After the salt of a good cry scrubs away a bit of the sorrow one draws a deep breath that stutters and stops, as if lungs burned hot from spewing ache gage what the breath of life might do. Oh, the strength it takes to uncurl atrophied limbs, rolling shoulders, raising one’s head. The sun animates sinew and muscle, drawing growth from frozen sod. The weary sojourner fights eye contact. After all, the depth of soul found just behind irises, searching, can bring a grown man to his knees. Yet, those that choose to really search will find brokenness and healing in every eye they meet.
Reflective, on how sharp edges are softened. Kindness is not a simple word. If we draw kindness in the lines of consideration – careful not to cause inconvenience or hurt to others - what depth of shoes would we walk in?
Remembering, narrative in motion, moving pictures unfurling from life’s reel:
The smell of wood smoke takes me back. I am all of eight years of age: chubby, skinny legged, untamed manic curls…freckles pool on pale skin creating a tapestry I love to this day. Ever a dreamer wondering those rich caverns of my mind, I pull a bit more from fantasy than reality.
The ground beneath is rough; uneven. The campfire breathes dragon flame, pulling and tugging at embers glowing. The smoke curls up dissipating into the feather grey sky. Canvased clouds spit drops in teasing play.
All around music falls: crickets and birds chirp, hidden amongst brambles and cloaked in limbs. The creek flows – chilled – humming happily over smoothed stones. Leaves crunch under weighted boots, as men chat fishing poles break the surface of lake water with a ‘plop plop’.
My Grandmother, blonde curls, slender curved form, cooks breakfast. The sumptuous smell of bacon, eggs, and biscuits “like Mama can make” waft through campers loosening covers of the sleepy inhabitants tucked inside.
Hands take filled plates. Eating; sweet savoring goodness.
Transitioning from child to adult is harsh. Ugly reality scars the ideal we hope for. The dreams tarnish as a dirty mirror would distort one’s reflection. There are things that never seem to heal properly. Open wounds that leak and ooze, scabbing over only to open again. The Savior’s bloody grace comes as balm from Gilead. We open ourselves to His love bit by bit. In faithfulness He proves Himself true. He binds our wounds and shows us He has scars too. Scars nailed to His body for us. Healing takes time and a strong stomach.
Somehow in the midst of the dreams, broken and made, I lost Him. I wandered away from the resplendent path He placed for me - intricate handcrafted stones fitted together flawlessly.
My wizened baby sister sent me a quote:
There are times when you cannot understand why you cannot do what you want to do. When God brings the blank space, see that you do not fill it in, but wait.
- Oswald Chambers
I feel at odds with this wondrous life and His righteous will for me. I know there is a transition that is bleeding its way into my fabric. It is a painstaking process, dying one’s fabric just the right shade.
Exhaling stale air derived from breathing in temporal fillers. The expanding ache pulls; three cord strand. Waiting can be torturous. Yet, I will spill out those things unbeneficial. I will harbor them no longer, nor protect them. I release them and watch them float as an untethered balloon fat with helium.
Loneliness, impenetrable, has been a companion. I think of “Much Afraid” and her unwanted companions. How they shaped her life and her heart to receive His love? I don’t rush the remedy. I know this journey teaches with its perfect mixture of hard beauty. I know that all emotions are beneficial and seasonal. There cannot be joy without the comprehension of sorrow.
I was having a conversation on Facebook this morning. There was a sharing of hard spaces. An understanding how utterly frustrating they are and the insurmountable emptiness that can be left in their wake. Then she said, “I’m still strong even though I’m tired.” The crux is weariness can set in our bones. It affects our vision and our hope. Yet, there is a resolve that comes from the well of strength in each of us. A fight we refuse to give up, but at times, have to surrender too. Surrender that life is not as shiny as we hoped. We don’t have it all put together. There are large gaping holes that hurt.
7 But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. 8 We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; 9 persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. 10 We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. 11 For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that his life may also be revealed in our mortal body. 12 So then, death is at work in us, but life is at work in you.
– 2 Corinthians 4: 7-12
I don’t know what the future holds. That is okay. I tell our guests at the Hope Lodge to take it a moment at a time. I am striving to heed my own words. Soft edges do not mean weakness. It means we have allowed the rushing water to smooth us. We have not resisted the soothing buff of His will. We mourn and laugh and worship through tears. We feel deeply and know we are love and are loved.
And as the wonderful Wendell Berry says in his poem, “Like Snow”:
“Suppose we did our work
Like snow, quietly, quietly,
Leaving nothing out.”