Sleepy Monday Afternoon

It’s only Monday afternoon and I’m sleepy. There’s so much on the “to do” list!

I’ve stared at the same spreadsheet for the past ten minutes and nothing on it has changed or made more sense. I still don’t know what I’m looking at.

Why didn’t I put a comfy couch in this office?

Is there any chocolate around here?

Should I make coffee?

I feel itchy.

I wonder what Geoff will make for dinner?!

What time did that guy say he was stopping by to make a delivery? Will I make it till them?

It’s only Monday afternoon and I’m sleepy. Yawn.

Zzzzzzzzzz…

Beach Walk

I walked the beach twice this week – thinking about Carol. Was she “out there”? Could she see me? Could she hear me thinking about her? I pondered on the deep ocean – the out-there-ness of it. I wondered about the mystery, the unknown, the uncharted and the deep.

I like to stay in the surf where I feel safe and capable because the ocean scares me, especially when I think about getting sucked out in a riptide. I’ll go a little deeper if I have a friend with me (like Kathryn, who is a strong and life-long swimmer).

Carol went to the beach every Tuesday with friends. Friends who helped her onto the sand and down to the water. Maybe Carol was a little unsure of the ocean too. Maybe she wondered what was “out there” as well.

I see you Carol in the bigness and endlessness of the sky. I treasure your depth – as deep as any sea – to go “there” time and again with your courage, perseverance, positivity and your unending care and concern for others.

The sky smiles and there is Carol.

Bright, open, free and at ease. Rest easy my friend.

Prayer: (the real) Beach Season Begins

Oh God, Creator of sand and sea, how marvelous, how majestic are your works.

Now that the beach is quiet again,

The sea is a reminder of ever changing, ever flowing, ever coming and going.

Here is perfection. 

Community of pelicans – flying easily across the clouds.

Symphony of silence – found in tones of waves arcing, crashing, landing softly.

Sea foam blowing weightless – daintily resting upon new territory.

Dog innocently chasing sandpipers – a chance to catch flight.

Gentle hearts, slight smiles – humans moving in meditation.

I am here standing – in the surf, sand slipping away under my feet.

I am here… pausing, remembering, breathing, alive.

This week we lost a friend…

This past week, our good friend and Hope Recovery lead team member Carol Bass died. Having lived with rheumatoid arthritis since she was a child, her life was full of physical health challenges, which she overcame daily by her faith in God and her outlook on life. During her 33 year career as a school guidance counselor, her positive attitude and perseverance influenced countless people. She was instrumental in helping us at Hope Recovery create and prepare the teachings we’ve been sharing on Thursday nights during the past year. We will deeply miss her smile, kindness and the incredible insight and experience she brought to our group as a person living with and daily recovering from a life-long health condition.

This video captures Carol’s energy, light and joy. Carol, I am grateful for every time I tied your shoes and for the technology that allows me to continue to hear your laugh.

Prayer: Sandy Feet

O God, Creator of the sea, river, beach and sand – incredible creations from your imagination. The Psalmist reminds us,

Your O’ God thoughts—how rare, how beautiful!
    I’ll never comprehend them!
I couldn’t even begin to count them—
    any more than I could count the sand of the sea.

And neither can I count the sand on my feet. The sand that gets in my shoes (no matter how many times I rinse my feet off in the water), between my toes and stuck up my ankles. The feeling of scratchy sand as I walk across the floor, on the bottom of the tub, under the sheets in bed and even in my mouth (how did sand get in my mouth!?!)
Gritty, grimy, generous portions of sand. The rub, rough reality that reveals to me the ebbs and flows of my life. The reminder that with great growth, often times comes great irritability. O’ God, I pray today that simple sand be a reminder of the good work you continue to do in me that sometimes is uncomfortable, in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Amen.

I pray today that wherever you find “sand” in your life that you can look beyond the irritability and see it as a reminder of how God is growing you. 
Love, Pastor Meg

The shores of the Ware River in Gloucester Courthouse, VA

58 Seconds of Waves

the Ware River, Gloucester Courthouse, VA

Last week I talked about the passing of time in reference to being on vacation with our family and getting to spend time with my two adult sons who I wish I saw more often (they live in PA and I live in NC). On the last morning together, after packing up the cars, we said our “good-byes” and I cried as we pulled out of the driveway. Following my son Will down the country road to the main highway where he turned right and we went left. In that moment, I could have put my head down into my hands and sobbed – grateful for the wonderful week we shared and also sad about the week’s ending and how long it would be until I saw them again.

I took a video of the Ware River’s waves to try and “hold” the moment and the memories of our time together. 58 seconds of waves – until the last 2 seconds when my husband Geoff comes into the audio and asks me a question, “Are you video taping waves?”

Hit “stop” – I was video taping waves until you talked into my video!!!

Life is full of interruptions. Life is full of short and long moments, precious and delightful moments, and even sad moments. My prayer for myself is that when I am in the wonderful moments, the moments that really matter like spending time with the people I love, gazing at God’s glorious creation from the kayak seat, or watching my son’s joy at casting a line for fish that I can really BE in that moment with gratitude, thanksgiving and appreciation sharing my self, my love and God’s love with all that is around me.

