Where we are.

When I come home from running errands on the most everyday-ish of days, and I find you in the front yard with one blue flag and one yellow flag attached to your waist, I’m buoyed by the way you love.

How you’re on both the yellow team and the blue team.

I sit in the car and watch without the sound on. Watch laughter crinkle coffee-colored eyes. Watch the innocent confidence of a loved child. Watch joy break out in shimmies and leaps. Watch your grin grow wider into dimples.

Seventeen years of fumbling toward tomorrow with its heartache, distance, presence, joy and laughter–here we are.

Me: feeling, pricked, moved, analytical, afraid, driven by understanding.

You: steady, faithful, realistic, confident, patient, driven by joy.

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Unmediated

Though my heart gives in to the pleading baseline of a day’s beat

Though it rings and rushes through each moment, crowding out and crushing in

I  know You in the warm sun spilling through windows and trilling across my dining room table.

Bright heat through glass warms my hands, each year stretched out in lines.

This downbeat that casts out day’s urgent pulse and push for more,

This downbeat just before life swells:

A promise that You are on Your way back.

A place full only of the chirrups and whoops of Your creation

And free of our burdensome mediated version of reality.

 

 

 

Paper gems.

On Monday afternoon

When the sky is dusky blue and almost only shadow–

I pluck bright leaves from branches stretched to earth.

Red smudged rich as lipstick.

Ochre falling like melted gold.

Inside, I press my papery gems between waxy sheets.

My glasses fill with steam from the iron.

And days later–when I gently share my crinkly treasures in a laughter-filled classroom–

Joy spills over in the smiling, deep brown eyes of a boy holding pressed leaves up to the light.

January Seventeenth.

On a breezy Wednesday last week I thought about the night before you:

The idea of you perched on giving way to the actuality of you, and my heart rang praise. We gave thanks for what we had been. We bent our minds around what we would be. You. Here. A hope.

I spotted you yesterday outside your classroom door. My feet kept time along the glossy hardwood floor, every step tapping a cadence of love.  I pulled you in close, your hair tucked under my nose, and whispered what I had clung to that night before you: I’m so glad you are mine.

Lamplight.

When twilight creeps along the fringes of day

And dusky air wraps comfort around my day-lived eyes

I thank God for the incandescent glory of lamplight–

That someone’s mind dreamed of heat and combustion

Which gives way to a glowing orb of soft and golden light.

If my soul had light to give, it would be lamplight;

Not the squinting blue of daylight

Or the room-flooding green from overhead,

But the radiant embrace of that beacon.

Striving’s done.

Pretense dropped.

Under lamplight, it’s just the tender skin of true hearts.

I’m sure God drapes His mercy down right here.

On an everyday Friday.

Two years later I’m lined up outside Chic-fil-A on a Friday night, the first taste of fall  whipping through my city and chasing away the smothering heat. To my right is a 15-year-old: ocean-eyed, unruly curls spilling out from underneath his hat, legs stretched longer than mine now.

I look up to see bold red and white stripes folding back and forth at the whim of the wind.

A reflection on a windy, autumn, pinky evening just above the drive-thru line.

I see that flag reflected, and I see, too, words dancing on air. I know I must find a way to harness them, to pull them down somewhere and solidify them.  This breath of a moment begs to be made a marker, permanently hemmed in by letters and screens and digital paper.

I want to remember how that fabric bent and swayed and moved. I want to remember how I looked around me and saw life buffeting me, trickling by, standing still–laughter and sadness taking my hand. I want to remember how I looked right next to me and saw endless possibility living within pools under heavy, blond eyelashes.

 

 

a sky full of clouds.

 

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In a clear, bright, deep blue sky. In spun-sugar clouds–puffed up and sprinkled about.

I see you, Lord.

I wish I could touch them.

I wish I could touch You.

I wish I could rub Your goodness between my fingers over and over again, wispy softness.

I wish I could time your unfailing love as it rolls across the sky after me, pacing closer and closer.

I wish I could feel your beauty creep over me, shady and cool cover from blazing days.

I’ll rest right here. That you spin those clouds into place day by day. That you push the dappled, streaky blue of the sky around like thick paint. That the love of Someone who makes pink-tinged and orange-tipped and purple-bottomed three dimensional air is worth looking for. Worth living from.

In a clear, bright, deep blue sky. In spun-sugar clouds–puffed up and sprinkled about.

I see you, Lord.

when i wander.

israelite

Sometimes I am an Israelite: travel weary and dust-smudged.

I stand at the edge of something promised: a land where God has drawn the boundaries. He’s taken the nubby charcoal pencil from my hand and He’s marked out all that He has for me. He’s laid it all out, promised that if I live the really kind of living there–tucked in close to Him–I’ll know freedom.

