Thursday, October 31, 2013

Walk by Faith

As a teenager, I worked summers at Pinebrook, a place of varying degrees of mystery, wonder, pain, excitement, boredom, smiles, and tears. I had been a camper there for years, which accounts for a lot of the mystery and wonder. I'm getting sidetracked. Girls working summers at Pinebrook mostly stayed in Pine Lodge (I stayed in the new incarnation of it, though legend said the old one was awesome.), which was in the campground. Now, there were two main ways to get to Pine Lodge, and a third shortcut up some steep terrain. I liked the shortcut. At night, it was unlit, but I'd climbed it enough times in the light that all I needed was a careful step. I referred to it as 'walking by faith, and not by sight.' I didn't get that knowing the path left out the faith part.

These days, I'm learning better what it means to walk by faith. It means not seeing beyond the next step in life. Trusting that my Father knows the path, despite my blindness. Believing that there is a purpose in my seemingly meaningless task. Taking the next step. It's painful and healing, frightening and reassuring. I feel the coward and look the brave, think of escape while fighting in battle. I prayed 'Lord, save me from my righteous self. Show me my own ugliness.' Boy, I am ugly. I am filthy, craven, hard, bitter, and twisted. But I am redeemed. I am loved, forgiven, protected, guided, and molded. I am on the anvil, going through heat and pain to be forged a tool that is stronger, purer, wiser. Oh, it hurts. But in the times I lie awake, protesting my burden, He reminds me that I am His, that He is good, and that He is on my side, and I drift off, secure in my Father's arms.

We walk by faith, and not by sight.

Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path. Ps. 119:105 (Thanks, Pioneer Girls, circa 1997)

Monday, October 21, 2013

The Big Ones

I saw them. Their faces, familiar, yet strange in changing hairstyles and growing maturity. It had been over 6 months since I'd last seen most of them. Their greetings, still cheerful, their enthusiasm, undimmed. They were my children, for a long, potent year. Their names lingered in the corners of my mind, faded like a near-forgotten tongue, overwritten with new, younger faces. My heart swelled to see them, yearning for more chances to strengthen our rapport. Their ebb and flow as they struggled to remember words they hadn't practiced. My arms opened instinctively for greeting hugs, forgetting that these were not my hugging wee bairns. Their juniors, confused at the now rare sight of a foreign face and the eager cries of their seniors. Oh, how I'd missed them, but now, my love for them burned only as strong as my love for their counterparts, my little ones (Do the mothers who claim multiplied, not divided, love have one thousand claims?). Their backs, fading quickly away, as they ignore the commotion by the door. Was it already nearly a school year since I was theirs? Yet, they are still mine. The others, already at new schools, scattered, nearly beyond reach. The others, preparing for new schools, leaving even fewer behind. Their smiles, grinning at a familiar face, eager at the promise of food. Their focus, as the long-awaited food rewards their patience. Their promises, likely hollow, of more chances to meet.

Oh, my dear, sweet ones. I'll see you again, very soon, but then, what? Will we meet again, as you transition to high school, then college? Will I yet be here, caring for each new year of tiny ones? Will I remember you as I raise my own babes, in foggy future years? Will you remember me? And yet, there is work at hand. There are little huggers with their now-familiar names. There are big little ones, almost off to middle school. This love, slower-growing as it may be, must multiply.