“This life – your life and my life – is but a season, wrapped in seasons. It is a memory book filled with small moments. It is a breath, a fragrance, a song, an ever-so-delicate bloom. It calls for divine gentleness. Be kind.”
That quote is from me, written more than three years ago as part of some advice for a woman turning 30. For a girl who loves words that are woven into well-crafted storylines, this season has been a challenging one. I’ve written a lot of things for others, but have found the ink in the things I write about my own life to be almost invisible. Small stories are there, but always in small pieces and parts rather than a whole of anything I’ve deemed worthy to publish. But if I believe life is truly a memory book filled with small moments, then it would stand to reason that those moments are as worthy as any lofty tome. So, for a season, I’m giving myself permission to publish the pieces and parts along with any storylines that might be born out of the days. If you find yourself in any of them, would you send a note my way? I believe we’re in this together, you know – both in the well-crafted storylines and in the small moments.
This weekend, Sawyer and Tyler got to hang out with their best friends at CasaRock. They played school, which brings me such joy because I loved playing school when I was a little one too. I still have the books my grandparents studied when they were in elementary school – they were the books I used to teach my stuffed animals how to read. I found an award given to Hadley from teacher Sawyer – for her words. He even gave her stickers to let her know her words were beautiful.
We don’t use our words well these days. I am struggling to use my words at all, and I wonder sometimes if they will be able to stand against the crashing fury of this present age. Hadley may be five, but she uses her words well – she is careful about what she says, and she works diligently to build up rather than destroy. She is mindful of what is said – and what is said by her actions. I think we should be more like Hadley. And we should be more like Sawyer. We should let our words be seasoned, as with grace, so they flavor every conversation. We should build each other up, celebrate each other, love each other well. And always, we should be kind. This world could use some kind right now.
For the longest time, I’ve envisioned life as an impressionist painting, a work of art that becomes clear when we step away and allow the colors to blend on the canvas. Yet, it’s in the fine detail of each brushstroke that we participate in the creation of the masterpiece, even when we cannot fully see its outcome. When we are near the canvas, we can drown in the fumes and be blinded by the light reflecting off the brushstrokes.
Right now, I am quite near the canvas, struggling to not lose sight of the works of art being painted on this parchment life. I am well acquainted with the friendship of grief born from brokenness, but I am yet clumsy with grief born from good things. This will be the first year ever to not live near my dear son and his family. I am celebrating the next steps in their faithfulness to a loving God who promises He has our past, present, and future squarely in His hands, and am aching with an ache that has robbed me of breath. I am well acquainted with seasons of creative quiet, but I am yet clumsy with a season where the words I long to write in a book I long to finish are locked so deeply away that I only hear echoes when I call for them. I am well acquainted with waiting, but I am still so clumsy at it. There are unformed and unfinished ideas tucked away on ink-blotched edges, eager to find their place and purpose and people. I pray they are found.
Well-acquainted and still so clumsy. Battles and blessing together. Structure and chaos, all living on the same page in the same life. If I were able to step back 50 feet, the way my friend Courtney and I would always remind each other to do when we were bringing set designs to reality, I know I would see unequivocal beauty being painted into these days. I know I would see new words being crafted and new adventures being mapped and new virtues being planted in the richest of soil.
But right now, I am so very close to the canvas.
I think that, if I could write a letter to myself right now, it would simply say this:
“Be faithful, love, with the brushstrokes. The words will come, good things will be found. The canvas is beautiful, I promise. The garden is already blooming. The map is filled with wonder. The reveal will be breathtaking. Be faithful, love. And be kind to you.”
I have returned to this album, to be reminded of what is real and what is true and what is brave and what is hopeful. I believe in a Love that overcomes. I believe in a Love that offers sanctuary. I believe in a Love that is kind. I believe in a Love that celebrates life to the fullest. I believe in a Love that can redeem people and places and things. I’m praying for that Love to be strong now.