Tag Archives: promise

Two Illustrations from Nature…

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It is the weekend my Dad died nine years ago. It is the week a dear friend died one year ago. A coworker just had a miscarriage. A close friend is going through a divorce.

Illustration number one: This week I was at a work retreat up the coast. There was pine, dry grass, and dirt that acts like chalk on your shoes. The sunrise was obscured by a heavy fog being blown over the hill. As I climbed the hill I stepped into a copse of pine. I turned my head into the breeze to catch the wind in my ears and I caught another sound. It was so loud I looked around for what could cause this “pat pat pat”. Droplets had formed on the tip of every needle of every pine. I thought of the fog, how like grief, heavy, pervasive, and obscuring the view at three feet. And I thought of the trees, every day reaching out and into; by will and persistence making tangible something good and life-giving, watering themselves.

Illustration number two: Today we drove down the coast. We stopped just south of Linda Mar at a battery held aloft still by a truculent chunk of granite. High above the water and rocks, the walkway around seemed to drop out of sight with a certainty that made me hold my three-year-old’s hand tighter. Surely it would mean death to ever step past that edge. And yet, as we walked closer, we were surprised to find slopes, not gentle, but like many things in life, surprisingly survivable.

 

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Patient Promises…

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The theme for advent around here this year is practicing patience, enjoying the waiting, the longing. I unpacked our Christmas boxes after two years of storage in my Mom’s attic. It’s kind of silly the deep satisfaction I felt when, really, it’s only nativity sets and ornaments, but I did, all the longing of wanting to make a place for our own little family, fulfilled.

The first Christmas we spent at my Mom’s I was very nauseous, about two months pregnant. We had sold our house and moved a month before. There had still been herbs in my garden, the last jalapenos on our bushes. I had left the house where I had birthed two other babies and wasn’t sure yet where I’d be delivering this third, the last one.

On Christmas Eve in our room my husband handed me a small bag. I opened the bag and unwrapped the paper. It was a beautiful etched glass ornament, all smoky metal with gold accents. I looked at my husband in dismay. What on Earth was I going to do with a Christmas ornament when all my boxes were put away and I had no tree? He caught my look and my hands.

“This ornament is a promise. We will have our own place again and our own tree.”

So I wrapped the bulb back up and kept it in its bag in the closet for the next year and a half. And I just got it out today. I opened up the paper and for the first time since two Christmas’s ago admired the etched lines and metal sheen.

Sometimes we wait for a short time. Sometimes we wait a lifetime. And sometimes there is no longer waiting than the forty-five minutes before lunchtime to a four year-old belly.

Wherever you’re at, whatever promise you may have waiting wrapped up on your shelf, I hope that your longing may find satisfaction this season.

Benediction Part II…

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I’m wrestling this morning.

I wrestled myself from bed. I wrestled breakfast onto the table and the boy out the door. I wrestled Legos from my Baby’s iron grip.

And I’m wrestling right now at seven-thirty in the morning for a chance to sit at my computer and get this down while it’s in my head. I’m wrestling against a four-year old girl who wants me to make paper airplanes and a baby who’s lifting up my shirt enough to show a sliver of warm Mommy belly to lay his head on while I write.

I feel like I spend most of my day wrestling for rest.

And I find a bit when I stop and admire a drawing of a strawberry birthday cake with three candles, when I pick up Baby and kiss him in the hollow under his cheek again and again until it smells more like me than him.

There’s an honor in wrestling, you can’t wrestle from the next room. You have to be close, all hands and bodies in hard contact.

And I’ve seen the blessings that come from staying, remaining close in vulnerable friction, from wrestling through frustrating friendships and difficult times in marriage, refusing to let go until some glimmer of life comes out. And, if God is there, life comes out.

For, God is in the business of resurrection. That’s all he does, creates life from nothing, new creations all day long, by his voice, with his breath. But you have to stay close in frustrating openness and sometimes in the dark silence of doubt.

Like Job who wrestled with God until he was answered. Like my baby who has finally gained access to the coveted lap. Like my daughter whose elaborate missives I am now transcribing unto the back of birthday cake drawings and along the length of paper airplanes.

“Birthday cakes, strawberries, hugs and kisses. Flowers and hearts. Love you well. Camping trip. Can you write me a card back for my whole family? Love.”

And isn’t that part of the covenant promise of relationships? Doubts and questions are brought within the context of the relationship first.

First.

Which means God gets my struggles for solitude, identity, and satisfying rest first. That’s the deal. He wrestled his own humanity and death itself for the privilege.

Which begs the question, what exactly does that look like?

Wrestle, wrestle, wrestle…