Random and not so random musings from a 5th generation NE Missourian who became a 1st generation Episcopalian. Let the good times roll!

(Quilt by Suzanne Thompson)

Genesis 15: 1-6:
After these things the word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision, “Do not be afraid, Abram, I am your shield; your reward shall be very great.” But Abram said, “O Lord God, what will you give me, for I continue childless, and the heir of my house is Eliezer of Damascus?” And Abram said, “You have given me no offspring, and so a slave born in my house is to be my heir.” But the word of the Lord came to him, “This man shall not be your heir; no one but your very own issue shall be your heir.” He brought him outside and said, “Look toward heaven and count the stars, if you are able to count them.” Then he said to him, “So shall your descendants be.” And he believed the Lord; and the Lord reckoned it to him as righteousness.

I have had some fantastic star-gazing nights in my yard the last few nights as the moon waned, sitting outside in my backyard by my chiminea in "the most holy spot in the yard." One of the true blessings of my life in the country is living far enough away from town the light pollution doesn't mess with me too much. There have been plenty nights lately where I can see the Milky Way. Never mind it's been chilly. The fire is warm and the view is beautiful in its simplicity.

One of the things I tend to episodically struggle with is it is pretty much a done deal at this point that I will have no biological heirs. Honestly, it is one of those things I didn't plan on, but it just sorta happened that way. When I was young, I always figured "there'd be time later." But that thing called "career" took up my time, and that thing called "intimate relationships" sort of moved to the back of the bus, and the next thing I knew, the perimenopausal fairy showed up and there were no prospects in sight.

But honestly, I'm not sure that was all bad. I don't think my DNA is all that special. Really, I'm only a few dozen DNA base pairs different than everyone else in the world. I don't really feel any great ownership over my family's DNA. But on occasion, I do feel sad that I made conscious choices that sends 250 years of one family line of DNA to a screeching halt.

It's the definition of "mixed emotions."

My family did not corner the market on "normal family relations." I suppose there was always a piece of me that, deep down inside, felt like a monster. Over three decades, I've vacillated whether I would be a great parent or a horrible one. Oh, my guess is I probably would have been no better or no worse than anyone else. But truthfully, I have spent a lot of my adult life, controlled by the fear of the monster. The grand disconnect is that my friends tell me that I have a "way" with kids. I have a different demeanor with kids--an easygoing, loving one for the most part. I probably did let the monster win there, and cut myself short. But I also never really had the time--or so I felt--to make room for the relationships that would create a family.

Oh, it's not that someone couldn't come along and change all that--I would probably be a great grandparent at this point--but I more or less became content in my solitude. I still am. I truly love certain aspects of my hermity, solo life. But it doesn't change the fact I am heir-less, and probably will remain so.

Yet there is a part of me that says that God always gives us "heirs." But maybe they are not connected by those few dozen base pairs of DNA.

I recently spent an evening out by my fire, with a friend who brought a young friend. My friend is what you might call a "non-traditional student." Non-traditional as in, she's old enough to be her classmates' mother. What I was picking up on was that this young 20something guy was listening intently at these two elders, simply talking about life and past choices, good and bad, and that the choices he now is working on making all work to some place that is not yet defined, but are probably eventually an "okay place." He was settling into a place of "okay-ness" with the company, the fire, and my dogs.

It was in that moment I got a glimpse of what my "heirs" are all about. It's something not everyone with traditional "heirs" is going to "get," but I believe some will get it, some won't. But here it is:

It has to do with the old hymn, "There's a wideness to God's mercy."

"There is grace enough for thousands Of new worlds as great as this; There is room for fresh creations In that upper home of bliss."

Because I did not go down the traditional path of "building a family," what I lacked in depth of involvement, God made up for in "wideness." It really wasn't anything I "did" or cultivated. It just happened. I find myself humbled and touched at least once a week over my interactions with this interesting variety of people and the kindnesses I've been shown. I enjoy the unpredictability of how they float in and out of my life. I enjoy the surprises they bring. I find the little bursts of love they bring in these interactions very satisfying. I am awed by the "fresh creations" that emerge from this odd little life of mine and the varying people in it.

The flip side is something I continue to gain serenity over. I have come to realize certain kinds of interactions, because of some of the scars I carry, are simply toxic to me. They shut down that awe and wonder and ability for me to love back. There is a certain combination of "psychological intimacy with a certain set of baggage" that I have to learn not to hook me. All of us are broken people in one way or another. This one, frankly, is the brokenness that showed up in my yard, and it is mine to tend. There's a sadness to that, b/c much of it is hooked to how most folks live a life that most people take for granted as "normal," and anything outside of it as "abnormal," and to say "I am probably not equipped to live that kind of life," might, to the average ear, seem like saying, "I'm a loser. I have something wrong with me." I have known for many years I probably can't live that life safely and in health. I am just now getting around to truly accepting it. But in my acceptance is not defeat; it's anticipation and adventure--and I have always loved adventure.

The other thing I'm learning is that whoever we are, "God picks up the slack, if we only listen to him." This continues to be the most exciting discovery in my life. God can take "broken" and make it not only just "not matter so much" but transform our own individual brokenness into extraordinary lives. Extraordinary lives that create a ripple effect far beyond what we can comprehend. Extraordinary lives that give us tiny glimpses into the kingdom of Heaven. Extraordinary lives that prepare us for being part of that "cloud of witnesses" in the life everlasting, and part of a "cloud of witnesses" here on earth that can make each of us we interact with feel loved, cared for, and mattered about.

Behind that cloud is a sea of stars. Stars too numerous to count. Our heirs. Millions of heirs that a few dozen base pairs of DNA don't matter a bit.



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Kirksville, Missouri, United States
I'm a longtime area resident of that quirky and wonderful place called Kirksville, MO and am wondering what God has hiding round the next corner in my life.

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