I’m an emotional chameleon. Give me a sad story and I will twist myself into knots to avoid the sadness of it, shade myself to some less mindful clime.
Too often, I don’t stay to fight, the flight instinct is strong and carries me through nodding, smiling and beating a quick retreat to denial.
Friends are not made with denial however. And we don’t take breaths because of a God who winks at our tears.
Instead of flinching, we are told to lean into the mess. Just a little longer. Just a little dearer.
I’ve been thinking a lot about it these weeks, and realizing that if I weep for the world or someone else’s hard news – these aren’t tears falling out of line with Scripture.
Instead, we are agreeing with God’s design for burden bearing, not the fixing, fussing or fleeing that I love so much.
So I’ll seek out the sad and stay awhile. Put up a tent and boil some tea.
Keep them close. And tell them the truth.
Do we leave room in our lives to love each other extravagantly?
Do we have space to give above and beyond?
Do we believe that Jesus is enough and that we are free to utterly enjoy Him?
Do we reflect the generous nature of Grace in our lives…
…and in the Tuesdays and Wednesdays and Saturday evenings,
thankfully, paint the world a bit brighter with His wonder?
Brin’s favourite thing is to do her copy work sitting in my lap, while I read from my phone with one hand, and scratch her back with the other. If I stop at one chapter she urges me to another.And the other day, in the middle of that famous winter-time story I read this,
“and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”
This is not the traditional Christmas reading of peace on earth. This is special. An intent of peace-making that declares Jesus the king of it.
And the next day I read another verse, a song of heavenly hosts to come,
“He brought me out into a broad place;
He rescued me, because he delighted in me.”
And in the amen those words pleased and delighted nearly scandalized me. Because I understand the fall, justice and at least the idea of substitution. I can wrap my mind around a crisp, legal agreement where we are at least happy to scrape through and stand in the back row of Heaven.
This delight is something new all together, though. God’s pleased face as He restores peace to the chaos is an idea that seems too good to be true. And His care because He not only sees me as righteous, but also as delightful, is so deeply humbling, gratitude for grace bubbles up again.
If we set our faces to this world as those assured of God’s delight in us and His mission to bring beauty out of the ashes, we might walk the hum-drum differently. Praise God for the joy to be more than conquerors this day, and tomorrow.
We had paint and beads and fluffy slime that was the bane of everyone’s existence.
We wrote as neatly as we could, and read Charlotte’s Web, Because of Winn-Dixie and Ramona Quimby, Age 8.
We went on a few walks, terrorized some geese, swam a lot and rode bikes.
We had bad attitudes and some good days of teamwork.
We probably ate too much macaroni and definitely too many bananas.
We made jam, bread, popsicles and messed up Juju’s kitchen more than once.
Once and awhile we even had naps.
And without fail, every day meant new fights, jokes and adventures.
These, are the good days of a sweet, hot summer. Enjoy every last minute of August, my friends!
Hey. This is for this year.
- please procrastinate bathroom cleaning less
- learn to make a killer hot sauce
- be friendlier to your literal neighbours
- become a green card holder
- say yes more quickly
- find a piano to play
- pray without ceasing
- see a snake
- trust God about money
- go skating!
- learn the Lord’s delight
- go on more walks
- practice the art of NotNagging
- wear your glasses BEFORE the headache starts
- trust God about money
- buy more plants
- read books that you simply love
- listen harder than you talk
- go to bed earlier on week nights
- buy some blank canvases
- speak Truth, not just the easy stuff
- become a compost expert
- give thanks
- speak more words of affirmation
- eat a quince
I’ve purposefully forgotten what it’s like to stare at the map and miss another.
What it’s like to fall asleep in bed by yourself.
Most days we pretend it didn’t happen.
But then the other day I found myself sorting through the pictures and letters as I rearranged boxes in the spare room.
The pictures bring back the anticipations of being together again. The letters…how little we knew each other and how completely in love! Some screenshots of messages that he sent me after parcels were delivered…a few birthday cards and a whole book of wish-dreams written in black ink.
There was an anxious and awkward sweetness to that year and a half, but on the other side I find I’m not mourning the beauty left there.
Instead, the beauty is in coming through. Through the first kiss and missing-you blues, the wedding planning and honeymoon squabbles. And that time you came to your parent’s, just so we could spend Christmas Eve together.
It’s in coming through it all and every day learning the other person a little bit better.
When I think on not so long ago – those long-distance-days…I’m filled with nostalgia. and then with gratitude that they even were. They are what they should be and where they belong.
And count the blessings of these days you’re in now. They’ll be the good old days sometime soon.
I wrote something the other day about being a stranger and by extension, the Christian practice of community belonging. It’s heavy on my heart I guess, because here I go again…
To the persevering, tenacious people who will invite, re-invite and soldier through awkward silences.
To the ones who will look for the least familiar face, smile and walk straight towards them.
To the quiet ones who tolerate and love the funky, loud and wild.
To the act of baking bread for others and the sharing of food in polite silence that melts into laughter by dessert.
To the ones who are willing and the ones who are shy. To the difficult, wonderful world of sharing your life. To bathing babies, walking, coffee, swimming, books, beer and the desperation that bring us together.
The whole world wants a friend, so thank you to those who are all of this.
And the whole world wants a friend, so be this person too.