the calling

So, I’m sitting here falling asleep in front of my computer, with the screen beckoning me to “Add New Post”, while the little electrical neuron fellas scour my brain for the right subject and words.

I can’t stand thinking of going through a Monday without having shared some of the beauty.  There is a bunch of it around here.

French toast and cereal, running and biking, work and play, guitars and banjos, new songs and old, loud worship, and quiet picking; warm sunshine, strong breezes, cool rain, rattling thunder, gifts and special cakes, and turkey salad sandwiches, baseball and books:  that’s the recipe for a good Sunday.

The rain cleared this afternoon for a small window of time, and it was during those moments that Madeline raised her recurring request:  “Dad, can we all walk down to the park today?”

We did.  

We followed a rushing river through the wild forests and over the mountain passes to its place of origin, and we had a “Wild Rumpus” along the way, as we marched like the Wild Things.

We played Toilet Tag, which is just like Freeze Tag, except you’re supposed to stand like you’re a toilet when you get tagged and wait for someone who hasn’t been tagged to come and “flush” you so you can be free to move again. (Wouldn’t it be nice if it were that easy to “flush” each other.)

Then we played “Red Rover”.  It’s kind of fun that we have a family big enough, along with our friend, Paul, to make a game of Red Rover interesting.

You all remember this game right?  “Red Rover, Red Rover, send Henry right over!”  If you remember, it needs no explanation.  If you don’t remember, you had a pathetic childhood, and have likely had a disenchanted adulthood, as well.

Somewhere in there, among the calling back and forth and the laughter (especially as Ayda danced to her own beat and ran between the lines, grinning and shrieking, whenever she was struck by the urge), thoughts of a Buechner essay from my favorite-so-far of his books, The Hungering Dark, came to my mind:  The Calling of Voices.

In that essay, Buechner references the sixth chapter of Isaiah – the part where Isaiah sees the Lord on the throne, and the seraphim calling to each other:  “Holy, Holy, Holy . . . ”

I wonder if those angels know about Red Rover?  Who knows, maybe they invented it.

Buechner also references the fourth chapter of Matthew, where Jesus quotes the Old-Testament passage that says “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.”

Buechner relates how the word “vocation” really means “calling”, as they come from the word “vocare”, which, of course, is related to the word “voice.”

Wow.  I wonder whether I’m a bit hard of hearing when it comes to heavenly callings.  Those voices, or that voice – that life-giving, holy voice – requires attention that I struggle to pay.  Yet, if I can hear it, it never fails to edify and make alive.

If he does ever say, “send Dale right over” to whatever, I hope he says it loud . . . or maybe I should say, I hope he repeats it, if I don’t catch it, or haven’t caught it.

If you happen to hear from him on my behalf, please let him know I’ll be down at the park with my kids, pursuing what I’ve imagined has been his calling for me – Toilet Tag?

Buechner closes the essay with these words, that move me to listen carefully, and acknowledge that I have heard, at least, something:

. . . in the end every word that proceeds from the mouth of God is the same word, and the word is Christ himself.  And in the end that is the vocation, the calling of all of us, the calling to be Christs.  To be Christs in whatever way we are able to be.  To be Christs with whatever gladness we have and in whatever place, among whatever [people] we are called to.  That is the vocation, the destiny to which we were all of us called even before the foundations of the world.

6 thoughts on “the calling”

  1. Aah – such beauty and poetry in your words. It brought a lump to my throat this morning, reading how you relate to your children. If only my Dad had cared as much as you do. It would have changed the course of my life.

    1. I hear your point, and I know you know, but let me say it, daylily: Today, your Dad, the heavenly one, cares much more than I do, thankfully, and he has changed the course of your life. I know that because you are here sharing the joy of it with us. So, while you appropriately and deeply mourn that loss, you also cherish all the more greatly the gain. Our redeemer lives!

  2. “it is for freedom that Christ has set us free, stand firm then and do not be burdened again by a yolk of slavery”… thanks Dale for inviting us to freedom with you, to play in the rain and in the park… splashing through puddles and slipping through the grass… i’m going to miss you greatly for a couple/few years coming up, so you have to keep blogging. can’t tell you how important you are to me (and to Shauna as well, she is blessed by our interaction almost as much as i am!). i’m going to live for a living, my five year plan!

  3. with all the commotion going on over at your house, i wonder if anyone would even notice if i were to drop by and borrow one of your Buechner books…

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