The neighbor's forsythia has burst into bloom and I have an ongoing argument with myself on the ethics of stealing a branch (they're renting; they just moved in; it's not even their bush (it's not even mine either); it hangs over our property; wait, maybe, I'm pretty sure it's ON our property (I go outside to measure the property line with my eye, try not to look conspicuous). The thing about forsythia is it is at its best on the bush. Its blooms are so fragile, they last a day or two in a vase before dropping quickly like a child's yellow slicker and hat and galoshes when he comes in from the rain.
We arrived here a year ago, travel-worn, hopeful, cautious. It was spring and the cherry-blossoms were about to flood the district with tourists and traps. One night after work, Nate and I walked under them and ate our dinner sitting on his jacket breathing in spring. I love spring. I always have. I love fall too. And winter. And summer, though less so. It has been a treat to have not just one spring, but the inklings of another early one before we leave.
I know someday I will look back at this year plus a month and see the lessons more fully, feel the changes more deeply, know the purposes more intensely, but I find I'm content with their dim instructions for today. I don't have to know the end of the story because I know the schoolmaster.
I've thought a lot about the man who saw men as trees walking when Jesus touched his eyes to heal them. We have the second touch—and full healing—just two sentences later in our scriptures, but I have often thought about those moments that must have felt an eternity to the man. Does Jesus do only half a miracle? Is this all I'll ever see? Is this as good as it gets? Is God good even though I cannot see clearly? Those questions flit through my mind and heart often enough in these Already/Not Yet times.
Martyn Lloyd Jones, in one of my favorites passages in Spiritual Depression, says this, "[Jesus] turned to this man and asked: 'Do you see ought?' And the man said, absolutely honestly: 'I do see, but I am seeing men as if they were trees walking.' What saved this man was his absolutely honesty." The full passage is here and I cannot recommend it more highly.
I want to have that sort of honesty before God and man because I cannot think God is ashamed of it in me. Maybe some are gifted with a constant and joyful faith that moves mountains but I cannot believe that those who aren't are kept from seeing God clearly when He shows Himself to them in His time. I have to trust it, and it increases my faith to know I don't know on which side—beginning, middle, or end—of the miracle I'm on.
. . .
I keep meaning to share a few things with you but writing blogs more than once a week, or every two weeks, feels too much to do sometimes. Here are some things I've appreciated in the past few weeks. (And can I just add something? I've often been discouraged by the deluge of writing frequenting my social media feed; it seems I have to curate a feed if I want to get through the chatter and clatter to the good stuff. I've begun doing that in recent months and I'm just so glad, really glad good writing is there, waiting to be found if we'll take the time to hunt for it. It's part of why I share these links, because I want you and me and all of us to dig around past the dime a dozen articles all saying a different version of the same thing to find the good stuff.)
Evangelicals and the Loss of Prophetic Imagination by Sharon Hodde Miller
Scandalized Reading by Jessica Hooten Wilson
Embracing Valentine's Day Disappointment by Anne Carlson Kennedy
It Will Be Summer Again by Andrew Peterson
Hammering Art by Tony Woodlief