Thursday, March 28, 2013

Come


May you come to the Cross today.  Bring your doubts, your questions, your insecurities and your weariness with you.  Bring your joys, your gifts, your gratitude and your truths also. 

Come to the Cross. 

Worry not about your new, white Easter dress.  Put down your chocolate eggs.  Talk less about a bunny, and more about a Man. Fix your eyes not on the presentation of a service at the church, but on the power of the sacrifice at the Cross.   Walk away from the holiday, as you crawl to the Holy.

Come to the Cross. 

At the Cross, hear the echo of your own voice chanting, “Crucify.”  Feel the mother’s horror tear through you as your heart pleads, “Anyone but my son.”  Sense the surprise and the sweet taste of new grace as you hang next to the King who turns to you and says, “Father, forgive, for she doesn’t know.”  Stand with the friends who watch and wail in wonder, “Who is this Man?” 

Come to the Cross. 

And when doubt slips through the backdoor of your lament and skepticism floods your heavy heart, when you feel more feeble than faithful and more distracted than devoted, come to the Cross.  Hold your doubts and your questions, but hold also your hope and expectation that maybe, just maybe, a miracle is brewing.   

Come to the Cross. 

Dare to lift your head.  Dare to meet His eyes.  Take courage and do not look away, when sorrow and Love flow from His wounds.  In His painful cries of labor, hear the gentle calling of your name.  Let your response not be a sense of guilt that will pass with the wind.  No, receive instead, the permanent stain of grace. Wear it like a wedding ring. 

For you know that you did nothing to earn this Passion.  You know that you do not deserve His life.  But would you know, also, that you were made for this Love? 

Grieve the death.  Mourn the loss. It is right to do so.  For only when we know this pain of Good Friday will we know, also, the joy of Easter Morning. 

And aren’t we all longing for the joy of Easter morning?

Come to the Cross.  

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Reaching


My one hand burrows into black soil, rolling clumps of dirt around like marbles. It spreads its fingers like wide veins tearing through solid ground.  It follows the highway of weaving and winding cracks in the clay, memorizing its lines.  This hand touches the earth and feels that it is good.

My other hand brushes the underbelly of space without time and place without boundary.  It grazes the flesh of Love and shakes from vibrations of echoed hallelujahs.  This hand is ever facing upward with fingers curled, ready to catch joy’s drips.  It touches eternity and feels that it is good. 

With one hand on earth and one hand in heaven, my arms spread wide like wings.  This hanging, suspended between homes, stretches the flesh and rips the heart.  But through the tearing, there is also a widening, a bridging of the gap, a coming together of the two worlds. Heaven and earth both call to me with a mother’s voice and a father’s pulse.  Both know my name, and I whisper, “Yes.”

I could walk away, tuck my arms, ignore the calling.   I could walk right through the gap that is life without the stretching and without the ripping.  Few would notice, apart from my Soul-Maker and me.  And I wonder if it would be easier if I placed both hands in the dirt, or raised both to heaven.  I wonder if it would require less effort if I were to choose only that which is seen, or if it would hurt less if I were to respond only to that which is unseen.  Perhaps it would be so. 

But I know a Man who stretched out his arms.  He placed his hand in the dirt and his hand in the cloud and walked with Perfect Love channeling through Him.  I know a Man who embodied that tension, that love for both world and heaven. It was that Love that led Him to open His arms.  It was that Love that sent Him to the cross.  It was that Love that bore Him the ultimate stretch marks.

And I wonder if maybe this stretching, this reaching to touch both homes is my call as well, to love both the world and eternity.  Perhaps it is only here, in the hard reaching to touch them both, that we find life that is full.  Not easy. Not effortless. But full.

So stretch me.  Spread my arms wide.  Rip through the seams of a life that is easy to knit me together in a life that is full.  Let me grab the earth and push it up while I cling to heaven to pull it down. And let me show the world my struggle to reach both places.  Let me show my own wounds born of the ripping and my own marks born of the stretching. May this be my cross to bear.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Drip, Drip, Drip


March beach trip



late night game of 7-Up - "heads down, thumbs up"



this song





Thursday, March 14, 2013

Space


This Lenten season I will focus my writing on what I have experienced in the relationships between suffering, faith and creativity. 

