Content of being content

IMG_6499 (1280x853)There’s a fountain in our garden, the drops form a triad of continuous music, one drop that hits the water, one that hits the grass and one that hits the paving stones keep playing together.

There’s a wind-chime in our copper-beech. Six carefully baritone tuned pipes sounds softly, one after another.

There’s a dog under the birch-tree. Snoring the midday heat away.

IMG_6467 (1280x853)There’s a charming husband high in our cherry tree, collecting everything out of my reach.

There’s a pick up truck in our yard as our oldest son arrives with more sugar for the cherry jam.

In the middle of this am I. Standing at a garden table, tanning my back in the sun, pitting cherries. Bucket after bucket.

I am content. I am happy.

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Doing nothing

IMG_5851 (1280x853)Working from home today. It is 11:17 and I have not done a thing.
I woke up, showered and dressed. That’s nothing. I stripped the beds, did the laundry and hung the sheets on the line to dry in the sunshine. Not really a thing is it?
I cleared the breakfast table, and tidied the kitchen. As my husband had made breakfast, that is not really anything at all.
I walked the dog for an hour, and stood for a while watching band practise at the school yard. Philosophizing on the strange fact that even a thing that started ugly, may end up as innocent and meaningful activities. The young boys in uniforms are not marching to war, they are just donning uniforms, playing war music and heeding their leader to add joy and fun to this sunny day.
Then the dog and me went home, scrubbed the garden furniture ( bird droppings), had a coffee (me, that is) and I posted on my Bible blog.

I still have not done a thing, my account is still unbalanced, and my reports are still quite unfinished. The important projects are totally unplanned. Which makes me think. Except for watching the band and doing my blog, everything else I have been doing today are things I sooner or later will have to pay others to do for me. If I live long, perhaps even the shower and dressing bit. So is this true: do I work to be able to  pay others to do the work I do not appreciate being able to do today?

I do not. Sometimes though, my mind, and people around me think that is a way to live. Then I’ll have myself listen to my heart. Realigning my priorities, just now, by going outside to hang the next load of laundry and really smell and enjoy the first sunny day for ages. In a moment, by opening my job mail, while all the time hearing the dogs content sighs and snores as he dreams of his long walk.

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You’ll never walk alone

IMG_5662 (1280x853)Yesterday I was present when the congregation at Tiller started to use their new liturgical clothes. The process of designing and making them is worthy of several blog posts that maybe will be told, one day. Today I’ll just share the beginning and the end.

I always start with the biblical texts for the Sundays when the liturgical clothes, or paraments, will be used.IMG_5618 (1280x853) This set is red, the color of blood, the color of martyrdom, the color of fire, the liturgical color for Pentecost, for ordination, for the day of the apostles. The texts speak about being a witness, about martyrdom, about baptism by fire and by the holy spirit. To me, most of all it speaks about the God who walks with each and one of us through all this. Be not afraid, one texts says. I will not leave you fatherless, another tells us. Yet another, I will stay with you to the end of the world.IMG_5641 (1280x767) So I wanted the textiles to show God surrounding us, enfolding us, walking with us, in every moment, in sorrow and in joy. Which made me start with the Fibonacci numbers. Fibonacci did not invent them, but told the west about ancient indian and arabic knowledge, the sequence and order you’ll find in nature, the golden ratio. Like the seeds of a pine cone or a sunflower, every row being the sum of the two before it. IMG_5639 (1280x853)To later theologians this sequence became a witness of how God’s ordering principles rule nature. To me, I used this sequence to make a cross, and the world where we live. Sometimes you do not immediately see it, like in life, it may look chaotic, it may look without order. If you keep looking, it is there to be found.IMG_5651 (854x1280)

 

17th of May- happy trails through Trondheim

IMG_5356 (853x1280)Today is our constitution day, actually our bicentennial. We are celebrating, as usual, with children’s parade, music, flags, traditional food, and traditional costumes.IMG_5376 (1280x910) We are celebrating more than ever, having used the last months for public  discussions and reminders, adding depth to the values we do promote in our Constitution. IMG_5407 (1280x853)Telling each other what we do well, where we need to improve, what we have to keep, no matter what.IMG_5411 (1024x829)

