beauty: the clutter, the dust, the waiting

It will never cease to amaze me - with wide-eyed wonder - how quickly God redeems a rotten-awful day. Yesterday, I heard myself say to Johnny several times, "I don't think I can do this anymore. I cannot do this anymore." I whined via e-mail to a friend. I sniffled into my cell phone, talking to my Mom just to hear her voice. I questioned God, ignoring what I learned from Job. Johnny and I slept a little better, but nothing to rave about. I dreamt odd scenes of no significance, surely my brain just vomiting up stuff.

As I opened my eyes this morning, I started praying straightaway. I looked at the soft light, correctly guessing the time of day (9:30 am) - a new skill I'm developing as I sit a lot, watching the light change. It reminds me of two quotes from Peace Like a River:

"The infirm wait always, and they know it."

"Listening to Dad's guitar, halting yet lovely in the search for phrasing, I thought: Fair is whatever God wants to do."

Jeremiah's son, Reuben, made those statements - his perspective as he suffered with pretty severe asthma. As I read that wonderful book, I related to Reuben. For one thing, I had childhood asthma. I remember all too well the burden of having to think about breathing. Asthma is now behind me, but for the time being, my weakened health inches and creeps toward healing. The snail's pace often drives me nutty. My temper is lost in a second. Then I think of Reuben, that rich story, and I'm comforted.

I can't say that I always believe "Fair is whatever God wants to do." There are many times when I think He's not playing fair at all. But deep down in my weary soul, I know He is. I read Scripture and listen to hymns - such good ways to remember what is true. And as for being infirm, well, that bugs me, too. Not just the discomfort, but that label - "infirm." I feel too young (33) to be infirm, yet infirmity isn't something we naturally embrace, no matter our age. Lately, God gently teaches me that being sick is not shameful. There is a purpose within this season. I will look back and name it. I'll change, grow, gain some wisdom. Learn what to tell another suffering soul; teach them how to pull back the curtain of darkness and find beauty. Know what to tell my children when they think they're facing impossible odds - no matter if such impasses are big or small. Know how to rest in God the next time the weight of the world crushes my shoulders. How to be of good cheer, He has overcome the world.

Today I'm surrounded by bookish clutter, friends made of paper and pages. I see beauty in this dusty room, and the opaque light which whispers of more rain within the hour. The poor, browning backyard grass needs all the rain it can get, though Johnny now thinks the problem is chinch bugs. And along with Reuben Land, the following speak to me as I sit and wait, believing in what I cannot see (faith requires imagination, doesn't it?):

-small magazine.


-Another lullaby: "Guardian", a song from Sandra McCracken's forthcoming album, Red Balloon ~

Hold on to me
when you are so tired,
when are so tired
of holding up your hand.

Steady on your feet
I will not let you stumble,
will not let you stumble,
I will not fall asleep.

When you go out
when you come home
like a hedge
like a shield
I'll be your guardian
[listen to the song here - the music is amazing]

-Psalm 42, proof-positive that we should pray the Psalms.

-Doug Wilson's sermon notes on Psalm 42 (suggested by Johnny).

-My husband who hugs me, prays with me, helps me, encourages me. My legs felt so weak earlier. Johnny said, "Just make 'em go." We climbed the stairs together.

-I see voluminous white clouds outside - a reminder of God's presence in the wilderness, both then and now.

-Remembering two things my grandfather did the last time we saw him in the hospital. 1 - he mustered up words of thanksgiving for his puréed food which looked nasty to me. 2 - he sang "Amazing Grace", frail on his bed. This while separated from his wife; she remained in their apartment in the assisted-living building. Looking back, I am certain he intentionally did both things to teach me, my brother, and Johnny. I get it now, Papaw.

-Daily Light. Check out today's pages.

-"Then your light shall break forth like the morning, your healing shall spring forth speedily."
[Isaiah 58:8a]

-The poetry of Vassar Miller.
[read two poems here and here]

-Our sweet-spirited cat, Harley, sleeping on the couch's arm next to me. He likes to be near me and I like it, too. This reminds me of when we first brought Harley home. He was nine months old, clogged with a respiratory infection he picked up at the kennel. He didn't know how to sneeze yet - I hated to see him so miserable. I picked him up and held him on my chest. We listened to Damien Rice - a video on my laptop. When the music reached a particularly beautiful strain, Harley lifted his head to look at the duo, then put his head back on my shoulder.

[Harley's ears are fuzzy]

P.S. ~ The Old Faithful candle just arrived via FedEx. Wow, it smells perfect. Johnny said he wants to eat it - that's a compliment coming from a man who's not into candles.


Christine said...

I love this post, Jenni. My heart aches for the pain you're going through. At the same time, I sense such peace coming out of you, even in your confusion and waiting. Thank you for continuing to share it.

And thank you for the tip on the Sandra CD!

Laura Leigh Dobson said...

i have to tell you something. . . your blog has been an encouragement to you ever since i found it. personal/health issues have been plaguing me for a couple of years now. . . however they are nothing to be compared at this point to the issues you are dealing with. see/reading the way you lift yourself up every time you get down encourages me so much!
i will pray for you specifically tonight.

Kimberly said...

We're praying for you sweetie, trusting on the word of healing in your life.

You and I are going to have to go out on a "decorating for the house" shopping spree when we feel up to it, together. I love all the goodies you find. Like that bamboo tray (?) on the table. I love that. Whata ya' say? Lunch, some shopping, maybe hit some great little book shops? Maybe a kiddo joining us in all the girly stuff. I promise, A. will be on her best behavior. Now me on the other hand, I can't be held responsible for my actions when I get out of the house. ;~) Come on, let's do it! I can only see fun in the horizion for the two of us!!! ;~)

jenni said...

Thanks, y'all, for your prayers. You have mine.

And Laura, when it seems I'm lifting myself up, I'm very aware on those days that it's the Lord. It feels unnatural (to my nature), yet sincere, you know?

Sounds fun, Kimberly! I found that bamboo tray at Target, fyi.