A child is not aware of her dependence on another. She simply trust that it will be done and gives her praise to God in unsolicited ways. Like the sunflower she moves through her day always facing the sun.
She praises God with belly laughs and silly songs never doubting that he will not be delighted with her. She praises by folding her little hands to pray. She praises by dancing for all the world to see. She praises by clapping for herself when she accomplishes a task. She praises with her tears when she is hurt and loving arms reach for her. She praises when she jumps into her daddy’s arms trusting that he will always catch her. She praises when she hangs on to her Mommy’s hand when she is unsure of what is occurring.
She is unencumbered of what things cost or ashamed of anything because she Trusts The Holy One who has shown himself to her in the rainbow and in the leaves and in the pretty rocks she picks up all along her walks with her Mama.
Like Einstein, I
believe imagination just might be more important than knowledge. I am actually
sure of it…
“In all honesty I find myself to be a bit of a “lapser”, the old lady said to me as we sat on the park bench. She laughed a hearty belly laugh and continued, “I lapse into doubt that I will make it to tomorrow and then I lapse into desperate hope that I will! See that vivid color blue of the sky today? I thought it was a question but she went right on talking… that is the color of the sky when there are no doubts and everything is crystal clear to me. That is what I call God’s blue. I know without a doubt how to live a life of purpose and kindness. Oh how I love God’s blue!”
My heart was warmed by the assurance that I had just happened to sit down on a park bench next to the right person. “I have lapses too I said, lapses in “How” to live well, I commented. The old woman did not laugh at me but sat there pensive. I figured at that point she would cast me away as crazy and take quick leave of our bench. She did not leave however and it wasn’t until years later I realized she could not leave because she knew me. She was at the end of her pilgrimage and she knew she was sent to that bench just for me. I now want to sit on the bench in the park for other pilgrims if I get the chance.
She began to speak of
many things, deep things, funny things, horrible things and I listened hard.
She shared how when Day’s sky was a gray-blue those were the days when she knew
God was covering her with his Almighty protective wing. She said when there
were many obstacles like clouds and winds in the sky that she realized the
passing of time and the briskly moving clouds were a reminder every minute is a
treasure. Then she said the colors of a Sunset sky were evidence of God’s love
of relationships where all colors are mingled together to show His brilliance
and to remind us that each of us is a different and known color to Him. These
analogies went on for hours and I cannot do her wisdom justice with mere words.
She painted with words like a Master.
The night sky she
said is not to be feared because it is ordained to us for the purpose of rest,
health, growth, and tears. The moon she said is a reminder that even though the
“lesser” light rules the night it is no less light. The “dark” is the constant
reminder that God does not slumber when we do. She said the moonless, dark sky
is the hardest one because you have to believe in the light even when you
cannot see it.
As the sun began to set all the colors of creation appeared and the old lady and I sat in silence in God’s Cathedral and worshipped Him, the Creator and all of his magnificent skies. As we parted the old lady took my hand and she put it to her soft crepe paper cheek. She said, “the next time you “Lapse” into a “how to do life well” simply look up and God’s blue will guide you and give you all the answer you need.
So I am sitting in the Detroit airport waiting for a late flight, due to bad weather and a plane pulls up…everyone gradually looks around, they get up and walk to the observation window…low and behold a military escort marches out into the rainy, ice cold apron and then off the plane comes a casket and a family…all of us in the window stand reverently and then a young man in uniform salutes…some people put their hand over their heart as it dawns on each of us what we are witnessing..some begin to shed tears…this person who has served their country is coming home…there are no news cameras, no horns blowing…we don’t know their name or their family but all of us mourn…all of us are relieved it isn’t our son or daughter, brother, sister, mom, or dad…all of us wish the story would be different…a somber blanket lay over this small band of witnesses to something so private yet so universal…I bow my head and pray for the family…pray for my family who lives in freedom…pray for my country that she might be healed…as the casket is loaded into the hearse the crowd begins to spread out and I hear a little three year old girl say, “Daddy, can we get some candy now?”…the Dad picks her up and hugs her close…he cannot speak…I walk away and ask God to forgive me for complaining earlier about the weather…
I can feel my self becoming removed from the conversation, from the room, from this place.
