how faint a whisper

glimpses of God in a heaven-crammed earth


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to be a refugee

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61 days ago I came out of six weeks in the mountains in Wyoming.

Yesterday, I went back to the mountains. This time to the Adirondacks – my home mountains in many ways. It was a whirlwind trip – eleven hours of driving to hike for ten, an 18 mile slog up and down Allen Mountain in the rain, another peak checked off.

And while yes, I did need to complete this infamous of the High Peaks at some point on the way to my 46, mostly I went because I needed to escape to the mountains. I went because my time in the Winds of Wyoming began a summer that has profoundly shook and shaped me, and because I am still whirling in it all. Because in three days, on Monday, classes start for my fifth semester of grad school, and I’m not ready. Not that I don’t want to be here, that I don’t love what I’m studying, that I don’t feel profoundly privileged, but I’m weary. Emotionally, physically, spiritually bone-deep-weary, and I’m not ready for the pace and the demand and the discipline and the focus. I feel very weak, and very broken, and very much not enough.

So I ran away to the mountains for space and time. For that strange truth of how pushing my body beyond comfort, drinking in ordinary beauty, having silence and no screens and it not mattering if the rain ran down my face in sheets: how all that can be needed, healing, and re-setting. So I went, and most of the time I didn’t even know what I was thinking or praying, but I just walked in the realness of my heart and life with the Lord, and pleaded for Him to walk with me.

This morning I opened up a book I am working through called Habakkuk Before Breakfast, and read this portion of liturgy:

So why are you here?
Every heart, every heart to love will come,
but like a refugee.

Then come, dear friends,
come as refugees to love,
come and bring your broken offerings,
                your broken hearts,
                your broken bodies,
                your broken spirits,
                your broken lives.

What time is it?
It is time to tell the truth.

Come as refugees to love. Such an interesting phrase, and I am caught in it. To be a refugee is to have abandoned all else, to come with everything I have, to have no backup plan, to have reserved nothing, to be utterly at the mercy of the place to which I have come. To bring it all, and trust it all, to Love. No story unexplored, no pain unseen, no shaping unsurrendered. (It is time to tell the truth.) Reading and reflecting on these words felt like naming a known and current place. This is the moment I am in: that of being invited to bring all that I have, leave nothing back, and realizing the truth is that what I have to bring is so very broken.  All of it. Even some of the Lord’s gifts that I have run away with I have broken and now I bring them back, humble like the prodigal, having no next step from this, no back up plan, but knowing – in the deep parts of me that actually know the truth of the Father’s love – that I won’t need one. That love always accepts the refugee. The pilgrim, you could say.

For 61 days I’ve been searching for the next step. Fighting for it. Built on beliefs which are true – that I should be always striving to discern in my journey with the Lord what is next; what He is saying and how He asking me to follow, how this new learning or space reshapes my life once again. This is the journey of spiritual formation, over and over and over again. But also this fight is built on the oh-so-deeply rooted fear that maybe what is next is not an end of being weak. A fear of being empty, and being led, like Elijah, out of the provision of the wilderness anyway, and into all that is being asked of me. Not being ready for it. Not having wrapped up this wilderness portion of the journey or the questions and stories it has unearthed. Feeling like some long-shut doors of my heart and life have blown open and now everything behind them is just sitting there, painfully revealed but with no sense of how I go about sorting and building. What goes on display, and what gets thrown on the fire? How do all these pieces get reassembled and what kind of wonder may there be when they do?

See, I’m a sorter. Part of it is necessitated by the incessant temporary feeling of my life; of thirteen moves in ten years and more than 100 days a year on the road. And so I sort: quickly. Everything has a place and within a few hours of returning from somewhere, it is in place. Because then I can move forward, be back “home” as quickly as possible, because the next departure is probably coming fast. Physical or emotional or spiritual, the ability to sort is a crucial part of feeling in control. So I want to sort this. I want to make note of the feeling, the realization, the uncovering, offer a prayer (legitimate!) of gratitude, then carefully build this piece of learning into place and start moving toward the next five steps.

