Sunday, March 27, 2011

Sunday Walk

Air feels sloshy, a last toss of confetti at winter’s farewell party. Snow melts as it kisses earth, lingering only in the pervading drifts and clods and lumps of earlier storms, resilient against spring’s shy zephyrs.

Soon enough spring will gather up her skirts from the ground, her shawl from tree and bush, and her hair from roof and hill top; soon she will dance her cadenza.

Soon, but not today. Today, she rests quiet, loitering in nook and cranny and lee.

She can wait.

She can afford to wait.

Autumn generously lent to winter and summer days of both warmth and frigid cold. Winter loans days or weeks to his fellow seasons, all interweaving in this annual gala ball.

Sand and mud and muck splatter over cement and asphalt, the mess of cleaning paintbrush and palette, preparing for a new work of art. Crunch and grind, gravel and clay: the dismal, boring necessities of change.

Birds snuggle quiet in branch and bough, waiting the moment to sing and fly unencumbered. Now they practice in the quiet.

And I walk in the stillness of Sunday, waiting with the world for spring, musing, with creation, over this intricate dance. Clasping hands, releasing grip, walking together, then twirling around each other: all in time with Grace.

Sometimes I forget the Artist’s sheer goodness—not just in His creative genius, but in Himself.

How often do I satisfy my aching heart with the weak hope that something good will come of it, instead of resting happy, knowing that the One creating good IS good ?

These things aren’t so easy to hear in the bustle. We listen better in the quiet.

So thank You God, for Sundays, when we can be quiet, and think about You, and what You do, and Who You are.

You are good . . .

and do good.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Song of lemons

In the peace of Saturday afternoon, duties are hallowed with a mercy of quiet solitude. It feels like a month since I was home, in the little yellow kitchen in the little yellow house. And it feels longer since I enjoyed basic, simple domesticity.

Life churns out the days, the cycles of sleep, rising, exercise, eating, working, and coming home again. Sometimes the drum seems so loud that I cannot hear the song it undergirds.

But that’s not life’s fault. It cannot be blamed on circumstance or setting or situation. No, if I can’t hear the music it’s because I’m trying to make up my own song. I’m taking the rhythm and imagining the melody I’d like to hear. Trouble is, the song does not sustain me, because it’s not a life song. It’s a “someday” song, not a “now” melody.

Is it any wonder that life can seem tiresome, when it’s not really life that is tiring, but me that is tired?

And why would I be tired? It’s because I’m not listening for His song above the drumming. This stress is unnecessary, it comes from overworking for an unneeded continuity. God has already given everything I need for life and godliness.

Re-inventing the wheel proves futile at best, iniquity and idolatry at its worst.

Because what is re-inventing the wheel but insisting that I have a better idea? Why does something perfect need improving? Stress comes because I want to be needed, want to feel important, want to work myself into the hub, even if it means flitting and buzzing and bouncing all over creation to make myself useful.

I was not made chiefly to labour. I was made to worship God.

And Kristen Getty’s haunting voice streams through the pot’s vapour and knife’s thud, and mixer’s whir:

Still my soul be still

And do not fear

Though winds of change may rage tomorrow

God is at your side

No longer dread

The fires of unexpected sorrow

God You are my God

And I will trust in You and not be shaken

Lord of peace renew

A steadfast spirit within me

To rest in You alone

Here is His song:

He is God.

He is good.

I am His.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Gifts of Monday

Birds cry and sing and flutter, dancing, prancing, dodging the falling flakes of spring’s snow. The ache and sorrow of changing seasons, the birth of new life, these pangs caress building and vehicle and pedestrian with their hopeful shower of frozen tears. Wind hushes her song to listen for spring’s heartbeat. And it is a gift.

Breaths of warm exhale, the world roused tenderly from winter slumber, the stillness of new season’s morning: these awaken the heart to dream, to praise, to love the sun-Maker. And it is a gift.

His smile, drawing life from immobile muck, coaxing window ledge plants to stretch from drowsy cold, eases the heart, and causes it to rest and delight. And it is a gift.

In a war-torn, ransacked world, He makes the rain fall on the just and the unjust, and calls the sun to rise on the evil and the good. His smiling moon bids us goodnight. And I wonder why He ordained for its cheery face to look on our ravaged planet. Does the other side of the moon frown? We cannot see it.

Nauseous with birth pains, the earth heaves and wretches, and we know afresh our own wretchedness, and we realize anew His mercies. And it is a gift.

