Thursday, July 31, 2008

Small but MIGHTY

The wrens that are nesting in the front yard bird house are especially noisy this morning. They regaled me with song as I puttered around in the weedy garden. Now I remember that the first gift Jo Armstrong ever gave me was a wren house that he had made. It was quite fancy, with a "For Rent" sign out front. Wrens moved in right away, even though I'd never seen a wren in my yard before.
When winter came and I cleaned out the house, there was a teeny tiny wren egg left in the nest. It was so cute. I brought it in and set it on my kitchen window sill, where I enjoyed it for weeks. Then, something happened and I broke the egg. And that teeny tiny egg FILLED the kitchen with the HUGEST rotten egg smell! It was so amazing that such a small thing could smell so BAD that it made the whole thing funny.
As the pastor of a small church, I always am saying "Good things come in small packages." It's kinda funny to be reminded that small things can make a big stink, too.

Happy So-Prizes

Yesterday I had TWO happy surprises:
1) Volunteer basil has come up in my garden. Isn't that a happy so prise?
2) Rich (the Lutheran pastor) is willing to help out with our new Wednesday after school program for Jr.Hi.s. And he had some kids to suggest.
And what does that tell you? (as The Godfather teaches us to ask).
It tells me that
1) checking the pot where you don't expect anything to be growing can be fun
2) don't be so sure you know what people are going to say

Hope you have some happy so-prises today, too.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Worship at Homer Lake

You couldn't have asked for a more beautiful Sunday morning to worship outside.

We had a nice crowd, the right amount of chicken, and God was praised with joyful hearts!

The highlight of the morning, for me, was the blue heron who graced us with his presence.

Last week at VBS, I led the children in acting out God's spirit moving over the waters of creation.

I'd always pictured a dove.

But yesterday, the heron's outstretched wings skimming over the lake gave me a new image of the power and grace and beauty of God.

Friday, July 25, 2008

What I love about Vacation Bible School

Here's what I love about VBS:

Kids love to hear Bible stories, and sing songs about God, and they aren't too sophisticated or too self-conscious to dance.

Lots of people tell me that the children's sermon is their favorite part of a Sunday Service. I know ministers who think that's sort of a subtle slam. I don't take it that way. Guess what? It's often my favorite part, too.

The kids are responsive. They like to participate. They listen intently for short bursts of attention. They are honest about what they think is going on. And they let their feelings show. What's not to like about that?

Who's Pulling Your Strings

Puppeteer-ing proved far more difficult than I would have thought!
Caleb and I were "Circuit" and "Sadie" for Vacation Bible School this last week. Caleb was a reluctant natural. Rich Tomlinson, the Lutheran pastor, also a born ham, played "Sam" during the opening skits.
The puppets are the creation of daughter Rachel and her boyfriend Chad. And Tim constructed the puppet theater out of his equipment, some CP47s (that's show-biz code for clothes pins) and some black out curtains I found in the basement of the church. It's nice to have artists in the family.

Monday, July 21, 2008

This is Sunday before last's sermon.

Jesus had two "Sower" stories together. This is the first. The second one is the text for the 8/20 sermon.

