31 Days of Simple Truths: Choosing (Day 1)

ID-1001051

Image: James Barker/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I’ve gone round and round in my brain about participating in Write 31 Days this year. I really want to, but we’ve just moved, life is crazy, I need to go easy on myself…

I wanted to be deep and profound and figure out how to make a cool little graphic for my series like all the other lovely ones I’ve seen. I even purchased an app to do it, and it straight up will not open. I have no idea why. I don’t understand. I spent an hour trying to figure it out before throwing in the towel.

I figured it was a sign that it was all too much, and I was out of my mind for even considering it.

Then I felt the familiar whisper of the Holy Spirit: Keep it simple.

Ugh. I am not good at simple. I never have been. Even when I resolve I’m going to, somehow, I have a knack for complicating it.

But I need simple right now. Desperately.

So, these will not be long posts. I am in a new season, and I am looking to lay the foundation for what’s ahead of us, to drive down the stakes that will hold us steady. I am looking for simple truths in every day—things that will anchor my soul.

And today this is my truth: One of the most beautiful things about a new season is the power to choose what can come with me from the old season. If I don’t want it anymore, I don’t have to bring it with me. I get to let go.

So here’s to releasing burdens, fears and old patterns. Here’s to scattering the unhealthy things to be carried off with the leaves on the wind. Here’s to loosening my grip on all the dead things and embracing the beauty of bare branches, ready  for deep rest in preparation to receive new life.

Leave a comment

Filed under Beauty, Change

A Prayer When the Future is Uncertain

Image from Unsplash

Image from Unsplash

“You, Eternal One, are my sustenance and my life-giving cup. In that cup, You hold my future and my eternal riches.” – Psalm 16:5

You, Eternal One, my sustenance—
Carry me.

Bear the weight of my uncertainty,
the wandering and the loneliness,
the tension of being caught between worlds and places,
the swirling, shifting colors of faith
and all I ever believed mattered.

Feed my starving soul.

You—my life-giving cup—
I want to drink deep.
I want to live
wholehearted,
unafraid and unashamed,
hope-filled,
fiery.
Pour the cup You offer
into every dead and dying place in me.

You are holding my future.
I cannot see it or understand it.
I cannot grasp it or shape it.

But

if it is in Your cup,
perhaps I could taste it?
Drink it in until it flows through my veins
and into my core?
It could nourish my way of being,
seep into my blood and bones,
until the hope and unfolding of something beautiful
defines my essence and existence
more than fear of the unknown.

Leave a comment

Filed under Change, Faith, Poetry

Shifting Seasons

Unsplash/Joe Beck

Unsplash/Joe Beck

September 1 is here, and I am staring into the fog of this month, wondering what exactly it will bring.

In 30 days, my life is going to look a lot different than it does right now. A huge part of that involves moving to a new home, although where exactly that home is going to be still remains a mystery.

I’ve learned something about myself over the last few months. I don’t deal with transition as well as I’d like to. It’s one thing when there’s some clarity about what awaits on the other side of the change. But when everything looks like one enormous question mark? Well, this doesn’t bring out my finest moments.

But I want to change this. I don’t know that I can do anything to change the swirling emotions that start a frenzied dance inside of me. But maybe I could respond to them differently, in a way that births peace even in the uncertainty.

Recognizing this and accepting it about myself seems like an enormous victory all by itself. And now I am looking for the next steps to take to embrace the shift, rather than be overwhelmed by it.

Today it looks like writing for me—to give my soul space to breathe and to remind myself of what could be possible. It looks like an enormous, colorful salad for lunch—to care for this body that has a lot to do in the days and weeks ahead. It  looks like lingering a little longer over a book that speaks to the process of waiting. It looks like hunting down joy and telling my husband I need to laugh with him before this day is over.

And maybe something in me can change for the better, even as life changes all around me.

What about you? How do you deal with transitions and uncertainty? 

