In lieu of trying to belong to any number of societies: Chesterton, Sherlock Holmes, the Inklings, and so on: I propose and establish one of my own. Don your intelligence cap at the door; dust off your logic and imagination; did you bring your inspiration and encouragement? We are shapers, my friends; lit lamps; light-bringers. Bring quotes*; poetry should be uplifting and thoughtful, or witty and clever, (or both). Humor is encouraged; laughter is invited back. Pull up a chair. Anyone for tea?

* C.S. LEWIS, J.R.R. TOLKIEN, SHERLOCK HOLMES, G.K. CHESTERTON, N.D. WILSON, AND P.G. WODEHOUSE, ARE ENCOURAGED

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Boromir

Have you ever been seized by an image in your own mind, and then flooded with its story so vividly that you feel the weight of sorrow and wells of potential for love and grace and joy imbedded there?

One day, not long after I'd watched the Fellowship of the Ring, I was remembering Boromir. Not a figure new to my tears. Every time his scene comes around I weep where I sit.

I have of course read the book innumerable times, heard Aragorn call him valiant, and seen the sorrow in Faramir's heart at his loss. Known best for his greatest mistake, he is yet redeemed, and therefore a glorious story, and a familiar one. "Whether he erred or no, of this I am sure: he died well, achieving some good thing. His face was more beautiful even than in life."

He falls farther than he ever thought, and yet does not fully despair, but seizes the next opportunity to lay down his life for his friends, taking hold of integrity once more. And at the last, repenting from his very gut to his king, the king who was never more his than at that moment.

And yet the scene that I thought of was one from the movie, thrown in there no doubt, to make our hearts break. It was of Boromir being tackled by hobbits as he tried to teach them to fight, and his laughter as he wrestled them off. (Thank you, Sean Bean)

And suddenly I saw this scene as if these were his children. As if he had made it home.
Not as if he had never come to grief. But if, having fallen thus, he yet had turned and laid down his life in direct opposition to his sin (which is repentance); and come to bare humility before Aragorn. ...But that death had not then claimed him.

If back from the brink of death he had been saved, a new man, to return to Gondor... he would have spent his days laying down his life for his people. How else can one saved from such a place live?
He would have been like Edmund ("you were only an ass, I was a traitor"/This our traitor's only hope, He can save the dead). Except, I think, with more joviality.

Imagine him embracing Faramir. Known, beloved, and now seen. Imagine him finding a wife. He would think the sun rose and set with her. He would try to impress her, but she would be one he never need pretend with. At the end of the day, she would know, and love. For, and in spite.

And children. He would have kept the laughter, though wiser and less carefree. He would be one to use his laughter as a weapon against the dark. The only way he would have been able to conquer with that kind of past: he knew his place and kept the laughter.

And I weep.


Oh wounded heart
So tempted and so strong
A valiant fighter
Good, at war with wrong

This knight has fallen
Past all thought and hope
Yet undespairing
Seizes sacrifice like rope

At last unto the king
He poured his weight of sorrow
As he poured out his life
And gained tomorrow

"From darkest failure
Through remorse, regret
To full opposing of misdeeds
You've come to honor yet"

So speaking, Strider knelt there
Never more his king than now
Placed his sword in shaking hand
And kissed his sweating brow

Brought humbly thus
Unto death's very brink
What if this shadowed cup
Had not been his to drink?

But called to live again
He cast aside the grave
To give his life for others
And be saved

Once-traitor, now the just and fair
Like Edmund, that beloved king
Yet more disposed to mirth, I think
And more inclined to sing

How else to live
When falling made him softer
Than knowing now his place
To keep the laughter

I see his brother
And a long-delayed embrace
Long known and loved, but now...
To share an honest face

I see him telling tales of old
And playing with the young, his own
Depth of wisdom, unafraid
And full of mercy, known

His wife, a rock of courage
An ocean couldn't part
Full knowing, loves his soul
And holds his heart

These arrows pierce me now
As arrows pierced your chest
What do we prize?
What should we leave at rest

But taking honor in both hands
We'll seize integrity
And giving up ourselves at last
We'll gain the White City

Well hello, 2018

Hello everyone.

I feel rather a day late and a dollar short for this new year: the blank slate I admire so much. In past years I've tallied up books read that year, written tolerably interesting blogposts about time past and time to come, started new notebooks, taken time for contemplation, cleanliness, devotions.

Did I get to any of that yesterday? No.
I worked a double shift at work and I was tired. 
I'm trying desperately not to get the (knock-down drag-out) Flu that is going around. And also, to combat the oppressively low temperatures, I'm making mounds of food as fuel, and so that I can have actual protein and vegetables in my system. I did yoga, but it didn't seem to unblock any energy: I crawled directly into bed, glad that my actual yoga challenge did not begin until today. Today I have (slightly) more time to breathe, take in my surroundings, take in what's important. 

I am choosing to remember that Jesus is the one who offers each of us a clean slate. No guilt, no shame, no condemnation. Freedom from fear. And that the offer extends to the track marks left behind by life and sin and brokenness. I'm thankful that not only was that mine yesterday, but it is mine again today. Grace for the new year. Grace for the asking. Mine for the asking. 
I am glad because not only are his mercies new every morning, but he doesn't get tired of us starting over. He is not wearied by our faithlessness.

Which is good, because I'm tired. (Between this line and the last I fell asleep on my arms and thus decided to take a nap before continuing).

So I want to celebrate persistence. And look for laughter.
I want to practice mindfulness: a phrase easily glossed over, especially if you've heard it a lot. But important.
I want to prioritize quiet. And space to write. 
{This often gets categorized into 'time' when it is generally mental space that I lack.}
I want to have courage and be kind. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me, after all.
I want to choose joy, and fill myself with good things. Jesus is making me new!
I want to find what feels good, starting with this yoga challenge I'm doing.
I want to see good.

And Breathe.
               God is here.

God is for us, you see. Who can be against us?

Because I like looking back on it myself, here are a few other things on my list for 2018: the practical side:
Get a passport. Like, really. ASAP.
Actually open that Etsy shop.
Finish my Rosetta Stone French.
Finish all those C.S. Lewis lectures I found!
Read books that make my eyes light up.
... I would love to read Sherlock Holmes again, and watch Princess Bride, and...


This is me, feeling more up to starting my year, but still looking eight years old. Jeez.
You know what? I don't think I'm going to get to scrubbing my floor or my yoga mat today. And that's okay. I worked two shifts (simultaneously this time), took time for quiet, got a few books from the library, fell asleep. I'll do yoga on my mat just like it is, and just like I have been, until the right moment comes along. Do you see that gorgeous cross-section children's-guide to Egypt? Library discard! Mine now. The others are loans.

Hope to get back to writing again this weekend. Hope to be back here.
Until then, I wish you hope and joy in this new year. Stay warm. Find space. Move. You are loved.

Anyone want to read my random musings on Boromir?