This weekend, I realized that I am tired, on several levels. We’ve been on a different sort of schedule for the past two weeks and I’m in desperate need of some rest and extra snuggle time with my little one over the next few days. I know you understand. I’ll miss being here but hope to return more refreshed and renewed later in the week. Thanks so much for understanding. I’ll probably post sporadically at bright and blithe in the meantime. I’m celebrating 30 days of beauty with Erin.
Thank you all for the kind comments and emails that you’ve sent my way over the past three weeks. Each one has meant so much. Some days I write and feel that my words disappear into thin air and my heart leaps when you tell me that you can relate to something I’ve rambled about here. So thank you. I’ve been meaning to set up a guestbook – a place for you to introduce yourselves. I think everyone else will enjoy visiting your blogs as much as I have. I finally got around to it. I’ll be adding a sidebar link later. It’s here. Thanks! Enjoy your Saturday.
She who reconciles the ill-matched threads
of her life, and weaves them gratefully
into a single life –
it’s she who drives the loudmouths from the hall
and clears it for a different celebration…
Rainer Maria Rilke
While I’m quite certain that Mr. Rilke and I part ways theologically, his words resonate something within me. I have collected a few ill-matched threads in three short decades –
Threads, that at times, have twisted themselves into a tangled web of doubt and distrust.
Threads that, in my finite understanding of things, clash terribly with the fairytale version of the story I would have chosen.
Threads frayed from constant, worrisome, shifting and stretching.
Threads faded from long soaks in warm salty tears.
Threads I prefer to keep hidden underneath.
But as I grow older, the looks back become more frequent…less frightening. And I’m seeing the lay of the land in a different light. The fiercely beautiful moments of this life I’ve lived woven in and out between the unsightly fibers makes for a sturdier tapestry than the one I would have spun entirely on my own. And somewhere past the confusion and the questions, I’m slowly learning to say thank you.
And I will restore or replace for you the years that the locust has eaten…
†Rainer Maria Rilke, quoted in The Attentive Life, Leighton Ford (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2008), 167.
How can it be a large career to tell other people about the Rule of Three, and a small career to tell one’s own children about the universe? How can it be broad to be the same thing to everyone and narrow to be everything to someone? No, a woman’s function is laborious, but because it is gigantic, not because it is minute.
Mothering is the most draining, fulfilling, mundane, exhilirating role I’ve ever undertaken. Some days the thought of getting out of bed to do the same thing all over, wearies me, body and soul. Another day of whining, laundry, and reading the same silly books over and over agin. Not to mention, navigating the hodpodge of Legos and farm animals littering the path at every turn. If I’m not careful, self-pity can slip in and take a seat in a dark corner of my mind, almost without notice.
But then it happens – the spark in her eye that tells me she really “gets it”, perhaps for the first time. The way her eyes dance and her tiny feet take flight when she hears her Daddy’s joyful greeting at day’s end. Her unwavering faith in the healing power of my kiss. Her pudgy hands on my face. Her loyal declarations of undying affection. And suddenly, I can’t remember how many tantrums I’ve endured or how many loads of laundry I’ve folded. I remember that this is no small thing I am doing here, all day, every day, with this very small person. I remember she will not be small for very long.
†G.K. Chesterton, “The Emancipation of Domesticity”, What’s Wrong with the World (1910)
If you feel that God doesn’t speak to you, ask yourself: When do I ever lean and loaf at my ease to enjoy something beautiful for its own sake? Do I even know how to be at ease for one minute?…Contemplation is the prayer that all of us do naturally, without thinking. If we could notice what we are doing when we are not thinking and do more of it, our prayer lives would move ahead wondrously…For contemplation is not just a remembering of God, but a forgetting, a letting go of everything we thought we knew about Him in order to take hold of something new…In stillness we slip through the fences in our minds and hearts and escape to open country. Mike Mason, Practicing the Presence of People
I rarely slip outside the fence. Oh, I scurry past the gate from time to time but I’m to preoccupied with the business on this side to venture out. Stillness does not come easily for me. In fact, I deplore it. And even when my body is still, my mind is in perpetual motion. By the looks of things, you’d think someone posted “no loitering” above my life and told me to keep moving. I’m trying to learn to be still and be silent. I don’t expect anyone else to talk to me while I’m running around and shouting. Why should He?
Let be and be still, and know (recognize and understand) that I am God.
Psalm 46:10, The Amplified Bible
†Mike Mason, Practicing the Presence of People (Colorado Springs: Waterbrook Press, 1999), 82-84.
These things – the beauty, the memory of our own past – are good images of what we really desire; but if they are mistaken for the thing itself, they turn into dumb idols, breaking the hearts of their worshippers. For they are not the thing itself; they are only the scent of a flower we have not found, the echo of a tune we have not heard, news from a country we have never yet visited. C.S. Lewis, The Weight of Glory
Oh, to see, hear, smell, taste, and touch past the thinness that separates this world from the next. To hope, to trust, to know that, yes, dear one, there is more. And this precious thing in front of you – the tangible one your hands clutch and cling – it might be lost in the very next instant. But the surer thing – the real thing – you have yet to hold. And it can never be lost.
What eye has not seen and ear has not heard and has not entered into the heart of man, [all that] God has prepared (made and keeps ready) for those who love Him [who hold Him in affectionate reverence, promptly obeying Him and gratefully recognizing the benefits He has bestowed].
1 Corinthians 2:9, The Amplified Bible
There is always the temptation in life to diddle around making itsy-bitsy friends and meals and journeys for itsy-bitsy years on end…But I won’t have it. The world is wilder than that in all directions, more dangerous and bitter, more extravagant and bright…We are raising tomatoes when we should be raising Cain, or Lazarus. Annie Dillard
She diddled in the itsy-bitsy. Not what I want scrawled as my epitaph, but how do we embrace these wilder things? Or perhaps the better question is, do we really desire them at all? If not, why not? And each one of us is unique. One person’s comfort may be another person’s chaos. I think perhaps the most important question to answer is Who is calling us into the unknown.
Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.
†Annie Dillard, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek, (New York: HarperCollins Publishers, Inc., 1974), 274.