Saturday, March 08, 2008

Friday Five (Belated); Hopeful Edition

Via the revgals --

What have you seen/ heard this week that was a :

1. Sign of hope?
Feeling a bit stronger and starting to attend classes again.

2. An unexpected word of light in a dark place?
The wise encouragement of a number of my professors that I take some incompletes rather than trying to push my way through the last of this quarter, when I am still trying to get healthy again. So many said "You're a good student, we know you are capable, we trust you'll get it done, and this is what incompletes are for." As someone who struggles with people's perceptions of me as "good enough," this was a great blessing.

3. A sign of spring?
Sprouting bulbs in the little flowerbed we planted by the entrance of our seminary townhouse, earthworms on the sidewalk after spring rain, warmer temps, recognition that after Spring break, it will only be six weeks until Middler year is done.

4. Challenging/ surprising?
Recognition that after spring break, it will only be six weeks until Middler year is has passed so quickly, and there's a piece of me that's a little surprised that theyll foist me upon some parish somewhere so soon.

5. Share a hope for the coming week/month/year....
Week -- continued improvement in strength and ability to concentrate
Month -- completion of outstanding work, and approval of my honors thesis proposal
Year -- a wonderful and rich senior year with some opportunities to do some exciting work in areas that interest me....and then ordination!

Bonus play... a piece of music/ poem guaranteed to cheer you? Brahms Intermezzos, anything by Nelly McKay or Carrie Newcomer, poetry of Cynthia Rylant ("God Went to Beauty School") and Mary Karr, whose new book of poetry, "Sinners Welcome" is pure joy. Herein, a copy of one poem from that collection, as it was reprinted on Karr's website:


Before my first communion at 40, I clung
to doubt as Satan spider-like stalked
the orb of dark surrounding Eden
for a wormhole into paradise.

God had first formed me in the womb
small as a bite of burger.
Once my lungs were done
He sailed a soul like a lit arrow

to inflame me. Maybe that piercing
made me howl at birth,
or the masked creatures
whose scalpel cut a lightning bolt to free me—

I was hoisted by the heels and swatted, fed
and hauled through rooms. Time-lapse photos show
my fingers grew past crayon outlines,
my feet came to fill spike heels.

Eventually, I lurched out to kiss the wrong mouths,
get stewed, and sulk around. Christ always stood
to one side with a glass of water.
I swatted the sap away.

When my thirst got great enough
to ask, a stream welled up inside;
some jade wave buoyed me forward;
and I found myself upright

in the instant, with a garden
inside my own ribs aflourish. There, the arbor leafs.
The vines push out plump grapes.
You are loved, someone said. Take that

and eat it.
--Mary Karr

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