Eternal Enigma

Several years ago, at our daughter’s wedding, we served appetizers on our antique candlewick plates. Many friends helped us prepare and serve the dinner in our church fellowship room. When we counted the plates afterwards, one was missing. We looked through the kitchen, the Sunday school rooms where food had been prepared, the foyer where the appetizers had been served, and in every corner of our church building. We thought it had been packed up with Grandma’s china that our daughter took with her, but she couldn’t find it. We wondered if someone had accidentally thrown it out. We could not believe someone had stolen it–everyone was family or a close friend.

For months after the wedding, every week when I went to church, I searched the kitchen. I alerted the church staff to the loss. I could not believe it would not turn up. But I never found it. No one had seen a clear glass plate, edged with glass balls. I stopped looking after a while and chalked it up to one of life’s little mysteries.

Then, a few weeks ago on a Thursday evening, the phone rang.

"There’s a plate here that I think is yours." Our friend Carolyn was in the church kitchen.

"You’re kidding!"

"No, I’m not." She described it.

"That’s the plate! It’s been six years!" I clicked off the phone, stunned.

When I heard our administrative pastor had cleaned out a storage room recently, I thought she must have found it. But she knew nothing of it.

I’ve tucked it away in the corner of my mind’s closet, in a box labeled: "Huh?" Having stolen it, did someone finally return it? I still couldn’t believe that. Did someone find it in their things and somehow know to return it to the kitchen? Who would do that without telling us?

I receive it back as a mysterious gift and a reminder of the eternal enigma in which we "live and move and have our being."

Father, this life is full of wonder and mystery.

We know you see clearly.

We wait to understand.

Health Care in America

I’ve just heard about an initiative to get input from the public about the state of health care in America. Please go to to answer the questions that Congress is asking of us all. Perhaps some progress can be made in the mishmash of health care we now have.

Personally, I have no complaints up until now–my health insurance situation has been good. But I can’t imagine being without insurance. I also feel it is immoral for health care to be for-profit.  I think doctors and other medical professionals should be paid well because they do demanding, difficult jobs. But I don’t believe health care should be profit-driven.

That’s my opinion. Go give yours at the website–the first effort I know about to gather public opinion!

Good Enough?

I often wonder whether I’m good enough—to be a writer, to make jewelry, to get into heaven—well, no, I know I’m not good enough to get into heaven. I count on Jesus’ sacrifice to usher me into the pearly gates.

But the creative arts bring up old fears. I grew up discouraged and depressed, even into my thirties—feeling worthless and inadequate. Even now, in my fifties, after twenty successful professional years, as I move into a more creative phase, the old inadequacy anxieties come out of the closet to lounge on my couch. These days, they seem more like wispy holographs, but their voices are loud enough: "Are you really a writer and artist?"

Well, no, I’m not sure. But I am sure I am supposed to try. I’m sure I’m supposed to support my husband’s glass bead-making by designing his little artworks into necklaces, bracelets, and earrings. And, actually, in four years of selling our creations, we are more than paying for our supplies. We were juried into the our statewide artisan program. We very successfully sold our pieces at a high-quality art fair last weekend, amid many oohs and aahs.

The writing is coming along, too—it’s harder, but beginning to feel doable.

If we feel a pull towards the arts, we only know whether we’re good enough by doing and getting feedback. And we can trust Jesus to usher us into the creative places he has prepared for us.

Jesus, we long to feel adequate to the tasks you set before us. And yet, in our inadequacies, we learn to trust your power and love. So we submit to your process in our creativity. We trust your timing and we look for your encouragement.