saw that brilliant color I thought, “And it’s not even May Day!” I couldn’t help but smile. And the other friend who received my very short SOS text asking for just a breath of support in a situation she had also experienced several times immediately sent a beautifully written email completely validating my pain and in a later paragraph said, “Know that your skill and kindness do much good for many people, even if you never get any feedback.” All of this is generous life support at its finest.
Celebrate: The former co-worker in my last blog post got the job as camp nurse at a camp just a mile from her home in the woods. Everyone will win on this deal, and I’m thrilled that I was able to help even in a small way.