Tarry On the Boulders

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Sometimes in May, a little warm snap will grip the mountains of the Colorado high country. In their excitement they shed their snow like white mink coats – all at once and fast. Piles and piles come sliding down the canyon, melting into the valleys. There, the water collides with itself, in such a hasty and reckless tumult, it rearranges the boulders all down the river.

To the rare listener, it sounds like muffled bone crushing, powerful and unseen, like centuries of things starting and stopping. The boulders move because they have to, forced by the will of the water.

Change is the river’s only constant.

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But as spring turns to summer, the big water slows and slips quietly into New Mexico, unnoticed by anyone but a few fishermen tying their flies. Finally the boulders rest, their mottled grey backs rise steadily as the water drifts south.

Queen Anne’s Lace loves the river too, so she hangs around all summer with the Prince Gentians, the last of all wildflowers. Her slender green arms reach over the river; lacy, white fingers graze the last of the snow pack as it slips by.

Photo Credit: Theophilos Papadopoulos

Photo Credit: Theophilos Papadopoulos

This is a thing worth seeing, but I won’t unless I go and tarry on the boulders. If I will sit and wait, the magic will struggle up through the piles of ordinary, and I will see what was buried all along.

Ordinary is an illusion everywhere.

It was on this very river, on some long departed boulder, that I first understood Romans 1:20. I memorized it with my feet in the water.

For ever since the creation of the world his invisible nature and attributes, that is, his eternal power and divinity, have been made intelligible and clearly discernible in and through the things that have been made (his handiwork). So men are without excuse, altogether without any defense or justification. Romans 1:20 AMP

This is no joke. These mountains, this boulder, this ache in my soul are the signature of The Ancient of Days. They are the voice of the Infinite Omniscient saying:

You hear me best in stillness and light, but I am everywhere. You can’t grab the water or capture its sparkles in a jar. There is only now. I am here, and I am willing to overwhelm you.

This is the pain of an unseen God. The yearning is real, but the trust is hard.

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So we seek transcendence everywhere else. We chase it, try to buy it, swallow it, fall in love with it, convince ourselves we’ve got it and give it proud names. But the mountains know things we’ve forgotten, or maybe we never knew.

God is alive and we are eternally without excuse.

That is the hope and heartbreak of Romans 1:20. We can glimpse God’s eternal power and divinity, in a thousand year old river whose stones will cry out if we don’t.

But only for a second.

The hope is: What we see now, in glimmers and through aperture of memory, we will someday see in full. The mountains and rivers promise.May 2009 115

So go outside tonight. Watch the Perseid meteor shower. Sit still and let the creation remind you of things you already know, and perhaps let it introduce you to the one who knows you.

It Takes A Village to Publish a Book

Tim SullivanI’d like you to meet my friend Tim Sullivan, a cowboy singer/songwriter from Durango, Colorado.

Tim once said something to me that felt so important and generous that, years later, I quoted it in my book.  I sometimes write about how our words can ripple through people’s lives long after we’ve forgotten saying them and Tim did that for me.

I’d written an article for the local newspaper about Tim, who says he’s just a guy who loves to sing and play music. It doesn’t matter if five people show or 5,000 do, Tim is happy to play for them. When the article ran, he said it was one of the best anybody had written about him, and he was grateful. After that, every time I’d see him in town, he would say to me:

“Are you writing? You need to be writing. Whatever else you are doing that’s fine, but just make sure you are writing.”

Today is my 43rd birthday, and the book I wrote three years ago is gathering dust in a drawer. People ask me all the time what’s happening with it, and when I answer I feel like a nine-year old who can’t tie her shoes. I don’t want to admit I need help to get it out of the drawer, but I do. Specifically, I need you to help me grow.

Incredibly, Going to the Sea – A Sassy Liberal Wades in with Jesus made it, unrepresented, into a publishing committee last year, where it was shot down by marketing people who likely said:

Who is the author? Who? Somebody Google her. Nope. Next.

Maybe that should freak me out, but it doesn’t. The proposal got into a publishing committee on its own merit; it died there on mine. That’s not really bad news, because I can work on my Google rank. That’s where you come in.

It feels chancy and self-indulgent to ask your help because I have to be vulnerable and admit how important this is to me. It’s hard to lay your dreams bare for others to examine, but if people love you and/or your work, they will hold you accountable and encourage you like Tim did for me.

 

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So, in my 43rd year, I am going to do everything I know to get that manuscript into print. If I have to rewrite 90% of it, that’s fine, as long as someone will hold my hand in the process.

All I can do is write a little each day and talk to you as I go.

