Reflections from today:
There is a famous line in Sylvia Plath’s The Bell Jar: “I took a deep breath and listened to the old bray of my heart: I am, I am, I am.”
Lately, this has been the narration in my head:
“I am not____, I am not _____, I am not _____, I am not ____.”
When we hold the superficial measuring stick of the world up to ourselves, don’t we all find ourselves wanting what we don’t have?
How about this for measure instead:
“. . .My response is to get down on my knees before the Father, this magnificent Father who parcels out all heaven and earth. I ask him to strengthen you by his Spirit—not a brute strength but a glorious inner strength—that Christ will live in you as you open the door and invite him in. And I ask him that with both feet planted firmly on love, you’ll be able to take in with all followers of Jesus the extravagant dimensions of Christ’s love. Reach out and experience the breadth! Test its length! Plumb the depths! Rise to the heights! Live full lives, full in the fullness of God” (Eph. 3:14-19).
When I am so huddled up, tirelessly mourning what I am not, I cannot reach out, gloriously revealing Who God is.
Last week Jacob and I were driving through the Rocky Mountains on a Colorado byway. My eyes transfixed on the beauty around: mountains peaks piercing the sky at 14,000 feet and to think: God’s love for us, all of us, is bigger. Higher. Stronger. Even more beautiful. And though it was fleeting I felt a warm peace flush through my body as though I had sipped the most wonderful cup of hot cocoa. This sounds silly because it’s something I’ve been taught and believed since I was a child, but I remembered: God loves me. He is for me. The very hairs on my head are numbered. So there. Even when I am empty, He is enough.
Finally, curving through canyons and narrow mountain roads, we arrived at our destination, a three and a half hour trek out of Denver. My thoughts restrained by the peacefulness of the quiet Aspen meadows: swaying poppies and columbine dotted the landscape. I paused in front of the maroon mountain peak that left me breathless. It was perfect, tucked under a cloudless sky, perched above a quiet lake.
I wonder, while the presence of such beauty, how the world could too harbor such pain. I wish we all despised cruelty in all forms always. I wish we could be a light to those suffering and be kind to those with whom we disagree: after all, what does kindness cost us? And what about love?
In the wake of the horrific events and in the aftermath of varied responses I’ve seen and heard and felt this week, I just want to say, as my cousin texted me on my way up the mountain, “spread love.”
Though I don’t recall what I typed in response, I want to tell him that I plan to try, always.
Immersed in this beautiful, wild, free country I recall a Native American proverb: “be kind to everything that lives.” This is how I will try to live out my days. We will never be perfect but we can always be kind. We will never have everything, but His love will always be enough.