Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them.
And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made.
Climb on my back, young one. We will find your heart.
His scales were smooth and warmed her to the bone as she climbed on. They made a path through the roof of the trees; she clung to his neck and pressed her face against it as she took her first breath of cool air in what seemed like an eternity. The moon was full, and she heard noises again that the forest had kept secret from her. Wings blackened the stars with their strokes, and she watched the glint of gold beneath her that escaped from the hold of giant talons.
All night they flew. The warmth of his scales and her weariness played against her, and whenever she wandered too far into a dream he would sing to her. It started deep within his chest and reverberated back into her spine, yet the melody rang surprisingly sweet. It made her think of places no one had ever seen, waiting to be discovered. It made her want home.
When the sun rose to hail the new day she looked down and spied a meadow, and in the center of that a well.
Yes, she answered.
She slid off after he landed in a patch of cornflowers. When she turned around a man stood there. He was tall and young, not so unlike her brother, but still somehow old. He reached out both his hands and inside them lay the toadstool. She looked him in the eyes, now so dark she could barely discern between pupil and iris, and remembered green, and smiled suddenly. She took the glowing thing from him and held it close to herself. Her bloodstained, soil covered hand traced it’s lines as it hummed to her, drawing her closer as a sharp ache struck a spot where her heart used to reside. She looked up at the dragon, and he looked back at her, and she turned and began to run.
Little one, she felt in her mind, take heart.
Yes. I will take it.
Ai, what have you done?
Ice pricked her stomach as she answered without hesitation,
I’m searching for my heart.
Well. Have you found it?
Warm hands reached for her in the black, cupped her palms that cradled the toadstool. She knew then that something far different from a man stood beside her, something far more ancient and fierce, for it pressed against the space around her and made her small. She could not quite see him, he held his face back. An uncontrollable shiver began at her spin and finished at the nape of her neck.
Fingers softly brushed up her cheek. Little one. . .you have scarcely seen your tenth summer. Has no one told you not to meddle with dragons?
Dragons live in mountains, not forests.
Mountains are not the only place to watch gold. Why do you search for your heart?
A frog. He is trapped as a frog. He sent my heart into these woods and I found this. He promised he would make me a princess.
Sounds more like a toad.
A great whirlwind engulfed her, sent her hair into a mess of tangle and tore the air from her lungs. Half a breath later her eyes were filled with reflections of amber and fire glistening like stars in a deep night sky. Perfect scales reached to the crown of the trees, and as she looked up she was met with a pair of impossible, staring green eyes. They blinked.
Climb on my back, young one. We will find your heart.
There once was a girl who had wandered far into the woods.
In those woods she heard wolves breathing, and she heard the trees murmur to her through bowed trunks and reaching branches that moved when there was no wind. She wandered farther and farther into the mess of shadows until she forgot about the world outside, could only remember the smell of damp moss and the sound of scurrying of insects as they felt the soft treading of her bare feet on their leafy bed, awakening them from sleep.
She was lost. She had been tricked by a modest looking frog at the mouth of a well. He had spoken of impossible things, dreams. He dispatched her heart to the forest by some dark magic, and she had followed it, helpless, for one cannot live without one’s heart. So she clambered past the nettles and vines that guarded the trees, ignoring the succinct cries of her thrashed palms, and entered into darkness.
Time had no keeper in that place. Hours and minutes and days had no construct, for they served no purpose. She stumbled and ran, never stopping as the branches whispered her name over and over, and through all the voices that hounded her, it was as still as death. She could feel things following at her heels, catching her scent, curious. She moved until at last she found a place where even the moon could find no entry, and all the creatures stood still. Her white dress torn to shreds, her eyes wide and dark, she nearly collapsed as she knelt down and gazed at what grew in the center of all things.
A golden toadstool.
She pressed her hand into the soft, black earth that surrounded it, and watched as it glowed. A sound, first soft, then growing stronger, claimed her ears. A single, pure note emanated from it, like the sweet peal of a bell that’s been rung. Never in her life had she beheld such a thing. She reached out her hands and plucked it from its soil.
As simply as she had taken it, words slipped into her mind. The blood in her veins ran cool as a voice spoke in her thoughts, buffeting her very soul,
Ai…what have you done?
You know when something defeats you time and time again, and you end up just feeling worthless even though it might be something small–like not screwing up at work, for instance. And you get so frustrated because the world is a big place with people figuring out much more difficult things with every passing moment, fighting real battles and dying for worthier names and causes, and you just can’t get your crap together at work. And you feel lame and helpless as you watch people be patient with you.
