Now and then Daniel keeps the boys for the afternoon so I can steal away with my Bib1e and journal. Around here, we call this sort of thing spending the day with "Dad." Below are the (many, so beware) words from my journal yesterday.
1:31 p.m., Wed, June 8, 2011
I am sitting on a waterside stoop at Green Lake Park, sipping a cold "ling du" (coke zero) that I bought for 5 kuai at a drink stand. I kindly got rid of an older man who wanted to practice his English with me and buy me a drink (of tea, friends, to his defense). There are three teenage girls in shorts, sneakers, and pantyhose playing cards and giggling under a tree. There is a woman to my right selling stuffed monkeys and other brick brack. A minority woman with a thatched broom teeters by, sweeping up what is left of other people's lazy interludes. There is a loud motor sounding from beyond the bamboo. High-altitude sunshine is warming my legs as the breeze lifts my out-of-place blond(ish) hair. I have nowhere to be until 5 O'clock.
Um, I look crazy talking to "myself," so I will write these prayers instead.
A PRAYER FOR MY DAUGHTER
I watch the reeds, the sky, the willows, the birds, the flat, handsome faces of your people, this land that saw your birth. I marvel at you, daughter-I-have-never-met, and me, mother-with-hazel-eyes-and-freckles, coming together once and for all. G0D, make me worthy of this thing. Make me like the chosen woman that I am. Take care of my daughter's needs, even now as she sleeps in a steel crib somewhere east of here, resting before her supper of rice and cabbage. Surround her with your love. Prepare her to be loved, to be touched, to be cherished. Loosen her tongue to learn a new language. Loosen the bricks in the walls she has built to survive. Prepare Yang Yu Hong to also be Jubilee Sue Rupp. Prepare us all.
I just read Revelation 7. I just saw a man in a shirt (that used to be white) tucked in with pride to hand-hemmed pants, who when digging through the trash for plastic bottles (which are worth scant amounts of money), came across a half-full bottle of green milk tea and drank it down before crushing it and tossing it into his burlap sack. I wonder how many backwashed beverages that man consumes every day at this park. I wonder how often he empties his bladder onto the red earth, making room for the contents of more bottles. I wonder how strong his immune system is - or how weak. I wonder about the tiny dark fingers that carefully hemmed his pants, that tastefully fry the vegetables he buys with the money he gets for the bottles in his sack.
Revelation 7 says, "After this I looked and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people, and language, standing before the throne and in front of the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands" (v9) "Never again will they hunger, never again will they thirst...And G0D will wipe away every tear from their eyes" (v16, 17).
L0RD, oh my L0RD, to trade our dingy shirts for robes of white! To trade backwashed tea for living water! My Savior, my Precious L0RD, to you be all the praise and glory and honor forever. May my friend with the sack of bottles learn, somehow, of the well that will never run dry.
(A shoe-shiner uses a toothbrush to scrub gunk from a despondent woman's giant rhinestone shoe-bow. I realize I am hungry. 5 more kuai buys me a bag of sweet and salty popcorn. I drop another kuai-and-a-half into a young man's guitar case in exchange for his having serenaded my popcorn break. A guy selling spicy pickled fruit?? chortles something my way. I get back on my hot pink motorbike and ride downtown, touching my knees together as I ride, like a lady.)
Grande decaf skim milk latte with sugar-free vanilla syrup. Starbucks has arrived in our city, my friends, and the red-white-and-blue in my veins won't allow me to stay away.
A PRAYER FOR MY SONS
G0D, put a distaste in them for sin. Put a yearning in them for light and righteousness. Reveal yourself to them in ways you never will to me, at least not in this life I'm sure. BRIGHT: Make him the leader he was born to be. Protect his keen mind from the poison of the enemy. Raise up for him a strong-hearted wife who will cook mashed potatoes for him and listen to his ideas and lovingly heed his leadership; to bless him and warm his heart all the days of his life. ZION: Cultivate the creative heart that is Zion. Surround him with beauty and joy, for these things he was made to love. Raise up for him a wife with a quick smile who lets him protect her; a wife to delight him and welcome his abundant affections forever. BRAVE: Make him into the wall-scaler he was meant to be. Watch over his feet as he ventures into wild places. May he venture, when and where he does, for your glory, LORD. Raise up for him a wife who will believe in him and who's love will spur him on.
I don't think this latte is decaf.
A PRAYER FOR MY HUSBAND
L0RD, thank you for Daniel. Please continue to bless our marriage with joy. Strengthen our love for you and for each other, even as the storms of life rage. May his shoulders be like a tower, his feet like anchors when the winds are blowing and like the wind when your truth must go forth. Bless his efforts on this Earth. Let his heart be content in you. May you be his portion forever. Protect his good name, teach him your ways, and carry him in those hours when he has nothing left.
A PRAYER FOR ME
G0D, renew a right spirit within me. At your feet I choose to spend my days. At your feet I lay my burdens down. I love you, L0RD. Thank you for this day together. Thank you for everything.