(Also, when I’m trying to sort life through writing, I pile metaphors on top of each other…so let me go back to the original…)

The problem is that inherent in being a refugee is to come not knowing the next step. I have to know I bring nothing, but also all of me. I have to bring everything broken, understanding nothing is valuable in itself, but knowing that being met by love imparts value to even what seems like the most impossible places. So as I hiked yesterday, I think this was the shift that began. The shift to stop trying to fight the emptiness, the weakness, the weariness; to stop trying to “sort” it and therefore, by default, move on from it…the shift to instead just bring it. Surrender it. But not because in doing that it will be magically transformed into a felt strength and fullness, but because I will be transformed when Love accepts the broken, passionate gift (as He always does), and turns and looks at me.

So in that space on the mountain, the Lord promised nothing, in a sense, except that He sees me. He didn’t even whisper, “my grace is sufficient,” though that’s true, but not in the way we often say it that twists the measurement of sufficiency to really mean self-sufficiency again. I’m pretty sure that’s not what He meant. In one sense, I don’t bring the empty cup to be filled. Definitely not so I can feel sufficient to dole it out again. Fullness is a promise of relationship with the Lord, I just don’t think it looks like we think it looks. A lot of times it looks like still longing. The point right now isn’t to be filled, the point is the cup is empty, and that’s alright. There are a lot of holes in the bottom of my life right now. I hope they can let the water seep through to the ground so that things can grow all the same, though I am in much less control of that process than I would like. Though the growth may be much more wild than I would have sorted my own life to yield. But in the wildness there is wonder and mystery and beauty, and more than control, I want to live a life of wonder, even if this is what that means.

I hope I have courage to plant the seeds I have been given right now; seeds of weakness, and weariness, and emptiness. I hope I have courage to sit amidst the scattered and broken pieces of a refugee life and just let it be. Just lament, be seen, and be loved.

Monday will come, and I will be fine. But not because I have figured it out, or know how to take the next step. Not because I am enough. I am just a refugee at the mercy of Love, leaning on His enough-ness for sustaining in my brokenness. Knowing nothing may change about what I have to offer for a long while now. I am not enough.

But I am also not alone.


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for my friend, on her wedding day

I woke up early this morning, easing out of bed and lacing up sneakers to slip out into the dawn. Down the driveway and onto the road I ran into the early stillness, the mist swirling around the edges of the woods like steam, the air quiet, the broken blacktop empty. I rounded the corner and the fields opened and rolled into the edge of the sky. The sun was just peeking over the trees, a ball of unnaturally deep red, and the richness of the golden green soybeans danced in its slanting light. It was ordinary, and yet astoundingly beautiful, and as I ran, I thought of you. Just down the road, you slept. I wondered what your first thoughts were, on this mind and body and heart filled day. I prayed for your joy and thinking of you, I drank in the stillness. The rest of the day will come, and it will be full, and fast, and beautiful, but it can wait for just a few minutes. Already I can feel the heat burning off what little late summer chill this morning had. Even for all the beauty coming, I would not wish this day on any faster. I would not miss this. Change comes so quickly on its own.

By the time I have run on and turned around to reach this point on the way home, the sun is fully ablaze, high and orange and so bright I can hardly look at the fields, their nuances of color bleached by the daylight. The humidity sits like a blanket and the trees stand motionless in it, bursting with life in their fullest green of the year.

Today you asked us to stand with you and witness, which really is just another way to say to see, and then to tell. In a few hours, these friends that love you will start to come. From hours and states away their cars will pull down this country road and park on the grass. They will walk through the trees and sit in their shade and wait for you. They will come because this day stands as one of the few times we give physical testimony to that which is always true: that we each only have two eyes, and cannot possibly see it all alone. Today you pledge to each other, and we to you, that we are meant to walk together in this beautiful broken world. See into each other’s blindness, be strong in each other’s weakness. It is not good for man to be alone. So as I ran, I prayed to witness well. I prayed for open eyes, to pay attention.

You did not see these morning fields, but in the winter, if ever the snow lasts so long you have forgotten what colors are, I will paint them for you with the words of memory. I will tell how rich they were, how glory giving. When the winds of life blow relentlessly, I will remind you how still the trees stood. How they arched over your vows and stood straight and tall by your side, silently clapping their hands in praise to the giver of all good gifts. We will wonder together at how deep their roots were driven into contentment with the simple that is asked of them. When some of the days are not nearly as perfect as this one, the blueness of the sky replaced by gray and the peals of thunder, I will remind you that sometimes, sunshine is blinding. Sometimes it distorts. Sometimes the most beautiful of colors are only seen as it sets, or plays games of hiding behind trees and clouds. Sometimes it is only in the slanting beams of the hidden light that you can see for the first time clearly all the dust in the air and how it has settled on dreams. And if the sun should ever seem to disappear all together, and you find yourself in that just before dawn dark of all darkness, I will stay up with you in your sleepless fear. We will go outside and wait for the sun to rise. I will remind you that it always does.

