Before the sun creeps up behind the trees in our yard, she’s awake.
Some days she’s making breakfast. Some days she’s reading her Bible. Some days she’s rocking a sick baby. Some days she’s praying her heart out. Some days, she’s just sitting with her coffee on her back porch listening to the birds.
But everyday she’s my hero.
We were watching The Two Towers last night, and I cried. I don’t think crying in that movie is uncommon, especially for my fellow women, but last night was different. I didn’t cry for Frodo and Sam, I cried for myself. My tears were for this real world, not for Middle-Earth. I was the one who said, “I can’t do this, Sam.” It wasn’t Frodo who was wavering and wondering if the end really could be happy, it was me. It was my weak faith I saw on that television, not Tolkien’s magical universe.
I wish you were here right now, sitting across from me. I wish I could have known your laughter and smile or your humor that I’ve heard so much about. I wish I could’ve seen you in person, with your short stature and realize that my 5’3″ body is a little picture of who you were. Everyone says I look like you. I wish I could’ve told you all about the books I read, my friends, or my dreams.
But I can’t do those things, not yet. One day I will though, one day when I reach Immanuel’s land, I’m going to tell you all about it. But of all the things I wish I could tell you right now, there is one in particular that drove me to write this letter.
It’s the warmest winter in our small town since the 80’s and my southern heart is not complaining. There is no snow on the ground, no ice scrapers being pulled out when we leave the house, and the sun is shining brightly. The weather outdoors mirrors that inside of me. Warm, bright, and hopeful.
All around the world, people seem to spend the week between Christmas and New Year’s in a sense of reflection. It makes sense that as another year closes and is slid onto the shelves of memory that we take one last moment to flip back through it’s pages and remember with bittersweet fondness the stories that ended and the ones that have just begun. That is just what I have sat down to do.
There is something incredibly natural and soothing about a baby sleeping peacefully in the arms of the one caring for him, and this morning something very convicting.
He does not raise his head to question whether my grip is strong enough to hold him if he squirms. He does not hold onto me as if I’m going to let go of him. He does not keep his eyes open to see what dangers or dilemmas may creep up on him as he sleeps.
He closes his eyes.
He relaxes his body.
He looks into my eyes before he closes his one final time with a look not born of question, but of trust.
And then he rests in my arms.
Yet here I am, as he sleeps peacefully in my grasp, internally struggling and fighting, questioning and doubting, keeping my eyes stretched open on the lookout for potential sorrow or danger, while the Father holds me in His arms.
Dear local church, you are a blessing.
Every Sunday morning, I stand in your midst and hear your voices raised to praise the King. I hear His truths preached from the pulpit. I see smiles and tears, I see rejoicing and mourning.
I see you, local church.
The morning light was still hours away from creeping through our windows yesterday morning when I woke up and stumbled downstairs to the coffee pot at five o’clock. Rubbing my eyes thoroughly and rummaging through the fridge to find the creamer helped wake me up and by the time I curled up in my usual spot on the couch with my coffee, Bible, and journal, I was well awake and alert. It was the day before my birthday and just as I always do, I read through the last year of my journal.
Every year before it’s been a very enjoyable thing to do. Memories that made me smile, ones that made me laugh, and always a few that brought on a cringe. But this year was different. This year was hard to read through.
Our backyard is full of trees that seem to burst with life and greenery in the summertime. There is a little cove in the back right corner where the branches seem to envelop two teal lawn chairs and when you sit up there, watching the sun fade behind the house, it’s pure magic. The squirrels and birds dance around in the mornings, often fighting over the many bird feeders provided for their pleasure. It’s a display of breathtaking ordinary beauty, and it’s dying now.
I went on a walk today and felt a few crisp leaves crunch beneath my feet. Summer is almost gone, and autumn will be here before we know it.
You may have noticed how little I’ve been here on the blog these last few months. It wasn’t planned, at least not at first. Life simply got busy. I found myself hardly having a chance to sit with my family during the week and simply be with them. Other things at church or in the lives of friends took precedence over both my reading and writing. As I began to push off more and more of the things I was hoping to do for my little corner of the web, I decided to remove the burden entirely, take a short break from writing, and whole-heartedly enjoy the remaining weeks of summer.
I did enjoy them. Thoroughly. But I must say, I’m glad to be back.
When you walk into my room, the five shelf book case on the wall across from my doorway is the first thing you’ll see. It used to be organized by color. The blue section was the largest of course, because I feel that blue books are just a wee bit more magical than any other color. (Aren’t all things better in blue?) Over time though, as books have been pulled down and shared with young readers, or I’ve flipped through pages in search of that one quote I loved, the organized beauty has dissipated and left behind are slanted stacks of bookmarked volumes, loose papers of notes, and a coffee mug or two that has gotten left behind during one of my “word search” endeavors. It isn’t a pretty sight. I don’t plan on making it out to be some sort of messy beautiful. Because it isn’t.
It’s just messy. Someone should clean it up.
But while it shouldn’t stay in the condition it is now, there’s something to be said for the disarray.