2 Comments

Filed under Change

Overcoming Evil With Good

*Dear readers, I’ve been doing a ton of writing for my job recently, which is making it quite challenging to keep up with this space. This is one of my recent pieces I did, and it’s a message really close to my heart so I wanted to share it here too.

“Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” – Romans 12:21

Before you watch the news or search the internet, or maybe just before you begin your day-to-day routines, it might be good to reflect on Paul’s words at the end of Romans 12. It is easy to be weighed down and discouraged by the struggles and very real horrors in the world. We can be paralyzed—so unsure of where to start or how to even address problems so big that we end up not doing much of anything.

But Paul gives us our starting point: Overcome evil with good. What this looks like for each of us will be slightly different, but it is a question we can bring before God daily—what good do You want me to do today?

Practical Mercy

In Victor Hugo’s classic masterpiece, Les Misérables, he tells the story of a man named Jean Valjean, who was imprisoned for 19 years because he stole a loaf of bread. Once he is released, it is only an illusory freedom. He cannot find anywhere to work or stay because he is an ex-convict. He finally finds a compassionate bishop who takes him in, but he repays the man’s kindness by stealing his silverware and slipping away in the night.

The police arrest Valjean and bring him back to the bishop to be charged, but in a stunning display of mercy, the bishop tells the guards that the silverware was a gift and demands that they release him. He challenges Valjean to take the silver and use it to become an honest man—a moment that powerfully transforms his life.

Come on over and read the rest!

Leave a comment

Filed under Faith, Justice, Love

What the Hope of Gilbert Meant

anne.gilbertIt seems that a lot of beloved celebrities have left the world in the last several months to a year. Maybe it’s more than usual, or maybe it’s just that many of them now are associated with my own childhood or other significant memories and so I feel it more.

I probably don’t have to tell you (but I will) that something is distinctly different about Jonathan Crombie’s death. Of course, in my practical mind, I know he is a very real, flesh and blood person—someone’s son and sister and friend, and all those people are grieving him as such. But for millions more of us, Gilbert Blythe is dead, and this strikes us in a deep place that is hard to articulate.

More than one woman I know has tried—very unsuccessfully—to explain to a husband or significant other or just any male in general why this is a loss. I know my own husband has given me more than one “are-you-kididing-me” look since I heard the news. And I almost feel silly. Why did I actually cry over this? Is this like weeping through Titanic and Rose’s heartbreak as she pushes Jack’s body off the frozen iceberg? Is this like watching The Notebook? Is this chick-flick madness run amuck?

I’m going to have to say no. There’s a reason—a far better reason than a beloved book or excellent onscreen portrayal of a character. Gilbert Blythe is so much more than the heartthrob male lead in a love story. I mean, of course, he was perfect. His boyish grin that stayed with him from the schoolyard days when he had that unruly mop of curls all the way until he was a distinguished medical student—sigh. He was handsome and smart and charming. Even when he called Anne “carrots,” we were already falling for him.

When he clapped like a goofball after her performance at White Sands. When he gave up the Avonlea school so Anne could stay with Marilla. When he was heartbroken after Anne rejected his proposal and told her he knew she’d marry some fool who’d sit and read her Tennyson by firelight and he hoped he’d break her heart, whoever he was. Heck, even when he was at death’s door because of scarlet fever and revealed he’d broken off the engagement with Christine because there’d never be anyone else for him besides Anne—he was perfect.

But there’s still more. Gilbert Blythe meant something to so many of us as young girls because he sent a message through his unyielding love for Anne that countered practically every other message we receive as women every day of our lives.

Gilbert was hope.

