Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Let the Light In

I stand in the symphony of beach while wind whips loose hair and wild waves pound settled sand.  One son pushes his plastic dump truck, making new tracks in the sand, and the other runs down the beach, bent on reaching the fishing pier in the far distance.  My husband’s pants are rolled above his ankles and he grazes the surf, jabbing left, barely missing its bubbly waters.

And I smell it, the scent of a garden, the aroma of Eden.  I feel it, the shaking of earth, the trembling of ground as heaven storms down.  Here, I am tucked into the thin place, the sacred intersection of heaven and earth.  Here, I am standing where the door Home is cracked and light pours in, as joy slips through the sliver of its opening.   In the light of heaven and in the joy of Home, the tides of eternity sweep fear and wound into its timeless waters where they float forever away. 

I have often described deep grief as an intense feeling of homesickness and a desperate sense of being lost.  It is wandering through the world, tiptoeing through the shards of the foundation on which you used to firmly stand.  It is searching for a place of comfort, a space for reprieve as you hunt for a way to reverse the irreversible, while dodging the broken glass of the life you once knew.  Walking through grief feels a lot like one long, wandering and blind search for home. 

The rest can be found at SheLoves Magazine.  Continue reading by clicking here:  http://shelovesmagazine.com/2013/the-crack-that-lets-the-light-in/

Thursday, April 18, 2013


One Saturday morning in October, I put my feet to the wooden floor like a hundred mornings before it, and the feet of my baby boy were already running on streets of gold. As the blackout shades began dropping down on my eyes, little scales were falling off of his deep blues.  One night I went to bed with the whole world moving in its place, spinning on an axel that I knew as good.  Then one morning, that world flew off into wild orbit, no longer grounded.  And I was left alone in the space of the world unhinged, standing in the silent, still spot of the storm that never even brewed. 

How do I walk again on wooden floors, in grassy fields, on concrete sidewalks when I know all too well that the axel on which the world tilts, shakes with danger and unknowing? Could I possibly dig my heels into sands that might shift before I am ever settled?  Is there a place for peace when I know how quickly the wind snaps and the bottom drops?   

I know that there is no safety.  And everything could snap off its axel at any-blessed-given-second.  But I also know that if I were to have just one more hour to walk with my boy again on wooden floors, grassy fields or concrete sidewalks, that I would not waste one second of it pondering looming pain.  No, I would dig in deeply to each passing minute. 

So these days, the question for me is not, “how can I possibly dig in?” but instead, “how can I possibly not?”  For it’s the very fragility that makes life precious and each moment sacred. The beauty of the reward is found in the danger of the risk.  And only when standing on the edge, hands gripping the pole of my white flag as it turns to gold, whipping in the wild wind, do I find holy ground. It is not safe or controlled and is certainly not mapped out.  But it is good, holy ground. 

For what I know now is that there is no preparing the heart for the worst case.  I know that I could never dull the pain of a sudden blow by wincing before it is thrown.  That hunkering down for the rain to come only means hiding out from the life to live.  And if I build walls of protection from grief, then I might as well set up camp in the cage that separates me from joy.  For pulling at threads of control, searching for safety would one day undoubtedly leave me lost in a pile of its tangled unraveling.

So I will dig my heels into wooden floors, grassy fields and concrete sidewalks.  And I will stand in the light as it pours through the cracks of breaking ground.   

Thursday, April 11, 2013


Few are the days
that are feast or famine,
shine or shadow,
black dark or white light

Few are the days
draped in mourning
or soaked in rejoicing
from sun rise to set

Plenty are the days
filled with mud and manna,
mess and glory

Plenty are the days
cemented in pain
and cracked open by joy

By the lacing of love
into the beautiful ordinary
with arms thrown up
and hands fallen open

Overwhelmed by doubt,
overcome with confirmation,
splashed in wonder

As a million little moments
hard and holy,
mundane and miraculous,
bleed into time

To the faint humming
from Another World
where forever are the days

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Art and Rising

This is the last of the Lenten series (extended) focused on what I have experienced in the relationships between suffering, faith and creativity. 

Suffering, Faith and Creativity
Part 5: Art and Rising
There was a time when I saw creativity only in color, in paints and brushes, in crafts and projects.  The creative spirit spoke to me loudly through the bright hues of art.  It was movement and fullness, always swirling and ever alive. 

But these days I see art growing just as furiously in the darkness of shadows.  I see it forming in the thin spaces where hurt and healing blur together and hope and wonder intersect.  I am beginning to see the ways that we all wear black, the hidden grief that we all carry, and the exposed mourning that we all experience. For death reaches us all, in the letdown of unmet dreams, in the disappointment of hope deferred, and in the drudgery of unfulfilled days.  We have all been dropped from Eden.  And none of us escapes its shatter. 

And yet, mysteriously, when we create from behind our long, black veils, we experience a rising. Though standing in the dark of the tomb, when we pick up our hands to make art, we pick up our hearts to find light.  We memorize the verse of a sonnet, zoom the lens of the camera, stroke the paints onto the canvas, or arrange the squash in the garden with burial spices in hand, ceremonial perfumes in tow.  But again and again, we find strips of linen on the ground—signs that there is life, arrows pointing to the living.

We see the rolled away stone, the one only He could move, and follow Him into life with paint dripping from our brushes and verbs and nouns popping in our poetry.  By crawling out of the grave, with our wounds radiating and our hands creating, we experience our lives rising.  This is how art is made: by taking a closer look around the tomb, by coming out into the light and by opening our scars to the world.  For as we participate in our craft, as we dig deeper into our art, we find that while perhaps we are practicing creativity, we are also practicing Resurrection.  

Part 1: Out of Ashes
Part 2: Art and Fear
Part 4: Space