Monday, December 12, 2011

Scraps Of Moments

Third Monday of Advent                                                 

But I will always have hope.
       I will heap praise upon praise of you.
My mouth will proclaim your righteousness,
       your saving power all the day long,
       and your mercies, impossible to count.
I will turn to the power of the Lord
       and recall only your righteousness.
God, from my youth you have taught me;
       I am still proclaiming your marvels.
                                                                   Psalm 70, 71

I remember when I first began to journal.  I was eleven years old and would keep scraps of paper to write down the moments in my bedroom.  I would lay out the white, irregular shape on top my dresser and begin recording the now, the sounds and sights and smells and what I was feeling.  I would write as much of the moment as I could cram onto the scrap paper: the birds that were singing, the cars sounding over the street, airplane motors going by in the distance, a door slamming, the breeze through the window, the way the light was slanting across the back of my hands, the peace I felt and the anxiety seeping through to get the moment down on paper before one of my siblings came into our shared room.

It was exhilarating for my young self to capture the living beauty surrounding me as if I held, in the papery wings of writing, a butterfly of rare origin I could add to my collection. As if I held a sheave of eternity to fold up tightly and wind around with colored threads and hide in various places around my room. With a disciplined ferocity not to peek in at the dormant moments, I would wait and wait for the slipping nets of time to fall through the days and months, until I would at last permit myself to open them.  My quiet and secretive anticipation would surface every now and again and I would feel happy.

I cultivated my collection of moments that lay like hidden embers in drawers and closet and behind dressers and under my mattress and inside books. I looked forward with excitement for so long to, at last, read what I recorded, what was living out way back in the slipping past, not really remembering the details.  I would sneak off to hunker in my closet and carefully unfold the tiny scraps of time, always surprised by the glinting breathing and shimmering there on the creases of wood.  I could hold onto the singing and the summer breeze and the voices of children playing but mostly the peace of my having been in the world listening closely, looking attentively for the beautiful in spite of the painful ugly; feeling I had once shown up then moved along; that I held a kind of immortality in the folds of my child hands.

I collected these scraps of moments enjoying my little game for quite some time, until, they were eventually forgotten and tossed into the wild array of living.

Now, waiting for the Messiah, I am still writing out scraps of moments become prayers, opening them unto the Lord: these gifts from the small and vulnerable I remain.

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