I’ve got no idea who went ahead and pulled out a Sharpie marker and circled a bunch of dates on the calendar, but there it is, dates with Sharpie ink ringing around them like circling vultures.
Dates for doctor appointments and drop-dead deadlines and dream days that have sort of been lifelines.
I’ve been sleeping at the hospital for days, weeks, with our Littlest in ICU, a little body with all the tubes and wires and leads and IVs coming and going, and my shoulder’s out, and my heart’s kinda breaking too.
“I know why you’re shoulder’s out, Mama,” some clever, grinning kid pipes up. “Maybe — it’s cause you keep going around shrugging your shoulders, saying: ‘Who knows?’”
Yeah, kid, let’s go with precisely that.
Who knows what’s coming out of those doctor appointments? Who knows when things are going to take a turn for the better?
Who knows if things can come together for this dream or that plan or in time to make that date?
Who knows what tomorrow holds, who knows if people on the other end of phone calls will say yes, who knows if things are just going to up and fall apart and who even knows if…what looks like it’s falling apart — is actually falling together?
“It’s kinda feels like — our whole life is up in the air.” I whisper it to the Farmer like I’m looking for relief of my own.
“Life’s kinda sorta supposed to be up in the air, isn’t it?” He murmurs it in the dimming room, like he’s turned on a light.
“Yeah—maybe…” I try to smile. “The abundantly good life is supposed to feel kind of up in the air.”
He finds my hand.
Life’s about pulling skin on Jesus on earth — and about pulling out all the stops against the powers of the air.
“For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.” Ephesians 6:12
I try to still all this whirl of worries within. Listen to us all just breathing in the quiet…
The real good life is meant to be up in the air — because life’s real battles are being fought up in the air — up in the heavenlies.
There’s another message from our boy: “Can you pray for me? Please?”
There’s our daughter in a hospital bed who we love with all our heart whose heart is trying to keep beating, trying to mend and heal.
There’s women who I’d bleed for, who look numb and empty and who are going through the brave motions because you’ve just got to do the next hard and holy thing even when nothing feels like it’s changing anything.
There’s a beautiful world of hurting crazy out there and our brave kids are in the centre of it, and our dreams and our hopes and our futures and our communities and our countries are hanging in the balance through it, and there is a war in the heavenlies and the man laying beside me is believing that if our lives aren’t up in the air where the real battle is, our lives on the ground lose ground.
I can hear a clock ticking — this is the thrum of things:
The more indifferent we are to prayer, the less God’s power makes any difference in our lives.
There’s light out the window, light cutting it’s way through the dark — and there’s the way forward:
makes us slayers
No weapon is more formidable than prayer to slay the dark & the demons.
Prayer’s the weapon we wield to make everything else we do survive fire.
She who commits to pray,
goes the narrow way
& her prayers circle demons & slay.
So go ahead, let our life be all up in the air. I can hear the wind outside the window, see the night sky’s stretching far above trees, like a shadowed battlefield, and I try to remember to breathe, to rest:
Do not work so hard for Christ, that you make no time to pray to Christ. He is the lifeblood of all prayer, all work, all being, all communion. There’s moonlight catching the cross on the wall across from the window.
The calendar squares say we’re moving toward through the final days of Lent.
What had Andrew Murray said?
“Prayer is reaching out after the unseen; fasting is letting go of all that is seen and temporal.
Fasting helps express, deepen, confirm the resolution that we are ready to sacrifice anything, even ourselves, to attain what we seek for the kingdom of God.”
What of earth do I need to let go of, fast from, sacrifice completely, to reach for what is unseen, to reach for the One more life-giving than air?
I lay there in the night quiet for a long time… resolving, letting go.
Rain’s falling, splattering across the window…
I’d heard it once from an old farmer’s wife, how an eagle never takes a snake on the ground. An eagle always tears into the reptile with its talons and flies it into the sky. Because an eagle knows not to try to conquer the snake on the ground, because the eagle knows:
The way you win is to change the actual battlefield.
That’s why the eagle flings the snake into the air. A snake has no strength, no power, no way when tossed into the air. Dashed upon rocks, the snake’s food for the victorious bird. When you do your battle in prayer with the principalities in the air, there’s winning on earth.
I exhale in the darkness — I didn’t even know I was holding my breath.
Take every battle to the air in prayer — and God will take over your battles on earth.
In the quieted, dark stillness, I almost say it aloud anyway, say it to all the questions about all the things, say what the universe knows:
“A life up in the air — can be a life up to the best things.”
You can see from the rain spattered on the window — that the wind’s shifted toward the east.
There is a changing of everything —
when breath becomes prayer.