Hope that smart actually was better than pretty (or at least as good as, because come on, Anne was lovely). Hope that we could be smarter than a man and instead of being threatened by us, he would celebrate us. Hope that we could have days when we were at our worst, days that could possibly include smashing slates over his head or knocking him over with our basket of flowers, and he would still want us. Hope that our pasts did not define us. Hope that it was really ok to not be like the other girls. Hope that it was ok to crave both romance and something more. Hope that ambition in a woman was not unattractive. Hope that we really could give a dramatic performance or write a book (or any other creative endeavor), even if no one around us ever aspired to such things. Hope that if our imaginations got the better of us and we ended up in some bizarre scrape (like hanging onto a bridge for dear life because our little skiff sprung a leak), he might tease us a little, but at least he would bail us out.

The fact that a man like Gilbert might love a woman like Anne meant that maybe we actually were not too much. This was perhaps the biggest hope of all—that with all of our fiery emotions (and possibly bad tempers) and lofty ideals and propensity for mischief and artistic bent and flair for the dramatic and tendency to make mistakes because we were so outspoken, maybe we were not more than a man could handle. Maybe we were just right, exactly as we were.

No wonder a fictional character managed to be the first true love of so many young girls. Maybe it was silly. Or maybe it was exactly what we needed to keep us from losing heart.

10514541_804042912973190_2247408792594572404_nAnd when I look at the man I’ve married—well, perhaps he’s not quite so eloquent and refined as Gilbert. But goodness, he has always embraced all of me—the good, the bad and the crazy. He champions me. He cheers me on when I chase my ambitions. He laughs at my dramatics . . . and occasionally gets a little dramatic himself. He picked me because I wasn’t like all the other girls. He’s not threatened by my strengths. He’s my safe place.

Like Anne, it took me a little bit to find him because I went looking for my ideals outside myself too. But even there is another gift Gilbert gave us—the hope that if it took a long journey to find ourselves, we would eventually find our way home, find our way to the love we’d always needed.

I don’t know if this will help our men look any less bewildered as we cry over a fictional character, but pondering the significance of this beloved character and how he actually shaped me has helped me to understand my own heart a little better and to appreciate my husband a lot more. And I’ll take both of those things any day.

So, rest in peace, Jonathan Crombie. And thank you, thank you for immortalizing the reminder of what kind of love we could hope for and giving us courage to be true to the women Anne inspired us to be.

Leave a comment

Filed under Creativity, Hope, Love, Marriage

What I Never Noticed About Seasons

New life is emerging, even in unexpected or hardened places.

New life is emerging, even in unexpected or hardened places.

On Monday morning of this week, I could not drag myself out of bed.

As if a weighted blanket was holding me down, I could not even will myself to move. I finally managed to open one eye long enough to catch a blurry glimpse of the clock, then squeezed them shut again at the realization of how much I’d overslept.

Eyes still closed, body still unwilling to budge, I laid there and began to mentally rant at myself. Great job, Adela. You’ve thrown off your entire day . . . again. You were a mess last week after Daylight Savings. You can’t do this again this week. You’ll never get anything done. How do you think you’ll make a dent in your never-ending to do list if you can’t even wake up early . . .

(Seriously. Who needs the rest of the world to make us feel not good enough? I can manage just fine on my own.)

So before I’d ever made it out of bed, I had thoroughly belittled and berated myself, as if somehow that would provide the necessary motivation to war against my obstinate body. I dragged myself to the bathroom to begin getting ready, and because no one makes smart choices under the influence of dense brain-fog, I also stood on the scale during this process. Commence mental beat-down #2.

By some miracle, I managed to get the kids up and dressed and fed everyone breakfast without any total disasters ensuing. And I knew in my bones I’d best make time for my morning pages and sipping coffee slowly if I wanted to rescue my day from the oh so precarious position it was dangling from.

Pencil in hand, moving across the pages, thoughts finding their way through the clouds and into the light—and suddenly this sentence appeared on the page: I wonder if part of my struggle has been the result of warring against the season.

This thought stopped me in my tracks for a moment. I’m all about seasons. I welcome each one with its own special little ritual. I savor their unique nuances and invitations. What had I missed that was causing me to be at war?