July 13,2008
“What a Waste”
Matthew 13: 1-9, 18-23
Parable of the Sower

Planting technology is amazing to me. How many of us drove by a corn field on the way to church this morning? And how many of us know how some of that corn gets planted? It’s amazing! Lots of tractors now have something that looks like a GPS (global position system) monitor in them. I have one of those on my phone, and we used it to navigate on the mission trip. Mine can navigating unfamiliar cities or find the closest McDonalds. The farm GPS however, does something even more amazing: it tells the planter where to plant. Not only that, with one more gadget attached it can actually drive the tractor to and on the rows themselves.The benefit here? Nothing is wasted. The GPS, guided by satellites, knows exactly where every seed is planted within one inch of its actual location. With the location of every single seed known, where to apply fertilizer or pesticides become more exact. What the seed needs to grow successfully can be delivered EXACTLY to where the seed lies in the field. Nothing gets wasted. Because waste is the enemy.
Scientific studies are done to figure out how far apart rows should be. Whether planting 15 inches apart is better than 30 inches apart. Is the decrease in yield per plant and the increased number of seed offset by the greater number of plants? The land shouldn’t go to waste, either. It’s valuable, too. The goal is to get as close to complete efficiency as possible.
Efficiency. Minimal waste. Most effective strategies for maximizing resources. These are some of the values that guide farming practices today. Contrast our super efficient, minimally wasteful farmer with the guy Jesus talks about in our scripture lesson today. The sower in Jesus’ parable is the model of complete inefficiency. He’s throwing those seeds everywhere: On the path, in the weeds, on the rocks! What in the world? What a waste! What is going on in this parable??OK. Full stop. When I read the lesson this week, I had to remind myself of what we know about parables. The word parable means “riddle”. It is a story that contains something that you have to figure out. It’s a puzzle, sort of. It pulls you in and makes you examine what you thought you knew – to see it in a different way.
On the trip, another leader challenged us with this very unspiritual – completely silly riddle: What can you take through my green glass door? I can take a tree, but I can’t take a stick. I can take some grass, but I can’t take my lawn. And you had to figure out what the rule was for figuring out what could and couldn’t go. I could take food, but I couldn’t take drink. I could take a dinner, but not a lunch. Can you see the rule? I know I took a risk using that illustration, because you may spend the rest of the service trying to figure out that parable/riddle instead of the one from the bible. But I had to take a chance. Because when you figure it out – it’s very easy. It makes perfect sense. But you have to look at things differently. In silly parables, you see something trivial differently.
But Jesus’ parables are spiritually rich and deep. They make us see the world/God/ourselves differently. Jesus was a master of using parables to help his listeners get beyond what they were sure of, and to be pulled under the surface, into the depth and breadth of the grace and mercy of God.
A parable requires that the hearer respond. The only way to know if you had figured out the green glass door was to offer – I could take coffee, but I can’t take tea. Jesus’ parables often leave the conclusion up to the hearer.
A parable is a story with an unexpected twist - where something unexpected happens – like in this Parable, in which the farmer, with a wanton disregard for efficiency, scatter his precious agricultural input across a field that was not prepared, was not weeded, a lot of which was not even good crop land to begin with, wasting the seed, wasting his effort, wasting his money, wasting his time.
But . . . and this is important: Why this parable? What’s the situation that Jesus is trying to get people, trying to get US - to see differently with this parable?
Part of the answer we can figure out by looking in the previous chapter of Matthew’s Gospel. By the time we reach chapter 13 in Matthew’s Gospel – Matthew’s account of Jesus’ ministry – we find out that lots and lots of people were not “getting” the Gospel that he came to share. And they were rejecting – at first just a little bit, but by this point really A LOT – of what Jesus had to say. In fact, they were rejecting Jesus.
How could that be? How could it be that Jesus could travel around the countryside, preaching love and forgiveness, performing acts of kindness and healing, instructing a very religious people in how to grow closer to God . . . and be so completely rejected by the folks he loves and serves? I mean he can’t do anything right! Open your Bibles to Chapter 12. His disciples pick grain, and the Pharisees say – “That’s against the law on the Sabbath!” The same day, Jesus heals a man with a withered hand, and even explains that his legal precedent for doing so, and the legalists – look at verse 14 – they went out and conspired against him, how to destroy him. Next, Jesus heals a blind, mute man, and the Pharisees say that he must be using devil worship to accomplish these miracles. They go from correcting him, to refusing to listen to him, to conspiring to destroy him, to accusing him of Satanism, which is about as far from what Jesus was about as you could possibly get. The disciples have to wonder? How did this happen? Why did Jesus get rejected by so many, so powerful people?
