Tuesday, May 22, 2007 AD Getting Even...or Not On Sunday, our congregation honored our elders and their wives for their service to our body over the past year+ that we have been without a pastor. There was a cake, and a really cool bouquet of "flowers" made out of fruit, and gift certificates for a B&B, and a speech -- all to express our gratitude to Jeff and Ken for bearing the burden of shepherding our flock and to Karen and Jana for bearing the burden of their husbands' burden-bearing.
I also made a calligraphy for each couple with John 12:26 ("If anyone serves me, him my father will honor"). This poem (HT Abigail), though written about a mother, conveys the same sense of imbalance between what I've received and what I've given in return:
The Lanyard by Billy Collins
The other day I was ricocheting slowly off the blue walls of this room, moving as if underwater from typewriter to piano, from bookshelf to an envelope lying on the floor, when I found myself in the L section of the dictionary where my eyes fell upon the word lanyard.
No cookie nibbled by a French novelist could send one into the past more suddenly— a past where I sat at a workbench at a camp by a deep Adirondack lake learning how to braid long thin plastic strips into a lanyard, a gift for my mother.
I had never seen anyone use a lanyard or wear one, if that’s what you did with them, but that did not keep me from crossing strand over strand again and again until I had made a boxy red and white lanyard for my mother.
She gave me life and milk from her breasts, and I gave her a lanyard. She nursed me in many a sick room, lifted spoons of medicine to my lips, laid cold face-cloths on my forehead, and then led me out into the airy light
and taught me to walk and swim, and I, in turn, presented her with a lanyard. Here are thousands of meals, she said, and here is clothing and a good education. And here is your lanyard, I replied, which I made with a little help from a counselor.
Here is a breathing body and a beating heart, strong legs, bones and teeth, and two clear eyes to read the world, she whispered, and here, I said, is the lanyard I made at camp. And here, I wish to say to her now, is a smaller gift—not the worn truth that you can never repay your mother, but the rueful admission that when she took the two-tone lanyard from my hand, I was as sure as a boy could be that this useless, worthless thing I wove out of boredom would be enough to make us even.
Posted by Valerie (Kyriosity) at 5/22/2007 12:46:00 PM
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