Keep Ruminating … Until Peace Comes

The Grand Canyon ... It Whispers

The Grand Canyon … It Whispers

“Distance deceives. It flattens depth.” I read this at an observation point, peering out over the Grand Canyon. It meant something to me. I’m still ruminating on it …

That happens with some things. They just kind of leak in, hang around somewhere in my thoughts and then occasionally pop up and tap me on the shoulder as if to say ‘remember me. I’m important.’

Moments in the peering can sometimes return themselves to the naked eye as flat, non-dimensional, right in front of you, touchable; like a painted canvas rather than etched and cavernous, raked, dredged and mottled, deep and rich – the carvings that make up the Canyon’s beauty.  ‘Distance deceives.’  To be sure, the Canyon is vast.  Its breadth stretching beyond the eye.  One of the Seven Wonders of the Natural World.  It was either placed there or had something removed from there.

Dan and I stopped at the Grand Canyon on the way home from gracefully placing our Marvelous Mystery … our last born … into the hands of a loving God draped in the likes of a college campus on the West Coast.  We journeyed more than 1,700 miles to make our deposit.

There are emotions for that ….. There are few words for that ….. and there is that ‘deception.’  The one that says that ‘distance flattens depth.’

The day before we left on our trek, my Wide Eyed Wonder and her Red Headed beau left for South Korea …. for a WHOLE YEAR!  They journeyed more than 7,000 miles to live and serve and teach among the children … to inhale an entirely new and beautiful way of life … more, more, more of what God created to explore and delight in.

There are emotions for that ….. There are few words for that ….. and there is that ‘deception.’  The one that says that ‘distance flattens depth.’

Deception can either incite fear …. or it can cause you to look at the truth … and smile.

And there is that tapping.  Tap … tap … tapping.  The one that nags:  ‘remember me.  I’m important.’  And I laugh.  I laugh out loud.  Really hard.  Because the ‘truth’ is that for me and those girls … no distance could ever flatten the depth that we share.  Life has been too full …. too rich …. too meaty.  Life has been too real to be flattened … too tough to be overlooked …. to fun to be forgotten.

I will ‘remember that …. because it’s important.’

 

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In case I failed to mention it …..

Touch your children….
Touch your children….
Touch your children….
Touch your children….
Touch your children….
Touch your children….
Rub a back….hold a hand….pat a knee….trace a jawline….squeeze a muscle….smooth an eyelid….brush a shoulder….sweep a whisp….
Touch your children….
Touch your children.,…
Touch your children….
Touch your children….
Touch your children….
Touch your children….

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Astounded

There were four of them. Sprouts from a dying seed. Of the four, three wore ‘jewels’ … one wore ‘jams’.

And … there were parades … it was the King’s floats and Queen’s floats that we were anxious to see. Breathtaking …. Dazzling. We craned our necks …. And finally …. they came …. there …  exalted … Royalty.  Smiling.  Waving that glided wave … arm raised high … stiff hand …. graceful wrist …. acknowledging the throngs … those of us whose lives stood still for a while …. those of us who came to see only them …. awaiting the arrival of ‘Their Majesties’ … soaking them in as they passed by …. hoping that where we stood amongst the many would be the place where ‘His’ and ‘Hers’  would stop to toast …. so we could get a closer look … at their form, their beauty, their every detail, their splendor.  They wave … we wave … hoping we caught their eye … hoping they wanted to catch ours … and that we were acknowledged as maybe ‘just a little more’ to them then the rest of the crowd … ‘just a little more’ … and then … and then … they rolled on … and then they rolled on.

We … taking in every breath of the moment, our jewels, our treasures, our Godsends … believing in their magic … smiling until they are gone … until all we saw was the backs of them … and we lowered our eyes … and our hearts … heaved a staccato beat.

They … leaving behind …. well, just leaving behind … moving on … moving in … to the world that awaits … the more … the many … who await their arrival … lives that will never be the same without their coming …  the four of them … in their ‘jewels’ and ‘jams’.

We replicated those waves the six of us … wrapping them in laughter like a soft taco shell … tight. One leaving .. one staying behind … some leaving one staying behind … one leaving some staying behind … we all have had practice with this glided wave … raised high arm … stiffened hand …. graceful wrist …. we all laughed a whimsical laugh …  “We acknowledge you …. we adore you ….. we’ve come to admire … take in all of your details … hoping to have a moment to toast … some eye to eye contact … we believe in your magic.”

And you, your Royal Highnesses, sitting atop your thrones … peering into the masses … plastered smile …. robotic wave …. jeweled crowns …. giving what is expected … what you’ve practiced for … looking in the crowds for a familiar face … someone who will soften the rigid stand and give some meaning for your stifling behavior … a deep desire to connect … thinking ‘I didn’t sign up for this’ … wanting to leave your perch – and partake…. and be with the swarms of the living that’s taking place all around you. You want down!