And you can’t seem to pull your act together or be who you know you ought to be, and suddenly your inadequacies at work snowball into who you are as a person and the trajectory of your life, and you become lost as you internalize every emotion and are consumed by illness that is introspective obsession. So before work you finally remember to simply bow before God and ask for help.You send a simple prayer asking him to make you a servant, to make you salt and light and useful. And then you drive to work and get there early, and you don’t forget anything. In fact, you follow up on things that are actually helpful and your captain notices and the whole night runs smoothly. Not just you, but your entire team and section magically seems to always start and finish first while the others are scrambling or forgetting things, and your clients are complimentary and friendly, and the only time you thought you messed up because you spilled wine on someone turned out just to be him teasing you, and it makes you laugh. So you head to the kitchen to clock out, say goodnight to the people who you discover are slowly turning into friends, snag an extra bouquet or two of white flowers, and waltz out like it was all a walk in the park.
And then you sit in the car and think about it, and you thank God. Because when God said ‘He who is faithful in small things will also be faithful in great things,’ He wasn’t referring only to men, but to Himself. And if He can take time to remember you, and hear your prayer about such a small thing, imagine what He could do with the great things. And then you ask God to never let you forget that, because you do that. you forget. It’s not God who is not moving, it’s you who’s always forgotten how many times He’s moved before. And the next time you slip that fetching forrest green catering shirt over your head, and adjust your black shoes, and are handed a plate of pan-seared prime rib with crab stuffed halibut, you better remember. Remember that God of small things. And don’t lose heart. Don’t forget.
“I allow the spiders the run of the house. I figure that any predator that hopes to make a living on whatever smaller creatures might blunder into a four-inch square bit of space in the corner of the bathroom where the tub meets the floor, needs every bit of my support.”
If I were a spider, I’d hate myself. How to escape a spider attack takes a considerable amount of mental dexterity. When a spider charges you in the shower, you have approximately 3 seconds to decide what your course of action will be: Find something to smash it; drown it; call for reinforcements (aka little sister); pray to God to strike and then (hopefully–it hasn’t happened yet) watch it spontaneously combust and disappear in a tiny wisp of smoke. After the 3 seconds have passed, there’s no hope for rational thought. Pure adrenaline courses through your body and you become a mindless, flailing, instinct ridden entity.
I, personally, have been a victim of such circumstances. There’s nothing that kills your pride faster than the feeling of vulnerability you experience as a spider locates your position on the toilet.
But then today I picked up Anne Dillard’s Pilgrim at Tinker Creek, and there you have it. Spiders: the faithful sentries of the unseen and forgotten passageways and corners of our homes.
“The spider takes hold with her hands, and is in kings’ palaces.”
The spider, a hated creature, is extolled for her wisdom. Wise spiders. When’s the last time you ran into a spider bum? Little afternoon shadow showing, beer in hand, complaining about the weather and government.
I took a walk today as I talked to a friend about her eminent trip to London, where she’ll serve YWAM for 2 years at Holmstead Manor. I was strolling the neighborhood, enjoying the fading aromas of summer. People around here are delightfully dedicated to developing and landscaping their yards, so I often find myself walking beside giant lavender bushes, sweet, purple grapes overhanging fences, chrysanthemums, roses, you name it. Summers here are like paradise. I was walking past a a house were a woman was tending her yard, listening to Kaitlyn all the way in Pennsylvania talk about London, and something sunk in.
To me, life is a symphony. I’ve always felt like everyone but me was given a sheet of music, and I’ve tried my best to follow along with my own instrument, desperately watching the conductor in the center, the best, most remarkable musicians always catching at my periphery until I give in and turn to watch and mimic them just to keep in step, on tempo. Life is a struggle to play not too loudly, nor too soft, to be creative yet contained within the limits of expectation. Life is a symphony that I am designed to sing to, yet have never heard. I’ve racked my heart and brain so many days and nights wondering how people make other people love them. No, not love, enjoy. They enjoy each other’s company unabashedly, without thought. When one desires to sail the seven seas and live in a tent and have a cup of coffee, the other is there, too, asking to come with. To meet the expectations of countless different people has always seemed hopeless to me.
And that’s where the spider part comes in.
Be faithful, Lucy. Be wise. An epiphany from the Holy Spirit. You want to be respected and loved? Be faithful to the people you have in our life, and the work you’ve been given. Be like that spider in the corner of the king’s palace, working diligently with her hands, every day. Without fail. Do what needs to be done.
It was about that moment I shook myself free from my thoughts, heard again a girls voice speaking of distant lands, and kept walking.
