I am so out-thought some days. I get in a rapid sprint of clean, cook, teach, what time is it, reply, fix, comb, correct, wipe, toss, meet, salvage, hurry and collapse. I do not even feel the pillowcase before I am absent for a handful of abbreviated hours, impulsively starting the next light in a rush. I am thinking but I am not. I am solving but I am not resolving.
There is much for me to think about this early, naked spring. The sunshine has been uplifting. The blooming southern californian trees are a gift in my peripheral vision. But my full attention is on the traffic and the hanging questions. The chaos of things beyond my control. The unjust systems that anger me and make life in the city difficult and unfair. The ignorance that breaks reformative relationships. The unknowns that I sew myself to as though our attachment will push back a curtain and a spotlight will come on. I ask my sons to be calm, to be gentle and kind, while all the while I am begging my heart to be convinced. I tell them that they are good, that Jesus is with them, that we do not have to be afraid. But I drive. I drive hard, I work long, and I am angry–and these things betray my fear. When I see them, I see that I am afraid. That I am afraid that I am in manufacturing. That I am the Helper. That I am not protected.
The sure, mature bass notes can be the ones that seem to echo the most. The dissonant bars are the ones that seem to humidify the air.
But I again must find the music that does not insist or force or bind. I am in need of the Grace melody that I so easily reject and drown out and leave behind. It is optional because of its nature, in contrast to mine. It is other-worldly and I am SO here. It is life, and wide places, and forgiveness. IT is going somewhere, leading somewhere, and all my activity without its volume is not.
Without Grace playing, breathing grace, I labor hard and then give birth to terrible awareness of my humanness and my imperfections. I am overwhelmed by the littlest, I know what I should say but I skirt, I am not generous when I could be, I am behind but I rush when I should stop. And my whites are not white and the milk is gone.
But all these imperfect things, the failings I am sharply aware of, are the perfect beat for Grace music to start again. Before humanness meant falling, humanity meant God, good, creation. He is okay with me. He knows the distraction of the foreboding notes. He was before them and is over them and goes through them. He adds the treble so that the bass becomes part of a story. And the world goes on, forward.
I may seem like a broken record player, but that is only because I am. I skip lines and I repeat bars and the static can be overwhelming. I am broken and He knows full well. But He fills well when I let them and I will continue to seek out the broken Grace cadence in my song.
So we’re not giving up. How could we! Even though on the outside it often looks like things are falling apart on us, on the inside, where God is making new life, not a day goes by without his unfolding grace. These hard times are small potatoes compared to the coming good times, the lavish celebration prepared for us. There’s far more here than meets the eye. The things we see now are here today, gone tomorrow. But the things we can’t see now will last forever.
2 Corinthians 4:16-18