This parable is, in part, Jesus’ answer. And it’s not a sociological critique of power structures, or conflicting expectations or anything reasonable and superficial like that. Instead of addressing the surface of the issue, Jesus tells a story to pull the disciples under the surface and into a deeper understanding of what the world and of God.
Look, he says, A sower went out . . . and the disciples still don’t get it. So Jesus spells it out (this is a parable where Jesus explains himself. So we should pay close attention. This is a “gimee”) –
Jesus says, I get rejected because some people are hard, like a path, and my message can’t sink in. Some people are shallow, like the thin, rocky places. They don’t develop any depth of faith. Some people let the ambitions and cares of the world crowd out their spiritual commitments. But BUT BUT !!!, Jesus says, that is not the whole story. Because some of the seed falls on good ground. Some people do listen, some people do respond, some people do sink deep roots in the Word of God, some manage to rise above the cares of the world. And those people thrive! They drink deep from the living water and raise their heads to the Sun of God, and they blossom and cross-pollinate and bear much fruit. Their harvest – 30, 60, or 100 new kernels of grain - kernels of new life - makes the Sower’s heart glad. And for the sake of that harvest, God sent Jesus into the world.
Did God “sow” the word of New Life in the most efficient manner possible?
I think we can agree that God did not. Jesus could have spread the word much more efficiently if he’d had the mass media to broadcast his sermon on the mount to millions. Instead, he wasted all those good stories on a few dozen, a few thousand – what a waste!
Wouldn’t it have been better to pick more powerful and influential disciples, instead of wasting all that wisdom on a bunch of fishermen and what not? What if he’d gone straight to Rome and converted Ceaser instead of Simon Peter. Wouldn’t that have been a better use of his time?
He only had three years of ministry, and so much of that was wasted, walking from town to town. If God had valued efficiency as much as we do, he would have equipped Jesus with a nice 12 passenger van.
And maybe that’s the deeper twist to this parable – maybe that’s the more profound riddle Jesus hopes that we will figure out: That God’s way is to broadcast widely and indiscriminately his love and his mercy and his grace. God is a Sower who, without any apparent concern for efficiency, generously – abundantly – sows the world with great cascading handfuls of grace. He sows without judgment of who will receive it, who will reject it, or who needs it most. God’s way doesn’t wait until the weeds are pulled, the earth is turned, or the rains have fallen before grace is sown in our lives. God says, Ready or not,
receptive or not,
responsive or not – here I come.
And if my love is sometimes wasted – if people don’t, or can’t respond - that’s the price that I am willing to pay for those that do take root and flourish. For the sake of those who do respond, I am willing to be wasted. That’s the kind of God I am.
And, if God is so intent on spreading his love and grace widely and abundantly . . . does that challenge the careful, cost-effective, calculating way we tend to go at it? Mary Simon and I talked about this often last week in Benton Harbor. We have all these kids, and all these adults, out doing all this stuff . . . but are we wasting our time? Is it really worth the time and effort and expense to have a 3 or 4 dozen old people in a nursing home have someone pay attention to them? Does it really make any difference to those kids at the Boys and Girls Club if some white kids from rural Illinois show up to make bead necklaces and play basketball with them? Mary and I both have advanced degrees and years of experience – should we be sorting through used clothes in the basement of an Emergency Shelter? Isn’t that a waste of resources, somehow? Isn’t taking kids all the way to Benton Harbor to work with poor people wasteful when we have poor people a lot closer to home?
Those are legitimate questions. And Mary and I puzzled over them some this week. But by the week’s end, it seems to me, God had opened our minds and our hearts to a different kind of answer: We “got it” - our answer- in the deeper faith, and the wider compassion and the more tender mercy clearly evident in the lives of the young people who offered themselves to others in God’s name. They experienced the pain and the power of serving others first hand. And they don’t want to stop. These young men and women were willing to be used by God to spread his love – even if some of the love was wasted - some of it was not. And the effort wasn’t wasted on them.
What they did was not precision planting technology. But every morning they got up and prayed for courage and put a smile on their face and went out there and showed in their deeds and their words and their servant attitudes the love of God to a waiting world. And when I looked at them I know as surely as I know my own name that some of the seed fell on good ground and brought forth grain – some a hundred fold. Let anyone with ears, listen.