It’s late. I ran out of the stillness and into the fullness of this day. We laughed and sang and got choked up and stood and gathered and ate and danced. The light shifted low again and the end of summer corn stretched toward the evening sky. I saw you sneak off for some pictures in its foreground, and I was glad that you captured the beauty. Then we waved you off into this new life and slowly, the rest of the cars disappeared as suddenly and unseen as they had come, this great cloud of witnesses. And now the sun has dropped altogether, just a glow on the edge of the hills, and the stars are out. We sit in darkness together by the pool, exhausted but so sweetly full. Suddenly with clean up finished, shoes off, and hair down, it’s all ordinary again, except richer. We’ve sat here, but never at the end of this day. You’ve never been gone. But I’m thankful that all of this is less a separation as it is a saturation. Two lives have blended to one. Two families are sitting together, their laughter drifting into the quiet evening. When we leave, we hug them truly. Good has been filled with goodness. Life will not always be this simple, the days this perfect, the fellowship this sweet. Beauty will more often be ordinary, but that does not mean it’s not richer. All His paths drip with abundance. And when this world says everything contrary; that life’s hardness cannot be good, that dying to your desires cannot bring life, that stillness cannot be worthwhile, that all that marriage asks cannot possibly make sense…

…walk with me. We’ll go outside and down to the edge of the fields to watch the sun rise, and we’ll tell each other again how beautiful the colors of your covenant were today. How beautiful, in the light of His grace, they always will be.


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Easter weekend

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Thursday

As often as the story seems to start
with the lone figure, bleeding in the garden
it really began yesterday
and every day before.

I forget to remember,
vision narrowed in my circumstantial tunnel
that He was in the beginning with God.
With God. Eternally present,
He entered time.

Do I feel the ache of the world?
How he must have felt
every day, the irrepressible longing
of that which is, but not yet,
but had been for Him, and which He gave up, of love
for this world, of love
for His Father’s glory, of love
for His Father’s will.

And this Man of Sorrows,
with the world on His shoulders,
casts in light my easy load.*
Reminds me I do not own even this – my suffering.**
But the right is lost
in the 10,000 days which He lived, and waited,
and longed, and all the while knew
it was coming to this night of anguish.

But I, like His friends, can only live one day at a time,
see only my pain, feel only my weariness,
and selfish to the core,
I have fallen asleep.

Friday 

The church is dark tonight.
Why? The world is dark enough.
But these evening shadows
reflect that mid-day darkness
black as we have never known.
Even my soul feels dark
and the church meets that tonight as well.

We end in silence.
And how rare its reverberations
amidst the clamor of the world
to stop, and say
we will reflect that day
when the loudest shout of history
echoed in silence.
When the closeness of God,
tearing heaven’s curtain,
arrived only in the moment
He turned from His Son.

And we sit in this building,
around this table,
in our homes.
Or we walk city streets,
forest paths,
country lanes
tonight
and God is present.
Sometimes shouting, sometimes silent,
in this sometimes dark sometimes light world,
reminding us that both are true,
in the same way that there is no deeper gratefulness
than that we have a reason to weep tonight.
So we join the church in its darkness.
We join each other in silence.

Saturday 

So little we know of this day
except that it came.
Their eyes opened in the briefest moment of peace
before the floodgates of memory opened to grief,
in an instant realizing that despite their depth of desire otherwise,
they awoke.
The sun had risen.
They were alive, and He was dead.

Where was He?
The eternal One, in union with God,
where could death take Him?
And did any piece of the world feel His leaving?
The cold grave stones,
the night-settled dust,
the grain, still reaching in its growth
toward the sky, still blue.
But as all appeared unchanged,
the rumbling, trembling anticipation of heaven
knew, as no one else did,
that this day would ever after be understood
in the knowledge
that tomorrow has come.

I try to understand what they must have felt
fighting the welling tide of hopelessness,
feeling that the worst had come true:
the world was the same.
I try to understand, but I can’t.
Every one of my days only makes sense
in the light of tomorrow.
And the darkest of my valleys
are still only but the shadow of death
and will never be as dark
as that Saturday’s sunrise.

