O taste and see that the Lord is good! Ps.34:8
I write here of the crucible of my heart. This blog is a record of my Search for Sanctuary, my seasons in the Holy of Holies where the Lord unravels and re-knits me, lifts up my head to shine under His dazzling glory, unveils my ugliness only to replace it with His reflecting Beauty. It is an archive of intensity, which it has to be since my narrow soul-borders limit the amount of Infinity I can absorb and express at once.
But that is only part of my story.
Like you, my life is mostly prosaic. It is a quilt instead of a kaleidoscope, composed of colorful scraps but settled instead of tumbling. Most days simply slip by, pearls falling from a string. I live a simple life. I take my children to the park. I wash dishes. I fold laundry. Today I organized our office and stuck one of those sticky vinyl quote thingies on my family room wall. I wear yoga pants, like, every day. I am potty training Lucy and I hate it. I bake. I eat the same thing for lunch every day of my life (a hummus wrap) unless we have leftovers from dinner the night before. My favorite possession is a toss up between my Keurig and my minivan. I walk my dog in the evening after I put Lucy to bed, while Jack and Scott play Wii. We enjoy each other’s company. Jack and I never miss an episode of Thundercats.
We live a quiet humming life.
We are in the midst of storm years. I have written glimpses of those years here and here, and of the results of mingled light and darkness in other posts. There is more that I cannot write because our pain overlaps the pain of others whose story I am not free to share. There is still more after that that is Scott’s story. We are a family under intense pressure. We can allow that pressure to crush us or remake us, disconnect us or unite us.
It takes a few million years for time and pressure to transform graphite into diamond. God is a God of miracles, so it takes Him only a lifetime. For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus. Phil.1:6. During our season of sifting, can we not abide in that most blessed of words – happy?
This weekend we went to the State Fair. Hand (lives) joined with our friends, walking in step towards a memory of simple fun. Joy bubbles over as we see our children’s eyes light up at an ice cream cone dusted with sprinkles, mirrors that reveal their bodies distorted, the ferris wheel. As the wheel takes the four of us around once more, Jack leans against Scott’s chest, “Daddy, this is my favorite day.” Scott and I lock eyes, smile, tighten our hold just a little bit. We talk, laugh, circle the booths and rides again and again, dusk softly tucking itself in around us as the lights flicker on, twinkling rainbows that beckon us to do it again, come back for more. So we stay until late, until their eyes are heavy and their feet are aching and they have flown into the night sky in the green airplane and the pink ladybug as many times as their hearts can hold.
I want my children to remember their parents as joyful people who lived a wild adventure of Love. I want them to be surprised when I tell them (in a long time) how much we hurt during those years that God was sifting us. I want them to remember popsicle juice sticky on their fingers and dance parties in the family room under the banner of the new vinyl wall quote I put up today: May Love be the Heart of our Home. If I do it enough, will they remember me smiling into their faces, hugging them tightly, laughing at Daddy’s jokes? Will they remember me happy?
I am a happy woman. A cup of coffee from my Keurig in the morning, a twilight walk in an empty field, a morning at the zoo, a clean counter, a text from my husband in the middle of his work day. These are my 1000 gifts, my pearls that slip into infinity with a kiss of grace. Suffering and intensity are necessary as we navigate this place where the saints of God live until we are released to where we belong. For now, we live on a tension line between glory and hell and we dip one way or another on a daily basis. But over that line we can choose to create a cloister of joyful surrender, of quiet charity.
These little moments are my cloister. These connected memories are my charity. Being Mary at His feet is my pearl of great price. All is grace.
O taste and see that the Lord is good!
What are your pearls of grace?