"The sweetest thing in all my life has been the longing —
to reach the Mountain, to find the place where all the beauty came from —
my country, the place where I ought to have been born. Do you think it all meant nothing,
all the longing? The longing for home? For indeed it now feels not like going, but like going back."


~C.S. Lewis




Thursday, August 4, 2016

silver thread of eternity


I think there are little clues, tiny gifts, in life that remind you who you were meant to be.

I don’t know always if God sent them on purpose or if they are simply woven into the eternal world like silver threads through a veil.

They are the signposts we are to follow: This is love. This is purpose. This is home. This is what they feel like, this is what you have been searching for.

I don’t think it has to be like lightning from heaven that changes your life forever. I think it is often the little things.

It is walking into your grandmother’s house, and all is quiet, soft colored curtains blending together and light through the windows, crocheted doilies and the clock that has chimed on the hour for 26 years. And you know what it means to have a home you are at peace in, and you feel the beauty you are meant to see when you walk through your own door. This is what you need to create in your house, this is the home you were meant to have.

It is when you feel the calling on your life, the puzzle-piece place in the world where you were designed to fit. You see glimpses of the things you would die for, the people you wish to fight for, the elements or injustices or visions for this world that keep you awake or bring you to tears or you want to change forever. They are the things that make you feel alive and is the life you were meant to have. This is your vocation; you have found what you love, now let it drive you.

It is the moment you hear from God, visions in your head and words in your mind, and God breaks out of your small rule-bound box. Your friend tells you when a word from heaven saved his life during the war, you speak in a foreign language you were not taught, or the one you prayed for is healed from cancer. Angels whisper to you in that place between awake and asleep, and you let go of religion to see the face of God. This is the touch of God you were meant to know, and the relationship with the divine you were meant to haveDon’t let it go.

There are others. There are moments that show you the love between a man and a woman, the rest available to your heart, the beauty to be found in clothing and paintings and music, the raw power in the art of war. These are the infinite glimpses of eternity.

Hold on to them. Don’t ever let them go. They are the key to abundant life.

For it is in those moments, if we will be quiet enough to feel it and humble enough to accept it, we will feel a sad-sweet longing, a calling to something we do not yet have but know we are created for.

This is our call to redemption, to holiness, and to a world we were made for before evil and pain.

Perhaps this is what Jesus meant when he said, I will give you rest.

The sweetest thing in all my life has been the longing — to reach the Mountain, to find the place where all the beauty came from — my country, the place where I ought to have been born. Do you think it all meant nothing, all the longing? The longing for home? For indeed it now feels not like going, but like going back.
 ― C.S. Lewis


Tuesday, May 24, 2016

the small frozen bird and the mismatched quilt

“I never saw a wild thing sorry for itself. A small bird will drop frozen dead from a bough without ever having felt sorry for itself.” 
~DH Lawrence

You long to change your pain into pity.

Don’t.

Feel the pain. Feel all of it.

Let everything happen to you: joy and love, beauty and terror. Feel the weight and darkness, the fear and peace. “Just keep going. No feeling is final.”

When I change pain into pity I do myself a disservice, for instead of feeling, I am fixing. I am saying, I must find a reason for this pain, I must make it Unjust, I must make myself a Victim, I must manufacture a greater story – a Tragedy that will force this to make sense, a silk-patch ending sewn awkward on a denim quilt.

Much would be better in this world if we could feel pain instead of fix it, receive it instead of telling a story about it.

If we could cry ourselves to sleep instead of drink it away.

If we could say, I don’t know, instead of, This is how I’ll change.

If we could allow ourselves to lose our faith instead of holding onto a hope that is dead.

So let us comfort adults the way we comfort children, with embrace and understanding and not words and solutions, in the face of unexplainable hurt.

For once we can admit that life may not make sense instead of forcing a black and white explanation on a Technicolor world, we will become closer to the small bird on the bough, who even in the face of senseless death, feels no need to hate or pity, but simply to live until she is called home.


Tuesday, May 17, 2016

hope, on sale with coupon


Life is composed of things that are more important than they should be.

You are existing, moving, minding your own business in a black-and-white world, and suddenly something meaningless becomes doused with a bucket of scarlet importance, like a single snowflake on your tongue.

And it feels like hope.

……………

I’m at the front doors of Kroger, shopping list in hand: six apples, some bagels, a bottle of wine. And more I’m sure I’ve forgotten, and more I need that they don’t sell. Where do you buy joy, or happiness, or peace?

Hope. On sale. 50% off with coupon.

For the past year, the colors had been slowly fading from my world like a book in the August sun on a front porch swing. With every day, I had less energy to paint in the color that was draining away or to remember what it was like to see beauty where others saw darkness. Now I was the one who saw in shades of grey.

But sometimes you don’t know what will become color in your grayscale world.

In front of the grocery store doors, a pallet of miniature roses. Cheap green plastic pots and buds wilting from the hot Texas sun, soil dry from neglect and leaves turning brown.

But color.

Green and pink and soft dull white, red-tipped buds that promised to bloom and some that already had. Smeared yellow leaves with purple jagged edges, tips curled down like toes in sand and petals that felt like peace. Long green stems and pink-rimmed buds, bees crawling in dirt like children at play, and as my fingers brush through flowers and leaves, my world becomes a three-dollar rose bush.

And like in the stories you heard as child and you always wished were true, for a moment the curse is broken and my world is drenched in color, and I remember what I used to know: that there is beauty in this world, and to see it is called faith.

That morning, I took a rose bush home.

Hope. On sale. $2.99.

……………

In the end, I believe that life is composed of things that are more important than they should be, like sunsets and love and small red rosebushes.

To see that is an unreasonable thing, an unreasonable happiness.

But it feels like hope.