I miss blogging and the freefall of ideas, the connecting with you here. I never thought these last months would be a period of so many long separations and breaks from this place, so much else needing tending. And they are good things, and there are a lot of them.
I have a new job working (while the girls are in school, two days a week) at a law office, helping clients through their personal injuries, their recoveries from car, car-striking-bicyclist, car-striking-pedestrian collisions. I like my role and adore the people (longtime friends) with whom I work. Each time I leave the downtown office to catch the bus, I watch cars extra close — looking askance at their speed, the way they chomp at heels, waiting to make turns or accelerate through the light — and I am aware of how we are so fragile, these hearts, muscles, flesh and bones.
Also, I still work one day a week in the same office where I’ve been for nearly nine years, supporting a team (of close friends) who are real estate agents. I love these ones and their commitment to serving, and I savor my view on the office courtyard, watching people be people through the one-way glass in which they often check their reflections or pace back and forth with cell phone to ear. When the courtyard is empty, I sometimes look up from my work to catch glimmers of clouds and light bouncing off mirrored glass across the way, refractions that are breaks and turns.
I spend much time preparing for the women’s retreat I’ll be leading in a few weeks, soaking up the truth of Isaiah 55, letting it sift and shift and settle down deep, taking God’s hand as he leads me on new journeys to places I do not know, so I can share with others what he’s shown me. And it is mundane and sacred labor, like labor is. This creative endeavor has required nearly all of my writing energies lately.
God is indeed a God of mystery because some of his ways are broken branches and fallen trees, some reflections and waves, others unfurling fresh sod — the dirty backside laid down to reveal a new lush path. So much is new, while so much stays the same.
I mother my girls and try to love my husband well, and I am well aware of my need, how fragile and on the verge of breaking sometimes and yet, in my Creator’s hands, strong (enough). Lala loses her top tooth, and the tears come hard for me, that gap a symbol of so many years and memories and babies and innocence and time’s move, and I realize there’s strength in the tears too.
This spring break, we spent days at the beach with my mom and sis and her family — all of us communally living and tending little people. They dodge surf, and we examine tide pool creatures together and watch the frolicking seals as they stop to watch us. The kids embark on great explorations and hug and hold and make art. I snuggle my nephews and listen to my niece as she shares with me her beautiful stories, see my girls and their cousins delight in the breaking waves and wondrous sea creatures, watch Michael and my brother-in-law, Jeff, laugh until tears form in their eyes, and I am filled.
Between writing and office-ing, I’d worked nearly every day for the last month before that trip to the coast, and I felt myself precariously close to the edge, tears falling whenever I stopped to say or feel how I was really doing. Just hours before we left to return back home, Mama, Sis and I had facials and massages. It was an amazing gift from my mom, and I felt so fortunate to have the space and place to shed my shell and then to be wrapped in soft, hot towels, and I barely uttered a word.
So tired of pouring out, I kept saying to myself “receive the gift.”
I think sometimes — often — that’s what God is inviting us into, and I don’t take him up on it. Slow. Stop. Listen to the wind. Drink the color of the blossoms. Hear the timbre of their laughter. Give a hug. Receive one. See the way the light breaks through the glass. Remember your weaknesses and do not despise them. We are not cogs in a machine. Allow yourself to be wrapped and held and loved while you lay your very life down. Draw near to these days for they are gift in all their breaking and mending, expanding and contracting.
Last night as a family, we read again about the woman breaking her bottle of pure nard over Jesus’ feet, giving all she had, and I’m thinking about this courage and vulnerability, and then the affirmation of God’s Son. I imagine the look in his eyes as he tells this woman and those gathered around judging her that she’s done a beautiful thing, one that will be remembered.
She sits at the feet of Jesus, extraordinarily expensive perfume wafting through the room and wipes his feet with her hair. Her best, an offering. I’m considering the face of the Shepherd, the open hand of the Lord, the suffering majesty of the King whose breaking open we remember this holy week — his very life poured out, the fragrance of saving.
A free write inspired by Friday’s Five Minute Friday prompt, BREAK, but taking much longer than five to write it out. Much love, friends.