The Impossibility of Withering Away

When community works the way it’s supposed to, we are always cared for, always filled up before we can claim that we’re empty.

Travis leaves for ten days to teach, and I am brought meals. My sister drives eleven hours with her daughter to help me for five days. Melissa feeds us BBQ sandwiches and sweet potato fries. People smile and laugh with my boys, and they don’t realize how much we need it.

These are the tiny things that let in the light.

There’s an element of “please, I need help, and I’m asking it outright,” and that should call those people who love us to lean  in a little closer.

We can’t be afraid of our realities if we want to let more light in, if we want to keep alive and well.

And so we tell each other. We ask in the middle of the night, on the way to work, in Sunday School.

We ask and we wait.

And that is the scary place, the waiting, the proof that God’s compassion can be transferred from one human to another.

But how are we held when there’s no one there, no one calling to us, checking in, coming to our side?

In those moments of our loneliness, we draw from a deeper well, and it’s always fresh water for the taking.

We grab our children and we go outside, into the light.

We see what Jan Karon wrote about, see nature with our own eyes:

“The morning mist rose from the warm ground and trailed across the garden like a vapor from the moors. Under the transparent wash of gray lay the vibrant emerald of new-mown grass, and the unfurled leaves of the hosta. Over there, in the bed of exuberant astilbe, crept new tendrils of the strawberry plants whose blossoms glowed in the mist like pink fires.”

We let our feet glide in mushy mud.

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We watch birds flit.

We hear the breathing of our husky on the floor as he sleeps.

We watch fish commute across an aquarium wall.

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We light a candle and read a book.

We cook an omelet with cheddar cheese and fresh rosemary.

We see the face of God, the imprint of “HOLY” stamped across our circumstances.

And we do not fear anymore.

We reach, we ask.

And on the other side, we seek, we cherish, we listen, we respond.

And there, the full circle of God-to-man is made, in the dailyness of our lives,

and we know that there is, indeed, no withering away.

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“So let’s do it—full of belief, confident that we’re presentable inside and out. Let’s keep a firm grip on the promises that keep us going. He always keeps his word. Let’s see how inventive we can be in encouraging love and helping out, not avoiding worshiping together as some do but spurring each other on, especially as we see the big Day approaching.” -Hebrews 10:25

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