Little Sister

Little Sister,

I pray to God that
you remain in a
beautiful
peaceful ignorance.

I will take care of you,
I will keep you under
the veil of my adamant protection.

I will carry you where
you need to go.
I will look left and right
before you cross the road,
cross the city,
cross the world.

If you cross too fast,
I will pull the imaginary
umbilical cord
between
your head
and
my heart,

And drag you back
maybe kicking, or screaming,
or crying, or smiling,
but for your own good.

I make myself the
tree – old, wise-
knowing and
with endless branches
of experience
that explode in
different directions.

My hope for you is
that you will be
strongly rooted: my little tree.

Grow beside me,
never leave. Imitate
my branches of success.
This is my gift to you.

But you don’t want this gift.

You say
you cannot grow strong
so close beside me.

You say that you are
dying in the damp dark.
You say I block you
from sunlight.

So instead you choose
to be my leaves.
Surrounding my dark
branches, growing from
their so called magic.

You are all around
inside me.
You receive
your much desired sunlight
from all angles.
You careen in the wind,
but every night
you rest,
on me.

Okay.

Little sister,
you rise
and sway with me
every afternoon, and

as much as this
connection warms me,
as much as I grow stronger
in your
presence,

I know that one day,
you’ll start to change
colour,

Slowly – and maybe even
behind my back.

And everyone sees how gorgeous you are.

People want
to take pieces of you
home

And you let them.

I pray to God that
winter never arrives.

I know that by then you
would have
completely fallen away,
blown away,
floated away.

Not only would I have
been stripped of my
beauty
and purpose
by your chilling departure.

I won’
t
know where
you are.
I won’
t

be able
to pull
you back
to me.
I won’
t be able
to
pro-
pro-
pro-
tect-
you.

If you ever do
come back,
You won’t be
the same.

I beg you not to
allow the elements of the world
to pick
and pull you
away from my dark security.

For if you do
I know
that the
mi
se
ry
will be so great…

that I will pray
for the beautiful,
peaceful ignorance
I
tried
to give
you.

xo
Bushlette

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A B****s Prayer

Father prepare me today

to deal with smaller minds

and people who neglect their brains

and think with their behinds.

I pray you give me wisdom

to keep my smart mouth shut

and be reminded as I go

that lofty words can cut.

Please help me to see

that always somewhere in Your plan

You’ve had a role for stupid folk

since the day that time began.

Guide me to understanding

its Your will that will prevail

and if it were left to my lesser wit

all of Your plans would fail.

Steer my thoughts to comprehend

earthly bright as I may be

all pales in comparison

to Your perfection and beauty.

Remind me that our enemy

loves a brainy beast

and uses more the smart than dumb

to herd prey to his feast.

Father prepare me today

to deal with smaller minds

and people who neglect their brains

and think with their behinds.

CONTEND AGAINST THEM!

Ever have one of those days when you’d like to BLOW SOME $&!+ up??  I’m praying for Wisdom as James 1 has instructed me.

My prayer:

“Contend, Lord, with those who contend with me; fight against those who fight against me. 2 Take up shield and armor; arise and come to my aid. 3 Brandish spear and javelin against those who pursue me. Say to me, “I am your salvation.”

4 May those who seek my life be disgraced and put to shame; may those who plot my ruin be turned back in dismay. 5 May they be like chaff before the wind, with the angel of the Lord driving them away; 6 may their path be dark and slippery, with the angel of the Lord pursuing them.

7 Since they hid their net for me without cause and without cause dug a pit for me, 8 may ruin overtake them by surprise— may the net they hid entangle them, may they fall into the pit, to their ruin. 9 Then my soul will rejoice in the Lord and delight in his salvation. 10 My whole being will exclaim, “Who is like you,Lord? You rescue the poor from those too strong for them, the poor and needy from those who rob them.”

11 Ruthless witnesses come forward; they question me on things I know nothing about. 12 They repay me evil for good and leave me like one bereaved. 13 Yet when they were ill, I put on sackcloth and humbled myself with fasting. When my prayers returned to me unanswered, 14 I went about mourning as though for my friend or brother. I bowed my head in grief as though weeping for my mother. 15 But when I stumbled, they gathered in glee; assailants gathered against me without my knowledge. They slandered me without ceasing. 16 Like the ungodly they maliciously mocked;they gnashed their teeth at me.

17 How long, Lord, will you look on? Rescue me from their ravages, my precious life from these lions. 18 I will give you thanks in the great assembly; among the throngs I will praise you. 19 Do not let those gloat over me who are my enemies without cause; do not let those who hate me without reason maliciously wink the eye. 20 They do not speak peaceably, but devise false accusations against those who live quietly in the land. 21 They sneer at me and say, “Aha! Aha! With our own eyes we have seen it.”

22 Lord, you have seen this; do not be silent. Do not be far from me, Lord. 23 Awake, and rise to my defense! Contend for me, my God and Lord. 24 Vindicate me in your righteousness, Lord my God; do not let them gloat over me. 25 Do not let them think, “Aha, just what we wanted!” or say, “We have swallowed him up.”