All you can do is share. So, if you like something I post, will you share it on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram?

The rest of it is up to the Lord.

I have agents who are still interested in the book, they’ve just got to know they can sell it. How do they know? How many people already read and like your work? Thousands? Great, let’s do business.

And we can complain about that all day, but if Tim were here I think he’d say, who cares? Just like he is a guy born to sing and play music, I am a gal who was born to write and speak about Jesus. He’s the reason I can do it at all anyway.

So if you want to join my little team, here are three things you can do right now.

Follow Erin Kirk Writer on Facebook.
Follow me on Twitter.
Keep reading and sharing.

Thank you friends.


When Stuff Steals Your Freedom

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Ever wander the grocery store aisles in a spacey fugue state, grabbing the same things you always buy because you don’t actually know what you need?

Ever stand over the trash holding an aluminum can, knowing you’re going to toss it, but hoping the guilty pause exonerates you from being a Mother Earth trashing jerk?

Do you hate emptying the dishwasher because the utensil drawer is so full, just getting a ladle and a whisk in there, requires jamming the drawer in a way that ensures it won’t open again?

Or is it just me?

Let’s agree, right out of the gate, these are first world problems, but I did all of those things last week and realized no matter how many housekeepers I hire, they will only ever dust around this problem.

I have to deal with it.

My house, which I love, has become like a stagnant pond. Too much stuff comes in and not enough goes out. Plastic grocery bags, clothes I never wear, mismatched coffee mugs – for the love of Pete, where do those come from? All of it has so clogged my sweet little swimming hole, I don’t want to swim anymore. So I sit down on the bank and sigh.

But I serve a God of order who created the universe out of chaos. I know order takes discipline but rather than do something, like apply some elbow grease to get this joint unstuck, I mope.

Know the feeling?

I don’t know, maybe it is my recent return to drinking raw milk or all the essential oils I’ve been huffing, but lately I’m concerned about how mindless I’ve become. It’s like I’ve been run over on the path of least resistance and I’m just lying there, which is weird because I’m incredibly intentional and disciplined in other areas of my life. What happened to the organic gardening, yoga teaching, recycling, bicycling, bread baking hippie?

See now there’s a perfect example:

I love to make bread and give it away. It makes people happy, but my baking drawers are so full of old flour, spilled flaxeeds and tiny spider colonies that I haven’t wanted to deal with it, so I haven’t made bread.

How dumb is it to stop doing things that bless me and other people because my baking drawer is a hidey hole for spiders?

Organize Your Closet

On Saturday morning, after I cleaned the bathrooms, I thought, Hmmm, wouldn’t it be nice, if my clothes were hung by color again (it’s efficient – try it). While doing that, I began tossing a few old things on the floor. When I was done, I had FOUR kitchen garbage bags full of clothes, shoes, purses and years-old crap from the shelves in my closet. (Hint – it’s all at the Mineola Goodwill finding new homes and creating jobs – Sweet!)

Now, if you’ve got a bunch of ankle biters who can’t go five minutes without hitting each other and yelling “Maaahhhmmm!” I feel your pain, but I’m telling you, make it happen because superpowers lurk in garbage bags full of ill-fitting, not-your-favorite clothes, loaded in the backseat of your car.

Power I say!

And since momentum is awesome too, I washed the liners on my shower curtains. I have literally never done that. Don’t judge. I also hate the smell of Kaboom and Fabuloso and I don’t want to breathe it in my steamy shower, so I put them away, and googled a homemade non-toxic cleaner. I made it in five minutes and cleaned everything, except the mirrors with it. Want the recipe?

1 part rubbing alcohol.
1 part white vinegar
1 part water.
A drop or two of dish soap.
A few drops of essential oil. (optional, but it smells good.)
Put it in a spray bottle and shake it up.

By then, it was 4pm and I stared at my kitchen like David did Goliath.

I took everything off the counters and scrubbed them. Same thing in the fridge – ruthless! I made every item earn its way back into the fridge, and many items lost their cushy countertop real estate because who says the way I configured it three years ago was the apex of countertop design? Change is good.

Clean Fridge

Sure this project ate my whole weekend, but already I feel more like a calm, accomplished grown up and less like a drunk on a treadmill.

So what if this Saturday, you made a deal to tackle that one closet and clean it top to bottom. Just one, then have a freezie pop as a reward. See how that feels, then maybe liberate another closet, then the pantry, and so on. See what that frees up in you.

Oh and if you want a little more strategy, check out Joshua Becker’s blog Becoming Minimalist. Then let me know how it goes.