There is so much darkness in this world. It presses in against us. In the middle of the night, it enters into our minds in the quiet spaces and works to leave a shadow that lingers even when the morning comes. We wake to light, but its brilliance is dimmed by the memory of those dark thoughts.
I was overwhelmed by something I saw when I was trying to take a sane look at what is happening in the world. My heart sank. This is the world I live in. This is the world where we must raise our children. This is the only option for worlds into which I can bring this baby, due today. He is just leaving the tender hands of God, who knit him together in my womb, and I prepare to welcome him into only this world… How will these precious children learn to see when they are surrounded by so much darkness? How will their roots grow strong and their lives flourish in a world that is cast in so much shadow and has so little sunlight?
I gathered up my one-year-old for a nap and sang to him. I inhaled deeply the sweetness of his voice. I watched his eyes softly dim and fall into perfect, trusting sleep. I slept with him in my arms. Dreamless.
I woke, my heart still heavy. I walked into the kitchen, pulled out my journal, made myself a cup of tea, and turned on some music. Voices singing. Words of peace. Music bursting forth into the silence and filling every space with its unrelenting hope and beauty. And in a moment, my heart was lifted. My darkness was lightened. The beauty of music. The power of words. The souls of people who speak life over the death and decay that is all around us. The atmosphere was completely changed.
This is not the only world. Truly, the world we see is just a shadow of the real and invisible kingdom of God. We belong to a world where there is light and life everlasting. Where hope outshines every fear. Where faith is given substance. Where miracles happen. Where our lives have meaning and purpose. Where our children can grow into the people that God has created them to be. And even in the world where we now use our five senses, we catch glimpses into that other world. Through beauty.
Oh my soul, the tender love of God shines forth in the shimmering petals of the pale-purple irises. In the leaf-buds that whisper promises of future flowers. In the seed that spring up from the barren earth. The gentle rains, the song of birds, the hum of life that makes all the earth sweetly tremble.
The love of God is wrapped up in tiny packages of words: peace, trust, rest, light, hope, love, mercy… I open them up as I need them. I pour them into cups of tea and drink them down medicinally. I infuse them into music and breathe them into my lungs.
My heart continues to beat. And while there is life, there is light. There is so much beauty to be seen and experienced and shared. I search for it. I gather the seeds of it. I plant it, I water it, I tend to it. And I harvest it. And I make it my life’s-work to bring the abundance of beauty to the table and share.
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