This morning I woke to the soft falling of a silvery dust of snow, visible only in the glow emanating from the street lamp outside our bedroom window. As I got up and put the kettle on for tea, great white flurries entered the scene, landing in fluffy drifts more commonly seen on television or movie screens than in real life.
Slowly, away to the east, a light kindled behind the grey sky, flushing the horizon first gold, then pink. Now, the sun overlooks a snow-white landscape, casting blue shadow stripes and blocks where trees and houses interrupt its beams.
And, for all that sunlight, it is cold.
That very cold has a significant say in our current rhythm of life. Cold, windy weather, along with the needs of a two month old whose exposure to said weather should be limited, encourages my already ingrained homebody tendencies. Accordingly, with a few exceptions, our life is mostly lived indoors, at home. Today the gleam of sunlight, snow and blue skies draw my attention to the windows, but on the dull, dingy grey-green-brown days, which are many here, I am thankful for the colors, paintings, photos, prints, and plants I’ve gathered around as reminders of life for these months of hibernation.
Life right now follows a cycle of feedings and naps, with some moments of “play,” where Rowan smiles (a new heart-warming development!), swings his unruly arms, stretches his legs, bobs his head around, and stares at prints of trees hung on the walls. This rhythm of feedings and naps which has developed in the last week has given me much-needed times of quiet.
The indoors-ness of this season finds a corresponding contemplative inside-ness of spirit in me. My spirit longs for warmth–a fire of truth and desire to curl up in front of and see visions in–to not only cheer it, but to share and enliven those around. In my times of quiet, I’ve been finding such a blaze in Malcolm Guite’s poetry, C.S. Lewis’s letters, and recorded talks from this past year’s Hutchmoot gathering. Through all of these, a vision of God’s immediacy in daily physical life has been kindled in my soul.
–That the transcendent God has always, amazingly, condescended to come close, and even identify with his creation, even in the centuries leading up to his most intimate revelation in Jesus. As Guite puts it in his poem “O Adonai“:
Unsayable, you chose to speak one tongue,
Unseeable, you gave yourself away,
The Adonai, the Tetragramaton
Grew by a wayside in the light of day.
O you who dared to be a tribal God,
To own a language, people and a place,
Who chose to be exploited and betrayed,
If so you might be met with face to face,
Come to us here, who would not find you there,
Who chose to know the skin and not the pith,
Who heard no more than thunder in the air,
Who marked the mere events and not the myth.
Touch the bare branches of our unbelief
And blaze again like fire in every leaf.
–That God participated in our life with its physical needs of touch, food, cleansing, and sleep (of which the little boy in my arms is an ever-present reminder) in order that we might participate in his Life with joy. That our desires and delights are small sign posts to the greater desire of which he is the fulfillment–Jesu joy of man’s desiring. Because he is central–all things created by him and through him and for him–life lived trusting Jesus is not one of rules and duty, but an adventure of seeking Him in all things, seeing that enjoying Him and spreading that enjoyment is the end of all I do: in cooking to enjoy his provision of flavor, color and texture; in admiring beauty to expand my capacity to receive the truth indwelling it, and imagine the source from which it flows; in loving to begin to understand a greater Love…
I’m not sure if my attempt to articulate it is doing justice to this flickering vision of a whole-hearted life that experiences the fullness of the life Jesus offers in the “every day” of childcare and making a home. Now for it to catch hold in my minute-to-minute living. As I look outside at the empty trees, my prayer comes in the closing lines of O Adonai: Touch the bare branches of my unbelief / And blaze again like fire in every leaf.