Wednesday, February 1, 2017

At the Scent of Water

Sometimes trees get chopped down.

Especially the giant ones... The ones that look like they've been right there, just like that, for at least a hundred years. It's hard to understand how a blade can dig its way through such a sturdy trunk, but somehow it can. And the sap bleeds, drips, sticks. And the trunk wavers. Then the tree falls and the whole earth feels its shudder.

Suddenly all that aliveness is just dead wood.

But there are two hopes because that isn't ever the end of a tree.

There is hope because the trunk won't be left to rot forever. It will get hewn and sawed and shaved into something we use. Or something we admire. (Or something we don't even notice. But it's there.)

And another hope: When a trunk falls, a stump is always left behind alone. Jagged. The thick heart-sap pooling up. It'll get forgotten for weeks, or months, or even years. But something will be happening in the dirt. The roots are alive. Slowly, slowly, tiny shoots work their way out of the ground. And from one dead tree, dozens of new trees come up living.

"For there is hope for a tree, if it be cut down, 

that it will sprout again, and that its shoots will not ease. 

Though its root grow old in the earth, and its stump die in the soil, 

yet at the scent of water it will bud and put out branches 

like a young plant." (Job 14:7-9)

For there is hope of us, if we are cut down,

that our roots will be alive.

Even if we fall, we cry, we run. Even if we hate. Even if we betray. Even if we ignore, forget, get lost,

give up, fall down, ruin, tear, snap, break promises, steal praises, lie, hurt, hide;

Yet at the scent of water and at the trickle of grace our roots can grow and bud and put out branches

like a new life.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

"The love for equals is a human thing -- of friend for friend, brother for brother. It is to love what is loving and lovely. The world smiles.

The love for the less fortunate is a beautiful thing -- the love for those who suffer, for those who are poor, the sick, the failures, the unlovely. This is compassion, and it touches the heart of the world.

The love for the more fortunate is a rare thing -- to love those who succeed where we fail, to rejoice without envy with those who rejoice, the love of the poor for the rich. The world is always bewildered by its saints.

And then there is the love for the enemy -- love for the one who does not love you but mocks, threatens, and inflicts pain. The tortured's love for the torturer. This is God's love.

It conquers the world."

- frederick buechner

Monday, November 30, 2015


The Happiest Happy Birthday to my sweet Mom...

...who taught me how to walk, and how to trust, and how to love beautiful things.

...who is the best mother, teacher, advisor, helper, and friend that I could ever imagine.

...who lives life fully and loves me completely.

...who shows me Jesus.

... who gives the best hugs.

...who makes my favorite meals.

...who puts other people first.

...who makes our home homey.

...who I have so much fun with.

...who can laugh at herself.

...who is absolutely beautiful inside and outside.

...who likes to fix broken things.

...who prays for me.

...who I want so very much to be like.

...who messes up sometimes.

...who forgives me and who teaches me how to forgive.

...who has always made me feel incredibly loved.

...who never gives up on me.

...who I love very very much.

Thanks for being there every single day. Thanks for sleepless nights and long talks. Thanks for all the love you keep on giving. Thanks for being my Mom.

I am deeply blessed :)

Thursday, October 15, 2015

just because

"When we look over God's handiwork, we notice that not everything in our world has a purely functional or instrumental value. Whatever evolutionists may try to say, there are some things that God made just to look nice, or smell pleasant, or sound delightful." 

Robin Phillips

God is not utilitarian.

Sometimes -- a lot of times -- He makes utterly impractical things, instead, and they are good.

Mystery: sometimes the function of something is not as important as the pure, ridiculous beauty of it.

Sometimes efficiency, and usefulness, and common sense, don't. even. matter.

Show me a baby efficiently learning to walk. Or a first kiss that was absolutely practical. Or let me hear some extremely necessary laughter. . .

It's okay to forget about looking for the functions of things sometimes and to just love them for the silly riddles that they are, instead. Sometimes God likes to laugh and so He pours down some snow just because it looks nice. And maybe because people look funny slushing through it, wasting it. With red noses and ears. He gives us immense words, like, "I love you," and littler ones like, "Good morning."  And he gives us perfect smells like the top of a newborn baby's head, and almost-perfect ones, like gardenia. He makes green leaves that decide to turn gold.

And He gets to keep on coming up with this crazy, beautiful stuff. 

God is never moderate. . . Keep watching for the next joke. (This time, it might be you. Or maybe me). And, I'll admit that a moderate world would actually make much more sense. It would be easier to make it through life, with much less hassle along the way. Functionality would rule and utility would answer every question. Hearts would not break. Days would always follow schedule. Nothing unexpected would ever bewilder us.

But no one would ever cry at music. And there would be no time to sit on logs and just wonder.

The world is absurd, and life is absurd, and so laugh. And live sometimes, purely, only, completely, for the sake of living.

Wait, sit, breathe. Be irrationally happy and be absolutely alive. Life is too short to always be levelheaded, especially when God is so busily shaking things up, and turning them upside down, just because He wants to.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

// engraved //

He empties us of ourselves, drains us dry, wrings us out. 

But He never leaves us like that. 

The emptying is so that He can fill us back up with something more wonderful. 

We are graven on His hands and that does not mean we are sitting there, easily and effortlessly. Instead we are engraved there, imprinted there, because He squeezes us so tightly. This hurts because He loves us enough to hurt us. He loves us enough to make us die...enough to put us into the fire, to melt us down, to reshape us into something better. 

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Loving Well and Living Well

"Slowly the clouds lift. 

What I saw then was tears, a weeping God, suffering over my suffering. I had not realized that if God loves this world, God suffers; I had thoughtlessly supposed that God loves without suffering. I knew that divine love was the key. 

But I had not realized that the love that is the key is suffering love." 

-Nicholas Wolterstorff

Slowly the clouds lift. Sometimes they take a whole life to do that. Sometimes they take years of breathing and hurting and wondering. And we can't ever quite convince ourselves of what we will really see when they are gone. 

There is no way to love well in this life without sometime hurting for it. The more of yourself that you twine into life, the deeper your heart will ache. That is what brokenness in this waiting creation looks like. 

God loves us with the most scandalous and appalling sort of love imaginable. This is what it means for Him to pour out every drop of His wrath on the one Place in all of creation where it was not deserved.  Divine love is a suffering love. And suffering love is, paradoxically, the key to all hope. Hope is born when we know that God lived with us, died for us, weeps with us. Hope is born when we suddenly realize that loving and living well, and suffering for that, will be infinitely worth it.

Friday, September 4, 2015

Born of Wonder

"Philosophy is born of wonder. So is poetry."

Michael O'Brien

Don't separate joy and knowledge. Our hearts were made deep enough for both. 

Gawk at the world as you learn about it. 

Laugh while you philosophize.  

Love every good thing wildly when good things are hardest to find. 

A cynic has a head full of knowledge and an empty heart. A fool has a heart full of joy and an empty head.

Squeeze them both out. Blend them together. A true artist never paints with just one color.