I find my brain too knotted for serious thinking today.
I was going to review Lilith, and along with it, tell you more about George MacDonald. Can’t seem to find the words yet.
I was going to flesh out the bones of the essay I’ve been carrying in my head all week. Too many good directions it could go though.
So, I’ll just tell you the story of my yesterday afternoon. It was a good one, the sort that made me thank God for every one of its minutes when I got in bed last night. Nothing spectacular, just small graces mounded into a heap of good cheer in my heart. It started with a mocha as I scrunched into a corner table at my coffee shop. Reading was first (this always makes life better). A picture book of English landscapes for pure beauty, a few passages from The Celtic Christ by Philip Newell, to spur my dazed thoughts to dancing. Then a frenzied scribbling of notes in the margins of my journal, half of praise for what Newell spoke of, half in furious disagreement. Most stimulating.
And then I wrote. That might have been the best part. I had been wanting to all day because, without any sort of drumroll or inner trumpet, I’d known the love of God early that morning. Just like that. Sitting in my red chair in the the half light of a cloudy dawn. I’d been reading St. Teresa, with her spirited urging for all of us to seek the inner castle of our hearts. I love that image, this inner room where God watches, waits. I closed my eyes, seeking that place, and I was with my Father in a simple surety of love. More than anything in that moment, I knew myself and all people to be held. Something about reading George MacDonald again with his confidence in the great Father, Hosea too, has helped me to grasp the way we are all cradled in the active, inexorable love of God. Every goodness is of his heart, every pain is caught up in his redemption. Nothing can take us out of the circle of his mercy. Christ over me, Christ under me, Christ beside me, on my left and my right, as the old Irish prayers say. I wrote three pages in a mental drive to capture the glow of that minute. I have no doubt that a future me will need it.
And then I walked. There is a little mountain lake nearby and I trudged through the red mud and sullied snow in search of silence. Dusk pooled, slow and navy above the eastern valley. Homelights flickered to life in the gloom. A line of gold rallied over the mountains, then died in a quiet, flickering crimson. A single tree, its roots deep in the frozen lake, lifted up his arms, fingers etching a black poem against the sky. Chill air filled every inch of me. The rhythm of my steps was a chant of gratitude.
Then home. For an episode of Monk (yes, I must admit to this) and quesadillas, and a fight for the last blackberry Izzy, and Nate on his Thanksgiving visit. We’re all home but one which makes for a good deal more noise. I usually enjoy this. The absent brother, of course, called at one point, just to be sure we wouldn’t forget him. Kelsey, our truly pathetic golden retriever (what other creature on the face of the earth gets to think they have a meaningful existence by begging to be fed and petted?) was quite happy. There were extra hands to be nosed. And then, to bed. A warm bed, with many quilts on a very cold night.
All so small, all so good. I’m grateful. It’s a good way to start Thanksgiving.
May your week begin with a similar pile of small graces.