Dear friends, I’m so glad to see you here again. Really, I’ve missed you.
When I took that little blogging break, I intended to rest and rejuvenate so that I’d have something to pour out again. To my family, my friends, this blog, life.
I’ve been worn out, and there’s no getting around the fact that this life demands so much of us, in all kinds of ways.
(I was so laid flat by the bedtime routine the other night that my eyes kept rolling back into my head. I felt them going and could not make them stop. Our laundry room hamper holds some hand washables that have lived there since before the turn of the the decade. I struggle to parent and love well. I am simultaneously elated for and afraid of summer vacation. I don’t know the last time I sewed a popped-off button.)
While I have purposed this last week and a half to be still and know that God is God…
While I’ve had some sweet moments in quiet without the tapping of keyboard keys to reflect and pray…
While I have seen tender goodness in the faces, words and arms of family and friends…
Though in a few choice moments I stopped when I might normally keep going…
I have learned again how difficult it can be for me to receive filling. I have learned again how I can’t white-knuckle myself to receive the love, grace and peace that is.
For the very posture of receiving is hands open, isn’t it?
I imagine that when I am filled — really, really filled — then I will have something good to give from the overflow. Though this is true in ways, the giving and receiving of our lives and hearts cannot be managed and controlled, no matter how hard I try to keep accounts. Truth be told, it’s usually when I think I’m good and filled up and have something really special to pour out that I spill all over the place anyway. (Maybe it’s the thinking I’m all good and filled up that’s the problem?)
And though we need breaks to fill, need to ask ourselves questions about priorities and why we do what we do and what is ours to give and what needs to remain undone, I can’t forget the mystery of grace in all this.
Giving and receiving, being blessed and blessing others are not intake and output to be measured, nor ledgers to balance. This matter of blessing is mysterious and uncontainable like air, difficult to grasp like water and sand through fingers.
Most of us can recall the joyous blessedness in blessing another — in the very act of being poured out. Most of us know times we felt unable to appreciate that which was poured in, try as we might to receive it. We’ve known well the joys that fill and make demands at once.
So while our days are for pouring out, we must not forget the blessedness in slowing to remember we are blessed.
We are loved.
We are held.
We are known.
In spite of ugly behavior, frenetic activity, confusion, laziness, apathy, missteps and mistakes. Not only in spite of our weakness — but right in the middle of it is this grace.
This grace lives in the depletion and in the filled. This is the blessing.
I am held not because I have done enough to deserve the holding, but because I am called by name, loved by the Maker of my spirit, soul and body — the one who chooses to hold me and stay with me.
My Maker doesn’t love me for what I wash, what I write, what I sort, what I sew, what I say.
He loves me. Empty or filled, loves me.
These blessings in and blessings out — they are part of the river, and the river winds and wends, wraps around rocks and over snags. New trickles join in with the flow. Sometimes it rushes, sometimes calms to still, but still it is the river. And we can’t hold, can’t tame the river.
All of us, we journey in little rafts, and we paddle so hard. Then sometimes we’ve just got to throw the oars to the bottom of the boat, cast ourselves over the sides and let go.