It's hard to keep up. I still enjoy holding the News-Leader in one hand and my cup of tea in the other. How happy I was to see our Arlene on the cover this week! I still buy CDs; my 2005 minivan could hold six! I try to keep up; I have been subscribing to the NYT and the Post since the nineties; I read them on my phone every morning before the teapot whistles. And I subscribe to Amazon Music HD; I have grown to love listening via Bluetooth while driving. This week I entered a new cultural space--the world of podcasts (not listening but creating one with three friends and collaborators). Yesterday, our task for the recording session was to explain "why?". Yesterday, Madeleine and I worked in the office, I realized I was about to be late to meet a man about building some cabinets, so I ran home to find him waiting on my front porch. First impression? Bearded, stocky, stout, with several tattoos. I carried a mask and asked if he's been vaccinated. Happily, he says yes, (thus, no masks needed). While walking up the stairs I notice that the tat on his right calf is a long verse; I try to read it but cannot. As he measures the wall, I ask, "So, what does your leg say?" (Yes, we laughed.) Then he recites, buy memory, with depth of soul, a poem by Emily Dickinson. (Yes, it is in my Dickinson book beside my bed.) The poem answers my "why" questions--most of them--why I am doing the podcast...and why I am a pastor...and why I want the church (everywhere) to live..., and even, in part, to "why" I choose to keep getting up in the morning: If I can stop one heart from breaking If I can stop one heart from breaking, I shall not live in vain; If I can ease one life the aching, Or cool one pain, Or help one fainting robin Unto his nest again, I shall not live in vain.
Podcasts or radio, CDs or streaming, screen or paper, tattoo or bedside book, blank (you choose) or blank--everything changes and yet our human existential needs remain. No one wants to live in vain. So today, I shall try...to "cool one pain".
In love--with poetry, with Jesus, with you, Pastor Micki
P.S. How can I not hire the carpenter with an Emily Dickinson poem on his leg?!