Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Under Wide-Open Skies

“We live under wide open skies and know where we stand.”

—1 Thessalonians 5:4, The Message

These days I have been driving more often through farmland, and I am entranced with the way the clouds make patterns on the pastureland below. You could be standing in one spot, thinking it is a dark and gray day, when not 10 yards away is a place outside the shadow of the cloud in full sun. And I understand something now that I have not understood before: without that kind of wide-open space, it’s impossible to know where you are standing.

As someone who grew up in the city, I am not used to seeing so far around me, miles of open space rolling into the horizon. Time and experience come in small packages. If the sky is gray when you look up, dark is all there is; dark is everything. You don’t have the perspective to see that maybe a short hop away it is already getting lighter.

There is healing in the wideness of creation. There is a grace in seeing the big picture, in knowing how the story ends a short skip across the rolling farmland, in seeing a moment in the shadow of the clouds is only one small drop of dark in a wind-swept land of light, in a world of grace, in a universe of blessedness.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Why? Yes.

Recently I watched the classic movie Out of Africa again and was moved by many things I hadn’t noticed the first time I watched it as a teenager. One exchange in the movie has really stuck with me. After Karen and Denys spend a night together she is full of questions the next day about what this means for their relationship and for her future. The short dialogue goes something like this:

Karen: I need to know what this means.
Denys: Why?

And that’s it. As someone who spends probably way too much time asking “what does this mean?” I love the simplicity of his response. Why do you need to know what it means? Maybe you don’t need to know at all. Some things may not need such close examination. They just are.

This past Sunday, we went on a hike on a beautiful sunny day. There were tufts of dandelion fluff in the air, the sky was liquid blue, the green leaves were filling out the trees, and my son caught a frog in his bare hands just before falling into the creek. It was a day of laughing, a day of slowing down and living in the moment. It was a day that in all ways seemed to be God’s “yes” to a question I never asked.

Why? I don’t know. But yes. Definitely yes, and amen, and yes again.