read me a story?

I am feelin' the detox. One medication I take - Nystatin - has been a butt-kicker from day one. This is not surprising as it kills overgrown yeast in my body. They are odd little pills, too. Some days they're tolerable, but other days, such as today, I feel enveloped in a thick, opaque fog; walking as if I'm balancing anvils on my shoulders. It's a predicament difficult to describe, but let's just say that a current round of laundry is a big accomplishment.

But I'm not whining. I started to. When Johnny asked what I wanted for breakfast, I pouted, "Nothing sounds good. Except coconut muffins." I finished those off, so we'll make another batch today. And cedar plank salmon for lunch. We were supposed to eat that for dinner last night, but time got away from us (it takes 45 minutes on the grill). However, I can't wait for lunch today! So, no whining. That is my challenge. I'll pray, feast, soak in the tub, nap, and all in between, I'll focus on story and beauty.

I finished Walking on Water last night. I gave it 4/5 stars due to a few glitches in L'Engle's theology and philosophy, but most of the book is brilliant and inspiring. For example, she explained how an artist is a servant to their work. A writer must listen to the story, the poem, the essay, or any piece. How the label "Christian art" is precarious (and a nauseating phrase). Some typical "Christian art" is God-awful and some "secular art" shines with redemption. Good art is good art. Or how we need "being time" - time to just be within kairos (God's non-linear time) vs. chronos (our regimented time). Being time is essential for artful folks - to read, pray, capture thoughts in a notebook, sit and think for long stretches, or admire the stillness and light. Things like that. I'm really not doing the book justice. I blame it on the yeast.

On page 126, L'Engle started to discuss the right and left hemispheres of our brains. The right hemisphere controls the left side of the body and intuition. The left hemisphere runs the the right side of the body and intellect. In general, we are afraid of that left, intuitive side. If we are whole and balanced as we ought to be, we'll use both intuition and intellect, but "from that misunderstood left comes prayer and poetry and song, and these have a healing power we are losing touch with in this technocratic age."

One summer, L'Engle's nine-year-old granddaughter was hit by a truck, walking home from swimming. Her injuries were gruesome: both femurs broken, her ribs broken, her jaw broken in two places, and her skull exposed by way of a head injury. She could not receive pain medication because of that head injury (right then and there I prayed to never have to watch my husband, children, or any loved one in a similar situation. Please, God). What truly helped the young girl was her grandmother and family reading stories to her. When they stopped, she gently said, "Keep on reading. .... Story was pain-killer, quite literally. When her brain was focused on story, then it was not on the pain center. Story was a more effective pain-killer than any chemical medication." L'Engle also shared that her friend, a great storyteller, visited pediatric wards of hospitals; many of those children in severe pain. When she spun her tales, they did not feel the pain. When my Mom and I read to my grandmother in the nursing home, she seemed at ease, too.

Again, I thank the Lord that my health trials are very tame in comparison. Without a doubt, He knows I am wimpy and frail, unlike the courage of children. I have discomfort, but not bolts of indescribable pain. Yet on days like today, I do believe L'Engle's opinion of story as an effective antidote. It is true. I grasp for beauty, art, and story, and while I am immersed in one, I do forget my aches and fatigue. Even now as I type a mediocre blog entry, I feel better (a writer feels best when he/she is writing anything).

Today, I intentionally selected the white forest pottery mug for my tea. I perused beautiful blogs. I gazed at photography on flickr. I inhaled the aroma of blue eucalyptus and lavender as I did the laundry. I burned incense, of course, and admired ethereal, scented smoke. I opened all of the downstairs window blinds. The weather is overcast, but I made a point to thank God for soft light and imminent rain (though I'd prefer sunshine). It might seem lazy, but I'm pretty much gonna cozy up to fiction all day ~ The Son of Laughter beckons me to return. A well-written story based on the Story. A good movie might be in order tonight as well.

See, Mom? I'm OK (she worries when I feel bad). In fact, I'm struck by the mercy of God ~ all these comforts surrounding me ~ and what He's doing in that kairos of His that I simply cannot see yet. And how good a story is whether you're a little girl or an adult. Will I ever feel all grown up?


Laura Leigh Dobson said...

Walking on Water arrived yesterday. I started it this morning and am about to get back to it.
When I am done i would love to know what in particular caused you to leave off the last star. . . etc.

jenni said...

I think you'll recognize my missing star, but it's mainly that at points, her theology is different than mine. And while she understands the scope of philosophy much better than I do, I still found philosophical errors. However, she was an amazing, brilliant Christian woman. I've thought so ever since reading the Wrinkle in Time series as a kid. I wanna read those books again soon!

Anonymous said...

Jenni, I haven't read Walking on Water (though I'd love to), but I think L'Engle is right about "being time". I think about that a lot, especially when I let myself get so busy that I'm neglectful of my prayer life and quiet time. I'm realizing that the connection between creativity and spirituality is strong, and that both are lifelines that keep me afloat.

Sounds like I should really get my hands on that book :)

jenni said...

You should, Lindsay. You'd dig the book, too.