Half-hearted Creatures

“We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.”

 

>C. S. Lewis

The Woman

“During my second month of college, our professor gave us a pop quiz. I was a conscientious student and had breezed through the questions, until I read the last one: “What is the first name of the woman who cleans the school?”

Surely this was some kind of joke. I had seen the cleaning woman several times. She was tall, dark-haired and in her 50s, but how would I know her name? I handed in my paper, leaving the last question blank. Just before class ended, one student asked if the last question would count toward our quiz grade.

“Absolutely,” said the professor. “In your careers, you will meet many people. All are significant. They deserve your attention and care, even if all you do is smile and say “hello.”

I’ve never forgotten that lesson. I also learned her name was Dorothy.”

~Anonymous

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The patience to wait

“Who said,” lashed out Isaac Penn, “that you,  a man, can always perceive justice? Who said that that justice is what you imagine? Can you be sure that you know it when you see it, that you will live long enough to recognize the decisive thunder of its occurrence, that it can be manifest within a generation, within ten generations, within the entire span of human existence? What you are talking about is common sense, not justice. Justice is higher and not as easy to understand– until it presents itself in unmistakable splendor. The design of which I speak is far more above our understanding. But we can sometimes feel its presence.

“No choreographer, no architect, engineer, or painter could plan more thoroughly and subtly. Every action and every scene has its purpose And the less power one has, the closer he is to the great waves that sweep through all tings, patiently preparing them for the approach of the future signified not by simple human equity (a child could think of that), but by luminous and surprising connections that we have not imagined, by illustrations terrifying and benevolent– a golden age that will show not what we wish, but some bare awkward truth upon which rests everything that ever was and everything that ever will be. There is justice in the world, Peter Lake, but it cannot be had without mystery. We try to bring it about without knowing exactly what it is, and only touch upon it. No matter, for all the flames and sparks of justice throughout all time reach to invigorate unseen epochs– like engines whose power glides on hidden lines to upwell against the dark in distant cities unaware.”

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I am not addressing ultimate justice; what happens when we die, to those who’ve been good or done ill. Only the things of life that sweep us up. Why do cruel people rise to the top, and why are the honest not always rewarded? Why was my heart allowed to break? Why did a child’s heartbeat cease to reverberate in it’s mother’s womb? Why?

And to claim injustice is to proclaim the knowledge of a universe I’ve only begun to glimpse with weakened eyes. To point my finger at God and cry out against Him would be to attempt grasping the past, present and future all at once, and to sing a melody of a song that has yet to finish, one who’s ending I have never heard. It would be to know the heart, path and design of every man under the sun.

I am in the center of a map of cosmic proportions, a traveler like yourself, and my story is being told by One who know knows the end of all things. Although the fruits of justice are not always made clear, I feel it’s presence. And it gives me the patience to wait, and have faith.

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Day 30 (Giving thanks)

My brother, John, wrote this shopping list for my mom.

At first I tried to figure out why olives are at the very top because who needs olives for Thanksgiving? People kept talking about it all day, and I couldn’t figure out why, and they told me it was just because people like…olives. People that are not me. But I’m glad they’ll make somebody happy.

And I couldn’t for the life of me figure out what MS meant. MS? The disease. What?

“Maple Syrup,” John said matter-of-factly.

Maple Syrup will forever in my heart be called MS. Forever.

And as I admired the interesting doodles that accompanied ‘the list,’ and I listened to the Christmas music my dad holds off from playing until November (Oh, Nate King Cole. I will be yours truly, always), and made pie, and found myself in the middle of a mini LaBrasseur Family Reunion, losing to my 8 year old brother at chess, winning against my 18 year old brother at Peggle, laughing hard with my sister (who’s one of the only people that gets me), and welcoming said sister’s fiance into the huddle as I challenged him to eat three mandarins simultaneously, which he accomplished with aplomb (not), and at fudge and ice cream, and played backgammon with my old man, prayed with my mom…

What is there to be said when words cannot suffice? How do I articulate such intangible things as receiving a hug from your big brother, or pressing out pie crusts with your dad, and being happy? Life hasn’t been easy this past year. I could fill tomes with my words, but they need not be said. No one needs to read those; they need to know that God is good, and that he loves us– that I’m waiting to go home. To enter the gates of Glory where God will catch all my tears in palms that could contain all the oceans, call me by name with a voice that birthed the stars in the heavens, and come home.

But, for today, I can wait.

We will shop for olives and Maple Syrup, play endless games of Apples to Apples, and we will wait. And today I will find joy in the gift of a thankful heart.