Your Carriage and Life

There was a good pile of hair on the floor the other day when Paige finished her work. She is a talented woman, charming and insightful, in the way I have always imagined women who work with hair could be. Part psychologist, part stylist, I think it must be interesting to listen to people share their life stories while you're cutting their hair. It's quite the ministry.

Paige calls herself "The Kitchen Beautician." How cute is that? She comes to your house to cut your hair. It's dreamy. 

So there it was, the hair I have been carrying around for many years, in a pile on the floor. 

I saw both of my former husbands that day and they said the same thing: "You haven't had hair that short in a long time." It made me smile. To feel known to them.

The grass is slowly greening up. It's March, and if you have been reading this blog for any length of time, you know that I hate March. Because March swallowed up Josh and then Reid. The weather is so weird in March; I don't like the vacillation between warm and cold air. Several years ago I was in Alaska for a few weeks in March and I noticed that the tromp toward spring there was much more steady. The temperature rose in small increments as the days passed. Here in Vermont it's quite unsettling: 60 degrees one day; snowing and 28 the next. 

Perhaps this accounts for the jarring segue I am about to attempt.

  From Paige, with love.

From Paige, with love.

I was thinking last night about my refusal to name things. In the days when I exhibited my photography, I didn't give the photos names. This bothered some people, but I didn't want to play along with the usual artsy habit of reducing a piece of work to a word or phrase. I wanted the viewer to have an untainted experience with the photo. To me, it could be a road in South Dakota; to someone looking at the photograph, it might bring memories of a childhood adventure; it could conjure up sorrow, or desire to travel. My thinking was this: All I did was capture the moment; the viewer owns the story. I'm channeling, the viewer brings their own unique experience to the moment.

The same is true of the sermons I share on Sundays. I don't entitle them. I did when I first started at the church, but it felt awkward, contrived, so I stopped. I'm channeling; the listener brings their own unique experience to the moment.

I have never wanted to get in the way of that. Mostly, I've wanted to get out of the way: here is what I have seen, heard, felt...take it, it's yours.

It still feels kind of weird, to stand before other people and think that I have any greater skills or insight in interpreting scripture. "Preach the gospel at all times and only when necessary use words," was said by someone wise. Saint Francis, maybe. 

That's really what I believe. Preach the gospel at all times. With your life, your actions. Show love, be kind, be gracious, listen carefully, hold hands, ask, every day, "how can I help?" 

It's a humble stance, to preach the gospel at all times. It's a worthy goal.

George Fox, Quaker founder, said it really well:
Be patterns, be examples, in all countries, places, islands, nations, wherever you come; that your carriage and life may preach among all sorts of people, and to them; then you will come to walk cheerfully over the world, answering that of God in everyone; whereby in them you may be a blessing, and make the witness of God in them bless you.

I'm going to try to be OK with March this year. Welcome the winds that carry the spirits I so love. Ask them to help me keep learning how to preach with my life. God, it's hard work, but I'm game. I'm in. Amen.

Before you go, though, take a look at this bit of wonder. It's my very favorite place on the world wide web: wind.