Suffering, Faith and Creativity
Part 4: Space 


I couldn’t hear it beneath the white noise of screens and activity.  I was deaf to its calling among the striving and the hustle of keeping up and keeping together.  I looked for God and was found by Him in other ways, other good and right ways.  But I ignored His voice that whispered to me whenever I stood still long enough to listen, “Create.” 

Busyness was the broom that swept my gifts under the rug of “not now.”  I walked right over them and around them, knowing that they were there, but being too busy or too scared to take a closer look. 

We need space to create.  Not just space around us, but also within us, the kind of space that hollows and empties while filling and stilling. Space that stretches out the walls of our flesh and the confines of our minds.  It is space for the expanding and increasing Spirit, and in it we hear the whispers of His holy voice.  We see the gifts that we have swept away and sense the stirrings that we have ignored.  There is certainly space to be found in joy, in contemplation, in solitude and in company.     

But grief also creates space.  God brings it in the most unwelcomed but most graceful way, through brokenness.  In this space, His whispers echo and pound within us.  The screens and the activities are silenced.  The hustle and the striving are stilled. And the strong, soft sound of His voice penetrates straight through the faded noise.  “Fear not,” He says to me.  “Create.” I can hear it now. 


image via pinterest


Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Does it matter?


This Lenten season I will focus my writing on what I have experienced in the relationships between suffering, faith and creativity. 

Suffering, Faith and Creativity

Part 3: Does it matter? 

I have a friend who creates with fabrics and colors.  An empty living room is her canvas of choice.  She comes alive in the process of designing a room of beauty.  Another friend uses spices and herbs, quality meats and farmer’s market vegetables to concoct rich and complex meals.  She is most deeply rooted, both in her skin and in her creativity, when wearing an apron, hovering over a chopping block.  My own husband, he experiences the process of creating most fervently in preparing for and engaging in competition.  Whether mapping out a logical argument for a legal case, or scanning a basketball court to develop an effective way to score, he feels that divine fire inside of him ignite when creating a plan to face an opponent.  I attempt to use words, to somehow string together the thoughts and questions and doubts that swirl around inside of me.  When God feels distant and on the sidelines, I step into the arena of writing and find Him waiting. 

We all know what it is to feel the spark of creativity rise within us.  We also know what it is to stand in the disappointment of its squelched flames or to stand in the glory of its raging fire.  There are reasons, plenty of them, why we shy away from chasing our creativity.  But for me, and I don’t think that I am alone, there is one question that tempts me again and again to minimize the power of art.  This question is, “Does it even matter?” 

Does it matter if a room is beautiful?  Does it matter if a meal is more than just satisfying?  Does it matter if the game or the case is won or lost?  Does it even matter if a sentence is well crafted?  Does it matter if music is made or waltzes are danced?  Does it matter at all if the garden grows or the business is developed? 

The act of art and the process of creating do not seem to hold a candle to the trauma of loss or to the journey of grief.  I can hold my art against my pain and see only that it does not compare.  And there are times when I want to slam my computer shut, or to throw my favorite poetry book across the room.  It all feels so very small when compared to the so very deep valley of sorrow.  But time and time again, I come crawling back, back to the writing, back to the reading, back to the holy ache of art.  And this leaves me wondering if maybe, just maybe, it is not quite so small. 

Maybe, in fact, art does hold a candle to grief.  Yes, I believe that is exactly it.  It simply holds a candle, to give light in the dark, and to bring forth and illuminate the beauty that rises from pain.  Perhaps there is no comparison between art and pain. But maybe they were never meant to be in competition, but always in communion, not opposing forces, but stabilizing necessities.

So I ask myself again, “Does it even matter?”

Oh yes, our art does matter.  In fact, it is precisely because of all the sadness and all of the loss that it matters even more.  It is not less important because of our devastation, but more necessary because of it.  For when we create, we are not momentarily fleeing from the pain that we know.  Instead, we are pressing right into it.  This is where beauty is born.  And beauty is air for the grieving soul.  In a world that groans of brokenness and screams of injustice, it matters that we hold our creative candles right up next to the pain. It matters that we write, design, compete, cook or build along side and right through the aches in our hearts and the aches in the world.  All of the deep pain inside and around us does not diminish the power of creativity.  No, in fact, it demands it.  So let us go forth to shine the candles that He has lit, because it matters indeed. 


  image via pinterest