Monday, September 02, 2013


Sitting in the back yard, drinking beer. It's Island Wheat, in a blue can that says Capital Brewery and displays a golden map of the waters around Washington Island, Wisconsin.

I am not ready for summer to be over. I have to finish painting the garage. And I am not yet full up with the peace and quiet that comes from yard-sitting in the morning, in the evening, in the heat or in an early September chill.

Who am I? Who else could I be?

I looked last night at hundreds of pictures from my son and daughter-in-law's wedding. I'm in many of these, wearing as fancy a dress as I've had in decades, hair straight and smooth, make-up and bright lipstick sharpening my features. I know that's me. It was a very happy night. But outside-in looks different from how inside-to-out feels.

This afternoon I've been writing Bible stories for a project at my church. I am very conscious that the words I choose affect how people will understand these stories. One rewrites the words of the Bible with caution, but also with the awareness that the gospel writers themselves were interpreters of an oral tradition, that they, like me, tried to imagine what it was like to follow Jesus in Galilee and Jerusalem. Even if they were working with sources or oral traditions that originated with Jesus disciples, people who were there, they still wrote from a specific theological point of view, to meet the needs of specific readers.

You write a face onto a story--the words on the page. If you're telling the story out loud, you add gestures, emotion, tempo, according to the reactions of your listeners. If you're writing it, you guess at these things. You use your skill to prepare for the big moments, for the surprises, for the touching of hearts. But others will read from outside in, what it is you put in from inside out.

Soon the maple over my head will turn gold. And then its leaves will fall and crumble and blow up against the fence. The tree will be faceless through the winter. What will it be thinking?

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