Not Forgotten

Our memories are, at best, so limited, so finite, that it is impossible for us to envisage an unlimited, infinite memory, the memory of God. It is something I want to believe in: that no atom of creation is ever forgotten by him; always is; cared for; developing; loved. 
~Madeleine L’Engle from The Summer of the Great-Grandmother

…a friend told me a story about a little girl who wanted time alone with her infant brother. Her parents were suspicious of her motives. What if she did something to harm the baby? The big sister was so persistent that her mom and dad finally decided to allow her ten minutes alone with him in his room. After they closed the door, they listened quietly. They felt chills when they heard their daughter say,
“Baby tell me what heaven is like. I’m starting to forget.”
~Sue Shanahan from “Fresh from Heaven”

He of strength and hope,
of infinite memory and everlasting love:
He knows us down to our very atoms ~~
even we who are weak, broken, and undeserving.
He causes us to burst into bloom
in remembrance of having been in His presence.

Startling Joy


photo by Nate Gibson

Faith is what makes life bearable, with all its tragedies and ambiguities and sudden, startling joys.
~Madeleine L’Engle

It was another day of a virus with fever that kept me down and atypically quiet on a summer day.  There are peas to harvest in the garden, a barn to clean, a new puppy to train, flower gardens to water–not to mention the usual needs at work.  I could do none of it, not even the requisite two hours at the Dept of Motor Vehicles to get my drivers’ license renewed before my birthday next week.  It all must wait for another healthier day.

Amid my own chills and aches, and with just a little dose of self-pity, tonight I witnessed an expanding fever rise across the horizon in the western sky, exploding in intense red-orange light, coloring and covering everything. Then, having reached its peak,  it backed off. as a fever will do, gradually fading to gray, all once again returned to normal.

And so my fever will relent at some point and fade in my memory.

Tonight, the fever in the sky,  like faith that touches and colors everything in the rough times, was the sudden startling joy that has made everything bearable.

photo by Nate Gibson

Called to Advent–pondering

But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.
Luke 2:19

There are times when all we can do is sit back and wonder at what is happening around us. It may make no sense, it may seem completely foreign or irrational. We have a choice to either back away from what is completely beyond our understanding, or plunge in head first in faith, trusting that what counts is that at least it makes sense to God.

Mary was exactly in that position as a new mother. She treasures up, she marvels at and she ponders all that she hears and sees, knowing but not completely fathoming that she has delivered the Deliverer.

We need to spend time in wonder too. We are stunned and amazed at the depth of the Father’s love that brought Him into our arms only to be cruelly rejected just as He pays our debts in full. This is the kind of story that makes no sense at all except to God. We couldn’t have made this up, not in a million years, no matter how hard we tried. It’s just as well–because we are not the Word, and He is.

This is the irrational season
When love blooms bright and wild
Had Mary been filled with reason
There’d have been no room for the child.

Madeline L’Engle

An Advent Tapestry–The Stars Held Their Breath

Woman with a Candle--Godfried Schalken

Was there a moment, known only to God, when all the stars held their breath,
when the galaxies paused in their dance for a fraction of a second,
and the Word, who had called it all into being,
went with all his love into the womb of a young girl,
and the universe started to breathe again,
and the ancient harmonies resumed their song,
and the angels clapped their hands for joy?

– Madeline L’Engle from Bright Evening Star