28 May 2009

Mellifluous Mondays: Work

"To Be of Use" by Marge Piercy

The people I love the best
jump into work head first
without dallying in the shallows
and swim off with sure strokes almost out of sight.
They seem to become natives of that element,
the black sleek heads of seals
bouncing like half submerged balls.

I love people who harness themselves, an ox to a heavy cart,
who pull like water buffalo, with massive patience,
who strain in the mud and the muck to move things forward,
who do what has to be done, again and again.

I want to be with people who submerge
in the task, who go into the fields to harvest and work in a row and pass the bags along,
who stand in the line and haul in their places,
who are not parlor generals and field deserters
but move in a common rhythm
when the food must come in or the fire be put out.

The work of the world is common as mud.
Botched, it smears the hands, crumbles to dust.
But the thing worth doing well done
has a shape that satisfies, clean and evident.
Greek amphoras for wine or oil,
Hopi vases that held corn, are put in museums
but you know they were made to be used.
The pitcher cries for water to carry
and a person for work that is real.

I found this wonderful poem by reading an article in the NYT. The Times piece is about "real work," as opposed to "cubicle work," a theme that weaves itself all through Piercy's poem.

This thought resonates deeply with me. I appreciate the humility and patience evident in those who "jump into work head first / without dallying in the shallows." Too often, I myself am a mere "parlor general" frittering away moments that could be used for real, rewarding labor.

Thankful Thursdays: J People

This past weekend at the NEXT conference in Baltimore, over 3000 young adults were blessed by wonderful worship (led by Bob Kauflin), teaching (from such men as D.A. Carson, Sinclair Ferguson, and C.J. Mahaney), and fellowship (with one another and with the risen Savior!). It was excellent in every way. I know that all I learned about Christ's preeminence and power will continue to filter through my mind, affecting my life for a long time to come. I'm glad that the Lord plants seeds of change, not just working through big dramatic "bolts of lightning" but also laying the foundations for slower growth.

Anyway, thankfulness time. I could pick a lot of things, because NEXT was chock full of God's kindness. But I am particularly grateful for the joyful growth which occured in the following important relationships, with people whose names all coincidentally begin with the same letter: Jesus, Jared, and Julia. :)

27 May 2009

Mellifluous, Um, Wednesday

"Sea Fever" by John Masefield

I must go down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and the sky,
And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by,
And the wheel's kick and the wind's song and the white sail's shaking,
And a gray mist on the sea's face, and a grey dawn breaking.

I must go down to the seas again, for the call of the running tide
Is a wild call and a clear call that may not be denied;
And all I ask is a windy day with the white clouds flying,
And the flung spray and the blown spume, and the sea-gulls crying.

I must go down to the seas again, to the vagrant gypsy life,
To the gull's way and the whale's way, where the wind's like a whetted knife;
And all I ask is a merry yarn from a laughing fellow-rover,
And quiet sleep and a sweet dream when the long trick's over.

I was in Baltimore all weekend at the NEXT conference (wonderful on all counts, by the way). Happily enough, we stayed only a few blocks away from Inner Harbor. So we got to eat there several times, enjoy sea air and seaweed smells, and wander around the docks at random hours of day and night. There's nothing like looking out to sea.

21 May 2009

Thankful Thursdays: A Beautiful Week

1) Adam and Linda Chamberland's wedding on Sunday. Beautiful in its Christ-centered ceremony, thoroughly Scriptural vows, and those gorgeous flowers: I'm convinced that you can't go wrong with gerbera daisies and hydrangeas.

2) Hiking on Tuesday with Jared, Julia, and David: enjoying God's beauty as revealed through nature (rich green forests and powerful, tumbling cascades of water). And conversation with those three is always a beautiful thing . . .

3) Emily is here for the weekend! And she's beautiful inside and out. :)

18 May 2009

Mellifluous Mondays: Continuing On

"I So Liked Spring" by Charlotte Mew

I so liked Spring last year
Because you were here; --
The thrushes too --
Because it was these you so liked to hear --
I so liked you.

This year's a different thing, --
I'll not think of you.
But I'll like Spring because it is simply Spring
As the thrushes do.

I'm not sure whom Charlotte Mew had in mind when she wrote this. It was obviously a very close friend, whether romantically linked or not; isn't it interesting how we come to value things by their association with friends? A tree, a piece of cake, or a baseball game can mean much more to us because we once experienced them in a certain person's company.

In any case, I admire Mew's determination to enjoy spring despite her loss. Springtime has its own beauty, a grace from God that we can appreciate regardless of our particular difficulties.

16 May 2009

This is me.

Need advice? Need cookies? Got you covered. I only took 12 academic credits each semester, but I guess I had 6 credits of Underclassmen Counseling on top of that . . .

It was a joy to do it, though! Only by God's grace :)

15 May 2009

Homemaking Is Not For Pansies.

That ought to be evident to anyone with a brain, of course. But in case you weren't convinced, here is an excellent reason: bathroom sinks clogged with hair.


And here's another great one: scrubbing bloodstained sweaters. Or this: four children throwing up almost simultaneously. Or even this: keeping the refrigerator and pantry stocked. Do you know how hard it is to plan meals, write a thorough list of ingredients, keep track of everything in the cupboards, remember which brand of granola Bobby likes, buy the right amount of sour cream so it doesn't spoil before you use it, and make sure that nobody drinks the orange juice that you needed for the cranberry sauce?