26 May all who gloat over my distress be put to shame and confusion; may all who exalt themselves over me be clothed with shame and disgrace. 27 May those who delight in my vindication shout for joy and gladness; may they always say, “The Lord be exalted, who delights in the well-being of his servant.”

28 My tongue will proclaim your righteousness, your praises all day long.”

Psalm 35.  Of David.  And tonight, of Bushlings.

Now it is just for me to sit tight and wait.  The resolution will come, perfectly complete, brutally just, and at the right time.

Cupcakes in La Ceiba? – A tale of YAG

A very REAL YAG cupcake

The story I’m about to tell you in three parts began in January.  But the cupcakes happened this weekend.  And this weekend is where I will start.

It was muddy and the river rocks were peaking sly through a slick sheen of red river mud.  I don’t know the name of the neighbourhood but I have been here before.  There are children who live on the streets here and there are some that only look like they do.  They were out in the road now in their most tatty clothing – mind you it could well have been their only clothing for all my dream would tell me.  And all I know is that I am here to help, to bring joy and talk with them and I have a hand full of cupcakes.  Light, fluffy, gorgeous creations made by one of our very own YAGgies.  But more about that later.

I look a little ways ahead up the incline of what passes for a road – or passed for a road before the river reclaimed it with her blood – and see others like me, cupcakes in hand, men and women, reaching out to the shy children.  And soon they aren’t so shy.  There is no language barrier in my dream – we are laughing and teasing with full understanding in two different languages and the children are playfully giggling.

I wake up to a Friday morning filled with corporate challenges and Very. Important. Things. to do.

But it comes back to me at 7 p.m. when the YAG meets for the fifth time.  I remember my dream and speak about it to the YAGgies and my Pastor listens carefully (and far more seriously than I expected) to my dream.  It is only when I am done and biting into a very real cupcake made by the same YAGgies in the dream that he tells me that Walter has called for him to preach a series of sermons at First Baptist Church of La Ceiba.

To understand all this I will ask you to bear with me…  there are two stories I need to tell you back from one life-changing weekend in January.  Follow along and read the miraculous tales of the YAG.

Cleansing Flood

There is nothing like sleeping in the rain.  And rain has not failed to fall for me.  Every time I lay my head down in Honduras to rest the rain meets the gurgle of the stream outside the window and makes for a beautiful sleep.  The windows are louvered and allow a fresh breeze in to sweeten the night and the stream is blood-red with the drain of the earth into it.  Always there is the sound of water.

Yesterday I bought two works of art to hang in my home.  One was a metal-worked thicket of leaves for my porch.  The other was a cross also of metal.  It is beautifully woven and will be put in a place of prominence in my home to remind me of my Father’s love.  Tonight the cross is wrapped for my journey home, tight in cardboard and masking tape.  But there are reminders everywhere.  The constant flow of water is music calling to mind the only never-ending grace.

No matter what I have done in my day, no matter where I have gone, how I have felt and what I have said His grace meets me like rainfall when I lay my head down to rest.

Isn’t it strange how it is the imperfect among us who forgive with the most difficulty?  It is also very amazing to find that imperfection in myself and feel grace rise to meet it.  I am forgiven – not necessarily by men and women around me and not necessarily by myself, but by the only person whose opinion is worth anything at all.  I am loved best of all by my God.

Rain of grace that washes away all imperfection...

Irene, Ivan’s little sister

Hurricane Irene made landfall this morning in North Carolina. She is a category 1 storm, a mere kitten among lions like Ivan, Andrew, Hugo, and Gilbert. But big cities have much to lose at the playful hands of kittens as New Orleans is likely to testify.

Every time August ends and September begins I sense a tiny change in my psyche. Something akin to PTSD. A deepened vigilance. It is the gentle grandchild of the terror of 2004, the year I thought my whole family would die at the hands of Hurricane Ivan. It is 2011 and I still don’t have the fortitude to be able to write about it in detail – the tearing apart of my grandmother’s house as she made corned beef sandwiches in the kitchen, the sight of people swimming to shelter at the hospital where I was tied together with rope and carrying young children, the floating cars, the twisters tearing off roofs. Ivan was a Cat5 or a Cat4 – no one is quite sure because all instruments on island broke under his fists.

But that is another tale for another, stronger, time. My islands are the most hurricane prone land statistically than anywhere else in the Atlantic. The time will come for those stories.

But today giants are bracing for Irene the kitten. Ivan’s little sister is on track to New York, Washington DC, Connecticut – places more accustomed to snow storms. Down south the people are always ready, always strong, and a Cat 1 will knock down a few trees and change only a few lives. How prepared are the people of the North?

Today my prayers are with them. My friends, my cousins, my colleagues and my readers. I am certain this will be much gentler than Katrina but the unprepared mind may feel it more deeply.