"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

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

How do you feel the sunrise?

And I wonderwhen lights go down, and I hug my knees to my chest and fear who I am and my deepest desiresand I am a star who has left her constellation and cannot find her way home.

Homewhere mocha sunrises are greeted by silence and prayer, where stress is seen as sin like we always wished it were, and you see your reflection in the pondthe reflection as in a mirror, your truer selfand you finally know who she is.

And in this life you walk down the street looking strangers in the eye, for you know who you are, while taking the greatest risk you ever haveto Live. For it is easier to live in painful rules that bind, for away from them is fearful freedom, the sort of life not dictated by another and so not safe.

Good, perhaps, but never safe.

And pain is easier than fearbecause it is easier to seek for strength to merely endure than it is to risk being wrong about what it means to live alive, to risk losing everything you stayed up late nights for and prayed tears for. And fear for others because you may be wrong is harder to bear than the pain of living out your rules regarding how you are to see them, help them, be with them.

And you wonder at a world that seems the antithesis of who you areor know you are, somewhere, if Jesus can find her and set her freeand question how it is you live so you feel the sunrise.

So you stay behind rules in the half-lived life, ordering yourself around everything but yourself, and you wonder why the Bible is dead and Jesus is silent.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

When you pray in your car and someone says hello

“It’s like Pinterest.”

Blue light fell upward through tree branches to touch emerging stars, colored floodlights converting trees into outdoor chandeliers. In Florida, you can have late-night bonfires in October and not wear a jacket.

The trees are still green (dead now, in Minnesota), sun so strong that this afternoon it actually could be seen above the treetops at noon. On our Sibley County hobby farm not far from Canada, sometimes the sun wouldn’t make it above the oaks.

But the sun is gone now, regardless, unless you count the bonfire. Over on the table there are a hundred handmade s’more packets—two graham crackers, one marshmallow, three squares of Hershey’s milk chocolate—and of course the boys are trying to roast marshmallows on their two-foot roasting sticks and seem surprised the fire is hot. Four-foot flames usually are.

Two hours ago, I sat in my Corolla in the Meadowbrook Church parking lot and prayed. I didn’t know anyone at this college-twenty-something-singles group. It would be awkward, maybe. I'd never been to this church and missed the turn because the sun was in my eyes. I checked my hair. A girl pulled in next to me in a blue van. She looked normal. I thought of Jesus, and my status as His daughter, and I got out of the car.

What is it that makes me insecure, afraid? I knew waiting for me were beautiful people, friendly, open, and waiting for me. Yet I sit in my car and pray, do not claim the promises of my King, and act not like His daughter but like an outcast. You enter the sanctuary, stand back by the chairs, pretend to look in your purse, and get some coffee because it will occupy your time, always wondering when to step forward and introduce or when to not bother them and stay back. You become tangled so tight in your own thoughts, and life becomes hard.

Until someone says hello.

And so does another.

And another.

And now I stand under Christmas lights strung through the trees, by the crockpot with the boiled peanuts and the bag of half-frozen hot dogs, and there is Amber, Tiffany, Jordan, Carissa, Michael, Quentin, Jeremy, Jessica, and so many more.

And they all said hello.