Nope. Homemaking is definitely not for pansies.

14 May 2009

Thankful Thursdays: Back

As of Sunday, I am back from Hillsdale for good.

As of yesterday, Luke (he of the shaggy hair and Frisbee prowess) is back from Grove City.

Daddy is back from his business trip to Chicago.

And finally, my six-year-old brother Mark has discovered a new talent: giving back massages. I am his most enthusiastic customer.

11 May 2009

Mellifluous Mondays: Something of the Old

A limerick composed on the car trip home from Michigan. This is for Oakley, a sandwich shop down the street from Hillsdale's campus.

Since Saga gets old pretty quick,
And of its entrees we grow sick,
We just head down the street
To Oakley, where we eat
Sandwiches with good stuff piled thick.

06 May 2009

Thankful Thursdays: Bittersweet

This song by the Mexican rock band Reik perfectly expresses the pain I feel at saying goodbye to everyone at college. In sum: when you love deeply, leaving wounds you deeply. The more good memories, the more trust and understanding you've built up over the past four years, the greater the difficulty of departure. So though this is technically a love song (duh, it's in Spanish, what else do they ever write about?) it still fits the situation very well.

Me duele amarte
Sabiendo que ya te perdi
Tan solo quedara la lluvia
Mojando mi llanto
Y me hablara de ti

Me duele amarte
Los sueƱos que eran para ti
Se pierden con cada palabra
Con cada momento que espere vivir
Me duele mas imaginar
Que tu te vas y dejaras
Detras de ti
Tu ausencia en mis brazos
Me duele tanto sospechar
Que ni tu sombra volvera
Para abrigar mi alma en pedazos

Me duele amarte asi
Hasta morir
Lanzandome a la nada viendote partir
Me duele aquel Abril
Cuando te vi
Por vez primera y dije que eras para mi
Me duele amarte tanto

[It hurts me to love you,
Knowing that I have already lost you
If only the rain could stay,
Drowning my weeping,
And if only it could speak to me about you

It hurts me to love you
The dreams that were for your sake
Are lost with each word,
With every moment that I expect to live
It hurts me more to imagine
That you will go and you will leave
Behind you
Your absence in my arms
It hurts me so much to imagine
That not even your shadow will return
To shelter my soul, all in pieces

It hurts me to love you this way,
Until I die
Throwing myself at nothing, watching you depart
That April hurts me now,
When I saw you
For the first time, and I said that you were for me
It hurts me to love you so much]

And now everyone is thinking, wait a minute, Rebekah. Isn't this Thankful Thursday? Where is the joy? Why so glum? Yes, yes. I know what day it is. Give me a moment.

Here's why I am actually glad to struggle with my departure. In this case, you see, pain is a proof of affection. And therefore I know that there is genuine love between me and my friends here. If it were easy to leave, wouldn't that be sad in itself?

As things stand, it is certainly not easy . . .

05 May 2009


I finally finished my final final: it was for Dr. Gamble, "Western Heritage Since 1600."

After blazing through twenty short IDs, I wrote the essay portion on the ironic effect of anthropocentricity upon Western culture, focusing upon Darwin (as the starting point) and Solzhenitsyn (as the concluding critic). Rather than liberating or empowering humanity, the elimination of God's authority has actually degraded us. That's evident through all the things we read this semester. Without God's guidance or faith in immortality, we lack purpose; we fear trials; we flee pain in sheer cowardice; we treat one another disrespectfully; we miss out on "spiritual" life because we're so fixated on "rational" life. Completely independent humans, in sum, are less than human.

I can't believe I have taken my last college exam. Were I a crying sort of person, I'd be crying right now. As it is, I just feel rather forlorn.


On a lighter note, though, here's the limerick I wrote for Dr. Gamble on the inside of today's Blue Book:
There once was a senior neurotic
Who slaved for professors despotic.
They gave such long tests
She got overly stressed
And so guzzled down antibiotic.

04 May 2009

Mellifluous Mondays: A Goodbye Sort of Poem

"The First Day" by Christina Rossetti

I wish I could remember the first day,
First hour, first moment of your meeting me;
If bright or dim the season it might be;
Summer or winter for aught I can say.
So, unrecorded did it slip away,
So blind was I to see and to forsee,
So dull to mark the budding of my tree
That would not blossom, yet, for many a May.

If only I could recollect it! Such
A day of days! I let it come and go
As traceless as a thaw of bygone snow.
It seemed to mean so little, meant so much!
If only now I could recall that touch,
First touch of hand in hand! Did one but know!

It's my last full week on campus. Thinking back over four years, I realize that with many of my close friends, I have no recollection of our first meeting: my impressions, what we talked about, where we were. That's okay. A friendship is no less complete if its beginnings have been forgotten.

Still, it would be nice to know. Precision of memory can provide milestones, markers, specific points at which to say "Do you remember when we first walked over this bridge?" or "Do you remember our first class in that tiny moldy stuffy room in Kresge?" It is easier to feel that you've come full circle if you recall where the circle began.