Awakened to our own dullness, shaken mildly or wildly from our stupor, we ache from our long slumber. Stretching hurts—the soul, the body, the mind, the spirit. He energizes, and we obey His rousing call, wishing to feel more, to live better, to hope deeper, to give significantly. And it is a gift.

We discover our brokenness, and encounter our Healer. And it is a gift.

It is all a gift, because He is good, and He is sovereign.

And we can only receive His gifts with thanks, or refuse His gifts and exist destitute.

Give us grateful hearts, O God, to see and receive and thank You for your gifts.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Memory Lane II

At first, awkward silence and wide-eyed shyness keep them quiet and hidden from each other’s view. Barely moving, staying in a clump around their mothers, unsure of how to bridge this chasm. But it is spanned in one word: “Let’s”.

Let’s go to the park! And the flurry of friendship begins. We don coat and decide we don’t need toques or gloves. Once everyone gathers in the front yard, the thrill takes full hold, and they shoot off across the street, into the mushy field, running towards the high ground, the playground.

We linger a little longer, he and I. At two-and-a-half, his shorter legs require a bit more time to breach the distance. But soon we all arrive. Hearts have melted their shyness and cold reserve, and joy oozes warm and delicious.

Soon, we’ve made boundaries, because the grass is sloshy, and the legs are different lengths. Fun intensifies when contained in boundaries. We dodge and zoom and jump and flail playing Frozen Tag till our faces flush cherry and we want to shed layers, despite the cold.

Then Minion Tag, then Cops and Robbers, the giggles and heaving breaths and exclamations of delight pepper the atmosphere. Anyone else in the park cannot help but know that we are happy.

The younger ones travel to the swings: two becomes three, becomes four, all wanting under-ducks. Kicking legs, giggles of delight, and whoops of ecstasy fill the remaining airspace, harmonizing with the merry engine noises still humming around the playground.

An hour passes so quickly; we finally need water, and so make our way back home. We take the path this time, to avoid the sloggy mush of the low grass. We sing “The Ants Go Marching One by One.” Four children find a dead log, heft it on shoulder, and haul it happily back to the yard.

We tumble into the house, lapping cups of water, then deciding between chocolate chip cookies, lemon meringue, or chocolate pie. Plates slide out of cupboard into eager hands, forks grabbed from drawer are set beside thin pie slices.

Mothers still visit deep and soulish, so the children grab coats and shoes and escape again into the wonder of outside. I stay in this time, to nibble remaining pie and cookies, and gather dishes.

And so passes days of childhood and childrearing: wafting in with steady breezes of play and activity, pausing regularly for water, food, and sleep—just enough to keep playing.

And shouldn’t it be that way for our hearts: knowing the value of necessities, but not overwhelmed by their collective weight?

Aware of trouble, seeking to help, but in the end, trusting the grown up, who knows best, and will keep us safe?

Eager to live, because we know life is inherently wonderful, even when it is painful beyond words?

God, give us hearts of children, to trust You, for all we do not know, for all we cannot answer, for all we fear, for daily bread and secure love, in Your arms.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Memory Lane I: Piano Lessons

The first lessons commences: the fairy child, the elf girl, her slender frame draped with tiered skirt and soft sweater. Her gentle form sways quietly with the music. She feels the beauty. Her eyes dance silent and deep with glory. Technicalities and university jargon seep in through her heavy lashes; she absorbs what she cannot understand to create music deeper than her experience.

Glancing back at us who watch, she smiles; her soul transparently seen in her face. She searches, wanders, and loses herself in the music.

The second lesson: the girl-woman, prim and dreamy, chipper and capable. Debussy and Katchaturian murmur from her fingers, complex and precise. Challenged to perfection, she drills and clasps the difficult two-against-three passage. Teacher works to build bridges of concepts, and she dances her way over them.

Innocence and intelligence, she too looks back at us who observe, and smiles beauty and pleasure.

Third lesson: the youngest girl, the one with music coursing through her veins. She sits, barely, and pounces gracefully on her beloved keyboard: it’s all instinct and grandeur now! Intuition guides her seamlessly, while instruction directs her to thoughtful progress. He pulls her higher, and she rises on the tide. She, this child of the sea, learns to navigate the water.

She can’t help herself: the delight is so ticklish, that she giggles often. Rough places quiet under directed drilling. And favourite passages gleam under vigorous polish. She sees through the notes, and hears the music, feeling her way along the keyboard passage, till her soul-flood can be released.

