Wednesday, September 07, 2005

I have been given the honor of speaking at our womens' retreat this year. I'm as jumpy (my friend Shelly would say) as a fart in a skillet. Graphic depiction, isn't it? Every year we hold it in Northern Washington far away from the scrubland we are imbedded inhere in the Columbia Basin. The Lord gave us the theme of "Seek and You Will Find". In the last 2 years, God has been teaching me about The Romance of getting to know Him. Not romance in the sense of 'Love and Courtship', but in the sense of 'Venturing into the Unknown for the Thrill of Discovering'!
On Sunday I performed this monologue in front of the congregation where I sat down in a rocking chair, dressed as an aged woman.
Once upon a “when”… that’s right, a “when”, time is too predictable and reasonable for this story… this is a “when”. Only You know ‘when’, because this story is about you.

Once upon a ‘when’, you find yourself in an ancient, mystical city wandering about it’s dusty, cobbled street just as the sun begins to sink on the horizon. Lamps are being lit by shop owners, giving off their dim, sooty flames as you wind your way through a catacomb of passageways. Sellers of aging books, richly colored tapestries, antiquities and curiosities of all sorts, harbor new mysteries in the fading light of day. You pass by several open doorways when you happen down a narrow alley with only a single shop lamp burning. As you peek through its low window you are greeted with the musty scent of thing long since forgotten. Then… You hear it… Did someone call your name? You glance around… Your skin is a mass of goose bumps as you step through the doorway, but the warm air of this night has no hint of chill to it. As your eyes adjust to the twilight inside you discover shelves, baskets and tables crammed with Babylonian trinkets, Egyptian papayrus & scarabs, eroding maps, coins of nations unremembered & never found, & all that is old and intriguing. You wander, turning rough, clap pots over in your hands, tracing dateless roads across Persia with your fingertips, uncorking age-ed Myrrh that fill up your senses … then … you hear it again … It felt like someone calling you… It was like a whisper that spoke to the very center of you. Again, you glance over your shoulder. No one… but something catches your eye. Bending down, you pick up a dingy, golden lamp… “go ahead…” THERE! The same whisper that had called you…….
“Oh! This is Ridiculous!” You say to yourself in your most reasonable voice, but somehow that voice seems very tired. The Curator begins to shuffle out from his perch behind the counter and begins blowing out the candles. “Closing Time.” Your heart is racing … how many dreams and treasures has that voice robbed you of?, you wonder. In on fleeting instant your hand begins to rub the lamp….

Well, that all I got. If You wanna hear the rest of this here story, you’re gonna have to come to women’s retreat Sept. 16th-18th … Don’t ya go listenin’ to that perfectly sensible, reasonable voice what says this isn’t really YOUR story… Listen to the deep whisper. Fellas, I's awfully sorry, but you all are gonna have to wait til we all gets home to tell ya bout it.

I left them hanging in hopes that they would want to come to retreat to hear more. We had 10 more ladies sign up that day and 4 more since then! There is a calling inside us toward an 'otherworld', as C.S. Lewis called it. A something and somewhere other than who and where we can see and know with our eyes. Our voices of reason and maturity don't often allow us the luxury of finding out what it is like to give up everything we know for something we don't have a tangible grasp on. We have lost the dreamer that once was our dearest companion. Pray for us as we go in search of The Giver of the dreams this coming weekend.

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