Tuesday, June 19, 2007


Along the trail I walk every day, tall trees line the paved path and witness my regiment. If they could do more than bend in response to the breeze, and whisper caresses against each other's boughs, they'd give me a "Good job!" now and then. "Keep going!" I imagine them saying. But whispers aside, the trees are silent.

The ceiling above, on these hour-plus walks, is an ever-changing palette. Mid-June's cobalt blue (that was for you, Cora :) will eventually give way to Pacific Northwest gray (which I adore).

Yesterday, my covering was blue. Deep blue. Blue like a promise. On my tar-blackened path, I walked--for the first 40 minutes--to the beat of Simply Red and Michael Buble; Five for Fighting, and a bit of Natasha Bedingfield. When I turned and began retracing my steps, though, I switched to a worship playlist and heard Brett Williams, Brenton Brown, and Matthew West.

I liked the first half of the trip; I loved the second. There's just as much talent in Christian music, but they have an added edge in that the lyrics connect with your spirit. I'm never sorry when I think to switch to that playlist.

About twenty minutes from home, the trees lining the trail break away to reveal a wide-open space. An endless queue of power lines and radio towers dot the rolling meadow, but if you can ignore those steel uglies, what captures your eyes is the sudden vastness of the sky. The sliver that snuck peeks at you through the treetops all the rest of the walk now shouts its presence. You have to look up. You have to draw in a bigger breath, for just that span of steps.

As I approached this opening in the trees, Third Day began singing, and I heard familiar words. But words I've heard--and sung--a hundred times before, deepened themselves into a God-thought. He timed the nudge I felt to switch to that playlist; timed the order of songs that played themselves into my ears; timed the moment those words would mingle and meld with the sight I saw above my head.

Your love oh Lord reaches to the heavens
Your faithfulness stretches to the sky
Your righteousness is like the mighty mountain
And Your justice flows like the oceans tides

And I will lift my voice to worship you my King
And I will find my strength in the shadow of Your wings

I heard the words, and I heard the truth behind them. His love, vast like the sky, presses down on me every second of every minute. It's not the elusive thing we think it to be. It covers the earth like a canopy, and there's no place where His love wasn't there first. It's the touch of wind against my cheek, the air that fills my lungs, the source of my heartbeat and my dreams.

In the face of such insistent passion, there's not much more you can do but cry. So I did.

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Friday, June 15, 2007

in her memory

Ruth Bell Graham was a beautiful, gracious woman--the kind of wife, the kind of God-follower I wish to be. I pray she "ascended slowly."

And when I die
I hope my soul ascends slowy,
so that I
may watch the earth receding
out of sight,
its vastness growing smaller
as I rise,
savoring its recession
with delight.
Anticipating joy
is itself a joy.
And joy unspeakable
and full of glory
needs more
than "in the twinkling of an eye,"
more than "in a moment."
Lord, who am I to disagree?
It's only we have much
to leave behind;
so much ... Before.
These moments
of transition
will, for me,
be time
to adore.

    - Ruth Bell Graham


Wednesday, June 06, 2007

chick wisdom

She came out of the woods one day and sauntered around the corner of the house with four unexpected fluff balls in tow. She'd never let on that she had a nest out there. She'd been holding out--and this day was show-and-tell. If ever a hen exuded pride, she was it.

She had a right to that pride. Those chicks are perfect little hen-lets. Teensy eyes, stick-figure legs, miniature bodies so downy-light, the yellow seems to hover about them like an aura.

That first day, they followed her across the sea of gray concrete with their tiny hearts beating madly in their mini chests. Where was she taking them? Why? When I spoke to them (in practiced Chickese), they skittered to the far side of Mama, cocked their heads to this side and that, and stole quick, quizzical glances at the scary Womanzilla who is me.

I was patient. Those first few days, I tossed crumbs of toast or leftover cheesy bread at them from a far distance--but always with a spoken invitation in a quiet voice. After that, when I'd hear their little chirps and Mama's more persistent cluck, I'd open the sliding glass door and wait them out. They'd come nearer with cautious, scratchy steps ... closer, closer ... until they couldn't bring themselves to move another inch. At the edge of their courage, they'd wait for the handful of leftover brown rice or muffin bits I'd lob at them, again, while speaking. "Hello, babies," I'd say.

This morning, I looked up from the couch to see four small faces peering at me through the slider. They'd made it all the way to my door.

I opened it with a slow nudge and said, "There you are." At the sound they'd memorized, they hopped and fluttered and chirped. And they stayed right there, waiting for me, while I slipped out to join them on the step. I let a handful of quick oats drop through my fingers, and they dined at my feet.

Call me back, Lord. Draw me away from all that leaves me empty. In that voice You use--the one that soothes and lulls and comforts--draw me to Your feet. I need to dine today.

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