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More or Less Church

Joanna Depue "DJ/Deacon J" writes original songs and liturgies, does daily Farm office work and records Barbara's eMos on The Geranium Farm. A singer and dog trainer she utilizes healing touch in her private massage practice. PLEASE share YOUR original ideas for worship, special liturgies, prayers, songs, sermons and noteworthy blogs right here.
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Saturday, August 25, 2007

Doors and Windows

You've heard it...I'm certain of that. "God never closes a door without opening a window".

A door has closed for me. The door isn't locked, but it is closed, for sure. There is a certain amount of sadness involved in letting go of something believed in, something hoped for, something wished. Just as described in the prior entry "Pearls", I have to let go of a hope of mine, a cherished belief in a romantic relationship. By God, it's hard. No iburophen can touch this ache within that does not go away. I am still angry with myself and with God. Another try that did not take - and a rather costly one on so many levels, at that. Why didn't I see the signs? Why didn't I hear the subtext? The inflection? Me... the empath, blocking energy focused in such a pinpoint way?

There are times when embracing my utter falability is essential. I make mistakes, I misread. And, human that I am, there are times when I hear what I want to hear. Ever been 'guilty' of that shortcoming?

The upside is that for the next couple of weeks God and I will continue having heated discussions. The sooner I recognized the presence of Grace the sooner I will be able to move into mourning something that will never be.

For now, I am in a windowless place, but the upside is that there is work to be done and jobs to be accomplished. Occupation on tasks will take the edge off of what I recognize to be a razor. Today it was cleaning. There will be some visitors tonight. Then packing up my Helga Honda with things that I will be able to put into a yard sale in New York. Some trinkets, some treasures, some 'trash' that will prove irresistable to someone else. Then packing up things from Chelsea and a caravan shuttle to Holland, MI.

C's Mom and Dad are irresistably cute in their own ways... and yesterday we were invited to 'Happy Hour' at the senior complex they now reside in (and where I'm typing from, thanks to Jack Smith). One of the managers of the residence invited me to come back next week to practice therapeutic touch on the residents - which I did to the great delight of the participants.

No window of opportunity yet.... but in my heart of hearts I know one will emerge. I will wait, hope and pray.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Learning, Counting and Paying the Cost and Faith

This particular story made have made the rounds already --- I haven't seen it before. Thanks to Hodgepodge Debbie for passing it on.


The cheerful little girl with bouncy golden curls was almost five. Waiting with her mother at the checkout stand, she saw them, a circle of glistening White Pearls in a pink foil box.

"Oh mommy please, Mommy. Can I have them? Please, Mommy, please?"

Quickly the mother checked the back of the little foil box and then looked back iInto the pleading blue eyes of her little girl's upturned face.

"A dollar ninety-five. That's almost $2.00. If you really want them, I'll think of some extra chores for you and in no time you can save enough money to buy them for yourself. Your birthday's only a week away and you might get another crisp dollar bill from Grandma."

As soon as Jenny got home, she emptied her penny bank and counted out 17 pennies. After dinner, she did more than her share of chores and she went to the neighbor and asked Mrs. McJames if she could pick dandelions for ten cents.
On her birthday, Grandma did give her another new dollar bill and at last she had enough money to buy the necklace.

Jenny loved her pearls. They made her feel dressed up and grown up. She wore them everywhere, Sunday school, kindergarten, even to bed. The only time she took them off was when she went swimming or had a bubble bath. Mother
said if they got wet, they might turn her neck green.

Jenny had a very loving daddy and every night when she was ready for bed, he would stop whatever he was doing and come upstairs to read her a story.

One night as he finished the story, he asked Jenny, "Do you love me?"

"Oh yes, daddy. You know that I love you."

"Then give me your pearls."

"Oh, daddy, not my pearls. But you can have Princess, the white horse from my collection, the one with the pink tail. Remember, daddy? The one you gave me? She's my very favorite."

"That's okay, Honey" he said. "Daddy loves you. Good night." And he brushed her
Cheek with a kiss.

About a week later, after the story time, Jenny's daddy asked again, "Do you love me?"

"Daddy, you know I love you."

"Then give me your pearls."

"Oh Daddy, not my pearls. But you can have my baby doll. The brand new one I got for my birthday. She is beautiful and you can have the yellow blanket that matches her sleeper."

"That's okay", he said. "Sleep well. God bless you, little one.. Daddy loves you." And as always, he brushed her cheek with a gentle kiss.

A few nights later when her daddy came in, Jenny was sitting on her bed with her legs crossed Indian style.

As he came close, he noticed her chin was trembling and one silent tear rolled down her cheek.

