On a Thursday night, the two of us wake and lie under the pelting of the roof with a thousand lashes of glass.
His fingers find mine.
I half smile in the dark. How he knows, how the way to live through life’s lashing is to lash yourself to love, to God. The ice whips on at the windows.
The wind slaps. Trees creak loud.
As if you could freeze Spring over.
As if the fiery lake it self could just right freeze over, and what if that was a thing?
For hell to freeze over and evil to cease and the bombs and explosions and houses of horrors and the bluing everyday suffering that goes on down the street and across town and right now close, to just sheet over placid and still. Yeah, that. Please?
By Friday morning, nothing turns on.
Not the lights, the heat, the water. Just the crazy loud kids. You can see it from the kitchen, how the lines are downed and iced sheathed and the world’s turned off, gone stone deaf.
And that’s what you want, to turn off that blaring TV and those nattering talking heads, rip out the power lines to the news and the streams of headlines flashing callous, get numbed and shut down and eat another big square of chocolate with your fingers slid through someone’s, wait till Somebody stops the madness, stops the chaos, and just brings spring.
Cold, Mama… everything is ice cold out there Mama.
Ice swathes every blade of greening grass. The clothespins are entombed shut. Kids hold up tree buds mummified in glass. The world seems upended, disoriented, wrong.
Narnia, Mom! The land of the white witch, always winter, never spring…. Levi holds up a broken branch, and I shake my head, no. No.
The lane’s a sheen, answers so slippery.
When it’s hard to keep your footing is right when you have to keep your faith.
All of Friday and Saturday and Sunday, for over 60 hours, there’s no hydro.
Sunday morning, the farmers with no hydro, they drive in late like us, park in the country chapel’s gravel yard, and one by one, they fill the sanctuary, us, the women and the kids and the men without power knowing where to come, knowing that when you don’t know, you still know where to come. When we were powerless…
And I watch farmers’ hands, gnarled and work creased, how they raise them and fold them and slide them into pockets, the powerless who can do the powering thing and come.
Monday, a bomb goes off and then another one, and we stagger, life on this side of the race is hard right to the finish.
And Tuesday there’s Gosnell and we’d rather turn away and in bearing witness, we bear the weight of glory, of God who bears sins and rises, and redemption requires testimony.
And Wednesday night a cloud lifts the sky over Texas and balls of fire fly and marriages wither and headlines scream and babies cry and prodigals run farther and who can even ask why?
Whole sheets of ice slide off the roof and everything’s falling and fallen, turned upside down, and in our falling, in all our falling —
there’s only one Tree reaching out of the sheer rock face going down.
You’ve got to reach for the only Hope.
In the midst of the pelting and the exploding and all this breaking, we grab hold of the One Tree, the Tree on which He hung, and we hold on to Him with all we have, those beams stretched wide open to catch us.
There’s nothing else to hold on to but God.
But who knew in the falling, when we thought we were reaching — the limbs of that Tree, that love, were reaching for us.
In our falling — it’s the Tree that catches us.
It’s the Tree that’s holding you. When you’re trying to just hold on, is when He’s really holding on to you.
God. has. it.
He has you.
Instead of explaining our suffering, God shares it — because He knows mere answers are cold and His arms are warm.
The tips of the branches drip all across the fields.
And the woods weep.
And the cold and the bloodied and the messy are held.
The kids stand under reaching limbs, the weeping, their cheeks wet.
And through the washing tears of the world, we see and taste the tears of God.