I tried, I tried to let grace cover me into my bed, let me lie there with squares of winter sunlight streaming over my quilt, let my closed eyes rest, dream… I tried to breathe in sleep. But my mind is teeming with words, grace-filled words, strings and phrases and necklaces of words that need unrolling, need ink.
I remember when I was a little girl, and the world’s colors were vivid, vibrant. I saw everything through the romantic haze of fairyland and dress-up, loved wandering around outside with my sister being princesses together. My world was beautiful, if undefined, and maybe a bit idealistic.
And then came the day my mom took me toget my first pair of glasses. I walked outside wearing them, looked through the lenses, and saw framed a perfect, waving tree: with leaves. I used to see trees as blobs of beautiful shades of green: now this had leaves, leaves. Individual, outlined, distinctly detailed leaves. I could see each leaf. I marveled. I took my glasses off, I put them on again. “Mom, the tree has leaves!”
Such an ordinary thing, suddenly miraculous.
I want the suddenly miraculous to fill my days. I want to learn to see grace, not just know about it, or sense it vaguely there as a beautiful blob in the background. I want grace to come into sharp focus.
I saw [grace] today, three times:
Fresh snow, sticking only to the rough places on the tree bark, covering all the pokes with soft whiteness, turning roughness into a poem of white and dark.
My son holding out his little red cup for more cocoa (after gulping it down in one long draught); me pouring from my own mug into his (once, and then again); imagining - knowing - my mug of grace is bottomless, being filled continually. I can pour, endlessly, into my son’s little cup until his, too, overflows.
A multi-colored balloon bouncing lightly on the top of Ben’s head, surprised him (though he’d just tossed it up, seconds before); he turned delightedly to reach it, catch it, smile at me, hold it out to me… The bounce, the colors, the surprise, the sharing-- all spoke grace to me.
I saw it. I saw how grace can be visible, can be seen, held; felt in the hands, tasted in the mouth-- like a sip of fine wine, like a bird alighting on your finger. Grace is real. Present. And it can only be experienced in the present.
I want my trees to have leaves.
I want my days to be moments lived like a string of pearls, one after another. Even if some are blackened with sin-soot or dragged through muddy selfishness, I still want to string them together one after another so I can see the white pearly grace shining through. Receive grace, see grace, live grace.
I want to live aware. In focus. Receive one moment after another from Jesus’ own hand, filled with grace and truth.
My dad says if you try to capture the moment, you profane it. He thinks we steal the spontaneity from life when we try to write it down, photograph it, preserve it. But then, he lives in joyful headlong abandon, flinging himself from moment tomoment, draining them dry one after another, not looking back. And his life is magnetic. I think some are meant to lead by example. And maybe some are meant to write down the moments, record the leaves on the trees and each miraculously green blade of grass, so others who want to love life and live in grace can learn how.
Even while writing this and posting it, two more grace-pictures:
My eldest, just awake, still damp and drowsy-warm from sleep, snuggles into a lap. And my littlest, the one who all morning has destroyed train tracks and stolen favorite cars, comes close, nestles in. And big brother, instead of pushing him away, leans forward and-- kiss! on the little forehead. Grace.
And then, parked right outside our house, oh glory of glories! a huge semi-truck filling the whole window! “Guck! Guck!” Ben exclaims in delight. And we all stare delighted-- the boys with the object, and me with the symbol:
an entire semi-truckload of grace parked right outside our door, just waiting to be unloaded.
[POSTCRIPT: For a few awful moments, I thought the semi-truck and the crane that arrived with it were going to cut down the big beautiful tree across the street. Soon I saw it was quite different: they actually unloaded the container and left it sitting in the empty lot, right in front of our house!
So every day, I can look out and see-- grace, by the truckload.]