Monday, August 25, 2014

When feathers fall


A feather in the grass, by the side of the road.

My eyes see it, and I bend down to bear it, fragile, in my hands. It is not tightly bound, like a gull's, but splayed delicate and wispy as the clouds. A heron's, I wager my best guess. In my hands, it feels like holding a tiny wisp of my heart.

It has a broken shaft, down the center. From there it bends and droops when I hold it up in the air. I pinch it gently in its broken center and carry it home.

This feather speaks. Oh, how it speaks. 

Of its inconsequentiality, on its own. Of its absolute necessity, en masse. For flight. For protection. For survival. For companionship.

* * * * *

We've been losing feathers off this marriage since we first took to the skies.

The shafts break and they fall fragile, one by one, to the earth. Each feather, bearing a name that cannot be named or need not be named in the space outside of the body from which they break. 

And I wonder, even when I fear to wonder, how many feathers we can lose before we are too bare to fly. We huddle together for warmth when the bare spots cannot keep out the chill, for this is what we know to do when we do not know how to stop them falling.

And I wonder, too, how feathers grow. How many might be regenerating on these bedraggled frames, pushing up beneath the bare spaces. Ones we cannot yet see. 

And this is faith.

* * * * * 

At home, I set the feather across the glossy print of us, the one when we were engaged, kissing beneath a cluster of chili peppers at the Market. The feather refracts light against the photo's backdrop, writing its wispy, broken-shafted hope across our faces.

We will rise.


* * * * *

Linking up with Kelli and the community of Unforced Rhythms, a place I am beginning to call home.

Friends, can I share with you? I write from a place of vulnerability in posts like these. Writing about marriage in this way - in the beautiful, painful mess of it all - is hard. But I do not write to process, for therapeutic purposes, or to reveal deeply private things. I write for transparency, for courage, for hope. I write, because writing helps me see what is often hidden from my immediate view. If you are married and you relate to this kind of story, I want you to know you're not alone. I don't have answers, this is for sure. But I do have hope in the One who can redeem the messiest of things, who can bring beauty from ashes. May he use these words, in some imperfect way, to shed light in the darkness. 





12 comments:

  1. Thanks Amber. For your courage to share. For not losing hope. For honesty.

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    1. Thank you for being here. For your kind words, Michelle.

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  2. I love your hope and your faith.

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  3. You know what I see at the bottom of this feather? A heart. Your strong and faithful heart, Amber. So I was inspired to look up "why birds lose their feathers?" And you know what I found? First, birds go several molting periods, and they don't ever lose all their feathers from all spots at once, so they are always protected somewhere even while more vulnerable in others. And this: "Some species of bird become flightless during an annual "wing moult" and must seek a protected habitat with a reliable food supply during that time. While the plumage may appear thin or uneven during the moult, the bird's general shape is maintained despite the loss of apparently many feathers." Sometimes we have to retreat, be flightless, but never lose who we are even when many of our feathers are falling. Love you, friend!

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    1. I LOVE that you looked that up. Reading that about molting added depth for me - and hope. "We never lose who we are even when many of our feathers are falling." You know how to speak to my heart, Beth. So thankful for you, friend. xoxox

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  4. What a precious, powerful post, Amber! Your transparency is so comforting. You write what is real, and that is why we all love you so! Thank you for being exactly who you are and for allowing God to speak through your circumstances. Much love to you, sweet friend.

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    1. Cheryl, your love and kind words today mean a great deal to me. Thank YOU, friend.

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  5. How you write of your pain and your hope, my love...you are speaking what so many cannot, in the midst of the cloudy confusion of unfulfilled dreams and their desperate clinging to something more than what is. I love you and receive this tender offering with such appreciation. As I told you before, your words would have brought me such comfort in the early years of my own marriage. I am grateful you are sharing them. I love you.

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    1. You see it so well, everything that is not spoken here. I thank you, friend, for the offering of your words and your time to craft them. Thank you for encouraging me in this journey of marriage and vulnerability and "desperate clinging to something more than what is." You nailed it.

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  6. I loved this post so much because of the imagery of the feather and the fact that JustBeBeth researched molting.

    Today I wrote a blog post and a rhinoceros came to mind. I decided to do my own research and was shocked at what I found. It's beautiful when God uses simple imagery to give us messages.

    I would love to get your feedback when you have time: http://marriedayouthpastor.com/elasticity/

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    1. I know, I loved that she researched that, too! She's pretty darn fantastic.

      And now you've got my curiosity totally piqued with "rhinoceros." I'm heading over to read... ;-D

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