The daylight is huge. Five a.m. and the sky already blushing gray. Mornings so full of blue the clouds almost sheepish as they wisp over hills. High noon only happens in June, mid-day a tipping point, the scale weighed down on both sides with blazed hours. And the evenings— so drawn out the land lies stunned by that shambling last light. ~Amy MacLennan “The Daylight is Huge” from The Body, A Tree.
May a sunrise or sunset never become so routine that I fail to stop what I’m doing and acknowledge it and be stunned:
the richness of the backdrop where the paint is splashed though the foreground remains unchanged.
the timing being all its own, whether slow simmer that never reaches full boil, or a burst and explosion that is over in a matter of minutes.
the expanse and drama of unique color and swirl, layers and uniformity, gentle yellows and purples and pinks or glaring reds and oranges.
May a sun be ripe for picking, to grasp briefly and hold on to and then let go – too hot to handle, too remote to tuck away in my pocket for another day.
“Once I saw a chimpanzee gaze at a particularly beautiful sunset for a full 15 minutes, watching the changing colors [and then] retire to the forest without picking a pawpaw for supper.” ~Adriaan Krotlandt, Dutch ethologist
My friend, old and passing, said, “There is more to life than staying alive. Don’t rescue me too much.”
On his farm, twelve miles out
by rough gravel roads, he is done with plowing, spraying, harvesting.
But he is not done watching the sun sink below the windbreak or listening to the nighthawks above his fields.
Don’t make him move to town.
There is more to tragedy
than dying. ~Kevin Hadduck “A Note to His Doctor”
Look, the world is always ending somewhere.
Somewhere the sun has come crashing down.
Somewhere it has gone completely dark.
Somewhere it has ended with the utter quiet that follows the news from the phone, the television, the hospital room.
Somewhere it has ended with a tenderness that will break your heart.
But, listen, this blessing means to be anything but morose. It has not come to cause despair.
It is simply here because there is nothing a blessing is better suited for than an ending, nothing that cries out more for a blessing than when a world is falling apart.
This blessing will not fix you, will not mend you, will not give you false comfort; it will not talk to you about one door opening when another one closes.
It will simply sit itself beside you among the shards and gently turn your face toward the direction from which the light will come, gathering itself about you as the world begins again. ~Jan Richardson from Circle of Grace
Today I honor the passing of a beloved pastor in our small community of local churches:
Pastor Ken Koeman, who rests today in the arms of Jesus.
He had only a few weeks between doing his vigorous daily work to absorbing the reality of a devastating diagnosis to accepting there is more to life than living, and a greater tragedy than death.
He never lost the hope he knew abounds in heaven and eternal life.
He was never done watching the Son.
Sir, we would see Jesus. (John 12:21)
Lord Jesus, we know Ken sees you now
and as he did in life, he points the rest of us to you.
We humans contribute to the world’s gloom,
like dark shadows on a dark landscape.…
But now this man from Nazareth comes to us
and invites us to mirror God’s image,
and shows us how.
you too can become light, as God is light.
What is all around you is not hell,
but rather a world waiting to be filled with hope and faith.
This world is your home as surely as the God who created and wrought it is love.
You may not believe it, but you can love this world.
It is a place of God.
It has a purpose.
Its beauty is not a delusion.
You can lead a meaningful life in it. ~Jörg Zink “Doors to the Feast”
In this dark world we search for inspiration and a sense of purpose in the most unlikely places:
this past week, we were awestruck by the devotion of a mother killer whale in nearby Puget Sound who has carried her dead baby on her nose for over a week, unwilling to abandon the lifeless body to the sea.
There is tragic beauty in such demonstration of profound love, a recognition of our own losses and helplessness in the face of death.
We too are carried by our Savior through His relentless devotion and love for us, never to abandon us.
Even in the face of loss and consumed by the darkness of the world, we love as we are loved, body of His body.
HOW TO SWIM AN ELEGY
Lo, let that night be desolate;
let no joyful voice come therein.
Let them curse it that curse the day,
who are ready to rouse up leviathan.
Light wakes us – there’s the sun climbing the mountains’ rim, spilling across the valley, finding our faces. It is July, between the hay and harvest, a time at arm’s length from all other time…
It is the time to set aside all vigil, good or ill, to loosen the fixed gaze of our attention as dandelions let seedlings to the wind. Wake with the light. Get up and go about the day and watch its surfaces that brighten with the sun. ~Kerry Hardie from “Sleep in Summer”
Saying good-bye to July
is admitting summer is almost half-baked
and so are we
not nearly done enough.
The rush to autumn is breathless
and we want to hold on tight
to our longish days
and our sweaty nights
for just a little while longer,
Please, oh please
grant us light
just a little while longer.
Each morning as I rise to let the horses out to graze for the day,
I’m once again that girl who woke early
to climb on horseback to greet the summer dawn,
with mist in my hair and dew on my boots,
picking ripe blackberries and blueberries as we rode past.
The angled light always drew sharper shadow lines as the sun rose
until I knew it was time to turn around, each hoof step taking us home
to clean barn, do chores, hang the laundry, weed the garden until sunset.
There is not one blade of grass, there is no color in this world that is not intended to make us rejoice. ~John Calvin
It is too easy to become blinded to the glory surrounding us if we perceive it to be routine and commonplace.
I can’t remember the last time I celebrated a blade of grass, given how focused I am mowing it into conformity.
Too often I’m not up early enough to witness the pink sunrise or I’m too busy to take time to watch the sun paint the sky red as it sets or to witness the ever-changing cloud formations above.
I didn’t notice how the light was illuminating our walnut tree until I saw the perfect reflection of it in our koi pond — I had marveled at a reflection instead of the real thing itself.
I miss opportunities to rejoice innumerable times a day. It takes only a moment of recognition and appreciation to feel the joy, and in that moment time stands still. Life stretches a little longer when I stop to acknowledge the intention of creation as an endless reservoir of rejoicing. If a blade of grass, if a palette of color, if a chance reflection, if a movement of clouds — if all this is made for joy, then maybe so am I.
Even colorless, plain and commonplace me, created an image-bearer and intended reflector of light.