Monday, December 23, 2013

Hiding In A Closet

I read an article today, biased and angry, about a girl who gave birth in a toilet.


You know the truth, first, You do. Better than any of us, really. You know what the article doesn't say. What's accurate and what isn't, as always. You sit beside her. Your body is so huge that I bet if she knew, she'd be surprised at the room for her there. She'd scream at the site of you, but then maybe put her feet up on You to bear down. You watch her as she slides up her sweat-shirt, a covering she's been using to hide everything. You look at her eyes and silently call, waiting for her to look at You with pleas.

Instead, she stares at the wall.

Maybe she bites a towel, as the article reports is so. But whatever she does to silence herself, she does out of fear and out of a desire to dismiss the nightmare completely. You won't let her. She knows and she cries and she gives birth to a boy this Christmas. Does she know that You are growling beside her? Does she know that You are crying in that bathroom? Does she know that You exist?

Animals procreate, but people hurt. You know this, and You want to lick the blood away. You know that it would only take a Word from You to still her hands to let the baby live to wake up her parents to make her stop to give her friends to make the emptiness full to make the anger not so hard to make the doors to heaven open to make You her reality forever.

But, she won't let You and You watch with a faithful hum of a freedom offering. It's like an on-going chime that doesn't stop that annoys people when they don't know You with their hearts.

Maybe she doesn't want to listen to the music. Maybe voices crowd You out. The serpent, the one You crushed and will crush and will smear into the underbelly of the world...sometimes she listens to him more.

She kills that baby and hides him in a closet. Now he's Yours. We don't weep for the little one that You have. We weep for the one You want.

Thank You, merciful Beast.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Visitation: A Christmas Study in Luke 1:26 - 38

Angels have muscles in their wings. 

It's incredible to me that You made them exist, these magical, glorious, beautiful beings that sit with You and worship You, too. Gabriel. Is he Your favorite? Or Michael? Or do You sit with them equally and laugh with them and call them each by name? Maybe You chase them and play with them in open fields, growling and playing like a giant kitten. Maybe they play instruments for You and beg You to sing over them. Hosanna, they sing to You in return. Perfect one.

I see those angels, sitting close to You and whispering in Your ear. "Is it time?" Words, like melodies I want to hear. But, You don't tell them when, because no one knows the hour yet. You do, though, promise that there will be one.

Read Luke 1:26 - 38.

Sixth months into Elizabeth's pregnancy, Michael and all of the others watch. Gabriel appears to Your Mary, just as You told him to. Gabriel knows she's supposed to be married to the carpenter. He knows she's a virgin, and has no real understanding of what sex is. Is he concerned? Is Gabriel sympathetic. Does he know that she'll be accused, secretly talked about, and expected to give birth on the floor? He certainly isn't afraid of the outcome, and so he says to her, "Do not be afraid."

Oh, to be favored and entrusted.

" have found favor with God," he says. BEHOLD. (1:30)

And You are there. Oh, glorious Beast, enormous Spirit with no beginning and end, You are here. Alpha and Omega, You created conception. You know that it takes 24 hours for a human sperm cell to fertilize a human egg, but this time there is no sperm. In an instant You take on the tiniest beginnings of humanity with Your own contribution to those important chromosomes. And You are a boy!

Luke 1:29 says, "But she was greatly troubled at the saying, and tried to discern what sort of greeting this might be." (The Lutheran Study Bible)

Mary, with discernment, questioned why this beautiful person, clothed in something outside of this world and slowly bending and stretching wings...


...bending wings like a bird, is visiting her.

She doesn't know. Mary hasn't seen You laugh with angels. She hasn't seen You before in all her life. She's a Jew, and she only knows a God of past, power, and military passion. She knows a God of law and history, though yes a God that has promised a Savior. Hers. Why would You come to her this way, and now? She's never seen You before.

Then, is this true?

"...for nothing is impossible with God." (1:37)

Mary, not even fifteen years old, is a child. You expect her to be a woman. So, she will be. Let it be done as You have said, because we need You to save us. Enter this world in safety, because You have promised to deliver Your mom. Us.