And there is that moment …. that revelation …. the culmination of the discussions …. the debates ….  the wars … that you have been having in your head during your entire route …. that inhaling second when you realize …. you can get down …. you don’t have to stay up there …. you can be amongst us … you should be amongst us … It is time…

It is time …

Dropping your train, relinquishing your crown, rending the demands …. shaking off the expectations … you step down  … You! … Step! … Down! … and we? … we? … we raise our eyes …. hearts murmuring in contented rhythm …

We and you … look across … we are side by side …  we are face to face … no one up … no one down … just across.  You catching our eye – twinkling … We catching yours –  Twinkling ….

And there you go … the four of you … Heads high … filled with all we had  … … It… Is… Time… It! … Is! … Time! …Waving this glided wave … arm raised high … stiff hand …. graceful wrist …. and we all laugh … that whimsical laugh … ‘jams’ pulled up … ‘jewels’ draped on.

Admiring the man and women you have become! Sprouts from a dying seed …. We acknowledge you ….  We applaud you.  And once again …. you have astounded us!

How … you have astounded us!

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A Crafty Wooing

When my children started driving on their own they would often ask for instructions as to how to get from where they were to where they needed to be.  They said they remembered a lot of landmarks but needed directions getting from place to place.

My parents, now in their mid-late-70’s, moved close by me several years ago from the town they were born, raised and lived in for all of their lives.  When they started driving around here they needed instructions.  Even now when they need to get somewhere they haven’t been in a while, they need directions as to the best way to get there.

For both my parents and my newly driving teens, I would often give them directions from one place to another not so much based on the way that was fastest and many times not by the way that was easiest.  But I would give them directions in a way that I knew would work best for them . . . a way that they could understand . . . a way that I knew would make sense to them . . . a way that as they experienced it, they would be able to identify with, be at ease with, and in some small way feel the accomplishment of having arrived at their destination.

Today as I was thinking about those that I love so very much and thinking of all of the different ways God woos, it occurred to me that He brings each of us to our destiny in this very same fashion.  Maybe not so much the way that seems fastest and most times, not the easiest, and sometimes in a way that seems “way out of the way,” but in a way that He knows will work best for us . . . a way that we can understand . . . a way that makes sense to us . . . a way, that as we experience it, we will be able to identify with, be at ease with, and in some small way feel the accomplishment of.

I am in awe of such a God that could know us so secretly and care this ardently.  I am in awe of His ways.  I am in awe of a Creator who crafts our paths to fit our unparalleled needs . . .  just to woo us nearer His heart, nearer His breath, nearer His ways.

I am in awe!  How about you?

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The Power of a Moment

It was just last year, so she was 16, mid-high school.  We were leaving a volleyball game.  She started – every game.  She played – every game.  She played – the whole game, every game.  She heard from her coach only if she did something wrong.  Well, she heard from her coach when someone else did something wrong too.  That’s all she heard . . . and she had heard enough. The tears spilled – and the words came – and the coach heard – that now she had done something wrong.  I remember . . . her eyes . . . pistachio green . . . rimmed in “I’m all cried out red” . . . filled . . . with absolute frustration.

He was 15 or so and had to appear before a judge because of an arrest.  Looking down, a little boy in a man’s body.  Looking down, a child in an adult world.  Tough.  Looking down, he wore a baseball cap and Starter jacket. Looking down, passing through security at the courthouse, half in and half out, the guard raised his voice and told him to step back.  Looking up . . . his eyes . . . frantically scanning . . .  searching . . . with absolute fear.

She was about two years old and I was lying her back in the bathtub to rinse shampoo out of her hair.  I had to flush my knees up against the side of the tub and hook my body over the side to stable myself so I could cradle her neck in the crook of my arm.  She knew if I couldn’t hold her up she would get soap and water in her eyes.  She knew if I slipped she would go under.  Her eyes . . . . needing to know . . . peered up into mine . . . with absolute . . . trust.

It was Christmas break, junior year of high school.  She was 17 years old.  Wanting desperately to be all that she was created to be.  Wise beyond her time and knowing what she needed.  Knowing that no one else understood that she knew what she needed.  Leaving traditional schooling behind, and the relationships she had accumulated, she chose to school at home, forfeiting – things that most kids would just as soon drown in the chaos of rather than give up.  When it was brought to her attention that she would be one of the next year’s valedictorian, a status that afforded much, a status that she would lose, she simply asked “is it really that important?”   I felt them . . . her eyes wide . . . knowing . . . locking in on mine . . . with . . . absolute . . . courage.

They are just moments . . . I know they are just moments . . . . but powerful, powerful moments . . . Unguarded, unprotected, raw.   Moments with no words . . . silent renderings . . . but oh how they bellowed!

The Power of a Moment!

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If the Truth Be Told

Amazing —- how much I lie to myself.

I quest for absolute honesty —- it keeps smack up in my face just exactly how dishonest I can be – daily – to myself especially.  I hate using the word lie.  But let’s be honest… if it isn’t the truth, it’s a lie.

For example . . . (and please know that if I say “we,” I equally mean “me”) . . .