July 20 Sermon - Weeds: To Whack or Not to Whack?

July 20 Sermon
Matthew 13: 24-30, 36-43
Weeds: To Whack or not to Whack?

It has certainly been a good year for weeds! Have you noticed? Creeping Charlie, dandelions, crab grass, nut grass, violets, clover, fox tail, Johnson grass – ouch! – I can see some of the farmers and gardeners in the congregation beginning to twitch! And that’s just in my yard.
Weeds are doing really well this year! There are all kinds of weeds – “weed” is really what we call anything that is growing in a place where we don’t want it to grow. For instance, a couple of years ago, a little bit of creeping Jenny escaped from the water garden where I had placed it and rooted in the ground. There is now a four by four patch in the garden covered with the stuff. Pretty, but obviously plotting a romantic reunion with her boyfriend Creeping Charlie. I’m trying to chaperon, but they are determined and they get together despite my watchfulness.
You know, once Jesus told a story about weeds. Matthew puts it right in the same chapter as the parable about the Sower who threw his good seed about with such wild abandon. Here’s another story about a farmer with . . . unexpected growing practices:
He sows good seed (Jesus later explains that He is the sower. And that the good seed are the children of the kingdom - those who listen to him and grow in relationship to Him.) And an enemy (Jesus says this is the Evil One) comes in the night and sows bad seed – weed seed – which are children of evil. And these seeds also germinate and grow. So the hired hands of the man who owns the field come to him and say, “Wow. We’ve got trouble! There are weeds growing out there.” And they ask some questions, “Are you sure the seed you sowed was pure? Was there something the matter with your seed? And if you did sow good seed, where did these weeds come from?”
OK. That’s exactly the question we wish God would answer. God, if you intended this world to be a beautiful garden or good and wholesome growth, then what is with the evil in this world? I can see that you created Mother Teresa and my boy. But where did Hitler come from? Or the kid that bullies my kid at school? If you knit me together in the womb, like it says in Psalm 139, what about the fetus with Down’s syndrome? Where did that come from? What’s with this bad stuff growing alongside the good in the world? What about evil in the world?
Being it in a little closer to home: What about the church, God? Matthew’s Gospel was written to address the concerns and questions of the early church. And the early church was already asking the kinds of questions that churches are still asking: What about these people who come to church and they don’t believe quite like I do. Or live quite like I do? I’m not sure they belong in this field. I mean church. I don’t think they really are the same kind of plant as me. What are they doing here? What about bad seed in the church?
Bring it even closer now: What about me, O God? I’m trying to follow your way. I’m wanting to give my heart to you. But here in my heart I still find greed, and anger sometimes. I’m still battling selfishness. Self-righteousness rears it’s ugly head. Are you sure I’m good seed? What about the bad things still in heart and soul?
And to these questions, the Sower offers only the simplest, most basic answer – in fact it is not even an answer – it is just a statement of fact: An enemy has done this. That’s the way it is. Why is there evil in the world? In the church? In me? God just says, “It’s not what I wanted. But there it is. Both of us are going to have to deal with it.”
Ah Ha! Deal with it!! YES!
In the parable, the sower's helpers want to immediately rush out and DO SOMETHING! about those evil weeds. “We’ll head right out with our garden gloves and our sprayers of round-up and get rid of those nasty things! Don’t worry, God, we’re on the job! We’ll handle this! Just you watch! We’ll yank those weeds out of the garden faster than you can say, “glyphisate resistance”. Yee Haw, Round-up cowboys! Here we go!”
Over and over again throughout history, the so-called “helpers” have rushed in to whack the weeds of the world, the weeds in the church, and the weeds inside each human heart. In the world, that’s how crusades happen. Someone says, “Let’s rid the Holy Land of the Infidels!” Let’s whack ‘em!
In the church, That’s how schism happens.
On A Prairie Home Companion radio show, Garrison Keillor talks about how difficult it is to form a choir in the Church of the Sanctified Brethren, the mythical denomination in which he grew up. He says that anytime they got beyond enough members to form a mixed quartet, they'd discover some point in Scripture to disagree on and would split rather than tolerate false doctrine.
Keillor remembers envying the large choirs of Lutheran churches. But he didn’t think it was possible to have that many people sing together without having at least one person, most likely a soprano or tenor, guilty of unconfessed sin or of not toeing the official line on some theological point. (From The Lutheran, Feb 2005, an article by Keith Gatling)
It’s funny. But not too funny.
On a personal level, whacking weeds is how emotional repression and uncontrollable rage happen. One of you sent me a funny story about that this week about someone who wanted to be good, and must have really thought she had her weeds eliminated, but . . . then something happened. At a traffic light. A man was stopped, waiting for the light to turn green. When the light changed, he was distracted and he didn't budge. The woman in the car behind him honked her horn. He still didn't move. She honked again. By this time, she was pounding on the steering wheel and blowing her horn non-stop. Finally, just as the light turned yellow, the fellow in the first car woke up and drove through the light. The woman in the second car was beside herself. Still mid-rant, she heard a tap on her car window. She looked up to see the face of a police officer. "Lady, you're under arrest," he said. "Get out of the car. Put your hands up." He took her license, registration, had her sit in the back of the patrol car for a long, long time. Finally, he let her go. "Sorry for the mistake, Lady," he said. "But I pulled up behind you as you were blowing your horn and cursing out the fellow in front of you. I noticed the stickers on your bumper. One read "Follow me to Sunday School." The other, "What Would Jesus Do?" So, naturally, I assumed you had stolen the car.
See? She thought she had her weeds under control until she discovered a cockle-burr under her saddle . . .
When we discover that weeds are growing alongside the precious wheat, we want to do root it out! Blast it with herbicide! Yank it up! But the sower says, “Not so fast, you guys! If you yank out the weeds, you’ll also uproot the wheat.”
And here’s the key to this parable: The difference between seed and wheat is not so easy as we sometimes think. The kind of weed Jesus describes in the story is “zizania”. Today it is called “darnel” wheat. This is a very particular type of weed that looks just like wheat as it is growing up. It still grows plentifully in Syria and Palestine. It looks like wheat, it appears like wheat but it is not wheat. But it’s difficult – indeed impossible to distinguish for sure which plant is which as it is growing.
