The rest of the day followed in the same suit – the sunrise and the meetings and the reports and the visits were nothing magical. There were no moments where I caught a glimpse of the glorious inside the mundane of this Monday.
And I hated myself a little bit for it, because I know the glory is there. I hated that something in me didn’t melt when the little boy’s lips formed around the new word “moon” as he pointed to the sky. I want to see the glory always and I mostly write about when I do – the sunsets that raise my religious affections and the child’s laugh that unleashes my own spirit of freedom.
But some days just feel like days – sometimes running paths and book chapters and dishes are just running paths and book chapters and dishes. And there is no epiphany to write about on facebook or capture on instagram.
Some days are just days.
And this is the day when what I know becomes very important. Absent affections, when days are just days and work is just work and the people on the running path are just people, what I know to be true is very important. This is what I know:
You are faithful, never-changing,
age to age, You remain the same
Your steadfast love endures forever
So, I close my eyelids and stare at that strange nothingness. I know the beauty and glory of creation is lit up on the other side of my sight, but not because it feels like more than just a day.
I know it is beautiful because it is beautiful. God said so and I trust Him.
Last night, I raced the river (chasing the current like I thought I could catch up) with a silly smile across my face. The trees had shaken off the snow from the mysterious Spring storm and I shared the path with bikers, runners, dogs, and the most adorable lady with a walker. I threw my smile at all of them, giggling at the children who roamed unaware of the etiquette I assume is standard on any city path (don’t walk directly towards someone running in your direction).
I raced the river and caught several times on the breeze what C.S. Lewis would describe as “joy.” It was an excitement that fluttered with a “heaven-like longing” that cannot be fully satisfied on earth, but even the presence of the longing overflowed in delight.
Dr. Jerry Root explains one of the central themes in Lewis’s writing, heavily influenced from his own experiences with Joy. He spoke reverently in “Surprised by Joy,” his autobiography, about the brief passing moments where he experienced an unexplainable bliss and then was left to figure out how to experience it again.
Well, anyway… as I raced the river last night I knew I wouldn’t catch it. I knew I could not really take in the beauty of the cool early evening in the way I wanted to, the way the evening wanted me to. I think that was part of the blissful moment – knowing there was too much beauty to take in, even if I drank in every scene as I ran on the path.
So, my joy bubbled out because it couldn’t be contained. The river, the overcast sky, the families, the bikers, the little old lady with her walker, and the children wandering out into the middle of the action – all these very simple and mundane threads in the fabric of a Sunday night, but every bit a reason to smile.
Sunday evenings are great medicine for Monday mornings, yes? The scenes are different, but there is joy hidden in this day – the sunshine, the birds, and that crazy owl that is trying to tell me a story. I’m on my way to a staff meeting, but I’ll first be dropping off these little love bundles for “every day in May” creative challenge.
All the markers were strewn around his feet. He stretched his chubby fingers, determined to pick up every one and carry them across the room. But he was too ambitious – every time he grabbed more than three the first two would fall out.
I just watched as he bent over with furrowed brows and his little bum in the air. He started grunting after several failed attempts and my heart swelled. He didn’t want just two markers or even three and he certainly didn’t want to make several trips across the room. He wanted all of them at once, no exceptions.
Oh, little one, I understand.
Everybody thinks you are crazy (seriously, kid – fifteen markers at once is never happening), but I get it. I get that those markers became super important the minute they became impossible.
Sometimes I wish it was culturally acceptable for me to just hang out with my bum in the air and grunt while I try to do what is obviously impossible. I don’t know why I wish that (I know I will have to give up eventually), but maybe it has something to do with our efforts as adults to keep things hidden.
I don’t want my foolishness out in the open. I don’t want to be caught with my bum in the air and furrowed brow, determining to do something impossible and foolish. But little ones – they get a “pass” when it comes to things like this because they don’t know any better.
I watched this little guy pick up and drop the markers until something shiny distracted from his frustration. And, I thought, I understand.
