March 28, 2010

Hi. My name is Jenny and I’m an addict: I’m addicted to words. I like to play with them. You’d never have guessed… I just spend the bulk of every day at my computer composing, changing, editing, deleting and writing more.

What really defines me as a diagnosable linguaholic is my newest fettish. A kind but clueless friend showed me a new FREE app for my cell phone:  Scrabble! The game allows one to play with as many other unsuspecting victims as will sign on. I can have a dozen games going at once (which is why I haven’t given this link to others. I do still have SOME control over my substance). Now even in my spare time I’m playing with words. I’m glad shuffling them doesn’t start fires.

My favorite word is “Metamorphosis.” Being a poet and a great fan of colorful, dancing butterflies, the word for their transformation fascinates me.  The word’s etymology includes meta, meaning “form” and morph, meaning “change.”  To change form.

I’ve been reconsidering this word ever since church this morning. I was in a class studying “The Truth Project” when someone mentioned my favorite word (see www.thetruthproject.org for more info). I didn’t realize until then that it’s in the New Testament! Romans 12:2 says “let God morph you into a new person.” Okay, I paraphrased. But it’s right there in the Greek: μεταμορφοΰσθε: “be ye transformed” (no, I don’t speak Greek; I can just use reference books :)). It’s a command to let something happen, not an order to change ourselves.

Someone mentioned this morning that God allows struggle in our lives for a similar purpose to that of the cocoon around a chrysalis. I’d heard that before, but I’d never considered the fact that part of “letting God transform” us includes the cocoon-building. The metamorphosis can’t happen if I’m fighting while God builds the hard part around me. I have to trust His process.

Here’s a poem about my favorite word. I hope it means as much to you as it has to me.

 

Beauty: the result of struggle

Tiny face pressed against glass
Eyes wide with watching
As if an instant could miss it…
A chrysalis, balanced on a bare branch,
Focus of five year-old fascination.

 A worm lives in there, Mommy?
Why? Who wrapped it up? Will it die in there?
Let’s let it out, Mommy!
How can it breathe? What does it eat?
Motionless mummy in miniature,
You have an advocate!

 Cloistered in a woven tomb where
Metamorphosis means bursting bands
That bound a worm
and wearing wings;
Pressing walls apart with them,
Drawing strength from struggle,
Shattering  your shelter and
Spreading yourself into the open sky…

 A tear smears the window as she weeps.
Her heart hurts, and mine, for her confusion.
That worm is working hard, I whisper, close to her cheek.
The tender, tilted face begs a question.
If we help, he will stay a crawling thing.
Eyes wide find mine…
Just give him time, for he is making wings.

Jennifer Evans
Feb. 4, 2002
(Inspired by a sermon by Rev. Dan Brenton)

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Time Out

March 17, 2010

What would I do with more hours in a day? Here it is almost 10 p.m. and I’ve just sat down to do something not obligatory. This morning, Monet had to see the vet at 8 a.m. Dropped her home and went to the drugstore for essentials. Met Gary in the driveway as he was leaving to medical appointments and a day of tennis, errands and movie night with the guys. Came in, stashed the stuff. Changed the bed and washed laundry. Short quiet time. Worked six hours. Went to the chiropractor. Came back, changed clothes and ran out to dance class, an hour of great exercise. Made phone calls to contact volunteers for a church outreach. Ate leftovers for supper. Folded and put away laundry and emptied and refilled the dishwasher. Called Mom. Now… ahh. It’s time to shower and sleep and start over tomorrow.

But I’m blessed: behind all the activity, there’s a purpose. In the midst of my mundane, there’s meaning. Someday, time won’t be an issue and I won’t have to wonder where the hours went. I’m convinced God is preparing the stage for His Son’s arrival. Whatever I do with my time, I need to keep in mind that I’m closer than I was yesterday to the end, whether that means of my own life or of the world as I know it. Am I ready? What am I doing to help others prepare?

In the meantime, I’ll keep revamping the routine and try to keep yesterday from using up tomorrow…

Before the flat screen; now she's on the scanner...

I’ve been remiss in writing, as you probably noticed. Work has been crazy-busy this week, and though I love my job — I get to write all KINDS of things — when I step away from the computer at the end of my day, I don’t want to go back and blog later. The hazards of doing what you enjoy for work: it uses up all the creative juices!

But here I am at the end of the week, still sitting at the computer where I’ve been most of the day. I’m grateful to my husband, who recently traded in his old desk chair because the lift mechanism failed while it was still under warranty. The new chair was wonderful, but didn’t quite fit him as well as the one I was using. I happily traded, so now I have a new leather chair that doesn’t squeak. Since I sit in it daily and do a lot of phone conferencing, it’s nice that it’s comfortable and quiet!

Today I’m realizing how thankful I am for small things, like the desk chair. My desk is an old one that used to be in a teen’s room. It’s a three-piece affair that includes a dresser, all along one wall of the bedroom with a filing cabinet on the far end. My in-house tech support (Gary) provided me flat-screen monitor that stares at me from the back corner and  customized my keyboard drawer to fit within the arms of my new chair. The whole thing corners a bay window looking out on my front yard. I can see the bluebird house from my chair. It’s nest-building time, and a pair have been checking out their tiny apartment. Today, Monet was sleeping in the trash can under the desk; her tiny kitty-snores made me laugh. No traffic, no commute, no distractions (no excuses!?). My private oasis.

Over the middle of the “office” hangs a world map. It’s one of those freebees that came from National Geographic. We subscribed one year just to get the map. I put it in a poster frame. (I think I managed to frame a cat whisker in one corner, but since nobody else sees it, I won’t bother to take it out.) The map helps me locate some obscure places that I need to write about. I’m slowly learning the geography of Africa, South America and Asia. The world looks small from here. I wonder how it looks to God? I can see Haiti and Chile in one glance. I can cover them both with one span of my hand.  But for the hundreds of thousands of people who live in those countries and others printed on the three-foot paper expanse, there’s no quiet oasis. Many of them are thankful just to be alive. They’re happy if they can find any food today, much less eat three gracious meals like I’ve had. For them a bed would be a luxury, much less a chair!

My map is a reality check. It reminds me to pray and challenges me not to take life for granted.