These three, they all see and hear and express so differently. But they are captured by the same beauty, and it defines their labour.

And I, the one who looks on, remember the years of practice, the expectation of desire accomplished, the peering ahead, looking for beauty, searching for consummation. And in the meantime, beauty captures me.

Isn’t this the way of grace?

Before I can define its glory, I am captured by it. And it circles back again and again like a sweet chorus: you found me because I am here to find. You found me because I showed you the way.

So we echo the song back. And it is glory.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Returning to normal

The lights blink merry, the tune sings lyric soprano as I press the “on” button to the washer and dryer. Delicate wash, normal dry. How easy to push the buttons.

I’ve been there and back again, to the city that held me five years, the streets I once walked, houses I once visited, buildings in which I once consternated over sheets of editing. Wafts of goodness float across my path with gossamer beauty. So excited to go back to the church family that once embraced me and loved me out of loneliness and looming depression, I wake all through the night, wondering if it is time to go to His house yet. Glimpses of the ones who loved me well, whom I grew to love, create beautiful turbulence in my heart.

He breathes sweet air of memory, of grace once enjoyed, now realized for its beauty, into my heart; and at the blast of His nostrils, the waters inside gather together, the floods stand upright like a heap, the depths congeal in the heart of the sea. Soul swells, liquid rising to graciously dangerous heights. It spills all over me. Rivers long forgotten, avoided in the busyness of stress and activity and deadline and rushing now flow. Heaving and tears launder my soul, my face, my life.

I’m washed with waters from other streams too: gracious words, long hugs, a child’s kiss and begging for one more story. Rainy days, nights without curfew and mornings without alarm clock, talking and confessing and rejoicing long into the evening, deep and beautiful through the days.

His washing is delicate.

And the heat and tumble and clicking of parts against the steel drum is normal. I’m not promised ease and comfort here. Even in the joy of reunion is the shadow of separation, the knowing that I can’t keep up with everyone. The chasm of space and time widens despite facebook and cyberspace and free g-phone. I can’t grasp and mould it anymore than I can collect and compartmentalize the sea in my hand. Liquid life keeps flowing through my fingers—it’s supposed to.

God wouldn’t have given us so much of life that is normal unless He knew the power of normal, lived by His own power.

Dry is normal, but He redefines it by the power of His life.

So I will remember, I will recall His mercies. I will look to Him to make sense of all the sorting yet to be done, all that was finished and began and renewed by this journey, all the journeys ahead.

The dryer will sing “I’m done” soon.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Spring's soul thaw

We scuttle and shuffle and clamour down Grandma’s Lane, heading to the trails and woods and all that lays beyond. Boys on rip sticks and bike, girls pattering on foot and piggy back; we weave around each other and the cars driving past.

A boarded bridge spans the first journey leg; broken river lies in slabs under the car bridge. Water runs free and cold beneath our path. We must play Pooh-Sticks here on our return.

We set off collecting twig and branch, further down the meandering path. Woods are still, all washed and brown and ready for the endearing smile of spring’s warmth to coax bud out of hibernation. And we, the persuaded, delight in the light of a boggy March day.

Something stirs in the walking soul: it is wonder. We marvel at weed height and barn preservation and frozen ponds nestled in bulrush. We exclaim over clever stick choices. We laugh at memories made years ago. We listen to stories from movie line and real-life-lived. We tramp through stubborn drift of lingering snow. We try forming snowballs, but most dissolve in flight, too wet for bare hands and zig-zagging chase. I’m hit several times anyway, after scurrying in futile escape.

We turn around and come back to the bridge, hands and arms full of stick and bough and crooked twig. We climb the rails to peer over the side. On the count of three we drop our chosen vessels, gravity cascading them into the frigid flow. We dart to the opposite side to see whose stick comes out first. We whoop and holler and giggle and hurry to pick a new stick and try again. Up, drop, dash; up, look, cheer: over and over, till our supplies at last deplete.

Warmed and merry, the dreary colours can’t dampen our delight; they only prove to increase our anticipation of goodnesses to come.

And so we marvel and make merry in reunion; wondering at all God has done for us, remembering His mercy, recalling what we were like, and blessing Him for loving us anyways. The messy pieces of our lives, strewn across confused horizons, cluttered and dull in winter gardens, He will make to bud and flower. And in this quiet of waiting and resting and living normal life, a spring warmth grips our soul tighter and tighter, and embrace consuming, fulfilling, liberating.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...