“Listen to your life, see it for the fathomless mystery it is.” ~ Frederick Buechner
It’s raining grey drops on the outside, peppering the asphalt and earth-dirt with heaven’s impartial, christening water.
It smells like creation’s church and my imagination is pressed close to cold panes of windowed glass and I can almost feel the taste of liquid silver on my tongue and this absurd little human-heart inside a chest-of-flesh flips over and oh dear God, the sound of it on the roof?
Makes me school-girl giddy; if my spirit were to rise any higher, it would be away and gone from it’s body-home. There is the fog descending, too, to join nature’s tryst, offering his filmy, floating-fluctuation and dewy-dimension to autumn’s canvas.
God-painted leaves dance their colors under the wet in a lover’s waltz with the subliminal brush of a wandering by, hands-in-his-trouser-pockets-with-a-whistle kind of breeze. They know it is their highest praise just to be and I am noticing, my eyes eating elements and landscape like soul-food. It is my own high worship, the watchfulness and mindfulness. The listening.
The kitchen clocks turns 10:32 pm and we’ve scrubbed our teeth clean and checked on the kids and turned off all the lights but one. It’s early-to-sleep for these usual midnighters, but in the midst of this going-to-bed routine, something about the soft glow of the last-on 40-watt bulb; something about how the kitchen air hung so quiet and weighted like a stone . . . hooked my attention and slow-motioned my spirit. I knew I was being seduced by Someone to go deep into this ordinary moment and these words were invoked from my heart as I turned un-hurried to my husband, “Hey hon, do you know what we’ve never done before?” He angles his head out the bathroom door and says “what?” with a smile and his fingers sliding the contact from his left deep-brown eye. “We’ve never sat at this table, at this time of night, with just this light on.” My lips, they curve at the corners, soliciting him with a silent invitation and this 11-year-spouse of mine, he knows that I want to make a memory, make some magic out of what seems like thin-air-nothing.
We bend our tired bones in the kitchen-table chairs and stay there in a mysterious time warp of uncharted minutes and let The Mystic unfurl around our skin, He whispered His presence in the space between us and never has our life-sharing or soul-connecting been better then that hour and a half of unexpected, unplanned intertwining.
It started with morning meditation when I announced to my 3 little guys that today, today we were going on a grand adventure, with Jesus, in our imaginations. “You can go anywhere in the world, the universe even, with Jesus . . . Anywhere . . . Where is He taking you? What do you see? What do you hear? What do you smell? What do you feel? What is He saying? Take the next ten minutes of silence and have fun on your journey!”
And they look at me with the eyes that twinkle like far-out unblemished stars and their little bodies threaten to explode with energy, as their excitement escalates into a series of barbaric WHOOOO HOOOOO’S!!!! – even though they know it’s time to dial down, some things just cannot be contained and their belief in Impossible Goodness is pure and uninfected-still-and what could be better for the guileless heart then partaking of His presence?
The hollering is out of their systems and silence falls like grace on our heads and the four of us sitting motionless on the living room rug go long beyond the realm of physical parameters . . .
“Boys, where did you go, what did you do with Jesus?” I ask when the silence-time is finished. We sit together in a circle, knee to knee, my heart leaning into their stories.
Jude tells me that Jesus took him to Panera Bread for lunch and bought him a cinnamon roll. “Oh, Jude, that sounds AMAZING! I would LOVE to go to Panera Bread with Jesus!” He’s beaming and I bend forward to kiss the soft spot of his cheek and whisper, “That is SO special Jude, Jesus sure does love you . . . and He knows how much you love cinnamon rolls!”
Gabe’s turn to share and he tells me all sensitive in his voice that Jesus took him to a battle scene between good and evil and said this to his heart: “He told me not to show aggression and to love my enemies and fight for Love!” My mama-words affirm strong, “That is SO beautiful, Gabe.” My oldest son, who is so fascinated with all historical war, is being reminded that love is always the first response of Christ’s heart.
I turned my eyes to Seth to find his face looking at the floor and my palm cups his chin to lift his head towards my searching vision, “What about you, Seth? Where did you go with Jesus?” And the son who looks like me has tender puddles of salty-water spilling down his 7-year-old features and barely past the clog in his throat, he manages to say this: “I went to Mount Everest to see Jesus and I found Him praying and when He was done praying, He said to me, ‘I must go.’ Then I said, ‘Goodbye.’ And Jesus said to me, ‘It is not goodbye forever . . . when I go to see God, you pray, then Love will spread throughout the air.’ And when He left, I prayed.”
And I can not breathe for being a witness to my boy-child crying because he had had a union experience with the Spirit that left him undone in his young heart. He was crying because he had been with God and my whole body wept with joy that I had created the space for this to happen between him and God.
This is Life Art: I believe, when we intimately witness and thoughtfully compose every moment of living–that we humanly can–into a story of unspeakable depth, with the Spirit of the living God being the medium by which we craft ordinary-life-components into fine art . . . Just a little brush of the fingertips against the velvet veil.
“Take any day and be alive in it. The world is to open. You are alive. It needn’t have been so. It wasn’t so once and it will not be so forever. But it is so now.” ~ Frederick Buechner
Are you a life artist too?
(friends… if you were as moved as I was when reading this, please, let Erika know, by visiting her blog, here… thank you.)