“Limiting the resurrection either to the past or to the future makes the present risenness of Jesus largely irrelevant, safeguards us from interference with the ordinary rounds and daily routine of our lives, and preempts communion now with Jesus as a living person.” -Brennan Manning
For Mother’s Day we took a late afternoon trip to the lake– a small one tucked near our town, the perfect surface and size for kayaking.
The boys wore white t-shirts and swim shorts, and we had snacks packed for dinner.
Travis sent me into the water first. I had forgotten what the stillness of lake water stirs in me. I kayaked away until Eliot was a little blue speck of boy screaming, “MOM!!”
I paddled a few feet and then stopped, pulled my knees up to my chest and watched the stillness.
This place reminds me of Uganda, of being on the Nile River and not fully understanding its beauty.
And on the water it’s me and it’s Him.
I thanked Him for this town, for these friends. And I asked to see His kingdom around us now, while longing for the wholeness of a new earth. I longed for the wholeness.
I scanned the edge of the lake with my blue kayak, where the trees sunk into the mud and branches sat under the surface of the water, stoic as rapids passed by overhead.
Then I saw them: a tiny sea of lily pads, their faces toward the sun.
And I approached them with the caution of a curious child, my first thought being, what creatures lurk beneath? will my kayak get stuck here?
Close enough to their edges, I saw the green of their surfaces, and their stems reaching down into the depths of the water.
And I thought, I want to be like the lily pads. My eyes to the sun, my roots plummeting down into deep sustenance and pure water.
The lily pads had life, have life, will continue with life, and that’s exactly what I want here as we close a 4-year season and open up a 5-year one.
And back at the quilt on the grass under the shade of the tree, Eliot played Christmas songs on the iPod and asked if Bilbo Baggins was riding in a kayak, too. Isaiah curiously dug in the picnic basket for the many treasures it contained, enthralled as only an 8-month old can be.
These moments are what Manning calls our ordinary rounds and daily routine, our communion with the living person of Jesus.
If I saw Jesus in a lily pad yesterday, what might I see Him in today?
Last week, the local farmer’s market opened for the season.
If there is one thing that gives this city constant beauty, it’s this market.
Vendors gather along all four sides of the downtown “square” to sell glorious flowers, fresh fruits and veggies, homemade soap, hand-crafted items, and more.
Musicians cover every corner and compete for the spare change of passers-by.
Our first summer here, I grabbed my guitar and found a quiet spot near a woman named Beth.
It’s been my favorite venue– singing while little kids dance by, parents not far behind; the shared bond of man’s love for rhythm and voice. Perhaps my best tip was the half-eaten muffin from the teeny blonde boy, who just loved me that much.
Now that Eliot has embraced the fullness of his extroversion, he asks about the market more than once a week, and he knows that it’s a party waiting to be joined.
We show up and tune our ears toward the live music, and head straight to the source–indeed, music is a source of life for both Eliot and me. He sways side to side as the music plays, and he points to the cello, the violin, the guitar of the jazz quartet as they perform their last song of the set.
We found our lab, Charlie, there.
I discovered Celosia, or Cockscomb, the flower that resembles a brightly colored brain– my favorite flower.
Eliot discovered the bubble machine outside the jewelry store, and takes at least 10 minutes every visit to play in them.
The beauties found here have made this town a blessing to live in– a town where diversity brings celebration, where Saturday mornings belong to everyone:
the executive who needs a few extra bell peppers for a dinner party;
the vegan mom who wants to make kale chips for her toddler;
the exchange student who wants to experience a new culture;
the 20-something who has a weekend date for coffee and a morning walk;
the family of four who comes out for fresh air;
the 3-year old boy who has his dancing shoes on.
It’s the city that loves its local farmers and supports their work with happy hearts and generous pockets.
This year local politicians set up tables trying to buy votes with lollipops and balloons, and I get to kindly say, “We’re moving in July,” as Eliot shoves the root-beer flavored candy into his mouth and the politician’s wife smiles.
If I can spend the next 9 Saturdays in the open air of the market, I will be absolutely content. So, here’s to a house of fresh flowers and meals of sustenance, straight from the green earth.
For more posts from the Snapshots series, click here.
She comes to the side door to pick him up. A rhythmed knock followed by a high-pitched, “YOO-HOO!!!”
He dashes about the house, throwing clothes on and shouting, “Suzan’s here!” He runs out, greets her giant Buster dog, and takes off down the drive with a quick good-bye wave of his hand, no looking back.
She’s his Suzan. His other grandma. His best friend & partner in crime.
They go on walks when it’s warm. They jump in puddles and examine oak leaves. They collect rocks and gather acorns. They smell flowers and chase dogs.
They play at her house when it’s cold. He’s got a toothbrush with his name on it. He eats her pretzels, drinks her cocoa, washes her dishes. He vacuums her rug and feeds the bird, does puzzles on her carpeted floor.
He is gone for hours on end, and when we pick him up, he begs to go back. How can so much love be poured out in an afternoon of fun?
Though we may not understand it, Eliot does. Their love spreads across the neighborhood, from William’s front door to Anita’s terra cotta pots, and on to Margaret’s for more cocoa. They are inseparable, and it’s a reciprocated joy.
Suzan, retired from teaching, and Eliot, the most curious little toddler on the block.
When we talk about moving, we can’t look at each other. When we talk future, we talk about airplane rides and weekend visits and blown-up air mattresses.
Because, it seems that Suzan has adopted a 2-year old, and it seems that a 2-year old has adopted Suzan.
And that team can never really be split apart, not when telephone cords stretch so far.
For more posts from the Snapshots series, click here.