God says, “Don’t go week whacking in my field! You can’t be sure about the difference between the wheat and the weeds – the good stuff and the bad. And I don’t want you harming the new life that I’ve started in this field.”
Now, that’s a disappointing response, isn’t it? We’d like God to congratulate us on our zeal. We’d like him to cheer for us as we wade into the field to do battle with the forces of evil. We’d like him to recognize what great little workers we are, and say, “Well done, good and faithful weed whacker.”
But God, the Sower, the Owner of the field that is the world, says, no. Don’t you try to fix this for me. We’re both going to sit here and wait. Because at this point, none of my helpers has a lock on what is wheat and what is weed. And, who knows, what looks like weeds today may turn out to be wheat sometime in the future.
I want to tell you a little story about that: It’s not my story, but it’s from a pastor in Kansas – which is, of course, my personal Holy Land. Rev. Pamela J. Tinnin was pastor of Partridge Community Church-UCC, the only church in Partridge, KS, USA (population 250) when this happened. Here’s her story:
“Last week I spent some time in the waiting room of a social service agency in Hutchinson. Except for the large woman with bright red hair who sat behind the desk, there was only one other person there, a thin woman who looked to be in her early forties. In blue jeans worn white at the knees and a sleeveless cotton blouse, she looked tired, her eyes sunk deep in the sockets, her hair lying in damp curls. I was waiting to talk to one of the staff people about a project I’m trying to organize, a volunteer chaplaincy program for people who find themselves homeless and in dire straits.
Glancing over, I saw that the woman was looking out the window at the street, her eyes sad, her hands held still in her lap, her feet in the scuffed tennis shoes side-by-side, flat on the floor.
I picked up a year old Readers Digest and began flipping through the pages. To be honest, at that moment, I didn’t have the energy to take on anyone else’s problems and she looked like problems came in the door with her. Early that morning I’d had some bad news from California. Pretending to read, all I could think of was how little I could do for the woman sitting across from me, much less my family, almost 2,000 miles away.
Just then a whispery, rough voice said, “Are you in trouble?” I looked up, and then behind me, thinking the slender woman was talking to someone else, someone who’d come in when I wasn’t looking. But when I turned back she was still waiting for me to answer. “Me?” I asked. “In trouble?”
She ducked her head then, like she was embarrassed, but answered. “Your face…you look like something bad has happened…like you feel really lost.”
I couldn’t speak for a minute and could feel myself flush with shame, me thinking all the time she had wanted something from me. Then to my surprise, I told her what had happened, told her how hopeless I felt, told her how more than anything I kept hoping for a miracle. She moved closer and sat down in the next chair. She told me not to give up hope, that miracles do happen. “About five or six years ago I got into smokin’ dope; then it was cocaine and meth…my husband left me…then he went to court and took my kids away,” she said. “I thought my world had come to an end…I didn’t believe in anything…not my family or friends…not even God,” she said, and smiled a funny smile that only curved one side of her mouth.
I didn’t know what to say, so I just kept quiet and patted her arm.
“But you know, just when I’d almost given up, I met some folks who gave me another chance,” she said. “They gave me a place to live; helped me get a job. Pretty soon, I’m gonna get my own place…try to get my kids back, least part of the time. Don’t you worry,” she said, “things work out.”
And she tipped her head then and winked. “This is a hard old world,” she said. “We got to be there for each other. Don’t you think that’s the good Lord’s plan for things?”
Just then a woman in a suit, a clipboard in her hand, came through the door and said, “Mrs. Holcomb?”
The woman in the worn jeans stood, reached down and slung an old blue backpack onto her shoulder. She stepped past me, then turned back and hugged me hard. I could smell the shampoo she’d used.
“Good luck,” I told her, “and thank you…thank you.”
She walked away and I sat there thinking how easy it is to look at someone and not even see who she is. You can never tell. . .
We can’t always tell. And we can’t ever tell for sure, who is the good seed that God has sown. Or that the weeds won’t turn out to be wheat, by God’s grace, some day. All we can do is wait.
Wait. Wait until the crop bears fruit. Wait until the wheat has reached maturity. Wait until the harvest. And THEN . . .
Jesus says, you won’t have to do a thing. I have a crack crew of reapers coming in. And they know what to do. (The hired hands drop out of the story at this point, do you see that? They think they are going to save the day, but they don’t even make it to the end of the story. It’s not about them!)
You see, when the grain reaches maturity at harvest, the seed heads of the bearded darnel – the weed – are not heavy, and the stalk continues to stand upright, while the stalk of the wheat bows under the heavy weight of that crop. At the end of the season – which Jesus says is the end of time – in other words, what we call “Judgment Day” – there won’t be any trouble distinguishing between the weeds and the wheat.
Then the weeds, proudly waving in the breeze, will be gathered first. And, in a cool turn of the story, they will become kindling for the sower’s fire. The very thing the Evil One meant to be a hindrance and to cause damage ends up being gathered up and taken to be used by the Sower of the seed.
That’s how I understand the bit about throwing the weeds into the furnace of fire. Now if you want to think that that part is about evil doers burning in hell, well . . . have at it. You could make that case. But that’s not how I read it. I read it to mean that, in the end, it IS possible – at least it is possible for God – to tell the evil from the good.
In the end, the truth will come out.
And the weeds do not win.
They do not ruin the harvest.
They do not bankrupt the farm.
In the end, they just provide a little fuel for the fire. Even the weeds get put to good use by God.
But the righteous! Ah, the righteous! They are gathered into God’s own barn where they will be safe and secure. And where – wonder of wonder – Jesus says, “They will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father!”
And that’s where we want to be. Good grain, shining like the sun, safe with God. And we can be. We will be. But in order to be, we have to resist the temptation to take the role of overzealous weed whackers. We have to be content to be good seed, to do the best we can, growing alongside the weeds. That good seed is promised an eternity with God. Shining. Shining like the sun in the kingdom of their Father.
Let anyone with ears – or weeds – listen!

