It's just the first weekend in February and I'm on my way to the letting-go place for the fourth time since the new year's begun. My body, it's a little weary from all the labor, and my heart, it's a little broken from all the burying of yesterday's dreams.
But today I've left home early and the sun's breaking out and the sky's just as blue as ever it's been. I can't resist driving a little off course and it's not long before I find my way to the secret place, that forest of beauty where God's never hidden and I'm always at home.
It might be the middle of winter, but who says there can't be beauty here, too? Who says you can't find Him when the days are hard and the tasks are long and the heart's aching from the cold?
But there aren't any words, really, to tell the story of what I find in the secret place. Because who can explain the way God wakes up the world with shafts of light, paints the branches with buds and blooms and life? Who can even speak at all when the breath catches in the chest and there are tears and laughter and oh-so-much joy all at the same time?
So I click the shutter a hundred times over, try to catch glimmers of His reflection. I bend low and I stretch high and I crane the neck every which way I can--because I can't take my eyes off all this, and who really wants to anyway?
It hurts just a bit to tear myself away from here, wander back to the everyday life where things don't make sense and there's no knowing where the road is leading, where He's really taking me. But I'm carrying all these snapshots of Hope and Beauty and Light, and I remind myself again and again that if He can bring all this Glory right from Winter's barren womb--is there any place I won't find Him? Is there any stretch of road, any cracking of heart, any wondering day when He won't be planting and tending and growing that future full of Hope?
There isn't and I know it and I'm leaving the secret place with the one thing I've been thirsting for in all these hard days--a heart full of Hope Himself.
Linking up a day late with Ann @ A Holy Experience
Counting Graces from the last few weeks, still taking the Joy Dare...
1174. Whole list of chores checked off, nothing avoided or saved for later
1175. Three hours of progress in "letting go"
1176. Storage unit a mess but slowly coming together
1177. Knitting mistakes that turns out to be a gift
1178. Everyone noticing that I'm learning a new skill...
1179. ...and encouraging me to keep going
1180. Hours with a friend, hot drink in hand, knitting projects coming along
1181. Plans made for overdue visit with another friend
1182. Brown bag full of happy socks coming home to be loved
1183. Sun making a long appearance after a whole week without
1184. God who listens to prayers when the sleepless hours stretch long
1185. Friend calling me a kindred spirit
1186. Broken amaryllis bud in a vase, still growing
1187. Another friend calling me Gift
1188. Clear skies on a January morning
1189. Steam rising off frozen rooftops
1190. Casting off at last -- half of first knitting project finished
1191. Unpacking boxes of grandmother's glassware, mom recounting stories from the past
1192. Choosing pieces of history to carry into my future
1193. Sun on my face in the middle of winter
1194. Two cats sound asleep in the warm light
1195. Long overdue catch-up session with a dear friend
1196. Handing over the gift made with hands and hours and love
1197. Color of the gift suited perfectly for the one who now wears it
1198. Unexpected good news
1199. Strength to press on in the long, hard task of letting go
1200. God near when the grief brings me to my knees again
1201. Him picking me up and breathing courage when I just want to turn and run
1202. A few forgotten treasures found among the ruins of an old life
1203. Eight gees flying in formation over the freeway
1204. Friend who says Yes to something out of the routine
1205. Smelling endless jars of tea, choosing an armload to bring home
1206. Long walk by the river with a dear companion
1207. Days of angst loosening their grip a bit
1208. God who loves enough to break us
1209. First morning light dappling the housetops
1210. Salve to mend the cracked hands
1211. Happy scent of lavender, rosemary, and eucalyptus
1212. Amaryllis still growing in a vase, petals popping open one by one
1213. Sunlight silhouetting blooms against purple curtain
1214. Navy-blue horizon at day's end
1215. February days of sun
1216. Long-feared task tackled and finished at long last
1217. Strength for letting go--can there be enough "thank you's" for this one thing?
1218. First morning light landing on the Hope Bird
1219. Cat who purrs at the sound of my voice
1220. Twenty seagulls lined up on the grocery store roof
1221. Me sitting in the car laughing as I count all those birds
1222. Two trips to the arboretum in one weekend
1223. February days feeling strangely like spring
1224. Breathing in the scent of witch hazel, daphne, wintersweet, jasmine...
1225. Chasing sun all over a forest
1226. Bending low, stretching high, craning my neck to frame glimpses of His beauty
1227. The way I'm laughing and crying all at the same time because He's near and He's beautiful and I can hardly breathe it all in
1228. Filling up every last page of the very first gratitude journal
1229. Choosing a new book to hold the pieces of His love
1230. Knowing there'll never be enough pages to write down all the Grace