Be a womb.
Be a dwelling for God.
Imagine yourself as a living house. God comes in to rebuild that house. At first, perhaps, you can understand what He is doing. He is getting the drains right
and stopping the leaks in the roof and so on; you knew that those jobs needed doing
and so you are not surprised. But presently He starts
knocking the house about in a way that hurts abominably and does not seem to make any sense. What on earth is He up to? The explanation is that He is building
quite a different house from the one you thought of – throwing out a new wing here, putting on an extra floor there, running up towers, making courtyards. You thought you were being made into a decent little cottage: but He is building a palace. He intends to come and live in it Himself. ~C.S. Lewis from Mere Christianity
Whenever I’m tempted to hunker down
in retreat from
the rest of the world,
or from God Himself~
whenever I’m content with the status quo
and reluctant to stretch beyond
clear boundaries I’ve carefully constructed
for my one weary life~
I am surprised.
Whether in hiding inside a bud or bunker or cottage,
trying to seek safety or simplicity,
it is not enough for God’s blueprint.
I am not a dwelling for God
until His remodel project is finished~
until He puts down His chisel, hammer and saw,
looks me over
and declares it good.
Romantic love is blind to everything
except what is lovable and lovely, but Christ’s love sees us
with terrible clarity and sees us whole. Christ’s love so wishes our joy that it is ruthless against everything in us
that diminishes our joy. The worst sentence Love can pass is that we behold the suffering
which Love has endured for our sake, and that is also our acquittal. The justice and mercy of the judge
are ultimately one. ~Frederick Buechner
As we prepare for the season of Lent to begin this week:
We see with terrible clarity
the Love we are shown,
the Love given freely to the undeserving,
the Love paying our ransom in full,
the Love enduring all for us~
this Judge convicts,
metes out justice upon His own head,
serves the whole sentence Himself,
thus sets us free
to see and share
the Love we are shown.
Although the snow still lingers Heaped on the ivy’s blunt webbed fingers And painting tree-trunks on one side, Here in this sunlit ride The fresh unchristened things appear, Leaf, spathe and stem, With crumbs of earth clinging to them To show the way they came But no flower yet to tell their name, And one green spear Stabbing a dead leaf from below Kills winter at a blow. ~Andrew Young, “Last Snow”
The snow ice-encrusts the morning
before it bids farewell under warming sunlight.
Winter encases spring
to grasp one last moment
I want you to read this some day, 恵真
our new little Emma Sophia:
as you took your first breath in the dark of the night
so far away from this farm where your father grew up,
we bid farewell to the sun here
so God could bring it glowing to your first day in Japan,
that misty island where your mother grew up.
Your birth blesses so many all over this earth
and proves that war from two generations ago
exists only in history books now,
now love digs so deep in the genes
it overcomes what has come before.
You have sent the sun back today to us,
brand new grandparents,
to rise pink over this snowy morning,
and we will send it back to you tonight
to wake you for your second day
resting calm in the arms of your loving family.
Each day from now on
may we always return the Light you sent
and send it forth to shine on you.
Experiencing the present purely is being emptied and hollow; you catch grace as a man fills his cup under a waterfall. ~Annie Dillard from Pilgrim at Tinker Creek
I am often unprepared for the rush of challenges each clinic day brings and lately far into the night.
Each call, each message, each tug on my arm, each box of kleenex handed over, each look of hopelessness — I empty continuously throughout the day to try to fill the deep well of need around me. If I’m down and dry, hollowed to the core with no more left to give, I pray for more than I could possibly deserve.
And so it pours over me, torrential and flooding, and I only have a mere cup to hold out for filling. There is far more cascading grace than I can even conceive of, far more love descending than this cup of mine could ever hold, far more hope ascending from the mist and mystery of doctoring, over and over again.
I am never left empty for long. The hollow is hallowed, filled to the brim and spilling over.
I wish one could press snowflakes in a book like flowers. ~James Schuyler from “February 13, 1975”
More snow predicted before winter is done with us.
Despite my fervor for spring, lit by the appearance of a snow drop here and a crocus there, I still want to acknowledge this winter for the adventure it has been:
like a momento snowflake preserved between two pages, it fades quickly from memory but the damp spot remains behind. It is not lost — simply a mere wrinkle in time.
All the complicated details of the attiring and the disattiring are completed! A liquid moon moves gently among the long branches. Thus having prepared their buds against a sure winter the wise trees stand sleeping in the cold. ~William Carlos Williams “Winter Trees”
Winter seems less complicated than other seasons until the wind blows brutal and the ice glaze is an inch thick and snow bends branches to the ground to the point of snapping a tree in half. It is no longer a quiet gentle sleeping time but can take a tree down, unaware, in the night, the crack and crash of branches like gunshots hunting down innocent prey.
The clean up has begun, the remnants lying waiting on the ground and the naked trunks scarred.
Despite such devastation, the buds still swell, readying for the complexity of spring.
…whenever you mark a horse, or a dog,
with a peculiarly mild, calm, deep-seated eye, be sure he is an Aristotle or a Kant,
tranquilly speculating upon the mysteries in man. No philosophers so thoroughly comprehend us as dogs and horses.
They see through us at a glance.
But there is a touch of divinity ….
and a special halo about a horse… ~Herman Melville from Redburn: His First Voyage
There are some animals (and people) who will not look you in the eye. It may be a reluctance to appear too bold, as direct eye contact can imply, or it may be a reluctance to expose too much of their own inner world and feelings.
Because eyes don’t lie.
But when you can empty yourself into another being’s eyes and feel both understanding and understood, that is a touch of divinity at work. The eye is a mirror, a gazing ball and a collecting pool, and we reveal, reflect and absorb when we really take the time and gather the courage to look deeply into one another.