looking through me

Tag: truth

sunrise faithfulness

I leave for work in darkness. Some days the sun begins peeking over the horizon along the drive. I look for it every morning because the sunrise gives me hope. It paints beauty with wild abandon and no concern for its short duration. It helps me find my place in the day. It reminds me—in the best way—how small and inconsequential I am.

This morning I didn’t expect to see it. Layers of clouds hung thick and low. I doubted the sun could crack them before I was tucked away in my windowless cubicle, so I wasn’t even looking for it.

And then an inky purple-pink smudge snaking along the top of the mountains caught my eye. Nothing more than a sliver of color cleaved distant mountains from dense clouds.

When the freeway dipped lower, I lost the sunrise behind suburbia. But I wasn’t the only one missing it. Others were still asleep or inside buildings or driving a different direction or not elevated enough over their surroundings to see it, or they simply weren’t looking for it.

Yet whether anyone saw it or not—whether I saw it or not—the sun still rose. It’s what the sun does.

At that moment of reveling in the steadfastness of the sunrise I drove into a fog bank. The glimpse of glory was gone. All color was stripped away . . . except it wasn’t. I couldn’t see it anymore, but the sunrise was as real that moment as it had been the moment before when my eyes could perceive it.

Like God’s faithfulness. On the darkest, cloudiest day when my expectations bottom out, God is faithful. On the brightest, clearest day when hope sings, God is faithful.

Whether I see it or not. Whether I acknowledge it or not. Whether my eyes are turned inward or Son-ward. Whether I wait with expectancy or turn my back. God is faithful.

 

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unexpected gift (in the grieving)

I stopped the car and took a deep breath before getting out. The grass was wet. The buzz of chainsaws and wood chippers a few hundred yards away filled the air as tree trimmers went about their work.

I walked slowly. Cool air hit my face and the late-morning sun warmed my back.

Kneeling down my hand instinctively reached out and brushed stray grass clippings off the headstone. The edges of the raised letters still new and sharp stung my fingertips. It’s been almost five months since I was here—then it was a mound of dirt covered with artificial turf, a deep hole swallowing a muted blue casket, an unsettled ache ripping open inside me—but today the scarred earth shows no sign of the violation . . . though my heart still gapes.

I’ve never gone to a cemetery alone. I’ve never gone for anything but a graveside service or unveiling. I never saw—or felt—the need to return. Until now. Now I had to go. I was drawn.

As I knelt and reread the words and dates I knew by heart I turned to Psalm 116. The words in verse 15 rang hollow when Uncie shared them at Grandma’s graveside and memorial: “Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints.” But today I sought refuge in the context. I read all nineteen verses, and how different it made it.

I flipped back a hundred psalms to find the phrase on her headstone—”in your presence there is fullness of joy”—and I read all eleven verses of that psalm, too.

Something shifted. A bit of the haze lifted.

“The lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; indeed, I have a beautiful inheritance” (16:6). “Gracious is the Lord, and righteous; our God is merciful. …Return, O my soul, to your rest; for the Lord has dealt bountifully with you. For you have delivered my soul from death, my eyes from tears, my feet from stumbling; I will walk before the Lord in the land of the living. …What shall I render to the Lord for all his benefits to me? …I will offer to you the sacrifice of thanksgiving and call on the name of the Lord” (116:5, 7-8, 12, 17).

I am not done living.

I stood alone in a cemetery on Christmas Eve and felt more alive than ever. The cavernous grief is not gone. Grandma will not be at the table with us tonight. But my soul can rest. I have farther to walk. I have a beautiful inheritance. God is gracious and merciful. There is fullness of joy . . . joy and grief inseparably twined.

I am not done living. And neither is she. We’re not living together for a while—but, oh, we are living.

 

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