But there is something else – something about growing and knowing and being aware of what is good and wise and possible.
As much as I wish I could be foolish without consequence, I am glad to be rescued (to some degree) from futility. Deep down, I don’t really wish to go back to ignorance (even though it looks carefree and blissful at times).
I am grateful for knowing what I know on this side of things. I’m grateful for God’s promise to grow us from one degree of glory to another and that He teaches us what is foolish and what is wise. I claim this wisdom daily as I walk out steps of faith in obedience.
I’m looking at my week today. I’m just sitting here on this side of Monday thinking – what stories will unfold before next Monday comes? How will I step into the miracles of grace God has authored this week? What will those joyful moments look like and when will I do battle in the moments of temptation? What treasures are waiting to be discovered in the most unlikely of places?
I’m still on this side of Monday, just barely, and I’m ushering it in with Sandra McCracken’s song, “Dynamite” because I guess I want to think on the weight of another regular week. Yes, life goes on – an unsteady rhythm in an unsteady and shifting world that somehow feels routine. Another 9 am start to another five day week that’s about to happen… and these lines are breaking in to shake me free of going through the Monday motions.
You may not be in a place to imagine anything this morning, and if that’s the case you might want to come back and read this later because McCracken paints a picture you are meant to see in your mind’s eye.
“The heart takes what it wants, like dynamite.”
Dynamite is not a gentle thing – not a pleasant or friendly thing. It is unforgiving and indiscriminate in its destruction. And this is the image McCracken uses to talk about the heart: dynamite. That’s ugly.
I don’t like to think about my heart like destruction – the kind that thunders and smokes and overwhelms. I don’t like to think about a lot of ugly things. On this side of Monday, I am thinking about how desire is lit like dynamite.
“Those who have ears, as the smoke it clears, will see things as they are
To bend the will, you first must change the heart.”
But I’m also thinking about the moments before destruction is guaranteed – those moments when the will can still be bent by a change of heart.
Where are those moments in my today?
When will my heart race to take what it wants this week?
Oh, I know there will be many times. My heart is fickle and fragile and forgetting. I want things I’ll never admit to wanting and this week will not be any different than last week.
But, maybe if I know my desire like dynamite, I will listen for a different sound.
“Will we choose the noise of our desire or the hope that makes no sound?”
Maybe, I will choose to say “Yes!” to all the promises God has given me in Christ – all the ways He has provided the power to bend the will of my flesh by the change of my heart. Destruction is not unavoidable. The noise of desire is not so deafening that the silent sound of hope cannot penetrate it. A hope that does not disappoint (Romans 5) is as brilliant and as sure as this morning’s sun.
In 2 Corinthians 1:20 we read, “All the promises of God find their ‘Yes!’ in Christ.”
The God of creation sees our desire like dynamite and yet still offers a hearty and infallible YES in the person of Christ, who secures every promise God has ever given. Within this profound security, we can say “Yes!” to those promises – to the hope that makes no sound.
We can walk out this week in a way that doesn’t leave destruction in our wake.
I am reading through Future Grace by John Piper and this particular post is inspired by his words in Chapter 7 as well as Sandra McCracken’s song.
How many of you start books and never finish them? How many of you are “reading” 5 books at the moment and a few of those you’ve been “reading” for 5 years? This article, “Biblical Literacy Begins with Reading,” reveals a problem we may have thought little about. It’s not about getting the Bible into the hands of more people. It’s about teaching those people to obey (Matthew 28) by actually reading and understanding the Bible in a way that translates into life. But not the kind of reading that we do haphazardly – intentional, focused reading with accountability.
There are a lot of Christian books out there about how to be radical today – how to live simply, be significant, make a difference, and all that jazz. Micah Project, an organization I worked with while I lived in Honduras, is not a tagline, but a transformational ministry. Take a look at this video to see their story (narrated by a boy who went from street kid to professional through the power of Jesus).
And, just because I don’t want your Monday to drag, check out this article on the “awe of God.” It puts theology and Mondays in their rightful places.