Stig and me dressed in our traditional costumes and walked into town.IMG_5416 (853x1280) We enjoyed the parade, we attended the service in the cathedral, we talked to friends, now we are at home relaxing, getting ready for dinner.IMG_5418 (1024x683) I just thought I’d show you some glimpses of our day. Celebrate freedom wherever you are!IMG_5419 (928x521)

Feeding the boys

IMG_4577 (1280x853)One sunday evening, more than 60 years ago, my grandparents went to chapel, as they did every sunday. Church in the morning and chapel in the evening. Except this sunday they were surprised to see some young soldiers attending. We’re glad you have found time to join us, they told the young boys. We would come every sunday if we could, they answered. So why can you not? They was almost ashamed to admit the truth, having to walk the sixteen kilometers made them so hungry that it was extra hard to miss the evening meal in camp. No  buses, no cafe and no meal from noon to next morning, hard.

I am sure my grandmother laughed and was surprised that this could be a problem. Of course you’ll join us for supper!

And of course you are welcome to do so every sunday, and of course you may bring your friends! And they did. From then on a steady flow of sandwiches, kringle, coffee and lemonade sustained young soldiers, year after year. My mother and her sisters grew up having lots of big “brothers” from all over the country. When my parents took over this service, I grew up having lots of big “brothers” to play with. And my gran kept baking kringle, sending them by the bus in the morning, so my mother could keep up feeding the boys.

IMG_4581 (1280x853)Some weeks ago, my aunt gave me my grandmothers recipe book. As many housewives of her day she had a year training at a household academy, and carefully wrote down everything they were taught. Through all her years these were the only recipes she used. As for me, I have several shelves of books on cooking, as well as her kringle recipe. I have her coffee sets, as well as several others. I have a much bigger house. I have much more money. Neither of that will bring the blessings my grandmothers suppers brought.

To me, I pray for the wisdom to leave the big plans, and just do the small service in front of me, with a laugh, with an open heart, one step and one kringle at the time.

 

Silver, books or food?

IMG_4193These last weeks I have been reading two books, in norwegian, written by daughters, clearing out their mother’s home. Some years ago my siblings and I did that too, a chore that is something quite else, more like an initiation rite.
Going through item after item, trash and treasures, and deciding;
This you must leave, to grow to what you are to become,
this you may keep, to stay true to who you are,
this you may finally get rid of,
this is not yours to have,
all the time knowing it is only things.
The lesson that could be taken is: “These things are not what your mother left you, but what is, and what is worth keeping?”

One of the authors used the lost Franklin expedition to reflect on what we cherish. The  real story about  John Franklin and his men getting lost while searching for the Northwest passage in 1845 is still a mystery. Actually a new theory was launched as late as this january. What is known though is that these starving, lost men, pulled their sleds, hoping for salvation, but still throwing away essentials to make their burden lighter. The Inuits and the rescue parties have found tins of food, medical supplies and crucial tools left along the last route. They must have been giving in to despair, realizing all hope was lost. And then, perhaps not, the last things to be ditched were monogrammed silver cutlery and a novel. Why?

IMG_4444I found my copy of the book, The Vicar of Wakefield, and read it through, to understand why and when it would be better than food. I am not sure, what do you think?

To me the real eye opener is not how these lost men prioritized though. The more serious question is of course my own choices, not only when it comes to material belongings,or food versus books, what about relations, obligations, work, beliefs?

When I let something go, what guides my choosing? When I decide to keep on to something, will it really keep me up to the end?

Thirst by Mary Oliver

Pat always shares poems or quotes that gives me a new insight, while also resonating with something in my soul. Is that not always so, we can only understand the answer if the question already lives in our heart.

OPreach

The pond God has given us The pond God has given us


Another morning and I wake with thirst

for the goodness I do not have.
I walk
out to the pond and all the way God has


given us such beautiful lessons.
Oh Lord,
I was never a quick scholar but sulked


and hunched over my books past the hour

and the bell; grant me, in your mercy,
a little more time.

Love for the earth
and love for you are having such a long


conversation in my heart.
Who knows what
will finally happen or where I will be sent,


yet already I have given a great many things

away, expecting to be told to pack nothing,

except the prayers which, with this thirst,

I am slowy learning.



— Mary Oliver, Thirst,
  Beacon Press, Boston, 2006, pp. 1, 52, 69

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