May 28, 2011

Typewriter Man

A few months ago in Satellite Coffee in Nob Hill in Albuquerque, I saw an old man typing on a typewriter surrounded by a sea of MacBooks and PCs. His story has been mulling around in my head for quite some time. Today it got out. 

Grizzled beard but
Knowing eyes lean over the obsolete keys
Wrinkled hands poking
Out of elbow-patched sleeves
Gather the run-away thoughts
Into phrases and clauses
Each pound of a letter
Results in a clickety slap
Followed by an ink smattering
Reminiscent of a literary era
Now bartered for in antique stores
Before the delete key existed
When you had to be sure of each word
Typing now is so haphazard
But he is deliberate
He clinches the past just as
He grips the edge of the machine
So it won't slide off his corduroy pants
And the gurgle of the cappuccino maker
Drowns out the sound of the
Collegiate debate all full of hubris
But the striking of the teeth-like keys
Smacking the linen paper
Echo louder than everything else
As if to say you are too
Let's forget time and forget
Our to-do lists
Come revel with me in the
Perfect collection of words
that do not defiantly glow back
I control them, not the other way around
And typewriter man silently, staunchly proclaims
There by the barrel of coffee beans
That he will sip life and savor it.

February 25, 2011

When I Grow Up . . .

 Micah was star of the week at school. He got to make a poster all about himself and bring in a show-and-tell toy. This may be the epitome of kindergarten.
One of the things he put on the poster is so dear, I needed to save it here for posterity.

The poster announces, "When I grow up, I want to be a soldier, a chef, a church planter, and a dad."

Don't those four dreams say so much about a little man?

Soldier: Micah was born with the fight in him. Most little boys are. No one has to teach them to use a weapon. If you don't buy them a play sword, they'll make one out of a stick or a pretzel. God plants in them the heart of a warrior to fight for his kingdom.

Chef: Mommy watches too much Food Network.

Church planter and dad: The little boy wants to be just like his own dad, which means his dad must be one to look up to.

Childlike Faith

Oops. I haven't posted since September. Consistency has never been my strong suit. I get achy pretty often with words scratching and pressing to get out. I guess today the ache burst open.

You see, lately my youngest has been wiggling to shed his toddler skin. I have a hundred stories of his most recent discoveries and antics and thoughts come aloud.

Just this morning he was frustrated because he couldn't see his own head. And when I went to cut up the strawberries for breakfast, there were three with bites out of them. Oh, this one!

But my delight in my little one, and in his Creator, crescendoed this weekend reminding me that it is not because of me, but in spite of me, that Corban's view of the unseen is developing along with his little body. 

He played in the bounce house, sang the song, ate gobbled the cake, watched as the presents were opened, and went home a very contented young man with his orange helium balloon. But the desert spring winds are kicking up early this year, and a big gust yanked the string from Corban's little grasp, and we all watched as the prized balloon danced into the atmosphere. 

Immediately tears fell from his expressive brown eyes. "My balloon, my balloon!" I tried to help him see the poetry in a balloon frolicking free in the breeze, but I was of no comfort. Older brother was maybe a little more consoling.

"Corban," said wise big brother, "Just imagine your balloon is a gift to God. You can give it to God as a present to tell him thank you." Corban's tears abated, but the whole ride home I could hear an occasional sob from the back seat.

Corban prayed before dinner that evening. "Dear God, Thank you for Mommy and Daddy and Micah and the ketchup. Please send my orange balloon back to me. Amen."

Then it was my turn for tears. This was his first true request from the Almighty, his first honest expression of his own two-year-old faith. I think his previous prayers had been copies or promptings. But here he was revealing his own heart-felt longings to the Maker of Heaven and Earth. Oh, Lord, may this be the first in a long line of precious and candid conversations with you. 

His faith is big though. He hasn't grown jaded by vague perceptions of unanswered prayers or untruthful ideas that God doesn't really care.  Colossians 4:2 instructs us, "Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving."

And Corban was watchful. Driving to the grocery store two days later, he spied an orange balloon floating high over the grand opening of a dry cleaner. "My balloon!," he squealed, "God sent it back to me!" And he smiled, blissfully admiring his orange balloon as I pushed the grocery cart inside as slowly as possible.

"Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it." -Jesus in Luke 18:17