Wait With Me

“One of the greatest strains in life is the strain of waiting for God.” Oswald Chambers

I sift through the most difficult times of my life, draw circles around painful periods, connect the dots between each hard part, every challenging chapter. As I take inventory of my almost sixty years, I find that in some way every important page holds a story of waiting.

Often my waiting felt like wading through the weight of heaviness and fear mired deep in murky waters of questioning. How long would our adoption take? How many years of infertility would we face? How long would momma battle dementia? When would we know healing and restoration within our marriage?

From birth to grave we are asked to wait. It is a necessary requirement, a prerequisite for living. We often feel most human, most vulnerable when we are made to sit in a holding pattern. Like a plane low on fuel, asked to circle while it waits for its turn to land, we become dizzy and impatient.

Our course is altered, outcomes are on hold, as we hang in the balance of action and pause. We are a people on the move. And waiting goes against our “on the move” grain. For a generation or two we have become a people who are accustomed to instant gratification—a concept out of sync with waiting. Have we forgotten how to wait?

This “great strain,” of which Oswald Chambers writes, offers us beautiful opportunities for deeper dependence on God. Isn’t this where the growth comes, from strain and tumbling. We are the diamond in the rough. We are the pearl at the mercy of the oyster’s grit. We are the waiters. And yet, if we pay close attention,  remaining awake to possibility, we will witness the miracle of His mercy laden timing unfold. Every time. We become like the pearl.

We encounter it on a deeply personal level when we rub up against anything that stops us from moving, acting, creating, and doing. All the “ing’s” that fuel our living. And yet, to wait in faith, to wait with trust, to wait wholly dependent on a God who holds me in the darkness of uncertainty—this is my spiritual challenge. And perhaps it is also yours.

To read this post in its entirety click the link and join me over at Grace Table.org where this post first appeared. Click to continue reading… Thank you for joining me. 

 

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Finding Joy In Your Own Backyard

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If you have been reading here for any length of time you know my fixation with the word and, as well as the logogram the ampersand. I believe there is always more. And the more I consider why I love and, the more the nuances of the word bubble up. And meet me in the understanding of why. And is a connector. And I am connected to my world via people. (This week alone, I have had rich encounters with friends and writers. Writers and friends.) And via this space I call home.

I can stay and go. Travel and remain. Fly and remain grounded. Be still and know. That what is right here is rich and full of promise. That the soil is dark and full of gifts, right below my pink toes and my bare feet.

I love the idea, both figuratively and literally, of finding joy close to home. Of curating a life from which we don’t need to take a vacation. Of being increasingly at peace in the little space within our arm’s reach. Settling in and extracting peace in the place we call home. I cannot count my spaces. Not here and now. There have been many. My passion for renovating and decorating and for change has carried me, along with my husband and children, on a journey of transforming spaces into homes. The rewards have been grand. The homes have provided us with an anchor for living and loving.

My closest confidante knows my old wrestlings. And my new ones. She knows my achilles heel. And my wounds, my scars and my heart cries. God knows them well too. The older version of me longed to travel. And I got up and went. But now, my life is stationary. But not stagnant.

It if rife with discovery. Teeming with beauty and delight.  But it is a journey of staying within a wonderful radius. One tightly drawn close to home.

I have been many places in my life. I travel in place to recall. I reach back in my diaries, my remembering places, my trunk of letters and memories and into the faded photographs which tell stories of Paris and New York. I revisit. Reach back. And go to the place again. Of the countryside of France where I was a nanny for a small sliver of time. To Athens and Alaska. To St. Andrews and Florence. To Lake Cuomo and Tuscany.

There is reward in the revisiting. Memory feeds my dimming desire to go to a place which is not here.

But when I see the Magnolia blossom the size of my head, on the tree beside my home and across the street and by the Deerhead Tree, I have unearthed treasures in the nearby. When I step through my neighborhood, padding around, I see marvelous wonder in the warm eggs from my neighbor’s hens. A trip to my garden, early in the morning, as my rooster crows, is my own living breathing “Alice in Wonderland”.

And it is all I need. To live out this circuitous journey of discovering joy in my own backyard. I am far from here. I am in a land of unwrapping the spaces under me. Below me, beside me and around me. Be Still and Know.

There is so much more here and there than I first believed.

Round and Round We Went

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Round And Round We Went

It looks like lunacy
This repeating of mistakes
And words, in the ditch, in the gutter, stuck in the groove of
Well intended emphasis
Pounding it out and dancing ’round

Peace comes in the dancing in circles like a spinning top only
If you are two in a tulle skirt
In the kitchen, giddy young
Drunk on air and youth

But we know it all and this and that and
A thing or two of circling round like fighters in the ring
Someone always gets bloodied up
Black eyes, the mark of the warrior who fought hard
No need for
White flags or olive branches, doves
Nothing stops us until we are down for the count
We lick out wounds, healing hidden in the tongue
The same one which spoke the wounds

But now the circle has been broken
I released you at last
You flew off straight and strong, headlong into the unknowing, surely you knew
Freedom came in the unfurling of my weary white knuckled boney hands

Now we dance, we are new and two again
Walking in a straight line, side by side

And I stand alone now
Circling the cross
Quiet warrior, retired from the ring

It looks like lunacy
To those who never knew

A quiet warrior, retired from the ring

Reds – Guest Post: Michelle Ortega

Welcome. Today’s offering is wrapped in beauty from my writer friend Michelle Ortega. Her heart and her art are bursting with loveliness. And love.

Michelle and I first met at Tweetspeak Poetry, a community and online trove of treasures for poets and artists and lovers of beauty, merriment, mirth and laughter. And all things poetry.

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Reds

when my longing

to belong

protests my need

to be free

the fracas

that ensues

impedes peace

I dream

this tree

branches high

above me

unsure how

to proceed

I look up

to see leaves
of fire
overhead
pentecostal reds
limbs stretched
wide
to meet
to greet
the beat of
autumn
wind’s
swirlingflutter
roiling dance

in the moment
holding fast
all too soon
the seasons pass

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About The Writer: Michelle Ortega IS. Her passions include mothering, loving on the meek and outcast, writing poetry and photography (in any given order as opportunities arise).”