My farm work gloves look beat up after a year of service. They keep me from blistering while forking innumerable loads of smelly manure into wheelbarrows, but also help me unkink frozen hoses, tear away blackberry vines from fencing, pull thistle from the field and heavy hay bales from the haymow. Over the years, I’ve gone through several dozen gloves, which have protected my hands as I’ve cleaned and bandaged deep wounds on legs and hooves, pulled on foals during the hard contractions of difficult births, held the head of dying animals as they sleep one final time.
Without my work gloves over the years, my hands would be full of rips and holes from the thorns and barbs of the world, sustaining scratches, callouses and blisters from the hard work of life.
But they aren’t scarred and wounded.
Thanks to these gloves, I’m presentable for my “day” work as a doctor where I don a different set of gloves many times a day.
The gloves don’t tell the whole story of my gratitude.
I’m thankful to a Creator God who doesn’t need to wear gloves when He goes to work in our world.
Who gathers us up even when we are dirty, smelly, and unworthy.
Who eases us into this life when we are vulnerable and weak,
and carries us gently home as we leave this world, weak and vulnerable.
Who holds us as we bleed from self and other-inflicted wounds.
Who won’t let us go, even when we fight back, or try not to pay attention, or care who He is.
And who came to us
with hands like ours~
tender, beautiful, easy to wound hands
because He didn’t need to wear gloves~
“Rest is not idleness, and to lie sometimes on the grass on a summer day listening to the murmur of water, or watching the clouds float across the sky, is hardly a waste of time.” – John Lubbock
As a child I liked to go out far into our hay field and find the tallest patch of grass. There, like a dog turning circles before a nap, I’d trample down the tall waving stems that stretched up almost to my eyes, and create a grass nest, just cozy enough for me. I’d sit or lie down in this green fortress, gazing up at the blue sky, and watch the clouds drift lazily by. I’d suck on a hollow stem or two, to savor the bitter grass juice. Scattered around my grassy cage, looking out of place attached to the broad grass stems, would be innumerable clumps of white foam. I’d tease out the hidden green spit bugs with their little black eyes from their white frothy bubble encasement. I hoped to watch them spit, to actually see them in action, but they would leap away.
The grassy nest was a time of retreat from the world by being buried within the world. I felt protected, surrounded, encompassed and free –at least until I heard my mother calling for me from the house, or a rain shower started, driving me to run for cover, or my dog found me by following my green path.
It has been years since I hid in a grass fort or tried to defoam spit bugs. I am overdue, I’m sure. It is hardly a waste to rest encased in the bubble wrap of the world.
Oh, morning, at the brown brink eastward, springs— Because the Holy Ghost over the bent World broods with warm breast and with ah! bright wings. ~Gerard Manley Hopkins from “God’s Grandeur”
This morning springs in beauty, in hope for a new day and I am grateful again for another chance.
That could be me bent and broken on the hard ground, as defenseless as the baby swallows tumbling helpless out of their crowded and soiled nests in our barn rafters, left to die cold and featherless and alone.
Thank God for His brooding breast keeping me safe. Thank God I am still in the nest waiting to test my wings.