Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Tears


It’s a candy cane striped towel so i started to keep it next to my sink. It seemed right to bring it out of the drawer this time of year. I look at it and smile.  It was a gift from family, my sweet cousin. She came when Daddy went home and brought it with a story.

Her daddy was my daddy’s brother.  In between the two of them another boy. That middle boy left too soon and hit both remaining boys square in the center of their hearts.

She found her daddy up in his office.  She already a grown woman watched as her daddy cried into a dish towel because sometimes only something big can hold so many tears. She showed up with a dish towel for me.  We love big in our family and we cry big as well.

Now I dry dishes and I dry tears all in the same moment. 
This crying, this watering of the soul.  It is both hard and dark but it seems to grow something deep within.

This will be my first Christmas without Daddy, but something I never expected is happening.  It is a fondness, a renewed cherished, heaven- sent fondness for what has been and what is yet to come.

I think about God letting go of His son.  I think about letting go of Daddy. I think about children growing up and their adventures yet to come. I think about Christmas and Daddy not in his chair. I think long about him spending time with Mama and Jesus and I pray for my children to know the peace that salvation brings.

I wish I could bottle it and hand it to them but peace like this comes from living, loving and dying and crying.


Tears of joy and sorrow seeking wonder and sewing hope.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

CUP

Maybe the cup you have been given seems small.

I heard her behind me.  I was walking along the lake in Chicago.  Behind me a young woman discussing going to New York to find her “perfect job.”  Strolling in arguably one of the greatest cities in the world where opportunities wait on every square block, this young woman dissatisfied and searching.

I would have turned around and scolded her if I had not once been her.

I remember seeking for perfect.  My oldest son is busy now with the same pursuit, my youngest son as well.  The latter, the perfect grad school, the youngest, the perfect role in the musical.

Is it because we were formed by perfect, we desire it so?

We search long and hard for something we don’t yet have.  Fame, wealth, love, happiness, contentment, understanding, excitement, forgiveness, relationship.  There is always one more thing, needing one more minute or wishing for one more day.

I get it. I have been there.

Listening to my sons, so afraid of failure.  I am eternally grateful to be looking back and still have time to look forward.

I tell them in all earnestness what looks like failure is God directed.  What feels like success is simply a stepping stone.

Never find contentment in the world.  Never find a friend the ultimate end.  Never trust earthly love to be flawless.  These things, perfect contentment, love, trust and true friendship are reserved for one relationship.  That one that stole your heart at conception and keeps it under His watchful eye and heart.  He waits for you to find Him.  He seeks you so gently you don’t even know He is there.

Then you find Him and your chasing to go faster and farther and taller and better is stopped with the realization that the very best position we can hold is bent over in service or on our knees in prayer.

The frustration we had with failure is replaced by the exultation of a grand director, gently leading with the whisper of angels and the tug of the intangible.

It reverses and inverses everything we held of value.  We realize the greatest is least and the smallest is special, and the cup that seemed so small only needs pouring out to grow.

The pressure to do and to be and to have is replaced by the posture of grace.

All grace -the breath, the life,  even the suffering.  All grace to be a part of this grand prelude to the glorious finish.

I tell the boys to enjoy the ride, the finish line is incredibly worth it.  Just stay on the path, really see the view, watch Him work and listen hard.  I want to tell that to my twenty something self, bound to go travelling and living and finding and finishing.  I see His hand stamped all over the passport of my heart. 


Oh, so blessed is the one that stops seeking and realizes what he or she has found.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Expectations

I have told dozens of people this little nugget of wisdom.  It’s not mine mind you, but one I borrowed.  “Expectations rob joy.”

I have become very fond of this saying.

You could say I had become a believer in the lack of expectation and the perfunctory perfection of being surprised.  If you don’t expect, you can only be surprised.

There is truth in there still, but there is also truth that removing expectations can steal blessings.

We sat around the table.  For the first time in forever, there was just the six of us saying thank you.

The chair my dad once occupied was empty.  I pushed it off to the side.  I didn’t want to see or feel or hear its void.

My girls made the place cards;  I reminded them again and again that we would be “doing things differently this year.”

Different does not deliver but it does distract.

We made it through dinner well.  The kids were ecstatic about the holiday plans ahead and they are gratefully old enough to notice the food and comment on the recipes and let me know what is a keeper and a passer for next year.  I ate it up along with every buttered bite.


Then we arrived at the moment after dinner, before desert, we go person to person and salute those places and people and  circumstances for whom we are grateful.

The kids are fabulous.  They get us laughing, rejoicing and remind us that all the work that goes into this parenting thing is worth it.  They see and they hear even if most days we are sure they are blind and deaf.

My husband looked down the table at me.  I was ready, I was joy filled but then before I spoke a word, tears.  It wasn’t what I had lost, rather what I have gained and suddenly expectations did not seem the villain that I have portrayed them for so many years.

I am grateful.
I am grateful for what has been, and terrifically ecstatic about what will be. Beloveds around the table here, beloveds that will be seen again.  That expectation does not disappoint, it heals.

I smile to myself.  My children who so often do not hear, it is me whose lack of hearing has lasted a lifetime.

My mama lost two children who came and went too soon.  She spent forty years waiting to see them again.  Every one of those years, every trip to their grave she would say, “the day they went, heaven became sweeter.”
I didn’t listen until today.

Her sweetness came when her babies went home.  Mine came when she and daddy went.

The stuff and the stuffing, it’s all just decoration, it’s the divine that is starting to hold me.  I catch my breath at the thought of it.

I am getting it.  I am getting grateful.  I am learning expectations of heaven and Jesus are the grace with which we live and we die.  It is a grace filled life packed with expectation.


 Aim at Heaven and you will get Earth 'thrown in': aim at Earth and you will get neither.” CS  Lewis

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Light

I go from room to room in the wee hours of the morning.
At night, my husband is the tucker, rarely do I see them this way.  Peace.  Quiet.  Not one of my children speak these words other than when they sleep.

Every room, one light is on.  One glow to dispel the darkness.  I notice how the oldest keeps the bathroom light on as well.  He wants something to guide his journey,  don’t we all?

I notice how the littlest has a light far from her bed.  She loves to watch the shadows fall.  The older ones keep the light close to their bed to read yes, but to keep the shadows at bay.  Don’t we all?

We fight darkness.  I wonder, does the fight lessen as we age or is it our weapons that magnify?  We understand words like warfare.  We don’t like the words any better, but we are more equipped, more willing to stand in darkness.  We seem more assured that eventually the light will dawn.  It always does.  We know that and it changes things.

Isn’t that the essence of everything,  knowing that no matter how dark the day, the hour, the heart, light does come.

The darkest of soil brings blossoms.
The darkest of nights brings the sun.
The darkest of moods can still muster a smile.
The darkest of hours can still find moments of joy.

God placed a sun in the center of everything to remind us He is always there, He is always light, He is always good and that nothing, except for His faithfulness and His love will last forever.

So, we persevere.  We muddle through tripping over things in the dark of our souls to find Him and knowing once we reach Him, peace will dawn. Suddenly the solution is not the answer, it is the warmth of His presence.  The knowing that it is not I, but we.

Understanding that the journey is truly the end and the destination is the beginning.

Children of Light He calls us.
We stand in His glory.  We reflect His goodness.
He grafts us in to a holy place where darkness must ask permission.


“For once you were full of darkness, but now you have light from the Lord.  So live as people of light!  For this light within you produces only what is good and right and true.”  Eph 5:8-9