Friday, March 23, 2007
Rivers in the Desert Friday Five
Courtesy of the RevGalBlogPals....
I am about to do a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert. ~Isaiah 43:19
As we near the end of the long journey toward Easter, a busy time for pastors and layfolk alike, I ponder the words of Isaiah and the relief and refreshment of a river in the desert.
For this Friday Five, name five practices, activities, people or _____ (feel free to fill in something I may be forgetting) that for you are rivers in the desert.
People... There is the friend with whom I quote movies until we dissolve into giggles. There is the friend who knows intimately my experiences of greatest joy and loss. There is the friend who was my most important mentor in discerning my call to ministry. There is the new friend to whom I turn when discerning now. There is the seminary friend (the one, the only, the unique! you know who you are...). Each of these (and they are all women) are rivers in the desert who fill me up with the joy of our connection and the privilege of knowing and being known.
PodMusic... I was given an iPod for Christmas, and I thoroughly and heartily approve of the innovation of being able to carry my entire music library wherever I go. I love in particular putting it on shuffle, and hearing, as I did this morning,
"Sick of Me" by Ani DiFranco, followed by
"I Am Hungry" by Ferron, followed by
"Red Accordion" by Patty Larkin, followed by
"You Won't Be Satisfied (Until You Break My Heart)" by Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong, followed by
"Big Guns" by Jenny Lewis with the Watson Twins, followed by
"Me And A Gun" by Tori Amos, followed by
"It's So Easy" by Sheryl Crow, followed by
"How High the Moon" by Mel Tormé, followed by
"How Long Has This Been Going On" by Jacintha, followed by
"Smooth Rider" by the Dave Matthews Band, followed by
"On the Waterfront: Symphonic Dance" by Leonard Bernstein and the Bournemouth Symphony, followed by
"And A God Descended" by Dar Williams, followed by
"Hallelujah" by k. d. lang, followed by
"Mean Mr. Mustard" by the Beatles, followed by
"Written on the Back of His Hand" by Lucy Kaplansky, followed by
"Love and Some Verses" by Iron and Wine, followed by
"Summer Evening" by Gillian Welch, followed by
"White Ladder" by David Gray, followed by
"Skylark" by Ella Fitzgerald, followed by
"Imaginary Friends" by Nada Surf...
The unexpected music is a river into which I plunge... always completely unexpected, yet familiar to some part of me that loved the music enough to assemble it into this collection.
Podcasts... I know this sounds odd. But I subscribe to podcasts of "On the Media," "This American Life," "News from Lake Wobegon," "Religion and Ethics Newsweekly" and The New York Times Film Reviews. I listen to these as I commute (there are patches of highway where no radio stations are available), walk around campus or my neighborhood, or even as I do housework. These programs are like rivers in that they take me away.... I travel into lives and experiences and perspectives that would otherwise be unavailable to me. "This American Life" and Garrison Keillor's monologues in particular have the ability to move me to tears, to connect me to the beauty and pain and joy of other souls.
Prayer... I know, how predictable. But it is true. When I take the time to pray-- which I usually do using a resource such as Daily Prayer from the PCUSA-- I find myself immersed in the deep and endless river of scripture and tradition and the cloud of witnesses who have gone before and who will come after. So... why don't I do it more than I do?
Place... There are certain places where my pulse and my blood pressure lower, my breathing deepens, and I feel more authentically who I am. These include the ocean where I grew up and a park along the river where I live now. I inhale, in one place, the salt air and in the other the scent of the dense woods and river, and I am grounded again in the reality of this beautiful world.