Tuesday, September 13, 2011

moments of ripened beauty


Seven years ago when we moved into our home we are in now, we had to let go of a house our daughter liked much better. The reason why? It had a swing in the yard. And the house we ended up purchasing didn't have a swing and there wasn't really any good place to hang one.

I still bought a swing at Ikea in hope & with some other futile plans I was trying for. But it has sat in a box in our garage for years now gathering dust. Sat in there for so long, in fact, that even my daughter-of-the-steel-trap-memory forgot it was there.

And as if to grant me the perfect illustration of what God has been speaking to me, we hung that swing this weekend. In a tree that we planted as a tiny sapling in the back yard about four years ago. A tree given to us by a neighbour getting ready to throw it out. It was even sitting on her curb for the trash man when she off-handedly asked if we'd like to plant it?

We warned the kids over and over that it may never get big enough or strong enough to climb in, or play on, or hang a real swing from... but they just didn't believe us. They have watched that willow grow every year.

I am learning about patience. I am finding that spots of beauty like this give me hope for the things I am still praying for. Longing for. The things I am watching grow and wondering if they will ever be strong enough to hold the weight of all the hopes and desires that eventually I hope to hang on them.

I read this recently:

" A person in difficulty can trust because of a belief that something else is possible. To trust is to allow for hope. ... Which also means that to trust is not always to demand specifics of what will transpire. 

God wants us to know life - but what that actually means is open-ended. God wants us to experience healing, but how can we know precisely what healing will always look like? God wants to bring us to a new place of faithfulness, but how and through what means? We don't have to decide everything or know everything or even glimpse much at all; if we try too hard to figure it all out we lose a trusting spirit. 

A person of faith learns to trust so much that the outcome of the trust is given into the hands of the One in whom the trust is placed. We let God work out some details that we feel tempted to know or control but ultimately cannot. 

...We are part of a very impatient culture, however. We want things and we want them quickly. And we feel that we should be able to take away the pains, heal the wounds, fill the holes, and create great experiences of great meaningfulness - now. 

... But a view of time as kairos [a New testament Greek word that has to do with opportunity, with moments that seem ripe for their intended purpose] helps us to be patient in believing."

~ Henri Nouwen; Turn My Mourning Into Dancing - chapter three

{39/365 is about this being the last year of my fourth decade. 
I am watching for God in my day-to-day life & I am writing about the gifts He gives me in this season. 
I am listening for His daily, beautiful presence in my years.... all 39 of them and counting. 
This week I have been thinking about the gifts brought through patience. 
Please feel free to join me. }


Nikki said...

I love the passage you quoted--so happy to know about this book! This speaks so deeply to where I am now: waiting, trusting, not knowing or controlling or having a very clear idea of what today's "ripe moments" are. How sweet that your daughter's dream of a swing is finally coming to fruition!

WordGirl said...

This post is so beautiful it made me cry. I learned yesterday (via Richard Rohr) about a similar type of patience. He called it the effort of non-effort, where we stop trying to rationalize, explain and legitimate our actions and desires and instead surrender to what is. We do this so that we can see the truth that what exists is what brings us to God, not what we want, what we think should be, etc.

I thought this sounded very much like Nouwen's thought about how can we know what healing will look like? We can't. We can only wait for it and hope for some moments of ripened beauty like those you note here.

Love, love, love the sweet pic of your serious girl living her dream of a backyard swing. Sweet times. Thanks for sharing them.

erin said...

You are wise. Thank you for sharing this. Beautiful.

Anonymous said...

Beautiful post and really helps put words to some of what I've been learning/growing in. My son, who is 15, has gone off to highschool this year (after homeschooling from the beginning) and what a lesson in trust for me... but I also feel so very hopeful as I watch him- a beautiful young man - and release him to God's hands in a way I haven't before.