Tuesday, September 20, 2011

To Number our Days

Today, I have lived on earth for ten thousand days. And I look back, and wonder, and ponder.

Of those ten thousand days, there has been food for every meal I chose to eat. I’ve owned, or been given enough clothes to stay warm in the long winters, and cool in the unpredictable summers. Placed in a family of mathematicians, artists, athletes, musicians, and problem solvers, I’ve always felt like an oddball. But I’ve been accepted, supported, and unconditionally loved.

Six church families have taught me what it means to belong to God, and what it looks like when God constructs thought, action, and affection. Girls once playing house now swaddle their own babies. Boys climbing trees now build houses for their families and neighbours. And I watch, and cheer, and join in the adventures; and grapple with the changing relationships. So many people, so many stories, so many inextricably complex souls brushing my own.

How little of what I planned and dreamed actually happened! How beyond my expectations has been my experience! I grieve the unrealized imaginings, even while acknowledging their weakness, and my ignorance in wishing them. And I baffle at the unaccountable adventures, the methods and means that changed my hopes, and gave me what I really wanted . . . and could not have asked for.

I’m dumbfounded by my foolishness, all the things I’ve squandered, all the opportunities I’ve wasted, all the emotions I’ve pilfered on fickle dreams. I’m amazed at the grace I’ve been given, a power to love what I did not desire, to venture where I had no interest going, to follow away when I wanted to stay and build my castles in the sand. I boggle at the sheer mercy—a hand laid gentle on me, encompassing, shielding, stopping, redirecting.

The further I follow, the less I know what to wish for. The more I’m able to do, the less I know what to do. But what I do does not matter as much as what I love. And maybe all this wandering is designed for me, so I can love what is Best.

l remember the days. I ask God to teach me to number them, so I can gain a heart of wisdom. And at the end of the day, I remember, and want to be reminded always, that I belong to God, and God has given Himself to me.

Today, my hero said: The joy is having the Beloved, not loving what we have. (www.aholyexperience.com )She is right.

So I pray, as Moses did, “Oh, satisfy us early with Your mercy, that we may rejoice and be glad all our days . . . and let the beauty of the LORD our God be upon us, and establish the work of our hands for us.” Psalm 90:14,17

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Promise in Dust

The living air exhales caramel breaths—warm, golden, delicious. Every breeze wafts a new hue across the senses.

Sky blinks cloudless, batting blue eyes. As though straining with the labourers, she flushes deeper pigment—and puddle and slough reflect her cobalt complexion.

Grass exchanges velvet green coats for linen browns, transforming assumed undergrowth into a menagerie of bristle, straw, mulch clump, and dulling emeralds.

And in the evening light, even dust glimmers beauty. Suspended like organza sashes of some grand dancer, it floats and lingers, slivers of milky mist, whiffs of toffee.

Sweeping, inviting, lingering—dust envelopes the pilgrim, calling deeper, pointing beyond; hinting, always hinting, making one look and ponder.

The fields waiting consummation, grain laying dead in bundled rows—silent, still, finished. Soon it will be in bin and truck and terminal, this living death of waiting, till at last it can die again in soil, and truly live. Machines churning in procession, orderly, stoic, pitiless, dutiful; their drivers squinting in receding sun. Saved all year, for these ten days of labour, red and green and yellow they plod; cutting, collecting, shelling, saving the promises in hopper and auger.

Soon, it will pass. Soon, machines will rest in Quonset, seeds will wait in bins, farmers will break for winter blizzards. Next year, we will do it all over again. We will hope, and pray, and wish each other well as we work the land, and the soil works into us.

Colours deepen, then fade. A giant Canada goose points south, stationary, glimmering, then withering into wisp of cloud.

We sigh with the land. We fade with the land. We groan with the land. And we bear fruit, in season, like the land, our lives reflecting and refracting colour from the Light of Life.

And we, with the land, remember, and live promise.

“While the earth remains,
seedtime and harvest,
cold and heat,
winter and summer,
and day and night,
shall not cease.” Genesis 8:22
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