There wasn’t a morning that she didn’t flick off her bedroom light and find it right there on the edge of the table outside their bedroom door.
One round vitamin C that he’d leave out for her, before he went to the barn and his udder-dripping sows.
Like he thought she could just take it and keep the day from being infected with grief.
Like there was a way to ingest light and lower the bloody pressure of the dark.
She’d swallow that flattened vitamin globe.
She’d cut one of the grapefruits right in half.
She’d use the tip of her knife to fling out the pits and she’d watch the sun rise.
What if her son wrapped the rusting metal of his Honda around some indifferent trunk of a maple tree on the way home from school?
What in the world was worth getting ready for dinner for the 82, 369th time?
How could she raise these kids to be parched for God and care about anything more than their own skin?
And how can your gentleness ever be evident to all before it’s first obvious to one small, large-eyed kid right here?
She didn’t know who had been trying to soft-sell that potion to the masses:
Mothering is no second-rate ministry for the spiritually and intellectually mediocre.
Mothering is a Christ-rated ministry for soul and mind sculptors and what could ever be substandard about passing on Christ’s standard?
She prayed for whatever sharp-edged truth was needed to extract a thousand more pits. She remembered to exhale. She remembered to smile. That’s how she could practice her faith first thing: She practiced smiling.
When the oldest girl came in from the barn, the girl went straight to the piano, and played the notes like a vitamin of her own.
And the mother stood there at the fingerprint-smudged window with her bowl of half a grapefruit in her hand, listening to the steady beat of those notes that decoded something in her.
She had heard it once, how a piano teacher had once stood over the white keys and had whispered it to a muddled protege:
“When you are a musician and you stop counting? …it’s like running around in the forest, in the dark without a flashlight.”
When you’re a musician and you stop counting — you’ve lost the song’s way.
When you’re a follower of Christ, and you stop counting — you’ve lost your way.
When you are a believer — and you stop counting blessings?
It’s like blindfolding yourself and wondering why everything’s black.
The dog came in from the cold.
She could feel the notes, the refrain that there is definitely a more brilliant way to live than the simplicity of the cynics.
And she smiled slow again.
Sometimes smiling is an act of defiance against what’s pressing down hard.
Sometimes smiling is an act of sheer bravery.
Sometimes smiling in brokenness is how we re-member: We are the Resurrection People & there is more happening than what seems & this is how to practice faith. Practice Smiling. Practice Joy. Practice counting gifts.
At the beginning of the week, she exhaled and smiled and that’s what she decided to bravely wear — Joy is a habit: wear it.
She opened her journal and she just took the grace that was laid out for her everywhere.
She kept deliberately counting, gift after gift, and it was mineral to her. Music to her. She could feel it — she was getting her rhythm back.
The only way to keep in time with your Beloved — is to keep counting blessings. The way to keep the rhythm of life — is to count the ways He loves.
The most brilliant way to live is to always look for the light.
And there at the piano, her daughter kept counting —
making her music in the world.