I’ll have rest. Everything about me will be defined by who He is, what He’s done for me, how precious He holds me–like a mother eagle bearing  her own baby between her wide, wide wings just until little wings are strong enough to be stirred up. I will be different, enough to tell. But I won’t have to be worked to the weary bone to be valued. I won’t have to serve a master that only takes, barks, consumes and leaves starving. I won’t be bound with heavy burdens. Instead I’ll walk alongside a King who invites, hitches His strength to my frailty, waits for me, fills me. I’ll have His love written on my heart and living will grow from who He is. I’ll do and be out of His I AM.

I’ll have rest.

Except.

Sometimes I am an Israelite and I see the path holds difficulty, the kind that dwarfs my person-sized abilities. I look with my small eyes. I look with world eyes. With my small, world seeing eyes the difficulty grows bigger than my God. And then I can’t. I can’t see His love. I can’t see His promise. I can’t see His rest. I can’t see He’s bigger. And with me. And He keeps me.

So I wander.

I forget. I forget that all I have to do to live rest is to rest. Rest my eyes on His ableness. Rest my heart in His favor on me. Rest my weakness against His power–lean in, on. Rest my fears within His hands.

Sometimes I am an Israelite and I tire of wandering. I come to the end of myself and my abilities and my small eyes. I start to see clearly. I believe rest.

So I step in.

a continual feast.

On a quiet morning drive to church, I peek up into the rearview mirror and find two almond-round eyes staring back at me. They are caramel. They are honey. They are the rich, deep color of a cup of undiluted tea. I smile at them because I know what is coming. Below those eyes full of wild and wonderful, a toothy grin spreads wider than the mirror can hold. It’s already tinged with the crookedness of life lived full.

On a warm spring evening, we drive up and down brick-cobbled streets trying to squeeze in for a night’s dinner out. Blocks away, we park and tumble out into the green air of Spring on the horizon. Later, we walk out into the most beautiful sunset over the staggered lines of old factories. We take the slow steps back up and through the spring breeze and fall into our car after a full and well-lived day. My girl slips her hand in mine.

On a barely blue night, my oldest and I stay up to read together. We read about life and change and feelings and being. After a joke and a goofy look, we lose ourselves in belly laughs. The kind with tears that wet dry, world-weary eyes with joy-balm. The kind that bubble up for minutes on end and disrupt any attempt to move on. He laughs like Woody the Woodpecker. I haven’t heard it full and abandoned in too long, it feels.

On a post-time change afternoon, the sunlight cuts through our kitchen in strands  so concentrated I want to try to scoop them up. It’s the kind of bright and shiny that heals winter-cold bones. I dice vegetables and watch fragrant steam rise up out of my favorite red dutch oven. Our house is full of joy set to beat driven music. I cut and stir in time, bouyed by the variety of God’s beauty in this world.

Every morning lately, I’ve landed in the same spot in my Bible–Proverbs 15:15. It’s true that when I look at my world through the lens of what I don’t have–of what is heavy for my carrying arms, of what is hard and asks much of me, of what might always be a no, of what is outlined with loss–my table seems scattered with crumbs and tinged with a lack of hope. Scarcity looms.

But.

When I look at my world through the lens of what has already been crafted into my life, there’s not enough room on my table for all of the goodness that drips off like grapes all heavy. It takes looking, yes, seeing clearly. It also takes picking moments up and rubbing them so that I become familiar. It takes letting every goodness-scent roll over me. It takes a quiet attention to the soft down beat and the whistling up beat of each moment.

Until.

Even when loss and pain and uncertainty walk woven into my life, I open my eyes and see a feast all piled up and spilling over and forever-full.

And I know Who has prepared it for me.

loving the creative.

I share my home with a creative mind.

Sometimes it looks like opening up the freezer and finding a glass that was half full of water–now frozen. The because? Maybe it’s wanting to see how fast the water will freeze or having some grand plan for a little block of ice or just wondering.

Sometimes it looks like plunging my hands into a sink of dishes to find paintbrushes at the bottom. I find out they’re covered in an oil-based paint AFTER I start rubbing them with soap and hot water. Everything is covered in a film of bright pink and bold blue.

Sometimes it looks like discovering the beginning of an eighth Harry Potter novel squirreled away in a bedroom. I smile because this particular fledgeling author hasn’t even finished the series yet.

I’ve tenderly held a heart that believed that Narnia really was through our wardrobe; that fairies come when you build them a house. I’ve battled the balance between realism and imagination and I still don’t know all of the answers.

Sometimes it looks like a mess and I’m frustrated.

Sometimes it feels like my heart can’t hold all of the joy.