Let it be as You have said.

Gabriel bends his wings a little. 
Those muscles, flexing, are ready for the deliverance of God's people. 

Tuesday, December 3, 2013


I avoid the gate sometimes. If I get too close to what those big doors mean, I start to cry because I miss Jessika too much. Today, though, I feel like sitting here next to the gate. Closed, and waiting for something.

I sit here, and rest my hands on the ground. I look at the shoes. Jessika left her shoes.

Jessika loves sparkly things. Her shoes sparkle, because anything bling is anything Jess. Her shoes sit here, looking so heartrendingly familiar, and yet so forgotten. I think she slipped out of them in hurry because she wanted to run faster.

I set the shoes gently to the side, after touching the artificial stones that don't really sparkle now. The manufactured threads poke through the worn places. The plastic is cheap and dirty. Some of the bling is missing.

I shake myself, and I put the shoes next to Heidi's. Heidi's shoes are purple. But, they are starting to look less like purple and more like nothing. Heidi's shoes sit next to my grandma's orthopedic sneakers, the white faux leather now gray. Heidi knew my grandma. They weren't related, but she knew her. I think if I touch my grandma's shoes, they'll fall apart and the shoes won't look like shoes anymore. But, nobody needs them anyway, and I'm just too curious about what death feels like to leave them alone, so I touch them.

I touch them, and they do fall apart and I sob, because death feels the way I thought it would.

Shoes. So many shoes. Jessika's bling, Heidi's purple. Generations of leather and treated animal skin. Pretend fabrics mixed with real things like cotton. Some have bullet holes from wars I've never lived. Some of them, I can tell, were gifts. Some, hand-me-downs. All of them sitting along the gate, down the wall, off into memories that exist because people lived to build them.

Memories are the hardest part.

I find Erik's shoes. They are too far along the line, too far too soon. I see baby shoes, lots of them, hundreds of them, too many of them. I know I can look, but I won't find them. My babies didn't get to wear shoes.

Then I start to shift the shoes around. It's hard, because they fall apart and it hurts tremendously. I arrange them the way I think it should have happened. Babies in the future, grandmas much later, friends the same time as me. But, it's useless. These shoes just sit there where I put them. The stories don't change just because I move them around. They just sit there, and be as they were. It just is.

Oh my gosh, You scare me. Just when I think I'm alone, You're sitting there too, and I never remember to pay attention. No, I don't want to leave. I want to just sit here and look at these shoes. I don't care if they decay in my hands. I don't care if colors disappear and laces fall apart. I don't care if all the bling on all the shoes in the world fall off. I want to look at them.

You put Your giant lion face hard into my belly.

Ok. I'll come.

You take me to the ends of the earth. I see houses being built. I see dinners being made. I see cars being purchased, and birthdays celebrated with gifts. I see money raised for charities, and I see everyone treating themselves to caramel mochas. I see classrooms and books and teachers enjoying Christmas treats. I see plays and productions. I see legos and crafts and movie nights. I see people laughing and loving and living.

But, I don't want to do all that if it means that sadness always comes. I don't want to do any of it if it means that my shoes will only fall apart. Why build a house if I won't live in it forever? Why save money when saving it might be for nothing? Everything is meaningless. Your Word, the living power of what breathes in those flimsy, perishable pages, says so. So, why can't I just sit at the gate and wait for the doors to open? It'll be safe that way.

You bite me, and it's never tasted so sweet. You remind me that Your Word is not perishable, though all things fade, and You look at me with those gentle eyes that remind me of my dad when he says he loves me. You head-butt me, and I laugh so hard that it breaks my heart open and all of the sadness falls out. It falls into my arms and my legs and comes out of my eyes, and You lick it up. This is just so hard.

Then, You give me a flower. It is living here, with me and with You. It isn't on the other side of the gate. It's here, all the time, every spring. It's beautiful, and I cry.

I will live. Lord help us, we will live.