November 2008


“Who can find a virtuous woman? For her worth is far above rubies. The heart of her husband safely trusts her; so he will have no lack of gain. She does him good and not evil all the days of her life. She seeks wool and flax, and willingly works with her hands. She is like the merchant ships; she brings her food from afar. She also rises while it is yet night, and provides food for her household and a portion for her maidservants. She considers a field and buys it; from her profits she plants a vineyard. She girds herself with strength, and strengthens her arms. She perceives that her merchandise is good, and her lamp does not go out by night. She stretches out her hands to the distaff, and her hand holds the spindle. She extends her hand to the poor, yes; she reaches out her hands to the needy. She is not afraid of snow for her household, for all her household is clothed with scarlet. She makes tapestry for herself; her clothing is fine linen and purple. Her husband is known in the gates, when he sits among the elders of the land. She makes linen garments and sells them, and supplies sashes for the merchants. Strength and honor are her clothing; she shall rejoice in time to come. She opens her mouth with wisdom, and on her tongue is the law of kindness. She watches over the ways of her household, and does not eat the bread of idleness. Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: ‘Many daughters have done well, but you excel them all.’ Charm is deceitful and beauty is passing, but a woman who fears the LORD, she shall be praised. Give her of the fruit of her hands, and let her own works praise her in the gates” (Proverbs 31:10-31).

 

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A word of advice to all the men out there: if this virtuous woman is worth far more than a precious ruby, then she must be much rarer and far more difficult to find than a ruby as well. If you find a woman like this willing to give you her heart, then do not let her go. Only a fool would do such a thing.

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Dear Fellow Human Beings,

Please start acting like what you are. You are people, given reason, logic, and grace, not wild, savage animals driven by primal instinct. Today a Walmart worker was trampled to death as he opened the doors for Black Friday shoppers who had been waiting on line to get their precious flat screen TV’s and digital cameras for a whole $10 less than they would normally pay on any other sale day. The man was pushed down as he opened the doors and screamed in pain and agony as 200 people trampled him underfoot to get to DVDs on sale for $9. When shoppers were told the store had to shut down because of the death, they yelled at officials and continued shopping.

At least wild animals have the viable excuse of survival instinct when stampeding, but what happened today is inexcusable. Have we become so blind to what truly matters in this world that human life is worth less than a stupid DVD player? As India still deals with the painful aftermath of a heinous terror attack, a whole new shape of terrorism was manifesting itself here right at home in the US. And this time the enemy isn’t some radical terrorist cell, it is our own greed and apathy.

Others were hurt in this crazed stampede at the Walmart including a woman who is 8-months pregnant. Thankfully, she and her child are both doing fine. I suggest you read up on this story here and internalize it.

It’s time to wake up America. There are plenty who which to destroy us from without, let’s not help them by destroying ourselves from within. If the free world crumbles, it will begin with the internal fall of each and every single one of us.

Sincerely,

A Concerned Woman

“Parable of Faith”

Now, in twilight, on the palace steps
the king asks forgiveness of his lady.

He is not
duplicitous; he has tried to be
true to the moment; is there another way of being
true to the self?

The lady
hides her face, somewhat
assisted by shadows. She weeps
for her past; when one has a secret life,
one’s tears are never explained.

Yet gladly would the king bear
the grief of his lady: his
is the generous heart,
in pain as in joy.

Do you know
what forgiveness means? It means
the whole world has sinned, the world
must be pardoned—

- Louise Glück 

The lesson of the moment, and of every moment: Love is as love does.

Entry written on Sunday, April 20, 2008…

“On my Knees”

On a most ridiculous trip up and down the turnpike with my honorary roommate (we kept missing our exit somehow and drove up and down the state of New Jersey for a good 2 hours) I became very well acquainted with Carrie Underwood’s new CD. Now, she’s not an artist I’d go out of my way to listen to but that was the CD in the car so I had very little say in the matter. I discovered a few things. I actually kind of like her music, her lyrics are hilarious (see the song “Last Name”) and she’s actually got some profound phrases mixed in with all the country verve.

In the song “Flat on the Floor” she belts about a heartbreak and tells the man that he can’t live without her and so on and so forth, but in between the “baby, baby, baby, baby tell me why you gotta make me, make me, make me, make me cry?” and “baby, baby, baby, baby tell me how you think you’re gonna live without my love now?” she does say one thing that sticks with me…

“You can’t knock me off my feet when I’m already on my knees…”

It’s an expression of something most people have felt before in one way or another–the feeling that nothing worse can be done to you because the worst has already happened. It is simultaneously a cry of pain and a challenge to the oncoming aggressor. At once she tells him “look at how much you’ve hurt me, I’m on my knees in pain” and challenges him to do his worst because she’s in a position of utmost stability and security. She puts it simply, the easiest way to thwart a foe coming to knock you off your feet is to get on your knees and pray.

