Wednesday, May 20, 2009

"Your father loves you."

Because at 5:00 p.m. yesterday my husband had scolded me for not eating right when he is out of town, at 6:30 I stopped working in order to drive to Wendy’s and back before American Idol started at 7:00. The car stereo was off but I turned it on to listen to a CD my friend just sent me, but scrolling through the modes, a Focus on the Family broadcast snagged my attention.

I ended up eating my spicy chicken sandwich in the car, parked in the garage until the message ended, wiping my tears on the yellow napkin.

Tomorrow, May 21, marks the one-year anniversary of the death of Steven Curtis Chapman’s daughter, Marie Sue, who had turned 5 on May 13, 2008. Dr. Dobson interviewed Chapman several months after the accident, after the Chapman family had appeared on Good Morning America and Larry King Live, and that interview is being rebroadcast this week.

For those unfamiliar with this story, Will Franklin, the Chapman’s then 17-year-old son, had turned into the driveway and the car hit Marie Sue who had run out to meet him. Heart-rending to even think about this family’s sorrow, they share their private grief because their lives remain so public.

My thoughts run amok as I relate to this story. I ran in front of a car when I was 6-years-old; forever afterward the accident was described by my mother as me hitting the car instead of the car hitting me. And again at age 16, hit by a car while crossing a street, my heart went out to the person driving the car.

And that’s a big part of the Chapman story. Will has to deal with his sister's death in a way that no one else in the family does. 

When a neighbor volunteered to follow the emergency vehicle to the hospital, Steven Curtis Chapman rolled down the passenger window and called out to his son, “Will Franklin. Your father loves you.”

Chapman told Dr. Dobson that in the midst of incoherent thoughts he prayed, “Please, God. Don’t let me lose two children today.”

Here’s the link to the Chapman’s website.

If I can manage to collect my own incoherent thoughts about this story, I will share a theological footnote to Larry King's question about why God allows bad things to happen to good people.



Tuesday, May 19, 2009

I Should Be Writing

… but instead I am cleaning and painting and packing and staging for a move. Drat.

Beat after a "Hard Day's Night," I plan to watch the season finale of Dancing with the Stars and the "singing contest" on American Idol

Hurray for live television.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

For the Love of Smart

When I raced through the Lubbock Arts Festival with my daughter and three of her four children in tow—the 2-year-old twins in a stroller— the last thing I expected to buy was a poster. But this message struck a nerve:


you can’t spell smart without it

After four years spent getting a theological education at a campus where propositional truth reigns paramount, this visual aid reminded me of the importance of art. 

Art includes but is not limited to painting; architecture; photography; sculpting and glass works; needlework; drama or movie-making; music, whether composing, singing or conducting; dancing, and even writing. 

The idea behind all art is communication with the species.

At a time when schools face budget cuts, how often the arts program gets slashed if not eliminated. People who make such radical decisions can always spell smug.

And protestant churches have avoided, even disdained art, when in fact for hundreds of years the church had commissioned the world’s best art. What people attempt to save, they value.

Looking for a place to hang this work of art, numbered and signed by its creator, may this graphic idea take root, bear fruit and make us smart enough to love art. 

Saturday, May 9, 2009

The Unflappable Mother

Mother's Day brings a swirl of emotions, particularly when children have grown, gone off to live their lives, "free at last." 

I wrote this poem, sitting under a spiritual shrub you might say, my lament for the kind of mother I wish I had been.

The Unflappable Mother

I wish

I had been the unflappable mother

The mother whose cake fell and bread didn’t rise

And neither did her spirits fall nor temperature soar

The mother who overcooked the turkey

and under-baked the pie

The mother who didn’t launch: Was it you?

Going into orbit like the shuttle

Waiting to land when the storm passed

A landing who-knows-where?

While onlookers held their breath

I wish

Fingerprints on the wall or finger-licks on a cake

Made me smile

Made me feel cozy in my fragile cocoon

A maker-of-home

A safe place

Breathing space

Growth as natural as sleep

With dreams pleasant

Preceding the dawn

I wish

My tirades had vented

Like stale air sucked out into a vacuum

Atmosphere behind

Clean like mountain air

Tingly, cool, scented

Where breathing deeper

Unconsciously renews spirits

A grain of salt

Moves a mountain of regret

Better than the aftermath of tears

I wish

I had been the unflappable mother

Instead of perfecting the imperfect

Accentuating the flaws

Noting the negligible

Pleasing the indifferent

Punishing myself 

Mote and beam balancing

The world tilted just enough

To affect the climate

copyright, Carol Frugé