Paper Bag Analogies

It is scary not being able to breath properly. It looks like you have Covid lung the doctor said, congestive heart failure…

My husband told my daughters what pills to give me and when, bypassing me entirely because the lack of oxygen meant fatigue and fuzzy thinking

I had put my soul at the center of this. Dying was just a space in my peripheral vision, something that was going to be inevitable at the rate I was going.

I tried to sing these songs. Eventually I had to just sit in their presence while others sang.

I talked to Jesus about the pain and paper sack lungs. He told me he took the true agony of a pair of dying lungs so that I could be given

More time, heaven after

When I began to think I would actually live a little longer, I was still afraid to take it for granted

I had to talk myself into the river. Tell myself I could ease in, keep your head above water

When I could go under

Hold my breath

Swim again

I told Jesus I would never tell the story without full acknowledgement

He healed me. He gave me back my life at his own deep expense

His lungs for mine

Now I can sing

Test of the “I Was”-es (Part 1)

Matthew 25:35-39 KJV

[35] For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: [36] Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me. [37] Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee ? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? [38] When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee ? [39] Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee?

The test of the I-was-es:

Seeing Jesus in all our weakness and need

Jerichos

Long before her son’s whirling and untimely demise, my paternal grandmother believed in her traction with elected officials. I remembered this belief upon my first campaign, which was, parenthetically, about the loss of a single child and an unjust judge.

Who save me

would draw a line between Mamaw and the rise and fall of Hasmonean kings?

Amidst all this talk of unjust judges and rising kings

I tell myself there must be

sycamores in Jerichos still

Awaiting His return

Rapture

Waited in the animal clinic

(It was touch and go those days)

looked up at the plastic picture fitted

over the flat fluorescent light

A joyful tangle

of cats, dogs, suitcases, lamps, unicycles

Bowler hats and other ephemera

as though a world populated entirely by domestic animals had

Lost its purchase on gravity

Things rise in a riotous jumble

Rapture, I think

One day we will

Rise and float

Balloons in blue sky

Tethered

In the end, I picture you

Crossing paths unexpectedly with someone much like me only nicer

Between trains in a crowded station

She is going one way, you the other

And she knows there is only one minute left

Amidst the noise, the crowd, the excruciating sound of braking

To say something

To change the course of your endless

Destination

There is no end of the line?

Who will meet you at the station?

Jesus, the ticket pressed into your hand

The only way home

Lazarus

He walks into every room looking for someone who might comprehend

what it is

he has seen and heard

He weighs their solemn waiting-room-faces

Do they have

Better memories now? Do they still need to write things down or

Know every word by heart?

Are all the lambs among them and

can we see their scars?

Who can end this waiting

By calling us out

Out into life

My Covid Story

Around Thanksgiving I got Covid. I work in a doctor’s office, so eventually all of our staff got the disease as did our immediate family.

Symptoms and severity sorted out by age. The youngest two had the mildest symptoms, the oldest–me, ended up in the ER for a day, facing a diagnosis of damage to my heart and lungs.

First, let me say, that I am mending. I am the recipient of miracles and healing.

But the 24 hours leading up to the ER visit were really scary. The day in the ER was a gift. The oxygen machine they sent me home with was a gift.

And my current pulse, O2 stats, and general health–belong to the grace of my Ransomer.

Jesus gave me miracles, as He has done my whole life.

Covid is a really scary disease. It leaves some scars. It leaves fear and memory of the pain and uncertainty.

But Jesus is bigger than mountains. Jesus is bigger than tiny killer viral agents.

And Jesus never walks away from us.

I know I have been saved and given the gift of my life back.

I will do what I can to praise the One who saved me.

And I will use these beautiful lungs to pray for all of us.

That we feel him there with us,

No matter what.

The Namesake Dilemma

I have been waging a Sisyphean campaign to draw scrutiny to a large business deal.

One of the companies involved has clearly secular goals which are in frank opposition to the stated identity of the other.

The other bears the name of a good friend of mine. My best friend–

It troubles me that in recent years this second company seems to be more concerned with monetary transactions than honoring the name applied to its legal entity.

It is a good reminder for me–if I want to mark my life, my identity, my business, my things, with the name of my Beloved, well

I better make sure

They all really belong to Him

And we both know

He is my best friend, my boss, my king

Savior, Redeemer, Lord

God’s strong right arm.

Revelation 12:17 NIV

[17] Then the dragon was enraged at the woman and went off to wage war against the rest of her offspring—those who keep God’s commands and hold fast their testimony about Jesus.