Even considering the previous week, when Daylight Savings robbed an hour of my life and messed up all my rhythms by letting darkness extend into the morning, I kept fighting—trying to keep the same schedule, the same pace, the same routines—and I miserably lost the fight. Why had I not given myself grace and space to adjust?

As I fleshed all this out in my journal, another question for myself emerged: What would it take for me to look ahead—to see what season is coming and to make the necessary preparations and adjustments? What would it take for me to remember and show myself  grace in the nuances of each season?

I glanced at the calendar and was struck by the realization that the first day of spring was coming. These last few days were the final days of winter. I felt myself resolve to breathe in the final moments of rest before turning my attention to the bustle of spring.

And then there it was. A revelation that literally left me with my mouth hanging open as I stared down at my journal. Maybe you have seen this before, but I certainly have not. We often talk about the pattern God established in creation by resting on the seventh day. For the last year of my life, I have deliberately worked to weave rest into my schedule—at least 30 minutes to 1 hour in every day, and at least 1 day in every week. But I have never seen the much bigger picture.

God perfectly and strategically wove rest into creation through the cycle of the seasons. Spring and Autumn are the working seasons; Summer and Winter are the resting seasons.

Think about it a moment. Spring is for planting and birthing; it is for clearing away excess and remnants of dead things. If there is any hope of sustaining life for the rest of the year, there is a lot of work to be done in this season. Autumn is the harvest season. We reap the fruits of our labor, but it takes additional labor to gather those fruits. It is time to prepare and store, so there is no lack in the winter. If there is any hope of surviving the long dark and cold, there is a lot of work to be done in this season.

But tucked in between these busy seasons are the resting seasons. True—Summer is a more active rest. Things that were planted in spring need to be tended; things that were birthed need to be nurtured. But there is a lot of waiting now—waiting to see what will emerge, what will grow. The heat demands that we take it easy, that we drink deep and restore our souls. And then there is Winter, the deep rest. Winter invites us to see beauty even in death. It invites us to slow down and simply be. It demands that some things be let go in order that other things may live again when it is time.

Even physically, our bodies are not going to respond the same way to our efforts at exercise during the cold months. They are conserving energy and insulating us against the chill. Granted, some of us might have a little more insulation than we feel is necessary, but still, our bodies slow down. Think of it as a kind of hibernation for non-bears!

I believe our bodies respond to these seasons even when our minds don’t make the connection, and that is when we find ourselves at war. We are trying to override our hardwiring, and the results will not be productive. We feel guilty because we are failing to maintain our usual levels of accomplishment, and that guilt sets us up for further failure and frustration because who ever made wise choices out of guilt?

So here we are at today—the spring equinox. And I am ready. Because over the last few days, I allowed myself to linger in the final moments of winter’s rest. And while I still struggled a bit to get out of bed most mornings, each day the fog around my brain has been slightly less thick. It is lifting. My mind is turning to plans for cleaning and organizing, for planting seeds—both literal (mmmm, tomatoes!) and figurative (new ideas, projects and disciplines).

I feel like a clarity has emerged for how I need to live, and I am brimming over with excitement and hope. God outlined the perfect patterns, and I want to embrace them. I am even making notes on my calendar to look ahead, so I will remember to be gracious with myself when the transitions between the seasons come.

Here’s to less warring and more resting in the flawless design of each season!

(P.S.: A little bonus thought – what if the reason so many people fail at New Year’s resolutions is because they are trying to plant new things in the thick of the deep rest that is Winter? What if the first few months of the new year should actually be for further contemplating and thinking and planning, with new efforts not actually fully implemented until spring? Maybe we could actually see the changes we long for! I wonder . . .)

2 Comments

Filed under Beauty, Change, Creativity

Pausing for Gratitude

The final days of January are dwindling down—a month I went into with a lot of question marks and a strange cocktail of dread, anxiety and hope. But here I am on the other side, happy to report that I survived. We all survived. (I know most of you never doubted we would, but I did.)

