Saturday, March 28, 2009

The Red Scarf, TV Dinners, Ben Hur

This evening I spent a little time knitting the famous Red Cable Scarf. I feel like I'm making progress now, although I'm not nearly as far along as I would like to be. I figured out that, along with my own ignorance of the dreaded braided cable, the instruction book itself had a mistake in one row. When I figured that out, I felt quite brilliant.

In the background I watched and listened to a little bit of the movie Ben Hur. I hear it's quite good; four stars and all, but I don't think I've ever watched it from beginning to end. I get snatches, here and there: the old magi Balthazar, reminiscing about his trek to Bethlehem many years ago; Judah Ben-hur's mother and sister, hiding in the shadows, because they have leprosy; the famous chariot race (I just hear the sounds of it, though: I'm not paying attention then.)

In the bedroom my husband tries to feel better. He's barely eaten all day. I keep asking him if he wants anything; he usually says no, although I did get him several glasses of water this morning. Finally he had a teeny bit of jello.

I was worried and distracted earlier this evening because I thought I had lost something important. I kept going through pockets and re-tracing steps, and looking under car seats. Then suddenly, I took a deep breath,reached into a crevice in my purse, and found it. (My dad's voice, "Why is it always in the last place you looked?")

My mind is going back and forth between many things, important and mundane: a thoughtful meeting with a public official yesterday (He's a genuinely good person, I thought, while we were talking; he's talking about community solutions and deep democracy and innovation and justice); our first communion students, all lined up in the chapel to taste a bit of wine for the first time; bananas and white toasted bread and chicken soup; taxes and exercise and cholesterol; marigold seeds and containers for a children's sermon; the grain of wheat falling into the ground, disappearing from sight, and the trust it takes to let go of that seed, to let it fall and trust that it will bear fruit.

I think of the seed of myself: here I am, a woman of a certain age, married with step-children and a dog, and wondering if I can believe that if I throw a certain seed into the ground, that later on, it will be a marigold, or carrots, or tomatoes, even. What more is there inside me, even now?

It's late and I should be in bed. The red cable scarf is on the sofa, waiting for me to stitch the next row; the children will be waiting tomorrow with their hands cupped in anticipation; other children will cup their hands and look at tiny seeds -- "Go and plant them," I'll say. "They'll grow. I promise."

And then I'll take the invisible seeds I am so afraid to spend and I'll toss them into the wind, and whisper to God, "Go ahead. Use me too."


Pastor Joelle said...

My mother was not particularly profound or one to find messages in art - but from the time I was a child she always told me the life lesson she got from Ben Hur - that his being a galley slave is what made him strong enough to win the chariot race so she learned to find good things in adversity from that movie.

GreenishLady said...

Ben Hur is one of my all-time favourite movies, and what I loved about it is the subtle and respectful way in which Christ is portrayed. We are not shown a face, but we see the effect of His presence.

I like what you say about the seeds.

Jennifer said...

I think you are brilliant.

Barbara B. said...

I love the way you write.

(And there is an award for you at my place.)

Presbyterian Gal said...

Yeah. This rocks.

It IS very nice to figure difficult things out on one's own.

Jan said...

I love your writing, of course.

And now I know you don't feel well, so I hope you're not even reading this and are resting!

Sarah S-D said...

just lovely. thanks.

altar ego said...

Yes. That sounds understated, but in fact it means I resonate with so much of what you write.

Lauralew said...

"Go ahead. Use me too." What an amazing invitation. Thank you, and get better!