Monday, March 31, 2014

Ornaments of hope: Inside the sacred pause

photo credit

I brush my teeth Saturday night to the rhythmic lullaby of rain on the sidewalk outside our apartment. I almost miss it, drowned out and swept downstream in the background noise of the sink’s running water, bristles scrubbing teeth and the static of my ever-running thoughts. But somewhere in that heartbeat between noise and silence, it squeezes into my consciousness, and I breathe it in, nice and deep.

* * * *

In the mornings this season of Lent, I intention to rise with the birds and sing my way into the day, but after only a week, the song of bed calls just a little bit stronger. Stay here, don’t leave me, it sings. And I cave, Of course, dear bed, I croon, Why would I leave you now? And I rise groggy, straining heavy-lidded eyes over sacred words that blur, and the only songs I can manage are in the shower. “Bless the Lord, o my soul,” I sing, and I feel the words falling flat from my lips.

“The sun comes up, it’s a new day dawning,” so the line goes, but the sun still isn’t up and neither am I, and yet here I am singing again in the shower.

* * * *

I open the front door and step outside to pick up our newspaper. The dark coats the sky, a charcoal blanket draping the shoulders of trees and rooftops of houses, and I pause in midair as I dip down. I hear their voices, their songs in surround sound, more like a hundred simultaneous duets than a uniform choir. Their melodies fill my soul as breath in my lungs. I straighten and close my eyes, open my ears, for sometimes the light streams in this way and I need to shut my eyes in order to see it.

Light comes, not in words, but in pitch and tone, from other-wordly creatures that speak of life and home in language I know not, beyond my limited human experience. These birds are my wardrobe and they usher me into Narnia.

And so does the rain.

In that sacred pause.

That space between noise and silence.

That door opening in the dark that invites the songs in.

* * * *

We’re three weeks into Lent, but it’s not too late. It’s never too late to open the door and close our eyes to let the light in, to stand still in the off-beat, the space between, and listen to the rain make music.

Every day, a fresh song awaits, just outside the door, in the tree tops, in the shower, tapping the sidewalk and the windows, grace, grace, grace. It’s all grace.

* * * *

This is my unofficial blog series for Lent, "Ornaments of hope," where I want to learn to sing like the birds and hang these songs as 'ornaments' on the trees.  I don't know how often I will write, but I'm committed to writing out this forty day journey in some way.  And you? I know you're on your own journey, and I'd love to hear about that. But if you resonate with any of this, I hope to see you around here this Lenten season. Singing with the birds and hanging our ornaments of hope as we journey from darkness to light. Maybe we'll even form a choir.

Ornament 1
Ornament 2

Ornament 3
Ornament 4

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