In marked contrast to the swirl of emotions I carried into the month, I find myself with only one overpowering everything else now: overwhelming gratitude. Deep, deep wells of thanks.

IMG1565My daughter had surgery the very first week of the year. Of course, there are so many emotions that come with something like this, but there was one I didn’t allow myself to voice in all the weeks leading up to it. I was really afraid of being alone. We were expecting to be in the hospital 2-3 days, but my husband was only going to be able to be off work one day. And every time I thought about sitting there alone, I cried. But I didn’t want to say anything because I knew we couldn’t afford for him to take any more days off work, and I didn’t feel like I had anyone else I could ask to come be with me.

On New Year’s Day, my dad mentioned to me that he was planning to be at the hospital the day of the surgery, to be there for his grand baby and in case we needed anything. And I finally had the courage to ask, to say that I was more worried about being alone the day after her surgery and if he could only come one day, could he come then? He didn’t hesitate, just said, “I’ll be there.” I could have sobbed with relief.

Truthfully, I didn’t know what to expect. Would he come for just a little bit? Would he only come one day? I didn’t know, but it was enough knowing he would come.

We ended up in the hospital a total of 3 days, and my dad was there for each one. He came in the morning, and he stayed until my husband came in the evening. One night, he stayed even longer because his granddaughter asked him to stay and watch a movie, and of course, his abuelo-heart couldn’t resist! He made sure I had coffee, and he made sure I ate. His mere presence was so indescribably calming to me. There were so many little things, little moments that might not have meant anything to anyone else, but they meant everything to me.

IMG1571He was the first one to coax a smile out of my baby girl post-surgery when he showed up with this balloon whose picture bore an uncanny resemblance to our dog.

When she wouldn’t eat, he’s the one who thought to buy some strawberries from the frozen yogurt place, and she devoured them—practically the only solid food she ate for 3 days. He helped me get her to move and get around so we could actually be released from the hospital.IMG1568

But more than anything else, he was the presence and nearness of God to me in a situation when I desperately needed my own heart to be seen. And because my Papa saw me, I knew God saw me. The intense comfort of this has lingered with me even to this moment when my eyes are blurring with tears yet again over the wonder and unconditional love of it all.

When we finally got home, I started to get overwhelmed with the thought of needing to not only take care of my recovering child, but also my son who would still be full of energy. And everyone would need to be fed. But when my mom showed up to bring my little man home, she came with bags of groceries—things to put together easy, healthy meals for a few days. She had already sent a container of soup with my dad one day, thinking ahead and making a double batch one night as she’d fixed dinner. And just like that, another burden was lifted off my shoulders.

My son can still be quite clingy to his mommy, and I was worried how the separation would affect him while we were in the hospital. But my mom and brother loved him on so much, so extravagantly, that he was more than fine—he was so secure and so seen. He came home bubbling over and amazingly prepared to be patient and gracious to his sister.

I am still in awe of the way my parents wrapped my little family in so much love. I suppose it shouldn’t be a surprise; they’ve always been pretty wonderful, and my own mama-bear heart would do anything for my own kids. But still it humbled me and touched me in a way I don’t even really have words for.

I am reminded all over again of the sustaining power of love. My parents didn’t have any power to change what we had to walk through, but they loved us through it. They saw the needs, and they did what they could do. And it did more than keep me surviving; it challenged and inspired my heart to new depths of loving people.

IMG1575If that wasn’t enough, women from my writing community—some of whom I’d never even met or interacted with much before—showered my daughter with art supplies so she could do what she loved while she went through her recovery. Daily, when she pulls these things out, she marvels that people who don’t even know her loved her enough to do this; she is also getting a glimpse of how far love can reach.