"What is it, Jenny? What's the matter?"

Jenny didn't say anything but lifted her little hand up to her Daddy. And when she opened it, there was her little pearl necklace. With a little quiver, she finally said, "Here, Daddy; this is for you".

With tears gathering in his own eyes, Jenny's Daddy reached out with one hand to take the dime store necklace, and with the other hand he reached into his pocket and pulled out a blue velvet case with a strand of genuine pearls and gave them to Jenny.

He had them all the time. He was just waiting for her to give up the dime-store stuff so he could give her the genuine treasure.

So it is, with our Divine Father. He is waiting for us to give up the cheap things in our lives so that he can give us beautiful treasures. Isn't God good?

Are you holding onto things that God wants you to let go of? Trying to bargain with God? Are you holding onto harmful or unnecessary partners, relationships, habits and activities that you have come so attached to that it seems impossible to let go? Sometimes it is so hard to see what is in the other hand, or make that leap of faith on the basis of "one bird in the hand..."

Yet it is imperative to believe this one thing: God will never take away something without giving you something better
in its place.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Coming Out from Under

Friday I got enough paperwork done to face the daunting reality of going into the city to drop off the accesories of my UN working life: I was issued a new ID with a new picture...... I had been asked by the assistant in the Pass and ID office whether I wanted to use my existing picture or... take a new one. I chose to take a new one.

The strangest thing is.... I looked at the old picture and the new one. I looked BETTER in the new one. Three years later - after going through one disease to the next..... and I looked BETTER. Thinner. Whiter hair, slight rings under the eyes, but lighter in a few ways. I'm glad it was taken before I actually went back to my office proper.

My cubicle was re-populated by a multiple returned retiree.... the things I distributed to certain people had all been thrown into a box. I did reclaim the plastic under-desk runner that I had purchased privately. I handed in my payment instructions. I made the mistake of returning my other IDs to the "Front Office" while no one was there... and played a couple of computer games and then tried to search the inhouse web of where to turn in my parking permit. I had waited 45min. And left the badges with a post-it. I was later accosted by the person whose desk I was asked for leaving a program open [that I never understood anyway and had not helped me in my search to return all things UN]. In the reception area of all places I was berated by someone employed by the organization less than 5 years.... and slandered. She also mentioned that it would take quite some time before my paperwork would be processed - but that they would have to reclaim a full month's salary. Where, between the delay in the tax conformity w/the IRS AND the UN, any release of moneys will take three or four months. Three former colleagues within earshot excused themselves. It finally sunk in that everyone is replaceable - and, in that environment, I had become another statistic.

From there I went to find out I would TEMPORARILY be covered by health insurance. Then I went to hand in my garage pass only to be told that I would be docked for the 2 weeks I had been retired because I had not handed in the tag earlier. Trying to explain to them that they could easily call my Executive Office to hear I had not come in since the 31 July they said that was not their concern. I had even parked in a garage nearby for this "visit" and was told that was not their job or policy. Pay up or it would be taken out of my final pay...... except my final pay would only be 1/2 a month - and the UN was going to suck back a full month due to too many sick days.

I guess that was the last straw. I paid with what cash I had, dragged 2 shopping bags of personal effects to the parking garage, paid the attendant a tip with 4 rolls of pennies and headed home.

C had come for a surprise visit and had done an amazing job of spreading mulch and topsoil while I toiled on mileage charts and reimbursement levels on schedule A. We had a good sleep and then threw things together and drove all day Saturday to arrive in Chelsea. C and Emmy Lou needed to stop often for a 'rest stop'. So it was late. But no run-ins with the law, no flat tires, in between the raindrops we got to solid ground.

I was a lazy retiree today. My head is no longer throbbing. My heart is rising from its toenails. My heartrate is back at its slower pace. Emmy has run in and out of the rain after chipmunks. I will put on ultra comfortable T-shirt and sweat shorts tomorrow. Doing what, I don't know. And I guess that's good. For the next few weeks I don't know what I will be doing from one day to the next. I don't know where the money will come from.

For years I have preached to others about 'sufficient unto the day', that anxiety isn't the 13th commandment, that guilt is not a blessing, that belief manifests itsself in mysterious ways...... and now the preacher is learning the lessons she has taught. It's taking a bit of time, but slowly the Spirit is helping me coming out from under the weight, the rock, the mindset.

Hope is happening! Hallelujah! I intend to be sending "off site" over the next month. Maybe not so regularly, but I'll keep at it. Life will be giving me a whole lotta material to share. So....... welcome from the state of Michigan. Wish you were here!

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