Andrew fishing (or at least trying to catch fish!)

Broken Clocks

I waited all year for this vacation. For me, the highlight of the year is when I get to spend an uninterrupted 7 days with my sons, who both live 8+ hours away from me. Each year, we choose a destination where we can be together in a large house that has enough room to accommodate meals and games and is stituated on a body of water so we can kayak. Over the years, we’ve stayed in Air B&B’s in North Carolina’s Outer Banks, West Virginia and Pennsylvania – some wonderful (like this year’s choice on the Ware River in Gloucester Courthouse, VA) and others kind of strange (like the house on Conneaut Lake, PA with the creepy room above the kitchen and personal photos of the owner strewn about). Wherever we stay though, when I’m with my kids I’m in my bliss, but the week always seems to go by so quickly.

What I appreciate about the house we are staying at this year, (besides the plush couches that feel like a warm flannel blanket) are the broken clocks. Clocks without hands and clocks stuck at one time. They are reminders that time is irrelevant. We’ve got no where to be, nothing to do and no list to check. We are here to be – just be together. To throw a few bean bags at the corn hole boards and decide mid-game to quit and walk away. To take fishing poles down to the pier and cast… catching only air until the sun sets. To sit and stare off out along the water and wonder what lives beneath, what once was here and how us being here in this time is a gift of rest and relationship.

Confession: there’s a part of me that will still count the days we are here, regretting when Saturday arrives and we have to part ways until we see each other next time. I always get teary-eyed at the good-byes. But for now, I’m going to remember the hand-less clock, put away my watch and sink into the warm water of the Ware River, relax into the long lazy days and feel the deep gratitude for the opportunity to be with my family uninterrupted for one week.

Meg

Prayer: Leaking Water-bottle

O God, Creator, Mastermind and Sustainer, you empower us with the gift of technology and advancements – I bemoan my flip-top water bottle for it has failed me. Fountain water at Wilmington airport is warm and stale. Flying north, wetness slowly leaking onto paper, cloth and cords. Deplaning, damp pack drips down my back, waiting forever for our rental, getting backwards headed to destination.
Discomforted, whining and wet,
Then I notice… the homeless humans – stationed on Baltimore’s corners.
Quiet… nodding… waiting…
That familiar dampness in my eyes, pang of heart, vastness in gut. Here too.
Reminding, Re-righting, Revealing.
Sitting on concrete will anyone give a cup of cold water?
God, thank you for not letting me get too far into myself, in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Amen.

I pray today that when you are disturbed by the things that challenge your comfort, God will bring your attention back to those who have not and are in need.
Love, Pastor Meg

Charging Station

This past weekend Geoff and I flew to Baltimore, MD to catch live performance of his favorite band, Lord Huron. Baltimore was the closest the group was coming to Wilmington, so we thought we’re’d act like groupies and make it a road trip. We intended to drive the 8 hours, but hen decided to fly so we could get there faster and easier. The show was great and we visited a few local attractions. It was a fun weekend.

Coming home, I was already tense when we were unable to find the car rental drop-off location, took a bumpy bus ride to the departure gates and then needed to see an airline agent to check in. Standing barefoot in the TSA line, waiting to go through the scan machine that makes me feel so exposed, I said the Geoff, “I think I prefer driving.” Sure, it takes longer and one runs the risk of being delayed due to traffic, but there’s something empowering about having choices and agency over one’s trip. There’s an adventure in driving and seeing what is around you from the ground. And your charging station is always ready and with you.

In the car, you can pack all your comforts (cooler, snacks and extra clothes) and you can stop when you need to. You can hit the first Wawa you see (only the best convenience store ever!) to grab a celebratory welcome-to-the-north soft pretzel and coffee with real heavy cream! You can take in the scenery and take it easy. On car trips, looking out the window, I often imagine what it might be like to live in the city or town we are passing through? Or what is life like in the mountains instead of at the beach? As we pass houses, I imagine who lives there and what their life might be like? Road trips are often an adventure for my imagination.

Sure, flying is faster, but I prefer the adventure of driving to my destinations. I think I get recharged on the longer journey. Sometimes the longer way is the better way. 

I’ll say good-bye for now as the plane is ready to taxi and I need to save what battery power I have left for Netflix! 
See you on the ground in ILM!

Pastor Meg

Prayer: Garden Worm

Monday, July 8th, 2022

O God, Creator and Revealer of wonders and mysteries, your Divine Imagination is behind the fat, neon green worm with black stripes that devoured the fennel. I tried to pick her off, but its body squished between my fingers as she held tightly. I shrieked and pulled away!
“Ok, how am I going to deal with this pest?”
Research! <Google it.>
Swallowtail Butterfly Caterpillar. (Fennel bulb still harvestable).
A Revelation!
An assumed pest is actually a creature in transformation to something precious, beautiful and important – a butterfly!
Lesson: Don’t react – respond. Pause and investigate. Be opened. Oh God, you continue to teach me (silly me!). May I listen, learn and love more deeply as every day you are transforming me, in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Amen.

I pray today that whatever “pest” you encounter, you PAUSE and be opened to responding, rather than trying to pick it off and fling it away! It might be something beautiful!!!
Love, Pastor Meg