So here we are, on the other side of it all. And I am grateful that we were not alone, that love appeared in extravagant and unexpected ways. I thought I’d be trying to mostly block this month from my memory, but instead, I am tucking it away to treasure.

Leave a comment

Filed under Love, Motherhood, Presence

Questions That Break My Heart (Hard Conversations with My Kids)

6ej8tg

I was coming down the stairs this morning, a load of laundry in my arms, when I heard my daughter’s excited voice.

“Look, Mom! Our friends are outside playing! Why aren’t they at school?”

With the day’s to-do list scrolling through my head, I was about to murmur a casual “I don’t know” when I remembered going over my calendar before the kids were up. “Oh, it’s a holiday. They don’t have school today because it’s Martin Luther King, Jr. day.”

And even as I kept walking to the laundry room, I heard her little voice again. “Who’s that? Why does he get a holiday?”

I felt the gravity of the moment suddenly demand a pause in the morning. I set the laundry basket down and went into the living room to look at my precious daughter and my precious son, who had stopped playing to come listen. Kids have the uncanniest sense about when something matters.

For just a few moments, I did my best to explain MLK’s legacy to their very tender 5- and 3-year old hearts. We talked about racism and segregation and laws that said certain individuals didn’t even count as an entire human being. We talked about separate schools and separate bathrooms and hate and fear. We talked about a man speaking up and literally laying his life down because this was so important.

I looked at those wide-eyes, and I knew what they were thinking of. Who they were thinking of. Their favorite friend from our former church. The next-door neighbor girl. The three little girls who live behind us who told my daughter she was the first friend they’d made in the neighborhood. (Never mind that none of them seem to be able to remember each other’s names. They just yell, “Hi, friends!” whenever they see each other.)

When I paused in my explanations, my daughter said very emphatically, “That makes no sense. God makes people in all colors. And besides, we’re supposed to treat others how we want to be treated.”

She was so matter of fact, so simple in her understanding of the situation. And unlike other hard things I’ve had to explain to her, where I end up saying, “It’s just complicated. There’s not always an easy answer,” this feels different. It shouldn’t be complicated. It really shouldn’t. I mean, at this point, dismantling the systems and prejudices and hundreds of years of tensions—well, ok, these are daunting undertakings. But they shouldn’t be.

I’ve never been able to wrap my head even a little bit around the concept of racism. I think we all have to work to overcome various biases and prejudices, get over our fear of differences; these are aspects of flawed humanity that are common to all of us. But to actually consider someone less than—less valuable, less worthy, less human—over skin color or accents or different homeland? I can’t make sense of it.

Then she asked the question, the one that shattered me: “But this doesn’t happen anymore, does it? Since the law was changed?”

And I have to look into those innocent, hopeful, compassionate faces and say, “Yes, it still happens.”

I don’t dismiss the progress. I don’t dismiss the years of efforts, the laws changed, the reconciliation fought for. But I see my own thoughts and frustrations mirrored in their little eyes: mere progress doesn’t seem like enough when people’s value and humanity are on the line.

I became painfully aware of my own lack of knowledge and understanding of this issue, even of MLK’s incredible legacy, as I talked with my children. I realize I have a lot more research and learning and listening to do. I want to know more so that I can do more.

Our conversation finally dwindled down, but as my daughter walked away, she said with all the sass and stubbornness she could muster (which, in this girl, is quite a bit), “Well, I’m just going to love everybody” and did her little “so there” flip of the head.

Well then, sweet girl, you’re miles ahead of so much of the world already. And I think that’s an excellent starting point.

1 Comment

Filed under Change, Hope, Justice

All Things New (#OneWord365)

Image by Chris Sardegna/Unsplash.com

Image by Chris Sardegna/Unsplash.com

Back in November, as I stared at the disappointing rubble of 2014 and felt mounting dread for what the final months might throw our way, everything in me wanted to disappear into a dark hole somewhere. My heart was weary and spent, my fight all used up.

