There are days when I spend hours outside in glorious autumn, planting bulbs, brown, egg-shaped personifications of hope.
There are 43 autumns behind me now, lived out in Alaska, California, England, Oregon and Washington. Yet every single autumn I am surprised by the beauty of this world.
I have spent 43 years watching God move in my life, seeing His goodness, testifying to His grace. Yet every single time He shows up I am surprised by His love.
Last night I said goodnight to the kids at the bottom of the stairs, I turned and quickly walked through the dark office to get to my own much desired bed. My mind was on Saturday's dress fitting for the Nutcracker. Obviously absorbing. The next thing I knew something slammed into me. Hard. I flew back several feet and landed flat on my back with a force that brought a scream and sob simultaneously. I was stunned and in pain.
After Dave got me to my feet (ah I could still use my legs, good sign) I realized that I had run into the half open door. The solid wood had pushed my glasses into my now swollen eye and propelled me backwards with the same force I had been moving forward. I had walked into a door...don't only old people do things like that? My tailbone took the brunt of it and is now officially elderly.
God has this same effect on me. I move through life swiftly, thinking, planning, organizing my days, and I run into the God of the universe. Sometimes He stops me gently, and sometimes He's a door in the dark. Sometimes I lay on my back longer than I need to, insensible to what's going on. Other times, I'm up and thankful for the direction, for the halt. Maybe, like last night, I hobble to bed wry and bruised and humble.
But the overwhelming fact is God shows up. He cares enough about our lives and our circumstances to interact with us. He is unpredictable, yet consistently faithful.
Tonight, the rain rolls down the windows of my home. The trees drip leaves of red and yellow. Avonlea plays the piano and sings and a gray cat walks into my room. I am again overwhelmed by the beauty of life. But the heights reflect the depths and I also think of the suffering of the world, of people I love, and of my own burdens and I lift them up to God. I remember that I am not an exception. This good God who shows up and guides and helps me will also be present in the lives of those in need.
To live hope is to take a prayer, an action, a word and bury it, bulb-like, in the hard ground; to revel in the glory of autumn is to prepare for the beauty of spring .