I sit on the back step wrapped in a blanket, the steam from a coffee mug curling up my chin.
The sun is a happy smile strutting across the sky, looking this way and that, melting all winter blues with its cheery disposition.
Can I hang onto this sadness when spring is so pregnant with promise?
The exhaust pipe at the back of the house emits an aroma of chicken and potatoes from Mom’s crockpot.
I’m suddenly twelve years old, cocooned in a nest on the dry portion of the steps, with piles of March snow still heaped in the backyard, and heaps of books and notepads and pens piled around me.
I’m filled with nostalgia, and an ache as deep as this year’s winter. A longing for home that is not of this world.
Jesus appears on the step below me, resting his head against my Afghan-covered knee, and I get the impression that the happy strutting smile is his. When I need to get back! That smile is the light left on….
I have so much to give you, he says–an observation, a promise, and an invitation all at once.
My sadness feels penetrable only by his sentiment–a lifting of the spirit–because it holds no condemnation for where I’m not, only hope and expectation for where I will be.
I want to receive all of it, I tell him in return, and I’m grieving because there is so much of my heart that would settle for a natural landscape, for a home in the physical. There is so much of me that doesn’t recognize the gift he is offering, that of himself.
My only promise for the spring.
To refuse him would be to continue in an internal winter. But how do I accept?
This conundrum: my connection to God the Father being Jesus, and my connection to Jesus being Holy Spirit, and my connection to Holy Spirit being my spirit, of which I am so unfamiliar!
A spiritual landscape planted invisibly in a natural one, and I would’ve settled for the natural one. How to see beyond the visible?
I cannot escape this desperation for home, my own striving to work and earn and apply and secure and set up and maintain a rented house, when all he is looking at is my rest in him, so that I can become his resting place where, by his Spirit, he supplies all things.
I am the home.
He is the home.
We, together, belong.
How do I leave this effort in the natural to reside in the spiritual? How do I receive all Jesus wants to give me?
Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Does it start with the recognition that I have nothing, if what I have is in the natural? That God wants to move me to a reality where all I have is him? That to lose my life for his sake is to find it?
Does it begin with internal emptied-ness? Embracing the emptying because it makes room to be filled with the kingdom of heaven, which is spirit.
Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
And this, the sadness.
The recognition that the process demands a mourning of many things, which may last the long, dark night of the soul, but cannot swallow up the joy of the morning.
Night’s mourning, and joy’s morning.
It starts with the emptying of the sadness–my choice to lay down a mourning that has had its time–and begins with the filling of his happy, strutting smile–the choice to receive what he is waiting to give me.
Receive the comfort of his presence, by which I will encounter all the home I could ever conceive.
It’s starts–and continues to the end–with that childlike instinct, trust. Do I believe him, that his Spirit is in me and equips me to learn the kingdom of heaven.
He is infinitely patient, but the choice is ultimately mine: will I rest, and trust, even indefinitely, that the Lord will teach himself to me?
He’s gone away to prepare a home for me.
He’s promised to come back and get me.