Tuesday, February 8, 2011

The Good Insteads

Maybe it is I who is in a state of winter.
Finding that all of what I am is being said in a symbolic stutter all around me.

That it is cold there, and frozen solid. A once fragrant heart pushed into a Ziploc bag and shoved away for a later thaw.

Maybe I've forgotten just how good You are.

Maybe I'm full of insteads.

Each new dawn, I see Your new mercies that sit feather-light on the top of my soul and I kick them to the side, like old, out of style clothing.

No, thanks.

I'd rather wear something a little more fashionable today. I need an edge. I push the hangers around, searching for the proper attire to meet the cold world.

A glittering dress of cynicism. A straight jacket of control, in the finest fabric imaginable. Doubt, the handheld mirror in my purse. Did God really say? And the Knowing, a scarf wound endlessly around my throat and ears.

I walk into the light of the sun and feel the melting urge and wonder why it doesn't move me like it used to when I was so naive and pale, a shadow of my now stiffly sophisticated self. I struggle against the raging tide of sadness that leaps to steal all my joy - the gloom that settles deep when I realize just how far gone this world truly is. How far gone I truly am.

I forget the simplicity of green pastures and still waters, the assurance that surely goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life.

Instead, I start to build, relenting to the cold, planning an occupancy that will cost me time. Years, maybe.

I trade all of it, for the Knowing.

Like in that garden.

Biting off the syrupy fruit of My Way and Did He Really Say in order to have more. And feeling the doubt as they felt it and how it made them full. The more becomes less. I so willingly trade the brighter gift of innocence for a distracted installment of adulthood, penance of sweat and toil, intuition of pain.  

And forever we feel the bitter dredges, the slimy residue of that bite in our very marrow.

So maybe winter comes to me as a gift? Maybe it's an all out, no expenses spared attempt to give me another chance, a cleared table on which to place the nourishment of shouting spring?

But the cold settles long and deep and You wait for me there in the warmth, Your chair pulled up to a fireside of such proportions that my doubt would never let me imagine. A hot cup of nail-hole-filler at the ready.

Two chairs there. Two glowing chairs.

The ice crusts around my soul, I walk limping through the trees, the fashioned trees, and I take in the malicious wardrobe of those whose heart became stone long ago. I listen carefully to their serpentine ramblings. I let the gates to my heart swing wide open.  I shake my head and disagree that You could ever be so visibly good, so thermal. I agree with them instead.

O house of Jacob, come and let us walk in the light of the Lord. (Is. 2:5)

I want to remember, in every nucleus of every cell, in every follicle and drop of blood, in taste buds, the older truth. The taste and see truth. I want to let its buoyancy be in charge once again, to feel the thawing float, the bubbles of grace that burst and actually change the air I'm breathing, the fizzy pop of Your grandeur and joy, the manifestation of Your smile in the waterfalls and smoothening river stones. The one strong song that sings under all the others, allowing them a reason for their existence and a road for their melody.

That You are good. ...and your mercy endures forever.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Being Winter

I am in awe of the snow.

Sitting in my bed this morning, drinking my coffee in my usual custom, I watch it come down, falling recklessly and heavily out of the sky.

I think I find You in the snow.

You are the white.
Pure, glistening, blinding white in the stillness.

The only sound is the falling, like thousands of hushed brushstrokes.

You are the sound too, aren't You?

And the light, the graceful gray-dressed light, with a soft hand for my flaws, covering all with the comforting murk of rest.

You are here in the cold, reminding me where home is. Hiding Your magic in the plummeting mercury.

And the wind suddenly throws everything into a swirl, sweeping white clouds across, briefly dusting the windowpanes with millions of tiny, individual, uniquely crystallized flakes, taking my breath away with its power. Showing me Your willingness.

And that you know about sweeping me too.

Later, I find You in the strong branches. Bare but unmoving, immobile against the bitter elements. I see roofs caved in, cars waylaid and pipes burst, but my trees remain steady. Stoic promises of the building of a life, the stretching out of roots, the blooming and falling of leaves, and the near-approaching spring.

I find You in the laughter of the children, bundled and packaged in warmth to the hilt by mothers who cannot afford to take the risk. They run and throw, slide and skate, dig and build in the frosty air. Our breath shoots out, visible steam, and I am thinking of the molecules and atoms, the tiny components that make up everything, even my heart and brain, and are fueled by a life force that is You. 

You building in miniature and super sizing it all at once.

I try to simply find winter, but it is not just him that I see. The lines blend and sway in the chilled, gelatin dusk and I find only You instead, holding the reigns to it all, stopping to cup my chin in the frigid night, to stroke my cheek with your cold,white brush, the stars lighting our ballroom moment.

But you are not an only, are you? That would be like saying everything everything. Or You Are. Or I am. But you are I am.

My I am.

My winter I am. 

You are winter.

You are more than green, and life. You are more than autumnal fires and campouts in the thin-aired hills. You are more than fireflies and summer nights of droning bees in busy flight. 

You are here in the cold too. Helping me to understand that you won't leave me. Even when no fruit is on my bare tree, you stay.  Making sense of the frozen and singing along the thaw.

Being winter and promising spring.