what to hold on to when it feels like the world’s hurting

The sparrows are full song at 4:48 am and his breath beside me is still this gentle relief of sleep.

Who says the timeline has to be same for all of us?

The last two weeks Shalom’s been ripping off these strips of duct tape and defiantly plastering the bottom of her foot, MacGuyvering some belligerent plantar wart that’s over stayed its welcome.

Malakai keeps loosing track of the hours but not the dog, reading Redwall out there in the leafy shade of the ash grove on a rocking chair he screwed together himself, split maple and simple ways.

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The boy’s sitting out there under trees I planted as finger seedlings 16 summers ago, all large with our third then stretching the sides of me.

How could I have known that 16 summers later, the girl who’d come from me, she’d be the girl taller than me, nearly 6 feet and a wider smile, stretching what I know of being a woman and real? Her and I make pies and time slows out in the hammock.

The wheat behind the orchard’s come into full head. It’s turning itself into pure gold. Things like this actually do become possible in the surrender.

You can find him most days, the Farmer looking to the west, always the west, watching the sky, watching how the ocean becomes a cloud, comes across our fields from the west. The soybeans keep drinking in the waves made rain that fall now from over our heads.

Levi says he stood out there and you couldn’t deny it, the corn was way taller than the boy himself by the 4th of July. Who knows how these things happen? Maybe just that —- Surrendering to time and what comes lets miraculous things happen.

Yeah, sure, there may be those who think they have all the answers, but there’s a comfort walking with those who have questions, those who are wrestlers and wanderers and wonder-ers, who find the leaning into the questions lets them live into stronger answers.

No matter what the headlines scream, no matter where you stand on the curving earth, we are all held together by the same gravity, that we all share air.

So many questions, some I sit with and retrace slow: Why are there people so starved that they steal bits of other people’s exposed souls as snacks for their own bony ego?

Why is it the hardest of all to give up on being someone else’s version of perfect and begin the hard work of becoming yourself?

Why does it take so long to realize that the words you speak bleed up through your skin, making you more becoming or beastly?

Time unfolds that too: Never have I lived with anything as bewildering my own soul.

And I can stand on the heat of a July porch and watch the sun set with the Farmer across those wheat fields and feel how though we once started as curled and embryonic as a comma, a pause in the timeline, a space looking for answers, we can grow into the curved, open-handedness of question marks.

And maybe that is the exact posture of faith — faith is the empty hand curved to willingly receive.

There is faith that believes the most astonishing truths in the face of the dire headlines: “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in Me, though he die —  yet shall he live.”

There is faith that accepts no fast, next day delivery, but rests that the new order of things waits on the hands of God, not the hands on the clock.

There is faith that stands or falls on the truth that the future with God is more fulfilling than anything forecasted by either the fortunetellers or the fearmongers. (The power of sin and worry and fear over us is always the power of deceit over us.)

There is faith that in the midst of the setbacks, God is setting up everything for the comeback of your joy.

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He and I linger long enough to find the porch swing. The wheat dozes in the thickening twilight.  The beans rustle in the day’s last wind. The corn stretches.

Sure, these crops were planted by the hand of the Farmer but it’s clear every single day we look out at them: they rest in the hand of the Father. It’s only a mirage to think that any of us have control, that we turn the world.

Who knows what tomorrow brings, what the sky will have blow in? Who knows what questions will rise like unexpected storm clouds, what questions will still remain? The yield always only comes in the yield.

The Farmer nods toward the fields in the thickening dark, “We’re all just living in a sea of faith.”

And for days afterward, when I feel like I am drowning in questions and news and life, it rings me, like the answering song of surrendered old chimes—

That is all — we are all just living in a sea of faith.

 

 

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