Our music director for Living Waters is Victor Zupanc. He is an amazing musician with the kind of soul that invites people to join him in making beauty.
He is also the music director and composer at the Children’s Theatre here in Minneapolis.
He invited us to see his new show “Cinderella”.
We found our seats in the midst of kid-zapped energy. It was a Friday night after a long week and often such nights find us home seeking to remember who we are.
What we discovered is that we are children longing for magic.
We found it.
We were invited into a world where mice speak and longings are heard and dreams do come true.
Tears were near the surface throughout. We both missed the days of innocence we shared with our children. We both cheered as the whacky wickedness of the stepsisters and their mother was undone by kindness. We laughed and we wept and we left reminded that beauty and goodness cannot be undone by cruelty.
And, I was again reminded of the needful place of story. The telling and the sharing of story created in that theatre a people only too willing to be led.
Mice turn into coachmen. Cinders are replaced by wand work. Kindness trumps all.
I went to church to be present for the conclusion of a week long Vacation Bible School program.
There were kids everywhere: Smiling kids and proud kids and happy kids and their glowing parents and all of this accompanied by hot dogs and song.
“Hey hey! We’re living in God’s back yard” (the VBS theme) was proclamation and reality.
Part of the evening treat was seeing a slide show of pictures taken throughout the week. Each child was shown living the joy of back yard fun. The adults who led the program were captured in discipleship action.
Such beauty is almost too much to behold.
I’m peeled back from child sickness and life. As I watched the slide show and experienced the kids sharing the song they had learned (complete with motions like the twist) gratitude leaked out of my eyes and would not be stoppered.
Hey hey! We’re living in God’s back yard.
Hey hey! We’re not alone as we raise children and share the wonder and snargle of life.
Living in the same town as all three of my children makes me crazy grateful. The pink scooter ferried Jameson and me to a rendezvous with daughter Rachel and out-of-town niece Chelsea. We met at the bakery where daughter Leah is working. Coffee and delectables on a sunny Saturday in Minneapolis is nearly as good as it gets.
This afternoon I will meet up with the eight other women heading into the Boundary Waters on Monday. We will pack and check and double check our provisions and begin to get a sense of who we will be together.
Often times I wonder if I have time for these BWCA trips. Being away from the church and the web of relationships that are mine to be present to is hard. But every year as we put the canoes in the water and take the first paddle stroke I know myself to be home. And every year, the building of relationships between those who venture out into the wild is priceless gift. Being vulnerable and resourceful together changes everything.
And so it is in or out of the BWCA: being vulnerable and resourceful together changes everything.
In her poem “The Art of Blessing the Day”, poet Marge Piercy says:
“We must remember, pleasure is as real as pain”.
Last night Gloria Steinem enjoined those of us present for her presentation to tend to pleasure and joy and gratitude even as we work with all we have to change systems of oppression.
Pleasure is as real as pain.
For five days last week, I was immersed in pleasure. I spent time with three beloved clergy sisters in Portland, Oregon. We were there to savor the gift of deep friendship and we were there to play.
I woke up each morning giving thanks for the great good of not knowing what was on the agenda. I had space to savor and give thanks for the blast of joy that was Easter, as well as the deep worship of Holy Week. I celebrated the amazing beauty of the land and the wild goodness of being with kindreds in whose company tears of all varieties are shared. Laughter-induced pain is fantastic ache.
There is work to do, to be sure. I am not the most patient of people. There is so much pain in the world that gets doled out from human to human and yet, pleasure is as real as pain and I was in it.
Whenever I am making preparations to be gone for a time, the worries raise their voices.
For example, I seem to be convinced that if I am in close proximity to my beloveds I can keep them safe. It’s a fine fantasy. If I’m in my zone, somehow my people are safer.
Church details feel monumental. Our church has the best staff bar none and a wondrous crew of retired clergy. There should be no worry. Should is the operative word. Worry I do.
Like so many other things, I suspect thriving happens when space is made. Offspring turn to each other or their step-Coop. Pets are tended. Church folk know the power of community. All these things are good.
And for me? Stepping out of my self-appointed role of keeper of well-being is flat-out crucial.
I’m off for five days. Preparing to leave has lessons to lend.
Perhaps the spiritual discipline most necessary for digesting a magnificent Holy Week is the sacred revel of fun.
Since Cooper and I didn’t think ahead to get reservations for Valentine’s Day, we dined out on Monday. It was snowing lightly while we wandered downtown Minneapolis. Being out and in the midst of city life was good. A Barnes and Noble browse iced the cake.
On THE day (Valentine’s, don’t you know) we had no evening meetings. Amazing. So, we took ourselves for a stroll around a lake and got really wild and cruised the deli at Lund’s for our dinner. The place was a zoo, filled with the likes of us who had procrastinated buying for the big heart dinner. We came home with delectables and savored a night at home.
And, wonder of wonders, on Thursday we were again without evening meetings to contend with. We were gifted with tickets to the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra concert. Daughter Leah knows of my love for soprano Dawn Upshaw, so we found ourselves in downtown St Paul. Again, we had time to wander a bit before being treated to a crystal clear voice and an amazingly heart-connected ensemble.
We found ourselves a bit giddy. Shared meals, time to be and time for reveling in the Twin Cities we call home was grace.
Today over lunch with a beloved friend, we found ourselves naming the scarcity of play in our lives. Competing claims on time and energy somehow put frolicking on a back burner. That’s just dumb. It’s hard to claim fullness of life when it seems the main objective is keeping way too many balls in the air.