December musings: Love

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I often wonder what on earth can solve these spaces between us, and the way we see and don’t see each other. The way we barely skim the surface. In marriage, in life, glances from people just passing by, the best intentions of our friends. We can never truly know each other.

Money and goals and lists of things to do. Is this really what we’re made of? 

Oh, but in the advent, I am changed by hope. Lately hope has been a rare treasure. I reach for it in the mornings and find that I’ve misplaced it. But the object of my hope lives outside of me and beyond me. He is so much bigger than me, his breath creates stars, and he is not dependant on me for my consistency, thank the skies. 

I am as flimsy as a piece of paper. Oh, it is so good that the world is not mine to save.

So what can move in the gaping spaces? This is my big question on this retreat, as I move between what I aim to do and what I actually do, what I hope to understand and what I actually comprehend. What my life shape is, compared to the pictures of life around the world, the way the loudness of it all seems to silence me.

It can only be love. Love will change the way I see the story of my life. Love will expand each day into something more mysterious than failed goals, will breathe on me with holy breath that expands and sustains. My failures can be as huge as the failure to control my tongue or as small as an unreturned email, but love flies in with a cape and soothes the ache.

And it soothes it enough that I might actually begin to embrace failure, might believe that it is a result of risks taken, all our attempts at the large work of love in the universe. Failure is not the same as sin, but my mind says it is. 

Right now I do not embrace it. All my work is done with gritted teeth against its possibility. I think I embrace brokenness but truly do not. I embrace the romantic idea of brokenness but not the crying into the pillow. I think I would much prefer perfection, a smooth sky of unending blue. Trees are easier to be around than people because relating is so hard, but people are the landscape of love, the moving fabric of this whole long story of redemption. Love comes with a cup of honey, a soft song, and whispers that we are truly known, even when the spaces between us feel like the emptiness between planets. This act of love, the impending incarnation, is love taking an immense leap from far away and landing with all the gentleness of a small bird.

Oh Holy Night. Come to us again. Bring love, bring love. 

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Behind the scenes at the crazy house.

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We're two days away from book launch! This is a dream come true and because I want to send the first book of this series into the stratosphere, I am listing it at $0.99 for a limited time. What! That's right, you heard me. More on that in two days. 

Meanwhile, we are celebrating Song Kran, the New Year water festival in Thailand. We went out to play as a posse yesterday, Chinua and I and our kids, as well as our friend Taran and another friend and her son and a few other kids. We soaked many people, we got soaked, we shrieked when people dunked buckets of ice water on us (you try not to scream if you're hit by a bucket of ice water!) and we eventually came home to make a mud puddle on the kitchen floor.

I have to surrender to the chaos. 

I may be the tiniest bit anxious right now. Or the biggest bit anxious, and had a fairly major panic attack/meltdown on the weekend. Just another present from my brain to myself. With anxiety, I never know if it actually comes from anything or if it is just chemicals that are wonky in my brain. All I can do is ride the wave until it passes. My brain doesn't absorb happy things when I'm anxious, so I have to tell them to myself.

Look how much fun we're having, I say. We're playing in the streets with water!  

We wrote a book.

We planted some spinach and the roses are blooming. We harvested seeds. Isaac is adorable. The teenagers are adorable. 

The upper floor house smells like clean laundry and warm wood during the hot season. It gets so warm upstairs that we vibrate with it. And then we go outside and splash water on people driving by in trucks. And old ladies splash us. And the children are growing up and despite myself, despite everything, I am loved by God, who is infinitely wise and restful, fun and kind, giving and deep. 

Two more days, beloved readers! Two more days!

Only a few days ago

Well, it looks like sunny skies from here on in, since we're now in the cool/dry season of Goa's three season climate. But just a little while ago it was rain, rain, rain, for many months. We missed most of this monsoon, but here is my neighbor, who went through it all.





Tarps and wet cows!





It's hard to catch raindrops mid-air, but trust me: that is one wet world out there.



He knows a lot

Another day of pain, but at the end of it I am glad to say that I am feeling better, feeling human again.

Maybe good enough to stop being so overwhelmed, to take some photos and upload them, to take a scooter ride. Tomorrow. Maybe.

I was like a small child today, crying into my sheets for homesickness (where is home?) and pain. But my husband brought me food and there were two small flowers on the perfectly arranged plate. And then he went to town, and when he got back he had more flowers for me. He truly knows how to make a sad, sick girl feel better.

And counting...

I've been trying to learn how to blog efficiently on an iPad and it hasn't always worked. Hence, photos that look a little strange because I'm trying to learn a new app, double posts that I don't know how to fix because if I do I'll delete half the comments... Hmmm. Maybe some things need to appear twice? In rapid succession?

We are taking shelter from the incessant Bangkok rain in our hotel room. In a moment I need to make sure that our things are airplane ready do that we can get into a taxi and head to our India-bound plane.

I will be glad to get home. Tomorrow.