Thursday, January 21, 2010

Picture this, as there are no photos included


Like the forgotten white paint in a dimly lit hallway is the overcast sky in January. If I look hard, I can see pale pink shading etched here and there across the texture less clouds.

The snow on the ground lightens the view of dark, bare trees and old brick buildings, but my spirit longs to blow a spark to flame, to turn the tone from cool to warm. This longing is only for my heart as my eyes settle happily on high contrast with low punch. Winter is so brief.

Last Saturday it was too cold to go for a walk on the beach or hike a new path. Something about the temperature sucked us inward, toward home with no want to see new sights or try new things. We gathered the trash and recycling, sorted it all in turn, sought out a few things for the pantry and found the flea market closed against finding a lamp and a shelf.

When the call came from my fika friends that we should meet in the afternoon for tea and conversation while the children played, I leapt at the opportunity. We met last October when my daughter was here.

The children played loudly, seeming to purposefully make our visit more difficult. My friends were both on diets, as I should be (and have planned to be), so they munched on one thin, hard tunebrod with butter, while I enjoyed leftover Lucia buns and pepparkakkor (gingerbread) with my tea. It was so good to talk, again. Both of them are working part to full time and going to school. All of our children are in day care or school. We are busy, so time together was precious. Our conversation flowed easily from simple to complex, shallow to deep and back again. I treasure their friendship!

Meanwhile, Phil took a long, cold walk.

We had a family of six over for ham and scalloped potatoes. I made streusel pumpkin muffins to use up the rest of the cooked pumpkin. The children ate their muffins upside down, preferring not to eat the sweet, streusel topping. It was chaotic fun to have them over!

Now the week is nearly finished—where did it go?

I go through dry spells when I don’t read anything but the Bible (nothing dry about that, though). Lately, however, I find my finger in at least five books. One on back pain, another on postmodern Christianity and the rest poetry. An old book of poetry by Ted Kooser is full of things I need to learn.

We’ve been enjoying a deep, immense silence out here in the country. It is quieter by far than Malmö or even the town of Höllviken, but the snow has silenced everything that much further. It is healing, somehow. Then, the chapter in Habakkuk I read last night ended with the words, “But the LORD is in his holy temple; let all the earth be silent before him" (Hab. 2:20). It’s difficult to imagine a silence of the whole world.

I had another thought. Yesterday Hunter had a “study day” from school. He kept calling it his day off. At one point I felt a smidge of hunger. “Smidge” is the operating word here, even if it’s not a word. I went to the refrigerator where the contents are dwindling fast. Then I looked into a packed pantry, full of options. I thought about the Haitians, stuck in the streets, hungry and thirsty, and I couldn’t fully grasp their plight. If the place we are living right now were to be crushed and there be no place to go, we’d also die of exposure in the below freezing temperatures. They are dying of wounds, thirst, hunger and exposure to the heat, to their own wild fear.

Lord, help them! Lord, help me to be content!

Two dinners ago we had homemade chicken and vegetable soup. Last night I turned it into pork/chicken pot pie (homemade biscuits on top instead of crust). The boys didn’t mind their leftovers this time! I love watching Hunter gobble up his food without whining. The Haitians hunger is bad—frightening. But while we have plenty, we will enjoy it. We never know the day we will be in the place the Haitians are. And, yes, we send some of our plenty their way!

Time for Swedish lessons, a half hour drive away. I hope my memory and tongue work for me. I’ve only been assigned the “alfabetet” to start. Wish me well as I wish you well on your endeavors!

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