Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Chicken Coops and Love

So one of my favorite current writers is Michael Perry, a country "boy" from a small town outside Eau Claire, Wisconsin. He's marvelous with straightforward, thoughtful prose that sees and thus reminds me of the sweet and deep and mysterious wonderfulness of people, community, being human -- and keeps grounded to the humorous "earthiness" of it all: poop, ass-iferous dog bites, broken trucks, and beer tents at the annual catfish fest. His third major book came out this spring and my mom surprise-gifted it to me. We read it together, laughing together over the anecdotes and mishaps of our "friend" and leaning back into his gentle musings. I think I love this guy even more for being the kind of writer that invites me to share in his life and thus opens his readers up to share in each others lives through that shared experience. Community. The "Body" of humanity. I've been reading Ephesians slowly and repeatedly --- causing me to think, meditate? over the relationship of God Himself (in His Trinity) and how He has built that into the very center of being human -- in relation to Christ (we, the Church, His Body) and relation to each other (we, the Church, members together of One Body). And, of course, there is the community of marriage and family, constantly and deeply present and growing and changing and intensifying. As a person growing up in a close family and a small well-established farming community, I understand and feel these things in ways some people have not had a privilege to. But also, being, at heart, a quiet, reading, thinking sort of fellow, I have always shied away from and been awkward with relationships, friendships, too many people -- wanting "space" to think and read and "process" life -- Life, which is too fast and too complicated and too important to let slide by in a skimming whirling flash of days. I want to hold on to it, live it rightly. And so too many relationships addle me. I am not sure how to love even the people closest to me...how can I bring more people in close? How do I love wider and not sacrifice thoughtfulness and depth and beauty of knowing, giving, understanding??????

I have learned so much from being loved by, knowing Bradley. It feels like I was lonely my whole life until he broke through to love me and know me. Every day I am surprised in new but quiet ways how satisfying it is to be part of the community of this my family. I was, am part of my childhood family -- and have been loved well and long and faithfully, but it is the sort of community I think I have barely felt -- having grown up in it, having no other context of living other than the complicated ties of siblings and parents and cousins and such. This newly made, chosen family gives me ways to feel and see and understand community and relationship -- love -- with different "eyes", different parts of me because it wasn't always here. Does this make sense to any of you? Oh how thankful I am that God has not given me over to my loneliness, given me over to a deceptively "clean" (sterile) solitariness; That He hasn't left me with my books and papers and closed and hungry heart. He is so very very unspeakably kind.

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