to look up and believe that anything is possible

We were all little underneath the bigness of the tall trees in the Virginian forest, but she was the littlest. Emma was an easy and obvious target for our attention, frolicking her 2-year-old self in the colorful, autumn glory.

I got a little bit caught up watching her eyes dart from leaves to trees to path to playground. I got a little bit caught up chasing the heels of her adventure – a present and ready endeavor. But it wasn’t thoughtful or intentional, because the adventurous spark in Emma’s eyes was intuitive.

What else would one do with a perfect autumn day underneath tall trees filled to brimming with all colors of leaves?

Emma told us, “I’m gonna fly to the treetops and touch them!”

And before I could think to say what I felt (Yes, yes you are!), she mustered a jump and extended her fingers above her head to squeal, “got one!”

Of course she did.

Today, a man was slicing up a giant fish on the sidewalk when I walked by the 2/5 train stop on Winthrop. Today, the sun melted into hot pink on the horizon as I watched from the subway platform on Crescent Street. Today, my students said I looked like I could be from the Bronx or Staten Island. Today, I watched my laundry eat my quarters and swish around in circles while I chatted with my laundry friend Mohammad.

Today, I lived in the city, far away from tall trees and wide eyes, but this past weekend I dropped off the city grid to walk on forest paths and step into the wonder that just comes naturally when you are two feet tall.

Of course she thought to touch treetops. And of course the treetops were within reach.

The world of treetops stopped being reachable somewhere in my adolescence. I guess I started to shrug it off when it became unreasonable and ignorant. I’m not sure how it became less okay to dream, but it just kind of happened. I’m fighting it, but it happens often in my concrete corner of the world.

I’m fighting it, but I need lessons with Emma in the Virginia forest to remind me about mystery and imagination and touching treetops.

Because the people here are mostly more than five feet, so they have forgotten what it is to look up and believe that anything is possible.


ordinary glory | mysterious miracle

There is nothing singularly spectacular about this Saturday, but that makes the mystery of all its ordinary glory so much more beautiful.

This ordinary glory is a mysterious miracle.

The clouds broke open early, uncertain of whether to hover or hibernate into the autumn wind. I still can’t figure out the morning rhythms – of the few footsteps that pound the city pavement in the early weekend hours. Maybe it’s because the pavement gets such a beating in the Monday – Friday traffic and the millions of feet have declared moratorium for Saturday and Sunday.

But I don’t mind the quiet traffic and few pedestrians. I don’t mind that I can hear the wind and appreciate the rustle of autumn leaves. I don’t mind that I can sit for over an hour in my favorite bagel place with no one crowding me out of my seat.

Because the most ordinary things – the man in full red track suit with a mini boombox walking on Nostrand Avenue, the little child making eyes at me inside Lula Bagel Cafe, the successful scavenging for a free bed with my adorable roommate, the spontaneous errands with new friends who prefer the windows rolled down, the swapping of life stories over tacos and margaritas – the most ordinary things are all mysterious miracles.

Yes, there are defeated and damaged days in this busy-hungry place, but there are also those days (like today) that stretch out in ordinary miracles. They are strung together like garland, wrapped around slow moving hours you can feel through your fingers as you ride the wind outside the car window.

Ordinary moments.

I call them miracles and perhaps I am too cavalier with the term. Perhaps “miracle” is a word that should be guarded and ordered and sequestered for more holy conversation. I’m not sure.

I just know that it feels miraculous to live today. It feels like a slice of heaven to walk and breathe and stretch out my living deep into this Saturday as I sip espresso and plan the evening’s activities. It feels like an impossible gift when the sunlight hits my cheekbones and when a laugh escapes my lips. The impossibility of this day – even the ordinariness of breathing in and out – is enough of a miracle to me.

And so, I walk and breathe and stretch out my living tonight, in the impossible and ordinary crisp Autumn air. I fill up my lungs with everything regular and I know that there is nothing ordinary about life.

The breath in my bones is a testimony, a moving monument constructed so that I remember my Creator.

brushstrokes like fire


my morning drive

This series of moments called autumn, when fall picks up her paintbrush and tickles the leaves with shades of fire, is favorite. When the morning wakes up to shine the sun’s spotlight on the trees stretching out in multi-colored glory, you might as well give me a brown paper package all tied up with string.

This is favorite.
(so much so that it is indeed worthy of noun status)

Autumn. Harvest. Provision. Beauty. Gatherings. Family. Colors. Bonfires. Hot drinks. Fall. Road trips. Friends. Books. Blankets.

When the September sun warms like a blanket on a cool, 70 degree day, Creation sings melody along with its painful, groaning harmony to the tune of “already, not yet.”

Even the seasons invite a study of God!

I delight in the beauty of the season unfolding around me, but I am acutely aware of all the ways Creation groans for complete restoration – where beauty can be displayed forever, free from any threat to its perfect and colorful song.

Here, in this season of beauty, we are home.
And here, in this season of beauty, we long for home.

So, today I am singing with lungs and heart full of praise for the One who invites me in to His  always home.