Daily (I)

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Now that I have a home with sunlight and space, my succulent aspirations—and slight gardening aspirations—are emerging. I have a big pot of herbs on my front porch and little succulents are making their way around different spaces in our home. Edith especially enjoyed helping me pick out a few.

Edith continues to grow and change very quickly. She is attempting to say new words every day. Her repertoire includes “kaka” (water), “rafe” (giraffe), “duck,” “kack” (quack), “chee” (cheese), “ba” (ball), “bubba” (bubbles), and “hi!” (said very enthusiastically). She has the sign language for please down and is often seen vigorously rubbing her chest. Many times we don’t know what she’s asking for and if we ask her what she wants she will just do the sign even more intently. She just began nodding her head “yes” and understands when we ask her if she wants to go outside, upstairs, or for a ride. Often she has no idea what she is saying yes or no to, but it is quite cute. She also just started trying to sing along with us, so I have been trying to pull out those rusty children’s songs. Thankfully Jesus Loves Me is still firmly in my mind, but for the life of me I couldn’t remember This Little Light of Mine besides that one line.

We also have a water baby on our hands. She loved a brief stop at the campus beach along one of the lakes. She arrived in her little outfit from the morning (we had plans just to look), but as soon as she saw the “kaka!” her enthusiasm was too much and before long she was crawling and splashing in the water. She left with nothing on.

We are loving the Michigan cherries—there were never cherries in Durham, so it is awfully hard to turn them down whenever I see them. There are daily stained outfits thanks to the juice, but I almost relish the chance to simply run to the basement and pop in a load of wash. The cherries also remind me of home.

The lion’s tears

I felt a strong urge to write when Edith came, but so far I only have words here and there; fragmented parts of things sitting in different documents, none of them actually becoming a cohesive piece of words and thoughts. I have always found letter writing to be an easier way for me to use words, so I took to writing letters to Edith. Here is number two.

“But please, please—won’t you—can’t you give me something that will cure Mother?” Up till then he had been looking at the Lion’s great feet and the huge claws on them; now, in his despair, he looked up at his face. What he saw surprised him as much as anything in his whole life. For the tawny face was bent down near his own and (wonder of wonders) great shining tears stood in the Lion’s eyes. They were such big, bright tears compared with Digory’s own that for a moment he felt as if the Lion must really be sorrier about his Mother than he was himself.
(The Magician’s Nephew, C.S. Lewis)

d55825622573dc21cdfaaca849453ebcDear Edith,

This is probably the seventh or eighth time this year that I have read or heard The Magician’s Nephew. Your dad and I always listen to it on long car rides and my fourth graders and I are reading through it now. Every time I read it, there is something new to discover. Remember that. The best books are the ones that seem new to you every time you read them.

This passage almost made me cry when I read it last week. Aslan has asked Digory to go on an important journey that will preserve the future of Narnia. Digory’s mother is back in our world, near death, and Digory thinks that Aslan is the last chance for help. His despair is growing, and all this time he is looking down at the lion’s paws and the huge claws on them.

Sometimes life’s circumstances feel fierce and sharp and unrelenting. Often these moments can make us feel as if God is a God with claws and sharp teeth and that life hurts; that He hurts. It is true, of course, that the pain will always yield a good outcome for those who believe. It is true, of course, that your suffering is not worth comparing to the glory that will be revealed. But it is one thing to hear and understand those words and another to believe them and find there solace and comfort. It can—and must—be done. But there is something more that He gives you in those painful times.

His face with tears in His eyes.

Digory feels the sting and the pain of the lion’s great claws, but when he looks up, he sees there that Aslan cares deeply. That he feels something for Digory, something for his mother. That he is not just a powerful creature with authority and strength. He sympathizes and he feels and he weeps with his children. Keep your heart soft always so that you can see His tears and believe that He shares in your pain.

The suffering is for your good, yes. It is preparing you for a greater vision of the Lord Himself, and it will be better that you suffer than not. But in the moments when those sound like nice phrases that you know you ought to believe more than you do, look up at his face and allow Him to weep with you.

“My son, my son,” said Aslan. “I know.”

G.K. says it best

_SMO6630 copyThe fascination of children lies in this: that with each of them all things are remade, and the universe is put again upon its trial. As we walk the streets and see below us those delightful bulbous heads, three times too big for the body, which mark these human mushrooms, we ought always primarily to remember that within every one of these heads there is a new universe, as new as it was on the seventh day of creation. In each of these orbs there is a new system of stars, new grass, new cities, a new sea.

(G.K. Chesterton, A Defence of Baby-Worship)