“I was thinking about you just the other day.”  Really?; “How’s your day?” and you say “Good.”  Really?  “Love your hair like that.”  Really?;  “These pants still fit me.”  Really?; “I look like an old lady.”  Really?; “I’ll pray for you.”  Really?; “Meet my friend.”  Friend . . . Really?  “I’m fine.”  Really?; “God wouldn’t mind.”  Really?; “I’m sorry.”  Really?; “I don’t mind.”  Really?  “If I wasn’t suppose to eat it, I wouldn’t be hungry for it.”  Really?; “I can do that.”  Really?  “I feel the same way.”  Really?  “I understand.”  Really?  “This little bite isn’t anything.  I’ll act like I didn’t have it since it wasn’t a meal.”  Really?  “Dang, I look good.”  Really?  “Oh yea, I remember that.”  Really?  “I was meaning to call you.”  Really?  “I left on time but the traffic was  horrible.”  Really?  “I didn’t mean it.”  Really?  “It was no problem at all.”  Really?  “I forgive you.”  Really?  “I’ll try to do better.”  Really?  “I am so happy for you.”  Really?  “I forgot.”  Really?  “I’ll do it as soon as I get a minute.”  Really?  “Your baby is beautiful.”  Really?  “I don’t know why that happened.”  Really?  “I’ll never do that again.”  Really?

Like I said . . . I quest.

The truth is . . . no, really, the truth is . . . Absolute honesty is the key to living without fear.  Truth is not just something to say or not say, it’s a standard by which to live.  It is swift but simple.  It is sometimes harder to say or mean, but it makes life so much easier; so much freer.  And perhaps if the truth would cause harm, it is better left unsaid . . . and perhaps if the saying sounds good, but it’s not the truth, it too is better left unsaid.

Let’s QUEST shall we?

“Truth is a glorious but hard mistress.  She never consults, bargains, or compromises.”  A.W. Tozer

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Let’s “Enter” Rather than “Solve”

It seems that in order to find peace there is this sense that life must be reduced to something that can be managed.  Like if I can just take all of life’s ebbs and flows, my recurring character flaws, the road’s unexpected twists and turns, my ‘what if’s?’ and ‘but God’s’ and place them in a box and then go about solving the riddle of the box, then I can rest.

Listening in on a conversation, well, I guess I was actually a part of the conversation because listening is a most important part of conversing.  Anyway, I was in listening mode.  I heard self-aggrandizing; self-promotion; self-exaltation; and I wondered, as I tend to, where does that come from?  I do it.  We all do it.  Some more than others, but to some extent, we all do it.  It makes us feel better about ourselves – more acceptable – more appreciated – more important – more loved – more respected.  But it’s just us, talking about ourselves, our greatness and all the while thinking it’s making others see us as “amazing.”  What funny, easily deceived people we are.  But I suppose it’s a way to put our ‘image’ in a box; a riddle that we are working to solve.

I don’t think the deception comes in the “amazing” part because I think people – just the miracle of human life – is amazing.  The deception is in thinking that self-promotion will make others think that I am amazing too.   And I realized that mindset is rooted in a deep core belief that I am “under” something; “beneath” or “below” someone; that there is something that I have to “rise above” to be happy and acceptable.  Quizzically, it is that very thought, that very idea, that will forever keep me “under” and constantly striving to “arise.”  With that mindset, I will continue to live in a posture of defeat, focus on myself and fight my flesh commanding that it yield, to reach some pinnacle in this life where there are no ebbs and flows, no twists and turns, no “what if’s?” and “but God’s.”  A pinnacle that most often is set before us by mere man.  And as I type this, I also realize that in continuing this way of thinking, when I do (if ever I do) finally “rise above,” then I will have perfectly positioned myself to “look down” on those who I now see as “under,” “beneath,” or “below.”  But I suppose it’s a way to put my ‘confusion’ in a box; a position I must keep working to overcome.

How can I look in the eyes of someone when they are above me or below me?  How do they look back in mine?  How can I connect with people and relish the splendor of a conversation with someone if I can’t just sit across a table from them with a heart attitude of “I am just like you.  No more, no less.”  We are fellows.  We are searchers.  We are conquerors in some things and strugglers in others.  We are comrades.  We are even.  We are equals.  We are accepted.  We are loved.  We —- are we.

God is no respecter of persons and shows partiality to no one.  He values us one in the same.  How can I do any different?  So why do I think I must ‘arise’ or come ‘up from under’ in order to manage a life filled with questions that I cannot answer?  When I can instead, sit across a table from you and enjoy an eye to eye conversation with you and connect with you with an understanding of the depth of our value and a heart attitude that “I am just like you…. no more, no less.”

“Recipes are useful in a well-lighted kitchen.  Recipe theology, that collection of practical biblical principles that tell us what to do in every situation, treats confusion as something to be solved rather than entered.  It reduces the mysteries of life to things we can manage.”   Larry Crabb, The Silence of Adam.

Life’s Mysteries . . . let’s grab them and squeeze them and appreciate them and accept them and love them.

Let’s enter . . . .  you and I.

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