The image of the broken woman on her knees reads as a vision of prayer. And once it becomes a vision of prayer, the broken woman becomes harder than a diamond and more resilient than steel. The position of sorrow and submission transforms into that of joy and power all because prayer can move mountains, part seas, and it might just be the only thing that can mend a broken heart.

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It is when we finally learn to kneel in prayer, when we have come to the understanding of the fact that we are weak, we cannot mend our own aches and pains, we cannot move mountains or change the world on our own, we cannot live with our pride that keeps us stiff and upright before men, that we can truly lift up our hearts to the Lord and call upon His name. When I mention kneeling in prayer, I do not mean it figuratively only, but the literal act of kneeling before the Lord when we pray. Bring yourself lower to the ground when praying, lift up your heart to the heavens, and soon you will find your whole being transported upward to the heavens, close enough for you to kiss the sky.

                                            

P.S. – Ok, so Carrie Underwood doesn’t actually say anything about prayer in her song, but I still see it that way…

The difference between liking and loving and so much more…

Entry Written on Saturday, April 5, 2008…

“Blank Stares and Blank Pages”

When I was younger, perhaps at the age of 4 or 5 and ending sometime around when I was 9 or so, I would have these moments of pure conviction that I must have been born into the wrong life. Everything was so ordinary. And well, I obviously couldn’t be. No, I was meant to be a heroine somewhere in some distant land. I had to have some special untapped superpower. Or better yet, I was an amazing mythological creature that happened to be stuck in a human’s body. In attempting to realize my full mystical potential I caused some chaos and mainly ended up looking entirely ridiculous. The casualties of my efforts to become the great heroine I was meant to be included my mother’s glass coffee table and a few of her favorite vases. I spent many long afternoons wearing butterfly printed tights while leaping off my parent’s bed in a fervent attempt to fly (apparently the butterfly tights were supposed to help somehow.) The closest I ever came to accomplishing these lofty goals of mine was when I managed to convince a few of my cousins that I was, indeed, a mermaid and that I needed to be brought back to the sea. Eventually they all got tired of trying to help me plan my return to my supposed native habitat.

At the age of ten I realized the error of my ways. Fairytales with princesses who go off and save the day took their rightful place as stories. But still, I couldn’t just be an ordinary fifth grader who just went to school everyday and did her homework and participated in the science fair (my entries were pretty good too.) My solution came in science class one day when we started the unit on space. I was going to become an astronaut! It made perfect sense: I didn’t belong here, so obviously I belonged up there somewhere. When I pitched the idea to my parents they laughed at me and then went “Honey, you’re going to be a doctor.” (A little over a decade later they had to settle for law school when they realized that I was never going to make it through med school if the sight of a needle induced near hysteria and fainting spells every time I had to encounter one. Let’s just say I make babies look brave in the face of an oncoming shot of any sort.)

Yet, the feeling persisted. I spent the following years agonizing with this feeling that could really only be described as “non-belonging.” The career plans changed a million times over but each time they always had one end goal–to somehow get out of “here.” One day, probably when I was 15 or 16, when I was having a particularly hard time with this little predicament of mine, I decided to pitch a new career idea to my dad. He sat there and listened to me for a few minutes and then asked why on earth I wanted to be an archaeologist. I frowned and began to repeat my speech about how great it would be to work with artifacts and study human history but he stopped me and asked, “Why do you want to go so far away?” and without thinking I blurted out “Because I just don’t think I belong here.” When I realized just how awful that sounded, I tried to explain myself but he stopped me again.

Then he asked me a question that has stuck with me till this very day: “Honey, if you felt like you belonged here, why would you ever want to be in heaven with God?” My desire to reach something higher than my surroundings, to literally “go up there,” began to make sense. The feeling was and still is simply motivation to keep reaching my hands and heart up toward heaven, to our Father in heaven. With this new understanding I began to face the challenge set before me. I had to find the extraordinary in the everyday ordinary in order to appreciate the wonders of the world yet remain focused on reaching beyond it. In other words, I began to search for the glory of God in all that He created so I did not become careless when it came to my surroundings and those around me. I needed to strike a balance of appreciation and understanding– seeing the glory in what seems to be so ordinary in order to gain a far deeper awareness of what I constantly keep reaching for and yearning to grasp. I strive to see the depth in a blank stare and the words on a blank page because sometimes that’s all that seems to be around.

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