“Bravery is leaning into love.”
-Emily Wierenga (her exquisite blog, here)
This image, from summer? Sigh. Love.
and sitting, chilled so pulling a sweater tighter
and dreaming, filled so opening arms up wider
and believing, still so soaring ever higher
and God, here, so I’m alive-r
and God, here, so I’m alive-r
“Sometimes our fate resembles a fruit tree in winter. Who would think that those branches would turn green again and blossom, but we hope it, we know it.”
-Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
It’s February, and one year ago, North Texas sat still and silent, held captive by sleet. This afternoon, I ran ten miles in 70 degree weather, arriving home sweat-soaked and thirsty. Quite a contrast. It still feels like winter, if not in temperature. It feels like winter, because life moves slower for me this time of year. I find time to think and pray, to create for the sake of creating, to stop and reflect and be. I crave wonder.
It’s February, and I’m looking forward to this month of quiet before things steadily build momentum for the rest of the year. I’m hopeful. And I think there will be stories to share. Last night I sat with friends who were praying for me, and I realized that sometimes I forget to remember all the goodness and grace in my life. For months I’ve lamented the writer’s block that seems to strike whenever I sit down to blog or journal. “I have no stories to tell,” I moan to my audience of no one. But alas, that is untrue. I have stories that weave a beautiful story, a compelling story, a redemption story. I just forget to tell them sometimes.
It’s February, and this blog is written with one purpose: to say it’s time for me to write. So write I shall. And wonder shall ensue. What provokes wonder for you?
“Wonder is the basis of worship”
No matter where, no matter where, no matter where my story- or your story- takes me or you, the deep breath yielded by a few minutes outside really looking at creation provokes wonder. It steadies me to see flowers and trees, sun and sky, and the cycle of life. Seasons shift and change. Transformation occurs. The world retains so much of the good God saw when he made it. In the midst of war and failing economies and broken relationships and sickness, even in the midst of death, a walk outside reveals new life. Some days that’s the grace to regroup and calm the heart and slow the pace.
God is here, everywhere. And we are his, loved and capable of loving. I’m captivated.
It’s outside that I most often find myself beckoned into his kingdom and story. I know I am small in the midst of a great grand scheme that is the world. That humbling reality- that very revelation- invites participation into the story of God’s great plan of redemption. I’m certain that truth ought to be taken literally and metaphorically.
“Mystery is not the absence of meaning but the presence of more meaning than we can understand.”
Deep breaths in a yoga class and then peace and for the first time in weeks and weeks, earnest prayer (It’s not that I haven’t prayed. It’s just that I haven’t prayed.) I commit to full stops more frequently, even if that means adding yoga classes to an already oft over-stuffed mix. The pause produces a quiet thought: I need wonder. A world saturated with things to do! and see! and that you have to be! and want! distracts, perhaps. I need wonder, not for wonder’s sake, but because when peeled back and exposed, I utterly long for life in a world spoken “good.”
The juxtaposition of a soul in but not of. Hopefully.
“To choose doubt as a philosophy of life is akin to choosing immobility as a means of transportation.
-p31, Life of Pi, Yann Martel (read during sprawled out summer afternoons in Toronto a few years back… creative, impressive, well-loved by me)
So, I like the Modern in Fort Worth. It is filled to the brim with things you are not supposed to touch. Some of those things you are not supposed to photograph. I did anyways as exhibited above, but the signage about what you can and cannot photograph is not as clear as the signage about touching the art as exhibited below.
Some of that art inspires awe.
When circumstances are tiring or distracting or boring or hard, it is good to see things that inspire awe. It is good to look around and notice color and life, to recognize that details have had attention paid to them. It helps with remembering there is something more. It forces wonder into context. Wonder inspires faith. Faith does not destroy doubt, rather, it lets it breathe and ask questions and hold things in tension. And that is enough.
Tonight I went for a walk to clear my head. I came home seeing.
takes snippets of time
these clothes on a line
enhancing all life
somber to ponder
reaching out hands
to take yours and mine
I am proofing through Kentucky photos and came across these tonight. I love them:
The Western or at least American world forgets to slow down so often. We settle for speed and thrive on adrenaline while forgetting how to pause. I struggle to rest, to enjoy, to breathe. Moments slip by, and I miss out on joy. One of the gifts photography has given back to me is wonder.
I catch glimpses of people in the best and sometimes worst moments of their lives and get to capture them. Wonder ensues. It bleeds over into other parts of my life too, which is refreshing and soul-soothing.
Grace reintroduces itself to me a thousand times a day in seeing the light fall just so or finding words that beautify truth. Those little moments of grace undo me, because they are simple enough for me to carry them in my heart. And they are deep enough to transform my soul. It is as if the voice of God translates so that every ounce of my being settles down in his love; resting, enjoying, breathing. His kindness helps me to slow down and see. So I wonder.
For today I am thankful.