Wednesday, November 9, 2011

A Girl Named Fragile, A Parable

this is my first bit of fiction. i'm afraid to share it, yet knowing it is imperfect, i feel emily's is where it belongs for a spell.

once there was a girl who lived in a Dark Wood, only she didn't know it was dark because she'd never seen the light. She came of age and chose to travel--she wanted to know what went beyond the trees. she came upon a forked path, and having never left her little yard, was forced to choose one way. she chose blindly, as one must always do in the Dark. little did she know that one path led further into the wood and the deep dark, and the one she chose led towards Beyond. as she walked and walked, little golden beams sometimes showed through the canopy of branches, and she felt a prickling sensation when she stepped into the little puddles of brightness. she was being introduced to Light, and she felt she loved him. by the time the last tree was behind her, and she walked openly in the well-lit Beyond, Fragile felt she'd known Light all along. in fact, she thought she'd seen glimpses of him even in her Dark Wood; had he not been in the fire where she cooked her meal and warmed herself? had he not been in the stars where she imagined her friends? yes, he'd been quiet and unnamed, but he'd been there. yes, she loved this golden Sun.
But one day, it felt too immense, too surreal--perhaps she was dreaming and it was still Dark. thus, she was introduced to Fear, and he wooed her for some time. Fear introduced her to his friend Anger, and he was so seductive, so beguiling. he made her feel safe and made her forget Fear's cold hands. she also forgot the warmth of the Light she'd loved once. Fragile and Anger journeyed for years together. he taught her the meaning of her name and how to abuse it. little by little, cracks were appearing all over, though Fragile wasn't aware of her changed appearance. what she did know was that she was getting weary, often having no strength for more than a day or two at a time on her journey. Anger became impatient with her, and so she became impatient with herself. the fissures were getting bigger, and now that Fragile saw them, she wondered what was wrong with her-why was she breaking? Anger didn't notice the cracks; in fact, he didn't notice Fragile at all anymore. Depression met them then, and she took Fragile's hands in hers, hugged her tight and whispered lies. "you were happier in the Dark, weren't you? the Light is making you ugly because if you were in the Dark you wouldn't even be able to see them. you deserve the pain you feel and inflict on others-wasn't it you who kept Anger all these years?" Depression's sister Loneliness visited often, and Anger kept his distance but followed still.
Fragile was more tired than ever, and the cracks began to hurt. she wished for Peace. she didn't know who he was, only that she'd dreamt of him long ago when dancing in the sunbeams in the forest. she wondered if Peace could ever find her. she went to sleep that night flanked by Anger, Depression, and Loneliness. She wished she'd never wake up; maybe that way she'd find Peace. In her sleep she dreamed a child named Hope cried. When Fragile asked why she was crying, she merely cried some more. waking up and confused by the dream, it took a moment for Fragile to realize someone was watching her. it was the child Hope. "you! i dreamed you were crying! why would such a beautiful child cry?" the child answered quietly, "i was waiting for you." Hope then introduced Fragile to her companion who came forward, Peace. Fragile looked around for Anger, Depression, and Loneliness, but to her surprise they were gone.
Fragile walked with Hope and Peace and asked what more they could possibly see in the Beyond. they arrived then at a castle ruins, and she was told it was the most precious thing in all the land. "but it's just an old broken castle," Fragile muttered, disappointed. "not, 'just.' it is also the house of the sun, and you are welcome." indeed, the castle was aglow, and from it shined the Light she'd once known so intimately. a tear trickled down her cheek as she whispered, "im sorry i forgot you on the way." upon entering the hall, the castle righted itself and transformed into its glory, and she was asked to bathe in the fountain of life. she did so, half-thinking her cracks would disappear, but when she emerged she was no different. Light took her hand and led her to his great mirror. "what do you see?" he asked. in it, she saw her travels with Fear, Anger, Depression, and Loneliness, and her short time with Peace and Hope, and she said, "i see Fragile." "no, my child, that is not who i see. look again. i see Treasure." she asked Light "why did i have to break, then?" "look again." this time when Fragile looked in the mirror she saw what Peace had seen and called Beauty and what Hope saw and called Worth waiting for. looking into the Sun's mirror, all she could see was the Light shining. she realized if she'd never been broken, she'd never have seen the Light inside her.