Sunday

We had egg sandwiches for breakfast
in aprons over Sunday dresses.
It could not be more ordinary
this extraordinary day.
And isn’t that what we celebrate?
For He came back to life – extraordinary!
But what He came back to – life, ordinary.
And what He came back to give us –
life, ordinary.
And in that, an invitation:
We may not yet sleep, but we are always being changed.
For this day must change us,
and in every possible way,
or perhaps we have fallen asleep after all.

So as we sit in church pews this morning, we worship.
As we sing and listen, we worship.
And as we stand up and leave, we worship.
As we eat, and laugh, and walk, and touch,
and drive, and create, and talk, and love.
As we open balcony doors to spring air,
we worship.
For today, He is risen.
And tomorrow, He is risen.
With every breath, He is risen.
In every mile, He is risen.
And in that truth is our life
extraordinary
indeed.

Monday

It was dark Sunday night when I got home
so I didn’t see it,
but in the sweet stillness of spring evenings
I think the world came alive.
Crying life! life! in response to His.
I woke Monday morning to the birds,
the grass green,
the rain healing,
the mud tender.
And my life mirrors the season,
soft between my toes, maybe messy, maybe fragile,
but real. And beautiful.
Reminding me once again to walk in both truths.
And that just as He did,
this world is always proclaiming
that we every day die, and will die someday,
yet every day live, and will live forever.
In this is beauty, brevity, richness, sobriety,
sorrow, and fullness of joy.
What a hope is eternity.
What a wonder it is to live.

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* “I see the Man of Sorrows and His long troubled road. I see the world on His shoulders and my easy load.” – Sara Groves, When the Saints

** “A whole host of self absorbed temptations greet us when we treat suffering as something that belongs to us. This passage [2 Cor 1:3-11] reminds us that our suffering belongs to the Lord. It is an instrument of His purpose in us and for others. The way we suffer must put Christ on center stage. The Redeemer owns our disappointment and fear. He owns our physical and spiritual pain. He owns our rejection and aloneness. He owns our dashed expectations and broken dreams. It all belongs to Him for His purpose. When we feel like dying, He calls us to a greater death. He calls us to die to our suffering so that we may live for Him.” – Paul David Tripp, Instruments in the Redeemer’s Hands 


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thoughts from a city in November

This time last year, I was in Chicago, staying downtown in a hotel on the waterfront with a friend who was attending a conference, then doing a reverse commute out to the suburbs every day to spend time with my brother and sister-in-law. It was about a 10 minute walk from the hotel to the train station, and twice a day, to and from, face hunkered down against the biting wind, I passed a giant banner on the corner of a building, one of those massive advertisements you couldn’t possibly not see. It had pictures of exquisitely dressed women with scads of jewelry draped in seductive poses over a number of pieces of furniture, and honestly, in my quick glance of annoyance twice a day, I had no idea what it was advertising. I didn’t really care to know, I guess.

In a collision of circumstances, I was at the same time reading the book Seven by Jen Hatmaker. Seven is the story of one woman’s attempt (in an extreme form, she readily admits) to dig deeply into the excess in her life by disciplining herself in one of seven areas for a month each. For a month she eats only seven foods, for a month she gives away seven items a day, for a month she wears only seven articles of clothing, and so on, all while documenting how the Lord is challenging and teaching her through it all.

I don’t know if it was the allure of a city, staying in the way-outside-my-budget hotel, rubbing up against people that were so far beyond my realm of a comparable life, reading Seven, or perhaps some combination of it all, but all of a sudden on one of those cold walks I realized I was wrestling inwardly with the frustratingly subconscious desire, having arisen without permission, for things I didn’t even really want. I stopped in the middle of the sidewalk and looked up at that banner draped on the corner of the building. Studying it for a minute I finally realized it was an advertisement for the building itself, a set of luxury apartments, coming soon. But what made it so cryptic and yet so telling is that it wasn’t advertising apartments at all, it was advertising a lifestyle. Live here, it screamed, and you too can look like this, get someone who looks like this, have clothes and jewelry and furniture like this, and of course, (as isn’t this always the pitch?), somehow, in it, find true happiness. I lowered my head and walked on, tears smarting in my eyes as it all came rushing together in painful awareness.

