Tuesday, October 28, 2014

The Silver-Underneath

It's a whooshing place of created-glory calling; the rhythms of Creator-love dancing happy in the birch trees and pounding strong white music onto the shore below. 
I came with Abba's unbroken companionship
bringing a salad, coffee, my journal and a favorite sweater just in case. 
Temps were unseasonably warm, the sun bright, but it is a place of strong wind, and I wanted to sit still and long; unhurried and slow in that place. 

The ebbing flow of a season's change has rolled over this spot of creation. 
Everything is louder; clearer in the crisp process of dying toward Winter's approach.
The sumac which blankets the steep space between my sitting bench and the sand below was literally vibrant in it's red death. 

Does dying always bring such beauty?
When a soul dies to the things that would steal, kill, and destroy, does glory flare?
Through the dying to performance's bondage, 

to the torture of expectation (from others and self)
to the crippling illusion of doing enough, 
to the damages of spiritual confusion's denial, 
to the soul-shrinking control of any identity less than "beloved of Abba"....

As tree leaves dry, drop and decay, along with their seeds in sweet journey through death to new life, does one taste of glory bright and freedom clear in the dying fall ?

My soul knows a yes...

...with it's deeper hues, pulsing red in a tenderized heart, the clearer, crisper, louder beats of worship in me have pounded out through this death's morphing into abundance. 

 I look up from scarlet sumac to birch leaves dancing happiness right into the sky. Their silver undersides blink in and out of the sun's light like Christmas lights or glitter.
Sky glitter attached by delicate stems to white tree trunk rising.

Where their top sides had once been dark green, but now brightened with the yellow hues of their dying, the silver underside remains, and with brighter shine, as the green recedes. 

Does grace remain in this fashion, brightened and highlighted by the death of a soul to striving?
His unfailing, under-girding, never-changing, always-reaching, full-approving love remains, 

and is it death which best shows it off? 
Is this the beauty of sanctification's ongoing inducing of my death to all that His death killed; 
that grace may glisten brighter, faster, fuller as The Day approaches? 

My soul knows a yes.

I think of the farmer I passed this morning on a rural county road. He wore a thick flannel shirt and shuffled with some effort up the slight incline of concrete that runs ribbons through the fields. These same fields that men like himself have tilled, and seeded, nurtured and harvested year in and year out; every harvest hiding itself in a dying dormant season before the new birth of Spring.
I imagine how his age-weakened eyesight belies his bright clarity and confidence in the silver-underneath, which only comes from nurturing land toward and through death over and over.

I think of the fatherly man I chatted with moments earlier in the cafe while waiting for my salad; 
the way he spoke with such love and esteem of his mother and her recent 90th birthday. 
The woman who gave him life as number nine of her fifteen children. {no twins. I asked.}
She remains in her home with mind sharp, walking to the grocery weekly and adamantly supporting the President's impeachment. 
He said her greatest passion is planning her funeral. 
She is purposeful, clear, and others-focused about her dying. 
It was starkly real in his talking that her harvest of children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren is full and rich. 
I can only imagine the silver-underneath is very bright for her in these last glistening days. 

One small silky white butterfly has survived the frosts of last week, and flits around my sitting bench. I wonder what sort of sluggish worm creature he was before cocooning up into his skin's death so that this soft beauty of flying white could emerge. 
There are these cocoons we struggle against and fear. 
waiting long and slow in one direction,  
navigating life's surprise hair-pin curves, 
surviving sorrow's deep trenching, 
waking up far from where we imagined we would be, 
standing helpless as loved-ones ache hard...

Could it be that we need most to hunker in, hold fast, and allow Abba to pull the cocoon of dying tight around us {for He is always there with us in the dying}.
Could it be that beauty, white and free, will spring forth and fly gentle across our souls? 

I watch that little butterfly so eager, darting in and out of the bright sumac's dying...

and my soul knows a yes.
There is an unfading silver-underneath.

"The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy.

I came that you may have life and have it abundantly." 

"...you have put off the old self with its practices, and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of it's Creator." 


"Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?

I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the dessert." 

"But the path of the righteous is like the light of dawn, which shines brighter and brighter until full-day." 

"Truly, truly I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit."

John 12:24

"What you sow does not come to life unless it dies...

Death is swallowed up in victory...
Therefore, my beloved, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the LORD, 

knowing that in the LORD our labor (in this dying) is not in vain." 

"To HIM who loved us and freed us from our sins by His blood and made us a kingdom, 

priests to His God and Father, to HIM be glory and dominion forever and ever." 


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