Thursday, August 29, 2013

Oh Lord you have searched me and known my love for thrift stores

We're back on schedule with all sorts of things, thanks be to God.  This includes, but is not limited to, eating dinner together, praying vespers (evening prayer) together, keeping house, waking up on time, heading out to the local YMCA each morning where I meditate and pray while simultaneously forcing my underused limbs to get back in some sort of respectable shape.

I love the way listening to the daily Pray-as-you-go podcast while I walk the elliptical centers and integrates my body, mind and spirit.  The lectio divina format help me listen to the Spirit with both head and heart. Wednesday's reading in Psalm 139 reminds me the creative, passionate Father God spares no vulnerability knowing his loved ones.  
Oh, Lord, you have searched me and known me.
The narrator asks: "How does it feel to hear that God knows you through and through? Reassuring? A bit scary? Too mysterious to grasp fully?"

Definitely mysterious.  In a good way.  And, why, if He knows me so well is it taking me so long to figure it out for myself?  I could use a little help, here, you know?

A moment later, the narrator asks: "What moments of joy do you recall when you were aware of God's hand leading you?"

And, no joke, I think about thrift stores.  Yes, thrift stores.   Somehow in the last two years when we've unmoored from the familiar landing of home, family, jobs, a large chunk of income, four kids at the table each night and actual, physical space it's been moments discovering a little piece of beauty for hardly any money that I feel anchored again.  
a gorgeous coral Brian and I found at an estate sale in our neighborhood, at half off the original price

Feathering our nest with a mixture of heirlooms and found beauty settles my heart somehow.

Brian's grandmother painted the vase of flowers, my uncle's father made the glass-cased bookshelf,
the owner of the magnificent coral was a Navy man who lived in our new neighborhood
for like fifty years and recently passed away

Like the day in June I had less than thirty minutes and fifteen dollars to spare but feel anxious to settle the kitchen in our new rental house.  The kitchen with only two drawers and four cupboards.  On my way to pick up my daughter I make the impulse decision to drive South Congress past a favorite vintage store.

Normally it takes me a half hour to find a parking space and at least an entire hour to just walk through the entire store, drooling over the unique, vintage collections all priced way over my budget.  Still with 30 minutes and 15 dollars and a need -- bordering on desperate -- to settle our home, I take the risk.  I begin to suspect Grace is at work when I discover not just one, but several open parking spaces directly in front of the store.

With a measure of self-discipline previously unknown to me I circle the store, steely-eyed for just the right piece to help our kitchen feel more like our home.  In the back -- all the way in the back -- I pick up this handmade cabinet.  No price tag.  When old school locker baskets cost $40 and wooden cupboards cost more than I spent on my entire house of furniture put together, I don't get my hopes up.  I walk back to the front of the store, wait patiently for the busy clerk and then wait again while he phones the vendor.

 A happy little flutter in my gut lights into hope. I think now it was probably the presence of delight from my good Father, waiting for me to recognize His surprise gift. A blessing from His Spirit affirming maybe -- just maybe -- I'm not a crazy woman, foolishly spending time and money on our little rental kitchen.

we drink a lot of tea

The clerk hangs up the phone: "It's $12. And that's really hard to believe."

I giggle and hand him my sweaty wad of cash.  And -- wonder of wonders -- make it to pick up my daughter at exactly the right time.

the white bookshelf came to me from my great aunt, Brian and I found the NY state sign
at an antiques mall when we were home last summer, the little cup was mine as a girl,
the knitting needles belonged to my uncle's mother

And this is the story I think about when the narrator asks the question: "What moments of joy do you recall when you were aware of God's hand leading you?"

For you formed my inward parts;
    you knitted me together in my mother's womb.
14 I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Wonderful are your works;
    my soul knows it very well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you,
when I was being made in secret,
    intricately woven in the depths of the earth.
16 Your eyes saw my unformed substance;
in your book were written, every one of them,
    the days that were formed for me,
    when as yet there was none of them.
17 How precious to me are your thoughts, O God!
    How vast is the sum of them!
18 If I would count them, they are more than the sand.
    I awake, and I am still with you.
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