It’s been only 22 minutes; today has barely started.
Right now I have been possessed with a strongish desire to do something good. The day is already good because God made it, so that’s been covered, and I’m about to go curl up and read the Word, which also sounds very good indeed.
There were so many small, different moments that happened today. How do I start? I suppose for the next 30 days I will offer you my favorite:
Today I had breakfast with Sara and Cassie, and as I was driving home I realized I was much too tired to make it through church, and seeing as I was responsible for driving two people 250 miles that day, my dad told me to take a nap. I fell asleep after about half an hour, and I dreamed.
I dreamt that I was back in Seattle, and for some reason there was this conveyor belt thing winding over my head. It sucked up the strap of my purse and my whole bag just disappeared into the machinery. I was frustrated because nobody could figure out how to give it back to me, and somewhere along the way it struck me that I didn’t have Alexa and Julie with me, my two passengers. How the heck did I forget them?! I wondered, bemused. For that matter, I couldn’t even remember driving to Seattle at all, I was just there in my car, magically. And with a sinking feeling I realized I had left them behind and would have to drive all the way back just to pick them up and turn around.
So I woke up, we all got ready, and I was driving down the free way when I remembered what I had been dreaming about, and all the emotions washed over me again, like it had really happened. And I was overwhelmingly relieved that I had not forgotten them, and that they were safely in my car hurtling at 70mph Northward. Everything was okay.
And it’s funny. Dreams. I have so many things to say about them. Today I will say this: I’m just really glad I didn’t forget them. So glad. It’s bizarre feeling pleased about something not happening that did happen to you. Today I feel like I time traveled, went back and remedied my past.
It’s a weird thing to be happy about right now, but I’ll take it. Now I have to get some rest before I see a mummy, tomorrow.
And that is how I knew,
Between the hours of twilight and morning,
What could be hoped for could also be mine.
What could be dreamed
Might also be captured in the fading light of dreams
And be brought into a blaze of mourning glory,
And be won.
And be mine.
My toes haven’t been this shade of…magenta since I was twelve.
My cousin turned the fine age of 10 today, and I was invited to her Birthday party. I went shopping and picked some things I thought a prospective 10 year old would like, discovered I’d probably keep them for myself if it weren’t her birthday, wrapped them up and the next day I was at the party.
There were cupcakes, small, round ham and cheese sandwiches, grandmas and little girls. We made ducktape flip-flops and gave each other manicures. Afore mentioned Birthday Girl, Torie, asked me if she could paint my toes:
Me: “Yeah, you can paint my toes.”
Torie: “Yay! How about this color?” She proceeds to offer me the most blatant shade of hot pink my eyes have ever seen.
Torie: “Oh, mm..” With a concerned expression she carefully places the bottle back in the plastic storage bin that contains all the hues and flavors of polish to satisfy a young girl’s heart. I immediately understand that I have transgressed in a most unforgivable way.
Me: “Torie, you pick whatever color you want and that’ll be great.”
And while I don’t extend a willingness to accept hot pink (my moment of sacrifice had not been inflated to reach the epic), I did sit on the floor and watch her transform my clean, trimmed nails to magenta paint chips. I stared at them reflectively, the color coaxing out old memories of sleeping over at my grandmother’s: wheat thins, the smell of Sam the Labrador, bowling ball trophies, a giant water bed, going out for pancakes, and nail polish. I remembered the time I loved nail polish, that long neglected era of growing up when I appreciated bright, bold things.
Torie then asked about my fingernails, and I surrendered only to flesh-tone.
I changed clothes when I got back home, and so disconcerted was I at the sight of my own toes that I put on socks. I feel like I’m 10 myself, every time I see them. A kid. Carefree.
It truly is the little things that get to you.
To follow a heart beat
To live like there is a tomorrow
And a day after that
To cling to a hope
To realize a passion
That calls me back home
To discover perfection
And bask in its glory
Living a dream that comes not
Singing the tune
Yet a story
That’s been sung
By the Angels before time began
I find myself walking
A path much less taken
That no one can hear
Strangers, they stare
And mock at my dancing
Missing the beat of the drums
That do call
Made pure by the blood of
To be where we always belonged
And sorrows fall quiet
Not from the sun
Warms my face
I am crowned
An heir to fulfillment
Of the thing only dreamed
In the world made of shadows
In the cool breath of night
And at last I have sight
Of the gift that was given
Of the thing in my grasp
And I hear music again
Different and deep:
A voice saying
My good, faithful servant.
And I rest.