Tuesday, June 23, 2009


Right now, I'm sitting on the couch, writing articles for the St. Barnabas newsletter, and the TV is on.  The rector's reflection begins talking about the surprises we're finding this spring in our garden and moves into the way life (powered by the Holy Spirit) often surprises us.  (I've included the full article at the end of this post.)

Mostly, I'm writing.  But occasionally, something on the television catches my attention.  Suddenly, I see a commercial for Orbitz.  Four guys are out golfing, when the Orbitz hovercraft lands, and hands them all (except for the guy who didn't use Orbitz) refund checks because their flight-prices went down.  I realized, as I was watching, that one of the guys was wearing a polo shirt with the logo for the Human Rights Campaign, a national gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender civil rights organization.  It was very clearly the logo above.

So, there I was, writing about surprise - being surprised.  Gayness.  Right there in the Orbitz commercial.  Subtle, sure, but there, nonetheless.  Yay for the Holy Spirit.  

Rector's Reflections: July 2009
Michelle and I arrived in Milan in mid-August.  By the time we arrived, the garden has mostly passed.  We (OK, she) built a couple of flower beds in the early fall, but we really had no idea what to expect around our yard.  The first surprise this spring has been the wild strawberries that pretty much dominate our front yard.  They are everywhere – yum!  The next surprise was the peony, behind the pond.  We had no idea it was there.  Now, we walk around the yard every few days, looking for the next big surprise.  What else is hidden amidst the trees, ferns, and grasses?  It’s always a miracle to me when seeds and bulbs come up out of the ground.  Being surprised by the unexpected is even more amazing.

And really, isn’t life a lot like this?  We think we know what to expect – from an encounter, a meeting, or some project we take on.  But, just like the garden, life is full of surprises.  The Holy Spirit is full of surprises! The thing about the Holy Spirit and surprises is that we need to be open to them.  If we’re not looking, not paying attention, we can miss them. 

This month, I invite you to be on the lookout.  The Holy Spirit is abroad in the world, shaking up life on a regular basis.  You never know where you’ll find a peony or conversation that will knock your sox off.  

Saturday, June 20, 2009

The Abandoned House and the Irises

There's an abandoned house up the road from our house.  Technically, it's for sale, but no one lives there, and it appears to be in pretty dire condition.  It's tipping pretty dramatically; a stiff wind would probably blow it over.  The yard is a wild tangle.  It's filled with ferns, brambles, and tall grass.

Tonight, when I was walking Birdie, I noticed the irises. There's a large iris bed ringing the front part of the property, filled with the lovely dark purple variety, packed in cheek by jowl. (Or would that be leaf by stem?)  Irises are my favorite flowers, so that's probably what really caught my attention.  But, after I noticed them, I spent the walk home thinking about the irises and the house.

Who planted them?  What happened to the people who owned the house?  Was there a time when the house and yard were well loved and cared for?  I had a lovely little day dream, imagining someone planting the bulbs, lovingly.  

Planting is such a vote for the future.  Larry and I were talking about how to establish an asparagus bed today.  It's a significant investment in time and a belief in the future.  But really, that's true of any planting.  Putting seeds, or vegetables, flowers, or trees in the ground is a statement of belief in the future.  

I imagine that the planter of the irises had no idea what would happen to his/her house.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Seen by the roadside

I have not appreciated the deer and the moose statuary.  Living in places where encounters on the road with the real thing can range from dangerous to deadly, I've found the statues of deer and moose people have in their yards startling.  I've mistaken the statue for the real thing, heart thumping and nerves jangling, on more than one occasion.

Yesterday, though, I saw one that made me laugh out loud.

This family had taken one of those life-sized deer statues, placed it near the road, and then dressed it in pirate garb.  There was the deer with a bandana on its head, eye patch, striped shirt, and cigarette hanging out of it's mouth.  It cracked me up!  I wished I'd had the time to stop and snap a pic.