Friday, August 31, 2012

Blessed


There was a time when I lived folded deep between blessings. They met me at the end of every road and found me when I wasn’t even looking for them.  These blessings insulated my doubts and fears with the soft reassurance of answered prayers.  The bricks of life’s path seemed to effortlessly fall into place and the way was illuminated with bright light. My prayers came quickly and easily and my “amens” were muttered with the distinct accent of expectation. It was easy to know that God was good when I measured His goodness by His gifts, while I was blissfully lost in counting blessings.  I was safely wedged among goodness on the painless pursuit to Him, and I knew that I was blessed. 

But sometimes so much light can blind, and gazing towards gifts can lead to losing sight of the Giver.  My whispered prayers no longer flow with such ease.  Now my prayers arise from deeper, hidden, secret corners within, and I pull them out, hand over hand, with the saving rope of the Spirit. The bricks on my path are now scattered shards of clay, and the only light that I see is the dim one just before me that leads me to take the next step.  Yet as I lift up my knee to stretch my leg farther, to find my next footing, I cannot shake the presence of the One who keeps me walking.  I look around and see new blessings, new gifts, birthed with less ease, but received with greater joy.   

I can no longer measure His goodness by the gifts that He gives to me, but by the Love that He gave for me.  When I find myself grasping for the comforts of my old place, wedged among mounds of gifts and looking for small assurances that I am blessed, I find my sure footing at the sound of His voice calling my name.  Surely all good gifts flow from the good hand of God, but because He names me Beloved, though I walk along a dimly lit path, I find that all I have left to give is thanks.  I know that as good gifts come and go to the rhythm of a broken world, He calls me again and again.  For to be called Beloved, whether wedged between gifts, or searching for any sign of assurance, is to be called Blessed indeed.  

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Drip, Drip, Drip


This photograph was taken one year ago, on August 24th, at Jeff’s surprise 30th birthday party.  It is my favorite picture of Webb with his daddy. 

I know I cannot understand the depth or the beauty of heaven.  In fact, it is that great mystery that pulls me to it.  But I am pretty sure that this picture is about the closest glimpse of entering eternity that I will see on earth.  Here I see a man, with his precious son in his arms, who is full of surprise and joy at Love greater than he ever expected.  



Wednesday, August 22, 2012

The Bottom of the Ocean


“Should I run it as credit or debit?” says the lady at the register.
“Credit is fine,” I say. 

Below me is the bottom of the ocean.  I swim to this place several times a day to escape and restore.  I sit here on the floor of the sea with my sons, all three of them.  My husband sits beside me and these three boys crawl over and around us, pushing back sand with their bare feet, climbing up our backs to wrap their arms around our necks.  They are weightless and ageless, bound only by the cloudy walls of perfect peace.  The hum of the water flows over, under and through us, drowning out the white noise of the world, a world we hardly remember here beneath the glass surface.  The current rocks and rolls us, and our hair rises gracefully to form crowns above our heads, floating coral for rubies and passing shells for emeralds.  We are buoyed by satisfied longing and grounded by faith become sight.  Together we dance in space, no longer strapped to time’s boundaries, free from linear life.  Water insulates us with the steady pressing of hearts ablaze and silenced groans. Submission to the tides comes naturally like breath and we breathe together, in, out, up, down, through and around. Our breath sends ripples throughout the sea, our love echoing throughout its silvery halls.  I catch the ripples and the echoes and drop them deep into my pocket, so that I might always carry with me the bottom of the ocean.   

“I just need your signature,” she says to me.
“Oh, yes.  I’m sorry,” I say, suddenly awakened by the fluorescent lights of the Super Target.  I take the blue pen to sign my name, and I feel my toes become wet.  For water falls steady like rain from my pockets.  

Friday, August 17, 2012

Luci Shaw Poem

The Sighting
John 9

Out of the shame of spittle,
the scratch of dirt,
he made an anointing.

Oh, it was an agony-the gravel
in the eye, the rude slime, the brittle
clay caked on the lid.

But with the hurt
light came leaping; in the shock and shine,
abstracts took flesh and flew;

winged words like view and space,
shape and shade and green and sky,
bird and horizon and sun,

turned real in a man's eye.
Thus was truth given a face
and dark dispelled and healing done.

Luci Shaw

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Why Me?


The question hovers low, over and around my thoughts, dusting gratitude and contentment with the subtle grey hue of bitterness.  One minute, this question gently shakes the peace that has found me with a slow and steady rock, and the very next, it plows through with reckless abandon.  I stand alone and these two words join me on either side, taunting and torturing, persistent in the pursuit to squelch my quest for healing.  Or I stand among many, looking around at everyone else whose toes appear to have merely dipped in pain’s wading waters, while I wonder if I will sink or swim, fully immersed in suffering’s great sea.  Alone or among, the question follows me like a dark shadow and precedes me like a trail that I know leads nowhere. I rack my brain to think of what I did that was so wrong or whom I could have hurt so deeply that I would deserve such pain.  For I am desperate to find an answer to my own futile question.  “Why me?”

While “Why me?” hovers low, another thought weaves hope through the grey.  What if it is true; that God so loved this world that He stepped away from wholeness and into brokenness, to save me from sinking in suffering’s sea?  I wallow in wondering why others dance in light as I drown in dark, and what if this God Man chose dark over light because He first chose me? Could it be that He stretched out divine and human arms to be pierced by the nails that I hammer with bitterness, just so that I might taste the love in His blood tears?  What if, even as I whitewash my faith with a question that I was never meant to answer, He stains it red with my name on His holy lips? If all of this is true, then I can rack my brain to think of one good thing that I have done to deserve such Love.  But when I see this Man, this Mystery, choosing me and my pain above the perfect peace of heaven, I can only fall to my knees, bathed in humility, cleansed from bitterness.  It is here on the ground, with my eyes on this Man, that I ask the question to which Grace is the only answer, “Oh Lord, why me?”

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Drip, Drip, Drip

I found my heart swelling with both sweetness and sorrow at Riverton (see this post) this week, as we gathered at the river with precious friends and children.  











Friday, August 3, 2012

Posture of Prayer


The sound of a single strum fills the sanctuary, and she covers these walls with the soft roof of an old hymn.  The words to “What a Friend We Have in Jesus” flow from her lips with ease, but they must pry and jimmy their way into my heart.  She reaches “Oh what needless pain to bear,” and I am stirring and shifting, uncomfortable with my own familiar tears that knock at the door of my closed eyelids. 

Her voice is both raw and gentle, the perfect touch to the open wound of a still-bleeding heart.  But these words peel back skin and draw my eyes to see the depth of the cut, and I cannot look away. 

My head finds rest in its home, wedged safely between two gripping hands. The church floor supports my fallen knees that hold my collapsed elbows that house my dropped head. This wound is gaping and heart blood quickly takes on the form of wet tears.

The song is long over but I am completely still, head bowed with knees to the floor.  My body is frozen in this new fetal position, the safest posture for minimizing further affliction, the most comfortable stance for preparing to know life and light. 

Silence wraps its arms around me as the people of the church bow to pray.  The floor supports their fallen knees that hold their collapsed elbows that house their dropped heads.  Together we assume our most primal way of being, this fetal position, this posture of prayer.  Through prayer, all of these broken hearts, begging for a gentle touch to stop the bleeding, prepare to know Life and to rise to face the Light.