Thursday, June 24, 2010


Sunday was a bad hair day, one marked by puffy eyes and dark circles of sleep deprivation, a fading spray tan (oh the vanity); rented tables to return and borrowed linens to wash; a garage littered with empty coolers and a dining room overflowing with rumpled tuxedos.

It is Monday, the Monday following the weekend our son -- our baby -- got married.

I maneuver my bicycle around the coolers and out of our garage. A few minutes later, as I ride down a country road in the early morning sunshine, I see the cattails in the marsh, puffy and fading, survivors of a long Wisconsin winter. I know how the cattails feel.

Seeing a son get married is a beautiful thing. The woman beside him, radiant and in love. Our son completely in the moment, his eyes only for her. Family and friends gather to witness their joy, to share a meal, to raise a glass, to dance, to laugh, to celebrate. I celebrate too, share the joy of two people in love.

The wedding day is full of promise. Like the toddler's first step, the start of kindergarten, or the day he got his driver's license, his wedding marks the passage of time. For our son and his bride this is a new beginning -- a fresh start -- like the rich lush greens of a spring meadow.

When did the little boy and girl grow up, learn to rely on each other, become a groom and bride?" my heart asks.

When did we find time to grow old?" my knees reply, aching with every rotation of the peddles.

Ignoring my knees, I relax into the solitude. I am like the cattails, beautiful in my own season, but faded in comparison to the radiance of the meadow.

I let my mind drift. "...Trust steadily in God, hope unswervingly, love extravagantly..." The grace-filled words touch my heart. I pray my son and his bride spend their lifetimes loving extravagantly.

And, like the fresh green cattails of summer pushing upward from the earth, I will grow to discover a new season in this life, my own groom by my side.

Written June 14, 2010. Verse: 1 Corinthians 13:13 MSG

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Playing the Gravel Drums

Spring reminds me of taking guitar lessons in third grade. Sometimes my parents gave me a ride, but mostly I walked the four blocks to my teacher's house. There were no sidewalks. In the spring the road became a mosaic of ice and snow, water puddles and tiny trickling streams. The gravel under my feet squished and oozed in one step, then crunched and crackled in the next. I could easily change the sound by walking or standing still, skipping, running or jumping. It was like music, like playing the drums.

Playing the guitar wasn't as easy. Though I adored listening to acoustic guitar, I quickly realized that if I was going to play I needed to work at it. I needed to figure out the connection between the notes on the page and where to hold my fingers on the strings. I needed to commit. I needed to take my guitar out of the case in between lessons. I needed to practice. I didn't.

A couple years later I begged my parents to let me try piano. That fall and winter, I rode my bike down the hill and across the river for piano lessons. With my teacher by my side, I played piano for an hour every week, but I rarely practiced. In the spring, with a recital just a few days away, I prepared the one song I'd been assigned to perform. Decades later, I can still play it from memory, but if I want to play any other song, I need to figure out each note and chord, and practice, a lot.

There are people who will read this, shake their heads, and say I wasted my opportunities. There was a time when I believed that too. As a 23-year-old divorced mother of two, I thought I had messed up my life and wasted all the gifts God would ever give me. I was wrong.

1 Samuel 2:8 says, "He puts people on their feet again; he rekindles burned-out lives with fresh hope, restoring dignity and respect to their lives -- a place in the sun!"

Acoustic guitar and jazz piano are still my favorites. My lessons didn't teach me to play, but helped me hear the gifts in others. Spring is here and I'm going to go out and make a splash, play the gravel drums. I am going to celebrate God's gifts.

There is no better time or place. Take time today to rediscover something about yourself, to reach for the joy, to make your heart sing, to celebrate Him.

Come, take your place in the sun!