I am breathing in and out,
sitting quietly on the couch
on the eve of twenty-two.
I am not sure if I am in a season
This past weekend, I attended a workshop about writing and God. It was called Field Notes, put on by...
I have been thinking about existence lately. In fact, I have been so full of admiration for existence that I have hardly been able to enjoy it...”
Yesterday I drove from Austin, TX to Huntsville, AL in the pouring rain with two small children and no DVD player. And it was hard and good and long.
I forgot my auxiliary cord so I spent the day turning the radio dial, celebrating every clear, strong signal—no matter the station. I listened to Stuart Scott”s ESPY speech and an argument about the Seahawks’s chances next year. I listened to a sermon about light and to a guy who said immigrants ruin the economy. I listened to talk about GAZA and the Malaysian plane. Also to disco music and country music and songs about God.
I was listening to a song about God—to God, really—when my daughter London poured her crayons into a cup holder and stirred them wildly with her fingers. Loudly. So loudly. It was one of those chaos sounds that makes your skin crawl.
We’d been in the car for ten hours. We’d be in the car for six more.
And this sound was not stopping.
I was impatient and on edge and ready to pull over and leave the girls in the car and start walking. At the very least I was going to freak out about the crayon sound.
But then these lyrics came over the radio, a guy singing “let them see you in me.”
In the song, the speaker addresses God, asking God to shape him in God’s image. But in that moment, my knuckles white on the steering wheel, London stir crazy in the backseat, it was more like I heard God talking to me. I heard the lyrics inverted: “Let them see Me in you.”
And that was all the realignment I needed. I smiled at London in the rear view mirror. I asked her what she was doing—in my nice, asking-cause-I-actually-want-to-know voice. She said something about coloring. I told her I loved her. She smiled. The sound stopped.
And I drove down the road.
So often I hear God in short phrases like this one, in quick truths that re-frame the way I see in a moment.
When I watch my girls play I’ll occasionally call out to them. I’ll ask, “Are you being kind?” I’ll remind: “Don’t forget to share.” Or, my favorite, “Love your sister!”
I feel like God does the same thing for me, prompting me to make the right choice, reminding me of the life I’m committed to live. It’s like bumpers in bowling, His words keeping me out of the gutters.
I’m thankful for that. :)
Tonight I scrolled through my pictures, looking for some to feature in this weekend’s Field Notes workbook. I looked for pictures telling stories, pictures I took to remember, pictures I took to say thank you.
I found dozens. A hundred. Two. So many beautiful and true.
At this moment I’m sitting in bed writing, the blue computer light washing my little girl’s sleeping face. She tripped in the hall sleepwalking to the bathroom. Now she’s beside me, and she’s beautiful.
And sometimes awkward. And not always obedient. And occasionally a mess.
But so beautiful. Deep down beautiful.
She told God tonight in her prayer that she had a secret to tell Him, a secret about math, and that she’d tell Him later when I wasn’t listening. She called Him her Holy Master. She said, “We’re not like you” five or six times, lifting Him up as wonderfully different.
This is the daughter I’ve been given?
Just a minute ago I sent a message to a friend who’s doing me a gigantic favor. I’m still thinking about her and the favor and all the grace piling up on the doorstep of my life.
I told my mom about the favor. Mom said, “You have a generous friend.” I said, “She wasn’t even the only one who volunteered.” Mom said, “You have generous friends.”
In a few seconds (maybe before I finish this thought) I’ll make coffee. Texas pecan flavored coffee. My favorite. And I’ll write for my workshop on Saturday, a workshop full of women who love God with whole hearts, women alongside whom I’ll spend an entire day learning and growing, sharing and discovering.
I began these thoughts tired and distracted and ill, frustrated at to-do’s I didn’t want to do.
But then the pictures. And my daughter crawling into bed…
As I write, I’m reminded God is here. In the coffee. In my little girl. In my family of friends. In my work. In pixel-painted memories on my hard drive.
Writing has a way of reminding. Not just that. Writing has a way of minding…
This weekend I’ll host Field Notes: A Workshop in Writing to See. I’ll argue for the power of writing to shape a life. I’ll tell you writing opens your eyes to what’s close, forcing you into awareness and focus, enabling gratitude and joy. I’ll tell you writing can lead you closer to God. Or maybe that writing will awaken you to the God who’s close.
We’ll write. We’ll see. It’ll be beautiful.
Won’t you come? :)