Christmas Poem, 2009

"I tell you, if these were silent
the stones would shout out."
-- Jesus, in Luke 19:40

But they were singing
at the beginning, too,

vibrating in the silent
space between atoms,

the groans of creation joining
with one woman's voice,

a cry we may yet hear
in the moment after sound.
-- Michelle M. Hargrave, 2009


Children's Christmas Program

My eldest was Herod this morning. He was a little uncomfortable with the notorious role, but he knew his lines and said them clearly, and got to wear a great costume.

Theo opted out. Last week while he was crying and I was trying to convince him to go to rehearsal (he was supposed to dress as an angel and say, "A savior" on cue) he said to me, "Momma, I need more space than that." Well, he's right, he does need more space than the whole program would have allowed, and there is hardly any chance he would have said what he was supposed to when he was supposed to. He did, this morning, indicate that perhaps next year he'll be in the program.

Well. I've seen these programs for years. We do this every Christmas. Every year the kids are cute, every year some forget their lines, every year weird things go wrong and are delightful. This year, though, I nearly cried through the whole thing. I don't think it was because I had one kid in it, and one kid not. I just found it so moving, all these people working so hard for the children to tell us this story about a little baby, again.
Posted by Picasa


Prompting dilemmas

Yesterday afternoon I had tea with a friend and then went to a shopping center at County Road C and Snelling to Once Upon a Child to sell size 5 boy clothes. I went back to my car, pulled out of my spot and thought, "Which way shall I exit the shopping center?" I used to work on C-2 so I sometimes drive out of my way north to that road to make an easy right-hand turn onto Snelling, an easy shot home. It is more direct, however, and shorter, to take the frontage road to the stoplight and turn left onto C and then right onto Snelling. Last time that way was full of traffic, but it was earlier, about 4 pm, and still light. I paused a moment, sitting there, and then drove out of my way, north to C-2 and onto Snelling.

A few hours later my mother-in-law called and breathlessly said to me, "Where is everybody?"

"We are all sitting down at dinner," I replied. "Why?"

She told me of a seven car pileup at the intersection of C and Snelling (she had just returned from the grocery store there) with fatalities, and she knew I was planning to go there sometime during the day. She said the accident was at 4 pm and I said, "I was just through that intersection at 4. I must have just missed it."

Kelly and I have had several near misses the last few days.

A few hours later I checked my facebook page and saw that two women I know were planning to drive through that intersection at 4 and were late or made a stop instead. We started musing about it all when I decided to check the news report. I learned there the accident wasn't just at the intersection. Someone had a "major medical event" and plowed a mini-van into a line of cars on the east-bound lane of County Road C waiting at the Snelling light. One woman died, one is critically injured, and seven cars were involved. This happened about 4 pm.

That is the road I decided not to take yesterday afternoon, that little stretch of road going eastbound to Snelling on County Road C. At 4 pm.

So a prayer of thanks goes up for another near miss (how many do we have each day?) and a prayer for all those injured or grieving because of that accident. But here is my dilemma:

How did I know to go to other way? or was it a lucky guess?

I teach people in Covenant Discipleship to pay attention to spiritual promptings, and it seems to me that the more we pay attention to them the more we get. They are often things like, "Call so and so" and then you find out they were thinking of you or needed a call right then or things like that. Or a prompting is a suggestion (by the Holy Spirit) to do this instead of that. A little dose of spiritual wisdom and a nudge from God to do the right thing.

But does God send us nudges to go this way or that when someone is having a major medical event and may careen into our old vehicle, trapped in rush hour traffic on a suburban road?

Theologically this does not make sense to me. But it is how I experience the world. I always know before I have an accident, I mean hours beforehand. Kelly does too. I always know whom I will marry the moment I meet them (well, both times that happened.)

Theologically there is a problem here because I can't imagine God goes around saving some people and not others. So do some of us get the message and others not? (Some might argue salvation is like that. But I don't buy it.) I don't think God is that involved in the little and large details of our lives ("here's a parking space. Don't take that road.) And yet I have these experiences, often enough that I can't ignore them.

Just yesterday afternoon Kelly and I were musing over this sort of thing. He had an event (I should let him tell it) of knowing something just before it happened, an odd but not useful happening. We joked about how this happens to us -- like we see or hear something before it actually happens -- but it never includes stock tips.

But premonitions now, we have those. So does God send us little notes and nudges all day long? Or does time bend? Or is this all the same thing? Is this all just random free will that we read meaning into later?

And what words of comfort are there for all those who are caught in the wrong lane of traffic, and how will I feel if I don't get the warning first sometime?