Monday, October 27, 2008

how to care for a husband

how to care for a husband
Originally uploaded by rod lewis
Sometimes Allison gets aggravated with me because I keep bits and widgets that she (nor I) can see any reason for having. The difference is that I can imagine that there may someday be a reason for having such bits and widgets, and woe upon us all when that day arrives were we to have no bits and widgets.
Once when I had to replace the dishwasher, I stripped the old one of all its possibly re-usable bits and stored them statically in the garage in preparation for that inevitable day. I can’t even begin to tell you how handy those dishwasher parts have been. The washing machine motor and clutch, however, are still waiting patiently for their day in the limelight.
Sometimes the future use of an item is immediately foreseeable. One doesn’t have to be a rocket scientist to realize you can never have enough lengths of wire around the garage. The more colors and gauges the better.
Sometimes though, there needn’t ever be a use to justify keeping an item on hand. Although one should always have several rotors and brake drums stashed in case he ever wants to perform an orchestral work by George Crum, he needn’t ever to actually perform a work by Crum to feel satisfied in having always had drums and rotors at the ready. Another worthy exhibit is the old oil pump gears and filter bracket from my old Mitsubishi Mighty Max. And I should not forget to praise the head bolts from my now-deceased Explorer. How can anyone who has ever cherished a pair of cracking baby shoes question the cherishing of head bolts by one who has babied, bathed, and built the engine of a trusty truck? Those things just feel good in one’s hands, and their weight and balance bring joyful smiles to all who handle them, much in the way a fragrant candle, or bouquet of flowers can brighten the hearts of folks who visit the kitchen.
And speaking of kitchens; we no longer live in a society in which a man goes out and works while the woman waits patiently for him to return to his supper. These days, a man is just as apt to wander through the kitchen as a woman is likely to cook him some supper. Could be that he feels uncomfortable walking through the kitchen when all he finds are fragrant candles and floral bouquets. A quick cure for this discomfort is the randomly placed ratchet or allen wrench upon countertops and dinner table. Nothing says to a man that he is valued in the home like seeing a bit of his own tempered steel fragrant with 80 SAE.


Tuesday, October 21, 2008


Originally uploaded by rod lewis
I wonder if we’ve come to a place in which we marvel at the easily explained and knowable, while we pretend to know the inexpressible and mysterious.
We seem to define God, make him finite, and then invent things to pretend we don’t understand.


Sunday, October 19, 2008


Originally uploaded by rod lewis
Have you ever been sitting in a meeting, or someplace with other people where you’re all supposed to be listening to what’s being said to all of you, and suddenly the person next to you gets a look of sudden thought and leans in toward your ear to share the thought? You had probably forgotten the person was even there, beside you, expected to listen to the same blather as you.
But suddenly, his look, combined with the urgency of the lean toward your ear piques your interest in what he has to say. Most likely, your boredom with what’s being said up front, has also raised your desire to hear the sudden insight. So you meet the lean with a tilt of your head.
You feel breath on your ear and hear the sound of breath behind teeth, but can’t quite make out what is being whispered.

You turn your ear.

You hear a hollow vowel shaped by tongue and palate, but can’t make out the consonants that define the envelope.

You temporarily cease breathing,

You make out an attack consonant and a vowel, but the end of the word trails off like a path that suddenly disappears in undergrowth and erosion.

I know this experience well. At times, the whisper comes from the person beside me. At times, it comes from the breeze rustling the trees, and sometimes from my own head or heart.

I feel the urgency, the need to break the blather,
to pierce the din of nonsense and the silence of meaning.

But try as I may, I can’t quite make out the diction.

I heard this imperceptible voice this past weekend below the rim of the canyon. I heard it over the crackle of the campfire, between the howls of the coyotes beneath the moon. I heard it on the wind across the Painted Desert blowing through the cracks in the adobe of the Wupatki ruins.
Three days later, I heard it in the constant rain outside my bedroom window last night as I drifted off to sleep. I’ve ignored the blather to which I was expected to listen, and am diligently trying to hear the whisper.

There’s a quiet in my heart that hears the whisper, but there’s still din enough in my mind that obscures the message.

Shhhh. Rod, be still…


Friday, October 17, 2008


Originally uploaded by rod lewis
Solitude is a very important condition for me. I get so very little of it. Truly, I believe we live in a society that is increasingly terrified of solitude, and those of us who are fueled by it, find it increasingly difficult to come by. Those who are terrified, need us to protect them from it. Imagine protecting someone else from the thing you need the most
I certainly didn’t expect to get any solitude on my trip with Molly – that was obviously not the point of the trip – but the 6 mile hike, the 14 degree nighttime temp, and jetlag had taken their toll on Molly by campfire time on Sunday evening. As a result, I found myself tucking her into her cozy sleeping bag beneath the full moon, pulling the drawstring up around her face, and sitting by the fire alone from quite early in the evening.
Given an unexpected gift of time to parse the trip and the day’s events, I sat quietly in an attempt to think the thoughts that I’d put on hold – even for weeks. I
said a prayer of thankfulness for time to think, and set about thinking. After about an hour of quiet interrupted only by coyotes howling at the rising full moon, I realized that I had thought not a single thought for quite some time. I searched my short-term memory and found the most recent thought – I hope Molly’s not cold. I whispered through the tent door to ask her, and upon getting no response, returned to the fire and promptly resumed thinking no thoughts.
When eventually thoughts returned, I thought it odd that I spend so much time wishing I could simply empty my head long enough to put things in order. I think it would be like cleaning the garage – take everything out onto the driveway, and then put it back neatly and orderly, discarding everything that is no longer needed. That is a fantasy of mine (both mentally, and the garage!), but I was so taken aback by the experience when it actually happened. Grateful, mind you, but surprised.


Wednesday, October 01, 2008


Originally uploaded by rod lewis
God of paint and canvas,
Have mercy on us.
God of light and composition,
Hear our prayer

God of pen and paper,
of Phrase and
line-break, Have mercy on us

God of Sound and Silence,

Hear our prayer.

God of Melody and Rhythm,
God of strophe and refrain
God of diction and dialect
Have mercy on us

God of the mops and washing machines
of the weed-eater and lawnmower
Hear our prayer

God of breakfast, lunch and dinner
God of hockey, ballet, band and ball
Have mercy on us
God of accountants and weekend warriors
God of admin assistants and closet poets
Hear our prayer

We’ve abandoned you in our abandoned ambitions.
We are masters of the mundane,
bereft of expression.
Our focus is short of the sunsets you paint.
Our sleepy eyes miss the eruption of
multi-chromatic mercies.
The hum of HVAC drowns the rustle of leaves.

We’ve replaced your art
with our mediocrity,
We’ve replaced our art
with daily drudgery.
Even the daily glory of the grind,
The beauty in the banal, is
Lost on us in our rush.
Show us your creativity in our craft,

Let us feel your pleasure in
A colored canvas and unmade bed.
Smile on our song,
and dirty dinner dishes.
Show us the beauty of a floor
Swept as unto the Lord.

Grant us the solace of solitude,
Grant us the comfort of community.
Teach us the art of hospitality,
And how to be received.

God of form and function,
God of shape and line,

Hear our prayer.