pain and presents

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Live a day of it and see.
Nobody claims that it will be entirely painless, but no matter.

Today is your birthday and there are many presents to open.

The world is to open.
~ Frederick Buechner

i made this fiber art piece while i was in labor with my second child. only i didn’t know i was in labor as i stitched and sewed, printed and glued. but my baby was moving inside and life was about to get very messy and very beautiful in a little tennessee home that sunday afternoon.

fast-forward two years: i never could have known the pain and presents i’d receive since my baby was born. physical sickness, great disappointments, dear friends moved away, relational discord with people important to me, spirit weakness, a daunting obstacle to emotional healing…and yet…sunsets, sunrises, smiles, kisses, beauty, blossoming friendships, healing, laughter, an unquenchable marital love, and brokenness.

yes, i count brokenness amidst my greatest blessings. there are many times that i am misunderstood when i speak of my brokenness, my struggles, my disappointments. “you could make this hard stuff go away,” i’ve been smugly told by some. but they’ve missed the point entirely.

i’m not necessarily keen for the pain to go away. i remember the days of being sheltered, protected from every difficulty. in those days, my heart sat as a spectator to deep, meaningful life. nothing really carried any value because i hadn’t had to pay a cost for anything. blood, sweat and tears had not been spilled. not until i loved something more than myself, not until the stakes grew exponentially higher, not until i had to bear the brunt of true pain and brokenness, did i begin to glimpse my beloved-ness, my beauty, my deepest truth.

no, i’m not necessarily asking for hardship…but i’m not asking for easy street either. i’m in good company when i’m broken, when i suffer loss and pain. i will always prefer the company of the broken-hearted, the folk who know their beloved-ness – or a hint of it – even in the shadowed and shaded valleys.

to see our bruises and cuts along the journey path is to know that there are no guarantees. but it also gives us eyes for grace. yes, while we have breath there is grace.

there is grace even when breath has run out.

may you be filled with grace and peace, mercy and love on your journey path today.

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