To make room for others.
To watch candle sticks burn down to the end throughout an evening.
To play games.
To sit in stillness.
To watch movies together.
To read books side by side.
To drink tea slowly.
To have breakfast with friends.
To open up your home to others.
All these things that have always been a part of who I am but have been buried deep within over the past few years. The chance to rediscover myself. To face the parts of me I don't like. To bring the darkness into the light.
To remember what faith is. To believe again.
I am reading Madeleine L'Engle's Walking on Water, and I am allowing myself to become lost in it. As I allow myself to write, to type out words that I think, wonder, and believe, I realize that this is my spiritual discipline. That my writing and my faith are so intertwined that I don't think I could separate them anymore, even if I wanted to. As I find my voice and believe in myself as a writer, it is only because I am listening to His voice and believing in Him.
Isaiah knew himself to be mortal and flawed, but he had the child's courage to say to the Lord, "Here I am. Send me." And he understood the freedom which the Spirit can give us from ordinary restrictions when he wrote, "When you pass through deep waters I am with you; when you pass through rivers, they will not sweep you away; walk through fire and you will not be scorched, through flames and they will not burn you." He may not have had this understanding before he wrote those words, for such understanding is a gift which come when we let go and listen. I think I looked up this passage because I dreamed that a friend reached into the fireplace and drew out a living coal and held it in his hand, looking at its radiance, and I wondered at him because he was not burned.
It may be that we have lost our ability to hold a blazing coal, to move unfettered through time, to walk on water, because we have been taught that such things have to be earned; we should deserve them; we must be qualified. We are suspicious of grace. We are afraid of the very lavishness of the gift (76-77).
I am that one, suspicious of grace. I believe it for others but step away from it for myself.
And I am so tired of doing that. Of expecting less for myself than for others. It's been a hard season, and I don't want my default to believe it to be a punishment or curse. It's too hard to live that way.
I'm starting to remember what faith is. To believe and hope and trust. To see the rubbish all around, but to still see my God as beautiful and holy. To recognize the pain, but feel His love. To realize that sometimes, things don't work out the way you expected them to, but to see the whole bloody thing as beautiful, even if you have to kick away the debris to see it.
So tonight, I'll put my sick little kiddos to bed. I'll drink some tea. I'll curl up on the couch next to my husband. And I'll light some candlesticks and let them burn all the way down until they extinguish themselves. And I'll reread those words that Isaiah wrote down, so long ago. And as we crawl through Holy Week, I'll soak it all up deep into the marrow.
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you.When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.Isaiah 43:2