Thursday, 27 March 2014

Cabin Fever!

Cabin fever has spiked. The winter roars outside. The bears have broken in, and they are my children. Wild things, stomping and raging and growling, upending the furniture and scattering the morning’s broken pieces all over the floor. Snow days and sick days have kept us inside for far too long, and the walls are pushing in. These shaggy-haired creatures are chasing me with whining, irrational demands for kids’ shows!  and softer toast!  and smaller pirates! If their evil plan is to turn mama into a grizzly, it’s working.

I want to roar. I want to toss them out into a snowbank. Or perhaps stuff and mount silent over the mantle?

But then, the littlest cub wanders over, blankie and teddy in hand. He is wearing flannel bear jammies.
“I need uppie.”
“I need a bear hug,” I tell him, scooping him up.
“Bear hug?”

Somehow in the embrace, we feel human again.  Sticky paws turn to patting hands, the gnash of terrible teeth to a smile. This grizzly mama begins to melt. The fever breaks. Maybe, just maybe, I can see the end of winter after all.


Monday, 24 March 2014

Made for Beauty

I long for beauty. How can my heart ache for something so frivolous, so unnecessary? Isn’t it selfish to want the icing on the cake when so many are starving for bread?

But what if beauty isn't unnecessary? What if beauty reveals something desperately true about humanity, and about God?

Our God could have made a world of bread and water, of pragmatic production, of sufficiency.

But he created the possibility of chocolate, a riotous spectrum of colour, laughter and fiddle music.

We could have made do with walking, one foot in front of the other, single file please. Get the job done. But he gave us dancing. He made us for dancing. He made us for joy.

He made us to thrill at the first explosion of spring yellow – a daffodil. He made us to gaze at pigment skillfully stroked onto canvas. He made us to relish the wordplay of a master storyteller. He made us to sigh at pretty things all in a row. He made us to be captivated by that particular shade of blue in a baby’s eye.

Are these unnecessary? Well, yes. But they are not any less important for their seeming superfluity.  They reveal a God who delights in abundance, in giving freely and joyously, in a cup overflowing.

Beauty matters because it catches the glint of heaven and reflects it back to us. Beauty matters because it is the laughter of God.

So when we give bread, which we must do, can we also not give wine? When we give blankets, which we must do, can we also not give a lullaby? When we give shelter, which we must do, can we also not give a sanctuary?

We are meant to do more than the necessary, more than the sufficient. We are made for beauty. 


Monday, 10 March 2014

sonnet imperfect

How do I love Thee?

And what stands in pure love's way?

The only way I know is to love these ones You have given me. But they are imperfect and I find my love faltering. Strange that to draw near to the Perfect means to embrace imperfection.

Why do You clothe Yourself in these rags? Is there no other way to the city of God than the road of suffering? If I hope to find You in the city, I must look for You on the road, the man beaten and bloodied by guttersnipe robbers, the man ignored by those of religious persuasion, the man dying.

I am but a Samaritan, and nothing like good, but in this stoop to gather Your wounds in my arms, I hope that some of Your blood may rub off on me.

Love is a laying down.

I could count the ways this all inconveniences me, but better to throw my hands up to Infinity.

"Lay down with me," the Perfect says, "and I will show you what Love is."

Love calls in the crying child, the mess of play on the floor, the ever-bending of my will to the Will of God. He wills Love, only ever Love, and He wills it in a thousand ways, wills that these stumbling stones become a bridge that takes me to the rock solid.

A pure and perfect love - the telos of life hidden in the chaos of living. The face of God in the face of a child.

Only here, with my childhood's faith, I love Thee purely.


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