Monday, November 7, 2011

On limping and rubies

a date, of sorts. a cafe where we learned of food proclivities and evolving tastes. a car with no carseats and for a limited time, time to do anything. so, the mall for people-viewing and window-shopping. the irony? we both limped. her, because of surgery and a too-long year of not healing properly, and me because of my fall last week. yet the limping seemed physical only: we've limped long and hard on a road to recovery, but a banal trip to the mall was the most normal we've felt in a long time--truly a mother and a daughter grown and time just to enjoy each other's company.
as we meandered haphazardly (i inherited her aptitude for getting lost!), at some point, she lost her necklace. a faux ruby denoting not her birth month but rather an anniversary gift, its importance not in dollar worth but in sentimental value. we retraced some steps, but it was gone. i felt crushed for her, and yet she glanced upwards and said "thank you" in prayer, and shared. we could spend all our time retracing and bemoaning, or we could enjoy our present time and anticipation of tomorrows. she chose joy in losing a prized possession, able to see part of the bigger story.

joining in witness to the Good Father and giver of Good gifts

326. my torta de pollo and
327. authenticity not just in mexican food but in conversation and relationship
328. for the long journey, to treasure the stops along the way, the growth
329. for a saturday afternoon spent with my mom
330. for getting to be a daughter
331. for her losing her necklace, a teaching opportunity
332. and for the enjoying the gift of the present

and unrelated to this weekend, i also want to share an amazing working of the father in my family:
333. choosing to see, like she did, the opportunity to see with eternal eyes: our car got repossessed
334. but just a few days later, a friend of ours GAVE us her suburban.
335. we went from a car that didn't fit our whole family to a car without a car note that has a seat to spare
336. for my beautiful husband, and the chances to pray for him, and the heart i see in him and Him
337. did i mention we can now go to corporate church together again? :)
338. for a visit from a friend a few weeks ago. she was such an encouragement
339. and always, the GRACE that blows me away, that has brought me thus far

Friday, November 4, 2011

An ode to five months

when i want to write and feel wordless, i should remember to always fall back on what i love and know best: those little boys of mine. bear with my mama-heart? :)

my baby is five months, and i think i literally ache at each day older, just wanting him to stay for a while. with all those previous, i was ready to stop bed-sharing, ready for a little "independence," some space, if you will.
(there is no real indictment from me; i know who i used to be. i shiver in remembering. how can there be grace? i shiver in the undoing)

i am not ready for intro-to-solids.
not ready for him to be in his own room, far away in our tiny house.
not ready for him to crawl and get bigger.
i wasn't ready for him to be out-of-womb because of how special that sense of all mine was. i still feel he's just mine in a way, and i could breathe in his soft plumpness for always. he has found his feet (truly, no thing in the world is as cute as a fat baby holding his feet to his own delight, i say!) and found his voice (pterodactyl? squeaky-toy?), and i can already see him running away and telling me no, and i pray he stays little a little longer.
each of my sons has a treasure i love, and i chuckle to think of what i love most about baby owen: he is small and young for a fleeting season. already it is cold when i was fatly pregnant in spring. so as he rolls over onto belly and gets stuck in the bumbo and drinks deeply from mama's breasts, i choose to honor this time with gratitude that he mine to borrow at all.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

How roses encore

i don't know if it's because of the breed (is that the right word?)or because of zone 7/8, but my long-neglected rosebush is blooming again, the brilliant fuchsia oxymoron to the first of november. i'm sure the last petals will fall with the first frost, yet i, too, thought august had drained the final blossoms of my tired bush.
i guess it still burns.


when we met, he told me he'd been wandering the desert for a while, doing anything to shake the lushness of the gospel, choosing to sunburn under atheism, agnosticism, pragmatism, humanism, and logic's prickly harshness. but even then, when vultures watched with hawking cries, he couldn't run away from the Whisperer, the gospel written deeply in his heart even as he ran from familiar doorposts.
i guess it still burned.


do you know how mysteries unravel and solve themselves about 20 pages til the end and you finally see the pattern, begin to know whodunnit? this, an analogy that breaks down in the face of true mystery, the One with mysterious ways, whose thoughts are not our thoughts. Shea's memory verse (chosen oh-so-"randomly" for him; i thought it would be a good lesson for him when really it was a lesson for us): and we know he has worked all things for the good of those who love him and are called according to his purpose (romans 8:28).

i watched his faith unravel for a season. held my fear so closely i couldn't even share it here. i was too afraid that giving voice would give fervent reality (as if i could create with my voice!!!). then, a warming, a spark, and i was afraid to breathe, afraid to blow it out (as if i could puff out the breath that breathed us out!!!). and then life shattered a bit, and all those worries seemed realized: the bitterness, the fist clenched towards God, the too-easy fall into frustration and despair. i was blessed with eyes to see, but no way to help his vision.

today his knuckles are loosened. his eyes have adjusted (from the mirror, darkly), and he senses the Bigger-than-he-is quotient. i breathe out murmured praise and choose to believe out loud this time, and hold fast. my lover has been woo'd again to the Beloved, and while there will certainly be ravines in the mud, i'm so happy to pray with my husband again, to hear his heart.


it doesn't seem so odd anymore, the blazing pink in the chilly air.
He burns.