But even as the taunting shadows seemed to inch ever closer, I heard the rumblings of an eternal Voice whispering to the deepest place in my spirit: Hope. Choose hope.

I raged against these words. Several years in a row, I have mustered hope for a new year. Several years in a row, I have watched that hope dashed. I did not think I had the energy for another round of that cruel game.

Still. Every time I turned around, the challenge seemed to be coming at me from all sides: Hope. Choose hope.

I grudgingly began to consider that “hope” just might be my one word for 2015. I didn’t really want it, but I know how it goes—you don’t really choose the word as much as it chooses you. Maybe hope was choosing me. And I began to try to lay down the lenses of disappointment that were tainting the image of everything I could see; I tried to see differently.

It was subtle at first, and then undeniable—a shift started taking place. First, my heart started softening. Then circumstances started changing. Surprises. New friendship. A raise. Unexpected bonuses. Clarity. Rest. I hadn’t even fully embraced hope, but it seemed as if maybe it wasn’t going to be quite as hard as I thought.

Until I heard God speak more clearly than I have heard anything in awhile: I want you to do more than hope, Adela. I want you to believe Me for redemption.

Redemption. This is a loaded word: rescue, deliverance, atoning for faults, buying back or receiving back something that was sold or lost. This is restoration. This is things that were meant for evil being turned around for good. This is all things new.

(And I thought choosing hope was going to be hard.)

As this settled in my spirit, I was equal parts thrilled and terrified. And hopeful. So, so hopeful.

Because in my bones, I do believe God can do this. (If I don’t, I’d best pick a different faith to profess.) I don’t know how He will do it, and like many other things, I imagine it won’t end up looking like I thought it would. But still, I believe He can do it.

Redeem and restore.

I am writing this post from my daughter’s hospital room as she recovers from surgery. The irony of this moment is not lost on me—believing for redemption even in the place where I’ve faced one of my biggest struggles with God. But I see His promises hovering over her, and I feel His whispers echoing around us. Here in this place, the word that has swirled around in my heart for the last few weeks finally settles and takes root.

Redemption. I choose to declare redemption over this year. I choose to hope for all things new.

3 Comments

Filed under Change, Faith, Hope

The Tension of Advent

Image Source: CreationSwap

Image Source: CreationSwap

There is a soft, steady rain falling. It announced its arrival this afternoon with one dramatic rumble of thunder, I think just making sure it had my attention. And then it proceeded to carry on its melancholy serenade.

I look through the rivulets running down the window, the blurred sparkle of our Christmas lights giving the raindrops their own moment of brilliance up against the ever darkening shadows as daylight slowly takes its leave.

This is Advent for me. The gloom side by side with the glow. The heaviness mingled with the stillness. The momentary tension between breathing in and breathing out, letting go. The waiting and listening.

Sometimes the melancholy is stronger. The world breaks at the seams. Hateful words and hateful acts and how can we as humanity be so wretched to each other sometimes?

And sometimes hope is stronger. The world surprises with its wonders. Encouraging words and selfless acts and how can this wretched humanity be so beautiful sometimes?

I used to feel that I had to give in to one or the other, to choose. If I chose hope, was I ignoring the broken hearts? If I chose melancholy, was I discounting the power of redemption?

But I know better now. This is the tension we live with, so often experiencing beauty and pain in the same moments. This is the tension of waiting–the beautiful hope of a promise to be fulfilled and the despair of waiting for a promise that seems it will never be fulfilled.

I think this is why creation groans, bowing under the weight of all the glory and all the misery and all the unknown, waiting for light to dispel the darkness once and for all.

Meanwhile, I choose to see. I see the dreariness, but I also see the wonder. They sit together in the window. They sit together in me. So I light the candles and remind myself of His promise to come and make things right–in the world and in me.

The rain falls. The light dances. And I wait.

2 Comments

Filed under Beauty, Hope