As though I have been here many times before yet am now born into “such a time as this.” It is easier to let my self be free when I realize this story is not about me. I do not have to carry the answer, the load, the laughter, the grief, the joy…I get to experience it but I am not the atonement… but I am worth a telling. I am the spring day when the daffodils and hyacinth bloom after Winter’s death and fill the world with the heady scent of new life.
I am the dark rich dirt that lies thick undercover in the deep forest with moss and fungus growing out of it. I am the bright orange fall leaf that gets to trip and twirl down the city street in front of two lovers taking a walk. They try to run and catch me but they cannot. I am not their love affair. I am the stark bare trees of Winter’s blast. I dance among the stars and sit upon the moon whenever I feel like it. It is really not a mystery yet remains mysterious. It is truly not difficult to understand.
I do not have answers regarding quantum physics nor the dimensions that I live in, for they are many and some are not of this world. I only know that my heart provides my body and brain with new oxygenated fresh red blood more than one hundred thousand times a day! Imagine such a miracle just for a moment or two. So then you must tell your story. It may or may not help someone. It most likely will but either way you are worth a telling.
I leave you with this final thought from a writer Hunter Thompson… “Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming “Wow! What a Ride!”
I met a young sweet boy in high school. He was trying to find his way to manhood with a heart so kind and fragile. I, as well, had no idea how to handle the heart of anyone. I desired to be careful yet there is an “innocent ignorance” of youth that is just brutal… This boy thought that I was unattainable as he watched me from afar laughing with other boys… Oh the angst of those lovely awful years of high school! None of us can know the “power” we have to hurt others…I certainly didn’t.
I liked high school for mostly social reasons. Academically I was only interested in English Lit, and writing with a little bit of interest in history. I suppose I was a “cool kid” in the world of “labels” that befall us in high school. However I was terrified of being a fake. I will never forget one of my classmates who could cut you deeply with his wit…he reminded us almost all of the time that we were ALL fake! I just love that he did that. (Thank you Bill)
One day the sweet boy waited for me after school and asked if he could give me a ride in his car. I said yes and his face turned red. At the time I had no idea how much courage that took but I understand it now. After all the possibility of rejection drives the human soul to craziness.
Now it is some forty years later but I have never forgotten that gentle boy…he went his way and made his life. He is a man now. A good man. I knew he would be…and even now I will smile when I remember what he said to me one day…”you are beautiful inside and out”…such few words yet having a major impact. I took those words with me from that day. I have tried to live up to them and failed many times. It made me want to be a better person…it still makes me want to be better…Thank you sweet boy…I remember…
“now to see things clear is hard enough I know while you’re waiting for reality to show…but when you have a real friend somewhere it makes all the others so much easier to bear…” Jackson Browne
The ocean’s wind catches each regret, each sin, and sorrow throwing it into the eternity of a perfect God to be forever forgotten. In the light of the moon a young woman, who thought the stars would stop shining above her found the Maker of the stars and the freedom and love and the lullaby He sang washing over her in waves. So now I am drifting, sailing free in the light of summer love and I know that I am saved. I know that I was lost and you came to find me.
On that day when the sun tipped over the edge of the earth and spilled colors like buckets of orange, pink, and violet as a reminder of the power of Holy light. The young woman once ravaged and scarred by guilt and shame found joy in the warmth of The Son. Lifted from the darkness you came for me . I was lost and you lifted me in your arms and by your own wounds, scars, and stripes you healed me.
It is always worth mending that which is broken. This is the heartbeat of God’s love. The fractures, wounds, and scars are remarkably purified like gold after the pain of repentance has done its work making every broken piece precious in His sight transforming those that are broken into the Holy wholeness of the Holy One whose image we bear.
In the end are not the scars part of the beauty? Oh yes! I think Jesus, when we meet him will show us his perfectly mended scars in his human-ness even though He is now glorified. He is always perfect. I think he will say “yes, these scars represent each of you and they are beautiful.”