If you are joining from Amber Haines’ place this morning, welcome. I’m so happy to see you!

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Amber Haines was one of the first writers I ever read online. Her words brought tears, revisited me in hushed moments, got swirled up on my insides. The way Amber expressed simple and complex truths of God, creation and humanity stirred a desire for more.

Though I still want to string salty, edgy, hard, beautiful words like Amber Haines when I grow up, I’ve realized these years later that I can only ever write like me. That said, the opportunity to be featured on my Southern sister’s blog this morning is a true honor.

Amber wrote a book released last summer called Wild in the Hollow. I checked the mail with anticipation for days and gave way to full rejoicing when it arrived just in time. Sick in bed on a girlfriend getaway, I read it in a dayWild in the Hollow is Amber’s story of homesickness, longing, brokenness and the ragged way home. It is lyrical and deep and memorable.

In her book, Amber recounts a conversation with a man named Monk in Port-au-Prince, Haiti:

“There’s no way to know what Monk had endured, because he kept a smile, but I asked him, ‘What is the thing you want most for your life?’ His response still has me reeling. He said, ‘I want for nothing, and I want for everything.’ He wanted better for Haiti. He wanted healing in relationships, but he explained that there wasn’t a thing he didn’t have in Christ. He walked a life of contentment on the tension between already but not yet. He looked like Jesus.” (Wild in the Hollow, p.160)

Since I read these words, they’ve been so caught up in my own understanding that I didn’t even recall I’d read them first in Amber’s book. How true that I want for nothing and everything, that I am walking the tension between the already and not yet, that I long for home while it already resides within me.

This morning, I share a part of my story with my grandmother. The walk of a little girl and an old woman. A walk of love.

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My 86-year-old grandmother lives in an adult foster home within two miles of my mama. Grandma receives frequent visits, gets her nails painted, works puzzles with her caregivers, goes to lunch, listens to books, watches the birds that gather at the feeders and on the swollen river out the expansive windows. From her sporty wheelchair, Grandma exercises her legs and arms, her fingers, her voice…

Some months ago, I took Grandma for a walk on River Road. As I pushed her wheelchair, I told her about my girls’ latest activities and the puppy we’d be getting soon. I talked about the change of seasons, pointed to scurrying squirrels and fluttering chickadees.

As is often the case, she was quiet.

The air was nipping cold, and I stopped frequently to check on her – wrapped her scarf around her face like a muffler, held her gloved hands in mine to warm them.

At times, Grams moved her feet from the crossbar and used her legs to help walk the wheelchair. We veered off to let a car pass, and I asked if she wanted to try walking.

“Yes,” she mouthed, nodding her head slowly up and down…

Continue reading at Amber Haines’ blog.

 

{Grandma’s wheelchair and tennis shoes / Photo credit: Ani Sharp}

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