Poetry & Words

What People Don’t Understand About Having an Only Child

What People Don't Understand About Having an Only Child

Five years ago.  I don’t wish time to stop, because if time had stopped then I wouldn’t have today in all its glorious tumbling mix of beauty and brokenness.

No, I never wish time to stop.

This photo from the past is a femtosecond suspended in space — a single transient moment in time’s flight over us.

We’re in my favorite place on earth, high above the sea overlooking Bodega Bay, and the white-bright sunset is casting slivers of diamonds over us, by the handful. My pants don’t match my shirt, and I’m wearing my brother-in-law’s too-big shoes. She’s set to bolt away and grab fistfuls of sand. The sky is molten. We are hands on a clock, dials on the face of the sun.

And time flies on.

The shadows go round, and round, and round. She’s so little here, my third-grader, and my heart sometimes feels like it will split right down the middle.

See, she’s a miracle, you know, I miracle God granted in defiance of what time’s overly-speedy hands had begun to do to my physical body. And she’s light. Can’t you see it here, the light? True to her name, she’s Alenka, the radiance. When she was born, the nurse learned over the bed and asked, in a voice breaking under the weight of meaning, “What have you come to teach us?”

Strangers, won’t you step down and lift your head and open your eyes? Won’t you see beyond the narrow explanation you’ve created in your own mind?

You ask me why I had no more; I reply: no more arrived.

You ask so often. Do you realize how often you ask?

You never see the sorrow in my reply.

You ask at the line in the grocery store.

You ask at the library.

You ask at homeschool groups. (Oh, especially at homeschool groups.)

We’re dependent on God for so much. The thin tissue of our lungs fills and empties, fills and empties, fills and empties. We breath in oxygen; our organs are fed. We do not owe the function of these inner workings to our own righteousness. Our heartbeats, our respirations, the skin that covers these shells — gifts from the Maker, all.

Don’t count and measure and compare.

We aren’t given equal portions in this life, but we are given enough. We are given our portion. It is my sorrow that my arms cannot hold more; yet it is my joy they can hold the unspeakable gift I’ve been given.

Can you look at this life as liquid gold, with me? As chrysolite and as chalcedony? [1] We all walk sacred ground; there are no ordinary places. [2] We are souls inhabiting bodies; we are magic of the celestial kind.

Look to the Light, my friends, look to the Light and rejoice.

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Poetry & Words

POETRY & WORDS :: Rivers of Light

August 2013 - Aveline's tangled hair looking out window in morning lightThere’s something so pure about the morning light. It falls through the sky in a way it does no other time of the day, it falls and dances and pulls the air around it into gossamer waves. The early hours pull and push and twist the light into an opaque filter that infuses the morning in possibility. Awash in new mercies, morning light stands up  strong against uncertainty and tugs my eyes and heart upward, to the Light, to the Giver of light, to the Hope of all living things.

Jobs, plans, circumstances — these offer no promise of constancy, but Jesus does. When the future looks as temporary as words etched into sand at high tide, when faced with uncertainty, there is a Rock. There is an Anchor.

And there is morning light, a tiny glimpse of light eternal, to spring up each day and remind us all that He is constant, He is never-changing, He is rivers of light.

“You’re in a cosmos
star-flung with constellations by God,
A world God wakes up each morning
and puts to bed each night.
God dips water from the ocean
and gives the land a drink.
God, God-revealed, does all this.”
-Amos 5:8, The Message translation

Poetry & Words

The Thread of Hope

Aveline is finally asleep. The house is quiet for the first time in hours, silent except for the raspy motor on the overhead fan and the clink of the spoon against my cobalt cereal bowl.

My eyelids are heavy. I stare, unsure what to do with this pure, quiet, uninterrupted time. The need for sleep tugs at me, but it no longer captures me with the same intensity it once did. In the past year, I’ve adopted a new definition of what it means to be well-rested.

There is a profound peace in this stillness, tonight. I exhale, the sound of my own voice blending with the fan.  I watch the blades spin, lifting and twisting the Florida air. I think of how one year ago, I and a five-week-old Aveline flew through the Florida air to join Josiah, who’d been here for a couple weeks already due to an answered prayer — a full-time job.

I think of the fear and hope of the past two years. I think how hope has been woven into our lives, how hope is the shining thread, the strongest cord, the lifeline of who we are — not because of hope itself, but because of God in who we hope.

I think of the myriad of ways our God poured down manna to us, sometimes as a raven in the wilderness and sometimes as a coin in the mouth of a fish. I think of how He always, always, filled our cups and let them overflow.

And I stand here now in the overflow, here in the land of our sojourn, filled with thankfulness and gratitude and wonder because today — today! — we are finally debt-free. I close my eyes and breath deeply. The glory is God’s.

I lower my spoon, resting the silver-scrolled edge against the bowl. I stand up, and walk toward the bedroom. The night pulled its dusky cover over the earth long ago, and sleep calls.

Before the sun burns off the early morning haze, Aveline will awaken, bright eyed. The sound of silence will be overcome by the sound of life, the sound of love, the clink of the coffee scoop. And the aroma of coffee will swirl and mix with the Florida air, Josiah will kiss me on the forehead, and the thread of hope will shine brighter than ever.

Poetry & Words

WRITING & WORDS :: Toward the sunrise // Toward the setting of the sun

The sky keeps changing. The morning’s quiet clouds, marching steadily along for hours, finally collapse under the weight of the gathered rain and spill out over the sidewalk and leaves, over the roofs and birds, over the highways and signs, and over our shoulders.

Aveline laughs.

I sigh and pull the tripod and camera back inside, closing the green front door behind us.

Aveline’s face falls.  She looks up at me, tugging at my jeans. “Outside? Outside? Outside?” I love the way she pronounces the ou in “out”. She has a Californian accent that makes me proud and buoys hope in my soul.

On Sunday morning, Josiah read Joshua 1 aloud, “Every place on which the sole of your foot treads, I have given it to you, just as I spoke to Moses. From the wilderness and this Lebanon, even as far as the great river, the river Euphrates, all the land of the Hittites, and as far as the Great Sea toward the setting of the sun will be your territory.

I love that Great Sea toward the setting of the sun. I love how my Lord tells me, “only be strong and courageous.”. Four times in this chapter, “be strong and courageous.” I love how He gives me the strength I need to be strong.

The sound of the rain against the windows stops, and we go back outside to walk on this green, Eastern land God’s given us now, “beyond Jordan, toward the sunrise.”

Poetry & Words

“For You, O Lord, have made me glad by what You have done, I will sing for joy at the works of Your hands.”

Aveline in Marc Ecko shirt holding felt feathers

It hasn’t quite been the weekend for sleep. But it’s been a good weekend for productivity. At 1 o’clock on Friday night? We finished filing taxes.

And tonight? We spontaneously rearranged all the furniture in our great room — at 10 pm.

Maybe we’re crazy.
Maybe we’re just celebrating being in the same house for nearly an entire year.

Maybe it’s a little bit of both.

Aveline in Marc Ecko shirt

A year ago, I was pale, dizzy, anemic, and could barely walk fifteen steps without holding on to the wall. Aveline wasn’t even two weeks old yet, and we* were packing to move to Florida. *my parents and my husband, i.e., angels

And here we are now, in a beautiful sunshine-y apartment, with a laughing, healthy toddler, and a full-time job for Josiah. Do we miss our families and our friends? Yes. (Does Florida seem like a soggy swamp sometimes? Yes. ;-) But, “the Lord has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy.” -Psalm 126:3

So, so much joy!