I’m in a different city now, on the verge of another year’s holidays, the incessant din of advertising rising to a fevered pitch, but always the same message: without this, you’re incomplete. And of course the message lies not just in possessions, though that is one of the most outwardly accessible ways to communicate it. And simplicity is far, far deeper than the things we own, but it is most definitely a place to start. Interestingly enough, though, our most outward cultural artifacts are the last that anyone wants to talk about. Perhaps it is because it seems so innocuous, the least important thing to consider in a host of societal ills and personal sanctification. Or perhaps it is because we are so quick to judge our value by our appearance, especially as women, and so quick to judge the value of others by their possessions, especially as Americans, and so it simply hits far closer to home than we’d care to admit. That was the realization the Lord had for me that week in Chicago. While in one voice I may proclaim how little I care or how free I am from these traps, it is far from true. And there is something about the coming of another holiday season that makes my heart want to scream out against so much in our culture, my longing for simplicity and stillness intensified by the fact that these holidays carry inherent in their very existence the answers to true stillness, and everything in our culture plows that message over with ultimately unsatisfying alternatives. And most of all, wanting to scream out against my own heart, and that any part of me still believes in the satisfaction of the lies.

And so my thoughts keep returning back to these truths from the pages of my journal that day in Chicago, my heart echoing the same prayer:

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I am not free from the susceptibility to comparison, nor the desire for a lifestyle the Lord has not allowed me and, in many ways, does not desire for any of His children. A lifestyle that feeds on the consumerism of our culture: the lies that it matters most how you look and what you wear and what you have. A lifestyle that spends recklessly, with access to a whole realm of options I do not have. A lifestyle of comfort in material terms, of alleged happiness that money can buy. All of a sudden I want, and I am not satisfied. But truly, I am rich. I am comfortable. I am beyond happy and it has nothing to do with money. I am privileged. I am cared for and provided for, first by a Heavenly Father who loves me, and then by the generosity of others. But clearly I am not free from the idol of money. I am not free from the sin of comparison. So I confess, and I accept and proclaim His truth to my heart:

I am not defined by my beauty, but by the beauty of your sacrifice.
I am not defined by my clothes, but by your robes of righteousness.
I am not defined by my worldly and cultural knowledge and awareness, but by my knowledge of you and awareness of your presence.
I am not defined by what I can buy, but by what I have been given, and what I can lose.

Are my clothes just a little wrong? A little outdated, a little worn? Enough to blend in but not enough to stand out? Thank you, Lord, for the opportunity to, neither by over-love or neglect, draw no more than needed time and attention to something so earth-bound. It is good to dress well – but I must not need to.

Will I never achieve the standards of beauty my culture upholds? Do I look in the mirror and see imperfection? Already wrinkles around the eyes and a thought that maybe I’ve passed the best days? Thank you, Lord, for the chance to remember that no man’s desire defines me, but Yours alone, and it is blind. No, actually, not blind, but rightly seeing. And it sees a beauty I can’t even dream of, because it’s Christ’s beauty. It is good to care for my physical body, while acknowledging its temporalness.

Do I not know the right songs, the right stores, the right shows, the right jokes? Do I not drink the right things, use the right words, or even hold the right dreams? Do I not fit in often with a crowd, and sometimes even believers? Thank you, Lord, that your wisdom looked foolish to the world, and all of the world’s wisdom is foolish to you. Thank you for the opportunity to sometimes have only you, to learn to need only you.

It is good to be relevant, but oh Father, protect us from being the same.


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worthwhile

Early morning found me driving out of the city, the mist seeming to rise from my heart as surely as the sun was burning it from the land around me. I left the highway for a curvy small-town road, and then one without lines or shoulders or rails, and followed it between empty hills, the sun over my right shoulder.

I almost didn’t stop. Driving down the road, my eyes were less in front of me and more often turned to the side to catch glimpses of the sun glancing off the dew and mist of the overgrown fields, but still, I almost didn’t stop. In a rare exception to the current pace of life, time wasn’t even an obstacle: I was meeting a friend, and she had just let me know she was going to be late, but I still almost didn’t stop. I was clearly caught in wonder, almost irresistibly drawn into the beauty that wanted me to meet it at a slower pace than possible on wheels, but something in me still groaned that it was too much work to stop and answer. The field had those ugly yellow private property signs every 50 feet, the death of far too many wanders before they even begin – what if I got in trouble? (Because whoever owned this un-purposed field was clearly going to be driving by early on a Wednesday morning to chase away fringe photographers.) Besides, the pictures might not turn out. It might be too bright, or the scene flat, or I may not have the skill to capture it in the way I want. Or I might crest the couple feet over the edge of the field to find the other side was actually a dump, or a construction site, or something equally opposite from the beauty I was imagining. In an instant I had a hundred excuses, which really came down to one: what if it was safer to stay in the car and content myself with sideways glances of backside glory than put myself in a position to fully embrace it and risk being disappointed?