Friday, July 18, 2008

Managing Information

I've been home for a week today. And the major task that I wanted to accomplish as soon as I got home - rooting through the stacks of papers, books, journals, clippings, etc. on my desk - is still not done. Or even really started.
There have been other, infinitely more enjoyable things to do:
Bible study and writing
Trying out songs for worship
Catching up with folks and their news
Cooking a meal
Eating a snack and a snack and another snack
Cleaning the bathroom
Does anybody out there have ANY advice on how to tackle the job I clearly hate worse than anything else in the world?
To be clear - yesteday I did start to go through stuff. But one of the first things I ran into was the registration renewal for Rachel's car. Which was past due. So, despite the fact that it was 2 in the afternoon and the temperature and humidity were beastly, I immediately put on my hat and walked to the bank (the drive up, because I could also pick up my checks which had come in the day before) and then stopped by someone's house to make a little "call" and . . . When I got back it was time to gather up the boys and get to the premier showing of Tim's Ebertfest piece. (Which was really good - I hope you can see it - it should run at wierd times through August, at least.)
So. I'd rather risk heat stroke than do this job.
But I must.
So I will.
I'll report back later in the day.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Anybody out there?

I'm now back from a mission trip to Benton Harbor, MI - which was wonderful. High school people. Serving others. Singing. Laughing. Crying. Wonderful.
And I remembered this essay:
which I hope you'll take the time to read.
Sarah Miles' book, "Take This Bread" is one of the best I've read this year.
Her essay is great, too.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Home from Californy-i-a

During the Depression, most of my father's family took off for California.
They didn't came back.
In fact, for all practical purposes, they disappeared and were never heard of again.
I think I understand that better now.
But, unlike my aunts, uncles and cousins twice removed - I am back.
I saw the ocean,
the mountains,
the redwoods,
the palm trees,
and 8 lane freeways as far as the eye can see.
But now I'm home.
I can't wait to see you.