In the book of Jeremiah, the prophet is led before officials of the city by the priests and others seeking his death. They cannot find reason to condemn him, yet Jeremiah places himself in their hands to do as they will. In any case, he tells them, he has said the words that God has given him, and his death won’t change the message.
Christ also is led before the court with false accusations by religious leaders. He also submits himself to their rule, despite His innocence and the Divine nature of his message.
In Isaiah it is prophesied that the wolf will lay down with the lamb. Then follows a series of things all diametrically opposed to one another. They are paradoxes; things that should not be together but nevertheless are. These images are touted as symbols of peace, and maybe they are, but there is much tension in a paradox. “I have not come to bring peace, but a sword,” says Christ.
That tension seems to be the sum of my days recently. Keeping balance is an ever-present task. Sometimes we talk about balance as if when we reach the balancing point, we can relax. I do not think that moment ever comes.
Jeremiah surrenders his life; he is saved. Uriah flees to save his life; he is captured and executed. It is a paradox. Whoever finds his life will lose it; whoever loses it will find it.
Motherhood is a paradox. When my first was born, I spent an inordinate amount of time trying to go back to normal and keep ahold of “myself” as separate from motherhood. The more children we added, the more difficult that became, and the more stressed I became. After my sixth, I finally yielded that. It’s not that I stopped taking care of myself. It’s that I stopped caring so much about it. Everything still happened as normal, but I could breathe.
When we reflexively strive for peace, will we find it?
I plant seeds in the garden, and then spend the next several days anxiously walking up and down the rows, looking for signs of life.
I am watching for seedlings, but I’m not watching for seedlings, because—as Tolkien observed through his created people, the Elves—the eyes of mankind is always “thinking of something else” , and that “they look at no thing for itself; that if they study it, it is to discover something else […] because it reminds them of some other clearer thing”*; because of the truth of Romans 1:20. I am wandering the garden path, and my mind wanders with it.
How do you like that word? It means “a confused jumble or medley of things”. Like the kids’ toy box, or maybe that casserole on Leftovers Night, or maybe a bit of an update made up of things that are too insignificant or underdeveloped to warrant their own posts.
We went for a walk yesterday through the orchard. It’s hard to call it that–it still looks like a motley collection of twigs stuck in the ground. It doesn’t quite have the feel of a real, mature, fruit-bearing orchard; though it will, of course, become that with care and time.
As the new year has begun, I’ve found myself spending equal amount of time looking forward and looking back. I’ve re-read my bullet journals for the year, the hopes and the challenges I wrote for myself, and using that as a guide for my goals for this year.
I didn’t really have resolutions last year. I knew I was having my fourth baby and I knew we were moving from Georgia to Kentucky, and I figured that would be enough to worry about. And didn’t know the kids and I would be living in a different state than Jeremy for half of the year while we waited for our old house to sell. It was a good year but a long one!
It’s the en vogue thing, at the start of the year, to choose a word for the coming year, to guide and steer decisions and hearts. I have thought long and hard over it, and I couldn’t really settle on just one word. My hope for 2017 is an ideal that I can’t find just one word to summarize. So here are a few words–my hopes for the new year.
In hindsight I may have reacted too harshly, but this was his eyesight we were dealing with, and I knew that any damage done would be permanent. And he is more and more thinking himself The Wisest, probably because he is the oldest and, compared to his brothers and baby sister, he is the The Wisest, though he has yet to learn that that sampling of four children that he dominates is hardly a cross-section of the entire world’s population.
This past year has given space to much thinking and evaluation–much contemplation on busyness vs. diligence, on valuing people and making a home, on routine (oh, how I have evaluated and re-evaluated our routine!) on birth and the eternal perspective, and on so many other things that haven’t made any appearance here because they haven’t matured into coherent thoughts, able to be shared.
The concept of rest is something I have been thinking on for several years. Oh, I know that thinking on is such a tame word for the process–I use it for the same reason as that nebulous word interesting, which we use because we can’t think of any other phrase to express so many things. My husband constantly stops me after I’ve called something “interesting”: What do you really mean when you use that word? Strange, repulsive, curious, funny, fascinating? When I say “thinking on” I mean obsessing over, evaluating, wrestling with, trying to make clear.
It is both very chic and very cliche to comment on how fast the year has gone, once we hit mid-November, right? Today I made a menu for Thanksgiving and I couldn’t quite comprehend what I was doing. I believe my mind stopped calculating the passage of time around late August–I couldn’t explain to you why that happened, only that if you asked me when Halloween was, I would tell you it was quite a number of weeks away yet. Of course here we are barreling on towards Christmas, and today I made a new section in my bullet journal labeled Holidays, hoping to find myself ahead of the game, for once! We’ve started stringing garlands of oranges, cranberries and cinnamon, though I have personally banned myself from Christmas music until after Thanksgiving and have attempted to lobby for no tree until Christmas Eve, which will likely will not happen. I really love the Christmas season and I am always nervous about wearing it out by starting in on it too early.
The morning was greyer than any I had seen in a while. Even the misty August mornings showed the suggestion of a sunrise, glowing in all that fog, bringing a warmth to the eerie. That warmth would turn into oppressive heat once it dried out the day. But this morning there wasn’t even a hint of such a thing, only grey, grey, grey; grey and deep green, and the gold of the soybean fields gathering itself for the harvest just peeking through.
I got up in that grey thinking that it must be cold, and so I put on a sweater before bringing Elvie Kay with me into the main rooms of the house. She played on a quilt on the floor and I prepared the coffee. But when I went outside to dump the coffee grinds I learned that the day wasn’t cold in the slightest–it was every bit a muggy leftover from summer–and upon coming back inside, I took the sweater off.
Mornings are quiet here, Elvie Kay’s lilting squeals notwithstanding, and I had my coffee and eggs and toast and then moved her from the floor to the johnny-jump-up while I read. First a Bible study, then a chapter of another book I am reading which is sort of depressing in a way that I’ll have to explain at another time. Elvie’s songs turned sour as she became tired, and I cuddled her before putting her in her crib, where she snuffled into her blanket a bit before finding her thumb and closing her eyes. [Read more…]