I stopped. Turned off the car, grabbed my camera, waded through the dew of a semi-trampled path between brush, and turned to face the sun:

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It was not what I was expecting, but it was literally breathtaking. Ethereal. And beauty was given a new definition I never would have considered before that morning. A field of spider webs, really? Yes, beautiful. Yet they, and the moment, were fragile. The light was shifting right before my eyes, the mist rising, the dew evaporating, the heat of the sun breaking through. The picture was changing. And these webs, the result of what must have been hours of overnight labor, would likely not last through the day. It was a glimpse. But I saw the beauty of the Lord in a new and fuller way in that glimpse, and so did not even ask the question of worth.

It might not have worked out. It might have been too bright, or the scene flat, or have turned out to be a dump. I might not have had the skill to engage with it in the way I wanted. I might have even gotten myself into trouble. I might have gotten hurt, or lost, or worst of all, been disappointed. It might have been too fragile to last. It might have been safer to drive on. To try to forget that in my prayers I begged the Lord to bring me to the edge of this beauty. To allow me to travel this road and engage with this dream, this emotion. And once here, I don’t want to make the effort to get my shoes wet with dew and “waste” fifteen minutes to possibly see a definition of beauty I have never previously considered, simply because I have a distorted view of what may define it as “worthwhile,” and that definition is markedly selfish.

Oh how this deserves my attention! Not because it is guaranteed to be beautiful, no matter how pure the longing for it may be. And not because it won’t be fragile, a fleeting beauty I can’t hold onto. But because if I do not stop, I won’t see it at all. If I do not take the dream, the emotion, the longing, and engage with it; if I do not enter in to ask the question of why I am even on this road, and why now, I do not place myself in the path of possibility to have my definition of beauty, and my understanding of the Lord, blown wide open once again. And really, following a God who promises to make ALL things beautiful, even if beyond my sight at times, what do I have to fear?

It is the graciousness of God to place me on this road. Because He knows, and deep down, so do I, that my heart will not be satisfied with a sideways glance from the pace of my life. I must stop. See, feel, attend. And let the fact that He has called this road beautiful be the only definition of worth by which to judge whatever I find over its edges.

The old hymn-writers were right: Oh, what peace I often forfeit…oh, what needless pain I bear…


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wonder

“The practice of paying attention is the rarest of gifts because it depends upon the harshest of disciplines. So uncommon is it for us to grasp the beauty and mystery of ordinary things that, when we finally do so, it often brings us to the verge of tears. Appalled by our own poverty, we awake in wonder to a splendor of which we had never dreamed.”
– Belden Lane, The Solace of Fierce Landscapes

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The sun was shining yesterday like healing after a long, cold winter. The trees have exploded into buds white and pink and green, tiny fragile versions of their full selves. Every year I tell myself I’m going to notice. I’m going to watch and see the actual day when they first appear, when the green tendrils start sneaking up the brown blades of grass. But every year I miss it. Every year there is some morning when I wake and all of a sudden spring is here. The buds are open and the grass is a shade of green I had forgotten existed. The wonder of new life is bursting forth from every crack of the earth.

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snow

We got some great snow after Christmas. I was like a little kid, as with last year’s winter being so incredibly lame, and the two before that spent in the African desert, I hadn’t seen this much snow for a very long time.

It doesn’t so much look like this anymore. Instead New York has currently decided to gift us with one of winters’ worst attributes – bitter cold and windy with no snow. boo. But hopefully we’ll see this again a few more times before the end of the winter.

Snow is so beautiful. It’s almost as if, through its pure whiteness, it makes everything around it seem cleaner and newer for a while, transformed by this soft, silent blanket of white, and somehow I feel as though I can be new again, the dirty brown and mud of the death of winter covered by a beauty I could never create. And then I remember that I am new, and can be new again every day. And suddenly the ordinary is extraordinarily not so; a reminder of redemption in a coating of snow.

A lot of things clamor for our attention and our clutter our vision in this life. I’m glad I didn’t miss this one. How faint a whisper. Continue reading