Sunday, March 15, 2015

The People In My Closet

With foggy head and bleary eyes I approach the dim closet, clutching my steaming cup of coffee.

It's time to get dressed.

As a teen I kept a dated list of outfits taped to the door jamb to make sure I didn't repeat an ensemble more than once every couple of weeks. Now I rely on my memory, which is certainly diminished in capability since then. Repeating clothes just doesn't seem as important these days.
Photo credit - houzz.com
                                                         
(By the way, this is NOT my closet, just my dream closet. Mine is slightly organized with Target shoe racks and Home Depot wire shelves, but nothing like this custom built closet heaven).

I brush my hand along the sleeves of tops hung by color, fanning them like pages in a book, waiting for inspiration to strike. A quick jog to view the patio thermometer or a glance at my weather app helps my decision. If tops don't spark an outfit option I turn to the row of hanging jeans and pants. What's an appropriate pant weight for the weather? Will I be hot in this? Or cold? Is it a boot day or scarf day? The wearing of both has rebelled against traditional seasonal demands and etiquette. Now boots and shorts go together. Bulky infinity scarves are as abundant in summer as they are in winter.

Finally, a top and bottom combination gets unhung. But as I disrobe, I suddenly have company in my small space. I hear voices. All sorts of people join me in my closet and it's quickly very crowded: my mother, my boss, my pastor, my kids' friends, my daughter, the pastor's wife, the worship leader, the worship leader's wife, my husband, the neighbors and perfect strangers are all talking at the same time. They're saying things like,

"That skirt's too short"
"The top's too low cut"
"You look like an aging hippie in that"
"Stop trying to look like a teenager"
"Will your midriff show if you lift your arms in that?"
"That's way too youthful for a middle aged woman"
"Cover your rear if you are singing on the church platform."
"That makes you look frumpy"
"How old is that dress anyway?"
"Skinny jeans just look wrong on a woman over 40!"

And
On
And
ON
And on the voices go, till the cacophony is so loud, I want to shout

STOP!!!!!!                 

                                    
Image result for voices
Photo credit - littleactor.com
 

I'm just trying to get dressed, for crying out loud. Get out of my closet and out of my head!

At last, after the ruckus and unsolicited advice dissipate, I can hear my own heart talking.

You be you. Dress for the occasion and the weather, but you be you.

Getting dressed should not be so complicated!


Wednesday, March 11, 2015

God Is In the Details ~ Sondheim

                                 
  Show poster
After taking in the Broadway production of  "Into the Woods" last December, I was hesitant to see the Disney film version.

Don't get me wrong, Disney's great. But this production was so creatively satisfying that I feared,  you know what I'm going to say, anything else would be a let down. The tickets to the show were a Christmas gift from my grown children, adding more sentiment to the occasion. Elbowing our way down Broadway during the impossibly crowded Holiday tourist season, winter chill on our cheeks, only intensified the allure and adventure.

The production was pared down to one upright piano and ten actors who doubled parts, hilariously at times, like when two guys acting as Cinderella's step-sisters held a curtain rod at shoulder height with cinched double panels that hung in front of them to look  like dresses. Ha. So funny!

What resulted was a most magical, organic and sardonically Sondheim experience. Take a look for yourself and Watch here.

Long burly ropes strung from floor to ceiling formed the backdrop resembling the criss-cross of piano strings and hinting at a forest. Stage left held a wall of piano harps from uprights and grands of all sizes creating the look of woods to the rear and woods to the side. The show did not disappoint.


The entire production corroborated Sondheim's writing philosophy that

God is in the Details. 

Other Sondheim-isms are 
                                                             'less is more'
                                                                                           'content dictates form.' (Take note writers.) But my favorite is 'god is in the details.'

I'm certain Sondheim didn't mean this as a faith statement. For Him, the essence of a well-written play is in the details of craft, lyric and song making a work transcend into high art and excellence.
So true, Stephen.

On the stage and more true in real life. For there the small events of the day are the shadow of God.Quite often it's not the epic miracles, but the small revelations that display the Creator's character and personal touch in our every day.

Couched in comedy and satire of four familiar fairy tales, Sondheim weaves a poignant message of longing, satisfaction and the universal 'fight in the forest' to secure our happiness.
In the the midst of the beautiful and ugly, the ordinary and strange, it's revealed that our deepest "I wish"-es are fleeting and disappointing at times.

Look for the divine in the details in Into The Woods and everyday moments. Your happy-ever-after may be in the very present, rather than in pined-for future things.
 
Alas, because of the sheer perfection of this masterful musical, I may just have to see the movie, after all.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Surfin' Jesus Style

In life challenges are a continual companion. Accepting the fact makes one an adult. Not freaking out makes one a mature adult. Easier said than done.

But what if we view adversity with new eyes? Rather than responding with that lead-weight-in-the-pit of-our-stomach, palpitating-panic-in-our-chest or tear-producing-lump-in-our-throat, we

stop,

breathe

and embrace the roller coaster ride of faith.

Oswald Chambers puts it like this from his March 7th My Utmost For His Highest 
devotional:

"The surf (6ft waves towering over your small self) that distresses the ordinary swimmer produces in the surf-rider (1930's term for surfer-dude) the

Super - joy

of going clean through it. 

Photo credit - commons.wikipedia.com - Santa Cruz
                                                             

Apply that to our own circumstances, these very things, tribulations, distress, persecution, (problems, flat tires, job losses, family illness, car accidents, stress, calls from your child's school, fevers in the night) produce in us the 

Super-joy; 

they are not things to fight.

We are more than conquerors through Him in all these things, not in spite of them. The saint (Believer) never knows the JOY of the Lord in spite of tribulation (turbulent times), but because of it--- 'I am exceedingly joyful in all our tribulation,' says Paul.

Undaunted radiance is not built on anything passing, but on the love of God that nothing can alter. The experiences of life, terrible or monotonous are impotent to touch the love of God, through Jesus." ~ Oswald Chambers

So, bring on the giant swells. Welcome the wall of water.


Photo credit - mysurfwaves.blogspot.com


Surf's up, baby.


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