Just a few days after mowing, our backyard transforms into a wonderland of wishes.
My youngest calls me outside and hands me a dandelion and tells me to make a wish. She closes her eyes, takes a deep breath, and whispers that little girl wish that sends the seeds flying.
“Now you do it! Make your wish!”
I stand there, holding my breath, and just as I begin to exhale, I realize I don’t know what to wish for.
Sometime this past year, my desperate longing for something more became satisfied. I had all I needed because God was sending the flair right into any circumstance. It didn’t matter where I was because He was there.
Even in the weeds of suffering, illness, and disappointment, there was always some flair.
So what’s left to wish for? I’m holding the weed in my hand and asking God what His wish for my life is.
I remember that God’s name and His renown are the desire of my heart. What does it mean to wish that your life radiates with the power and presence of God? What does it mean to wish for a life that brings the most honor and glory to God–that His name would be made great through your life?
These are serious wishes. These wishes include sacrifice and dying to self. These wishes invoke a sort of hope and intention that invites God to work in my life no matter what the cost. It’s a surrender that sends my life flying out into the unknown.
Is this a wish I’m ready to make? I exhale everything out across the landscape. I don’t know where these seeds will land, but land they will. This is my life that I’m scattering out. It never belonged to me anyway.
Journal: Can I surrender like this?
Tonight in my town, the roller skating rink will host a free “Family Roller Skating Party” just for our elementary school. While my children jump up and down, clapping their hands in anticipation of this event, I’m shaking in my boots.
I’m going to put on those roller skates, wobble and tumble out into the rink, and make a complete fool of myself. I’ll probably end up hospitalized.
What happened to the fearless me? As I think about the joy of roller skating, I consider the beauty of gliding. To glide means to move smoothly across a surface without effort. You push off and slide, letting physics take over. You don’t have to do anything but cooperate.
Most children tend to do this automatically after a few falls. They find equilibrium and stay balanced on these bizarre rolling contraptions. They speed by, skating even backwards and under limbo sticks.
Uncooperative me can learn a lot tonight. I need to push off and glide. I need to surrender to whatever lies under my feet, cooperating with the kind of joy that might just send me into fabulous twirls, backward moves, and limbo stick bends.
I want to live like one on roller skates: I move smoothly as I surrender and cooperate.
Journal: What am I resisting that I need to surrender to and cooperate with?
I’m looking up into the autumn leaves, and I realize I’m watching a glorious death. These colors–this vibrant display of glory–come at the point of death (technically the disintegration of chlorophyll). This beautiful moment represents the end of life for these leaves. I don’t name it as tragic. I revel in this autumn landscape. I take a picture and marvel.
What forms of death are glorious? When, like these leaves, is death a moment of glory?
|A Glorious Death
I think of when the will bends to God in a moment of surrender. I think of what it means to become absorbed in divine purposes–letting my right to my own life, my own plans, and my own demands disintegrate like chlorophyll. Like autumn leaves, I am most beautiful when I’m at the end of myself. The Christian life might be seen as a glorious dying–a surrender of self–to become a child of the one whose Glorious Death wasn’t tragic but victorious and radiant.
Later, I hike through a forest and come upon a massive decaying tree. I think of this as a glorious death as I imagine the refuge and nourishment such a dying tree provides for the ecosystem. Might I see my own life as a fallen tree, bowed down, dead to self, so that I might find the life that’s truly life?
A life surrendered might feel tragic and painful. But not for long. It’s nourishing, radiant, glorious. We see and marvel.
Whenever it’s time to make up a bed with fresh, clean sheets, it’s as if the cats know.
They run to the bedroom. Soon, I wrestle two kitties out from underneath the sheets. They return to burrow and tumble, peek out and retreat. I coax them out, urge them to the side of the bed, and start to make the bed again.
Just as I tuck in the last corner and turn to smooth the blankets on top, I see the perfect round lump right in the middle of the bed and under my sheets.
These cats! They infuriate me! I start from the beginning and remake the bed so the sheets and blankets rest smooth and precise. Somehow, a cat wriggles his way back up beneath the covers and lounges there.
I hear purring. I hear satisfied and taunting purring.
I look at that rumpled mess of a made bed. No order, no smooth lines. Finally I realize that as long as I have these mischievous felines, I will have a lumpy bed. You can’t make a bed properly with cats around.
Once I realize this, I just go about the process of making the bed differently. I loosen the corners, I fluff up the blankets, and I invite a cat into caverns and caves I design.
Those things I resist, those battles I fight, might be moments of surrender to the annoyance. Some evenings, I retire to bed to see round lumps hiding under the covers. Purring. Loud purring. It’s funny. It’s endearing. It’s a source of delight.
Could the things that annoy me the most become a source of delight somehow? Those things about my family members that I want to change might become endearing things. Things I would miss if I didn’t have them around.