Hummingbird Pause

I’m pretty sure Brushbloom is Andrew Bird and Ben Gibbard’s love child.

This song just keeps building in the most perfect way and i can’t sit still while listening to it but i also can’t sit still when listening to anything but especially this.

Hummingbird Pause


Hummingbird Pause

A short note on resurrection and on death 

10906212_852417864800819_4315882183340086922_nThere have been two deaths in my life this past year. The first was my lifelong (I’m talking our-parents-bathed-us-together-and-show-us-the -pictures) friend Parker Moore. He was kind, young, strong, loving, honest and had the most genuine smile and care for everyone in his path. He is a true hero taken at age 20. The second was my grandpa bill. He was old and sick for a long time, holding onto life longer than we expected.

Before each of these deaths, without any indication they were about to happen, my heart has been reflecting upon resurrection. Before Parker’s untimely death, I saw the bright colors of an oil stain in a puddle on a gray, cloudy Sunday and the beauty of the oil reminded my heart to look for life coming out of what seems dead. After church mom called to tell me what happened to Parker and I wept long and loud. The day before Bill passed, we said the final words of the Nicene creed at church (“we look for the resurrection of the dead”) and they continued to come back to me on Monday morning on the porch before mom called to say Bill passed. I cried quietly at my desk at work untilI realized  that I probably needed to excuse myself.

I think on resurrection frequently. But these prophetic musings, I believe, are gifts from God: timely and necessary reminders to me and to all that in the midst of grief, we can remember death does not have the final victory. Our selfishness, pride and anxiety cause death–but in surrender to Jesus there is life (resurrection from sin).

But also, upon the death of those we love, we remember that resurrection neither dulls nor devalues our mourning. In fact, it encourages us to realize in our sorrows that this thing (death) is so horrendous that Jesus bore hell to free us from it. Resurrection grants  us the freedom to weep and cry out without leading to ultimate despair. The resurrection says: “do not hurry as walk with grief, it does not help the journey. Walk slowly, pausing often: be not disturbed by memories that come unbidden. Swiftly forgive and let Christ speak for you unspoken words” (Andy Raine) but also, do not lose hope for I am here and I am coming.

There is resurrection in all things surrendered.

A short note on resurrection and on death 

i have many thoughts and no thoughts

Mom just called to say Bill died.

Bill is the closest thing i have to a grandpa (had?). And Bill was always Bill to us. We never called him grandpa, or Mr. Moulton and I remember thinking it strange because growing up mom and dad insisted we address all adults with a prefix and a last name.

But Bill was just Bill. Technically he was my grandma’s “life partner” after she and grandpa got divorced many many years before I was born. But “life partner” is such a characterless word. And Grandma and Bill were people full of character.

They were both stubborn and gentle. Grandma was adamant about being a strong, educated and independent woman but also the most liberal giver of peanut butter cups you’ve ever met. She would mercilessly beat you at a game of cards, but never say no to one more TV show. She had the best dress up clothes and her house was the place of respite from the hard hard realities of childhood where you can only eat so many peanut butter cups and hours in front of the TV are very very limited.

Bill was adamant about giving big hugs and knowing what they were teaching us in school. He wanted to hear about classes and what I thought of the teachers and whether i STILL enjoyed school (the answer was and will always be yes). He had a special chair from which he drank buttermilk (something I will never understand) and he didn’t want anyone else to load or unload the dishwasher because he liked it a special way. Bill had a very infectious laugh and a grandfatherly way of saying “Oh” before chuckling.

Bill had a very hard life. Many unfair things happened to Bill and many people were unfair to Bill. But he passed with friends by his side and out of pain.

A couple of weeks ago I was showing some symptoms of diabetes and did an inconclusive at home test followed by a conclusive blood test. I don’t have diabetes. But it stirred up some deep longings to have grandma back and some hard memories of watching the way diabetes affected her.

(written three weeks ago)

I cried the morning before work in the Walgreens parking lot (buying a urine test) because diabetes reminds me of not knowing how many limbs grandma would have left next time I saw her. It reminds me of dialysis wards and of arms so bruised that little Danielle would always ask mom why grandmas arms were blue and if my arms would turn blue if I got to be old.
It makes me miss “bill hugs” and fourth of July and never brushing my teeth when we stayed at grandma’s house. It reminds me that I’ll never be able to tell grandma about London or Paris or Greece or the first boy who broke my heart (or the second). It reminds me of the moment at Christmas dinner when grandma looked at me across the table and said, “you miss Matt, don’t you?” When it was all I had been thinking about and sulking about and never talked about. It reminds me that it wasn’t until  after I went abroad that I realized just how much my grandma and I are the same. I know she would be so proud of me. She was one of the most relentless, intelligent, and stubborn women I’ve met. I miss her a lot.

I miss them both very much. My dad’s parents passed away before I was old enough to remember them well and my real grandpa lives in Alaska.

No, actually, Bill was my real grandpa as well and he died this morning around 9am Pacific Time.

Love you, Bill. You are missed and remembered.

i have many thoughts and no thoughts

the intimacy of a zipper

this morning the zipper on my dress got stuck halfway between my shoulder blades, exposing my spine. i left the house that way (spine exposed). during my morning swing on the porch, the man working on the neighbor’s house said: “excuse me, the back of your dress is unzipped.” but there was no one there who was intimate enough to zip me. intimate enough to help me put on a dress, but also to put on life, to put on the spirit, to put on armor, to put on peace, to put on water-walking, storm-rising, tidal-stilling faith. to put on the person who will honor God today. to zip me.

driving to work, i realized that i never felt comfortable with other fingers on the pull; i remembered the long gone days when mom said “arms up” as dress came down overhead.

so for now, i want to push my dress together at the back, clasp the pull with my left hand and raise my right arm back over my shoulder to meet my left hand coming up from behind to zip it up on my own. and i will do this sitting on my porch each morning with nothing but the motion of the swing, the sound of the birds and the book of life. in other words, i will do this sitting on the porch each morning with far more than i need, with joy, with contentment, with peace–learning love.

SIDENOTE** I’ve never struggled to post things on my blog until recently and i don’t know why i’ve been so hesitant as of late because i’ve been writing unprecedented amounts. Basically, I almost deleted this thing today but then I didn’t and posted this instead.

I think I’ve narrowed it down to three things:

1. I fear being misunderstood

2. I fear that people read my blog and assume they know who I am or understand all there is to know about me.

3. I fear the vulnerability and potential of being rejected that vulnerability brings.

WOOOOOOWWWWW I just combatted vulnerability with vulnerability. Literally flying out of the state in less than 24 hours.

the intimacy of a zipper