Just before Easter was her first senior dance. She did her make up and I did her hair. The minutes flew... she was radiant. And I keep thinking that we were again crossing over a threshold. A little letting go. And also a distinct emerging of something new.
The baby becomes a noisy toddler... the winnie-the-pooh cot gives way to the proud first night in a bed. Pre-school is charged with all the zeal she can muster. Then she looks adorable in her school uniform and the baby things are boxed in the garage... then all the playing on the floor with endless families of Sylvanians comes to a slow end and so on it goes. This beautiful cycle of growing up.
Every precious day is full of wonder, of growing and becoming...
and it is all a privilege, witnessing the gentle unfurling of each new phase.
Michelangelo's Pieta makes you stop. I stood in awe. Mary holding the body of Jesus after the wrath of man has been poured on her innocent son. It's graceful and breathtaking. Which is probably just like Mary was. How else do explain the response 'Behold I am the servant of the Lord, let it be to me according to your word.' Oh the faith. And humble acceptance. That alone is a lesson for daily living. Not my will, my plan, but yours.
The Pieta is also sad and stirring. Mary, who was there at the joyous beginning, is also there at the end. Her beloved son. Her heart unlike the marble Pieta was broken. All she had is all we have.
The promise of being fully alive, of resurrection life as we too are numbered among the crucified. 'Our old self was crucified with him... and we might no longer be enslaved to sin... reckon yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus' ~ Romans 6.6.
Our hard hearts transformed by a continued willingness to trust that His ways are better. And they are.
John Piper said 'Never let the cross lose its crucifying power in your life. Never let it slip into the dim and misty past.'
His crucifixion. It is finished.
His crucifixion. It is not forgotten.
The Pieta is magnificent but the God-man exceeds all magnificence. This astonishing masterpiece cannot compare to the masterpiece of the sacrifice that changed history. Trust Him when it doesn't add up. He is unafraid of our mess.
Grace cannot leave you where it found you... surely goodness and mercy will always come hard after us.
The minutes were all-consuming and they turned into days and days to weeks and so forth. And in the end I was spent. And so the last few months flew by with many days too heavy to hold.
There were electronic meltdowns, personal meltdowns, sad goodbyes and adapting to a new pace and narrow road. There were beautiful moments saturated with love and there were hard-to-swallow moments that tasted of despair.
But where shall wisdom be found? And where is the place of understanding? Man does not know its worth and its not found in the land of the living... God understands the way to it, and He knows its place.
And we cannot surrender to the whisper to lay down with apathy. We have One who knows the way through. The way out. His place of suffering is our place of freedom and peace. Who doesn't long for a place of peace? Is it a moments work, usually not... and I for one am tired of glib, thin slogans of supposed faith. But this I know. Quick is not necessary, but true is. Peace is a true person... come to Me all you who are bone-weary and bent by heavy loads, and I will give you rest. And this is the only hope that our marred humanity has.
This Lenten time of year brings sharp clarity. Resurrection brings hope. And new life. As Pope John Paul said, we do not abandon ourselves to despair but we abandon ourselves to the One who holds us and walks us into the light and whose mercies are new every morning.
"Do not abandon yourselves to despair. We are the Easter people and hallelujah is our song." Pope John Paul II