After it was over and they could talk about their freedom they said – well it’s not like what happened could be explained in concrete terms – no, not as if we’d timed it so we were able to observe something NOT ABSTRACT like the sudden appearance of smiling dolphins or anything as laughable as that – of course not and with all the confusion caused by the red sky at the wrong time of the day – and no indication of moring or night – yes, we had no choice about the sky – all we know is grace holds up the clouds and seems to keep our pulses pulsing. They weren’t in a joking mood but a joke was hard to resist. One of them calmed the other by putting a hand on her trembling shoulder and said – I’m grateful for the impracticality of the word abide. It’s the only word that comes to mind right now – Abide? Isn’t that strange. I thought I heard that word just now myself, like a reverse injunction, a mandate of some kind – Yes, or an invitation – Abide? It’s not a word that comes up a lot – not on the radio – or the internet, but I heard it all the same – Me too, yes, abide. They sat together in silence, all stunned by the terror of freedom. One woman (top right), almost being choked by her wings. One woman (bottom middle) reclining, reluctant to make the first move. The other woman (top left) leans into freedom, ready to leap.
In the thin places Love’s lunge takes you one step into the moonlight while your other leg flails in the dark. Pay attention to your tears, to your anger, to your joy. When the light permits shod your feet with the gospel of peace and go forward. If the darkness persists take off your shoes. Wait quietly for the words. Holy holy is the ground.
This is the edge of what is soon to be – an in-between place like a dock with sea warped boards jutting out across an eddy that might be salt water or it might be fresh. What I know is that the depths below are as descending as the sky is ascending. There is an absence of bottom here, a wedge of blue and green that laps at the air and tunnels into the undiscovered. The dock shift-shapes into a house and the tide lifts the whole of all I imagine to possess. Everything once moored finds freedom in the surf. It wasn’t supposed to last as long as it did. It was supposed to last longer. But the melting truth managed to flood the banks. The sky remains fixed. But the flood refuses bounds. I’m a good swimmer but the press of land assures my feet: I am still here. There’s still enough land to sit down without sinking in. And God is here.
I woke up this morning with the image
of a pearl in my mind:
a tiny sphere brought into being by an irritating
grain of sand within the house of a muscle;
a space where competition between a foreign
and resident thought spar to arrive at something
beautiful and kind.
This is an image of instruction for me.
When I find myself in the realm of competition,
I want to lean kindly into that which irritates despite its
essence of otherness. I want to embrace this Other rather
than muscle it out by wit, criticism or ridicule
and wait for the pearl of new understanding
to roll sweetly into view.
Heavenly Father, Jehovah God, from whom your whole family in heaven and on Earth derives its name, we thank you for motherhood. We thank you for what it reminds us about who you are. We thank you that you understood first the joy of anticipating your perfect family. We thank you that you understood first the pain of losing your perfect children to sin and death. We thank you that you understood first the pregnant advent of centuries as your redemption formed. We thank you that you understood first the pain of delivery in water and blood on the cross that those children might be born again to you. We thank you that you pursued first the blessings and difficulties promised of adoption. We thank you that you modeled first a mother’s love as you gathered Israel, then the nations under your wings. And we thank you for your grace that covers our failings as mothers, The grace that makes us all your children, The grace that covers your church, which is your body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way.