Everything is going to be okay. I don’t know how, but it is. If you don’t think so, that’s okay. But I need to think so, and in so thinking somehow it is made so. I need to believe it, and in so believing somehow it is made so. It is backward from the cause and effect of fairy tales. No witches, no mythic heroes, no magic shoes, or sleeping spells or sweet enchantments can make this lesson any more strange and unbelievable than real people in real life. True is true and real is real with or without us as this stubborn realist resists the post modern construct. But finding some good in the perspective, as there is much despite its convolution, some things become true, some things become real, at least to an individual, once they are seen, once they are acknowledged, once they are believed in.
One of my favorite characters, from one of my favorite books, The Hiding Place, is a real, not invented, one. A man who really lived and fathered and loved his children well. His abiding love for all people, his determination to see good in all places and in all people, comes close to what I think God’s love is like. It is graceful and ever present, unaffected by the ugly noise and distraction of greed and disdain.
In one passage in this beautiful, real-life story, little Corrie asks her father a tricky question, of which she is not yet able to understand the answer:
He turned to look at me, as he always did when answering a question, but to my surprise he said nothing. At last he stood up, lifted his traveling case from the rack over our heads, and set it on the floor.
“Will you carry it off the train, Corrie?” he said.
I stood up and tugged at it. It was crammed with the watches and spare parts he had purchased that morning.
“It’s too heavy,” I said.
“Yes,” he said. “And it would be a pretty poor father who would ask his little girl to carry such a load. It’s the same way, Corrie, with knowledge. Some knowledge is too heavy for children. When you are older and stronger you can bear it. For now you must trust me to carry it for you.”
And I was satisfied. More than satisfied–wonderfully at peace. There were answers to this and all my hard questions–for now I was content to leave them in my father’s keeping.
This passage, this moment, is precious to me. A father who so delicately, so carefully prepares his children when they ask, enlightens his children when they look. Cares for his children while simultaneously respecting their liberty in doubt, in understanding, in choice. That’s what I think God’s love is like. And no I am not a child. And no I cannot be content too long in not knowing answers. But I can be comforted and feel wonderfully at peace for a moment, knowing that there are answers out there to be discovered. Good things to be had once the murky drains from the saturated ground.
Things have been rough lately. In my life. Things are changing, and it seems like every day I feel different. Every day is up for grabs in the sensing, feeling, doing, seeing, understanding of everything.
Some days I can handle it. Little sparkles of sunlight shine through the blinds in my bedroom. I hear the world awake and moving, car engines outside powering along the streets. I am a part of it. And I wake up strong. There’s momentum in the muscles of my legs, and I stand up and take a big step and smile and mean it. Funny things are funny to me. And difficult things seem possible. And I can make decisions about how to spend my time and rearrange my thoughts and plans so that every possible efficiency accumulated is spilled open. Those are the days where according to the dictates of my culture, I take my gauge of self-worth according to how much work I have done. How many tasks I have completed off my list. The down pressure of my stored up work sprays out of the tap like success. Those are the days when I have remembered people. And how much they matter. And how much I love them.
But there are other days too. When my head is so full of questions that they bank up behind my eyes, an eddy of thoughts swirling and hot. In salty puddles of pressure and sound, my face fills. The tributaries of my skin plump up with the tangible. I hear it. Out loud. And I am putting in contacts, and drawing on eye liner, and putting on mascara while tears are trying to overflow in the opposite direction. A sad kind of beauty. It is not gathered up good water but a muddy flood spilling in all the messiest places.
So those question days are spent in search of signs. The world looks so different. I am floating on dark water, bumping into things. All the old landmarks are covered. And new high places are found and beautiful and new places are home. There are no more footstep sounds to follow. Only sounds of water and echoes from far away.
Am I marooned with my choices? Will I take your hand and look in your eyes and be with you in a moment? Will you smile at me when I see you? And will we be friends there? A little mist falls, and it acts as a seal then. Bonds with all that is applied to the texture and becomes luminous, a metallic light over skin. Each droplet, tiny and perfectly formed for falling, reflects another light. A light and a light and a light. Until all together banded they glaze and glow. All that was perfectly applied is slightly smudged but how it has taken on reality is haunting and tender and vulnerable and lovelier than perfect.
Sometimes I say it to myself. Sometimes I hear it out loud. Sometimes I need someone else to say it to me. Everything is going to be okay. There are answers. To all my hard questions.