Saturday, February 18, 2012

Soil: A Medium in Which Something Takes Hold and Develops

“. . .the LORD God formed the man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.” (Genesis 2:7 NIV)

“But for Adam no suitable helper was found. So the LORD God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, he took one of the man's ribs and closed up the place with flesh. Then the LORD God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man.” (Genesis 2:20-22 NIV)

To think of how you embraced the soil of earth, which you spoke into being, cradling an idea in your hands. Did you mix soil with water? As you survey all the materials in your reach, your artist's eye alights  upon dirt—the very medium for growth.

And then you exclaim, “This will do. Yes, indeed. I see it. I will form man out of nothing, yet something.”

In your mercy you choose dust- soil- earth to become the seedbed of humanity. You gather up handfuls mixing it with water—maybe even your own sweat and blood. Wiping sweat from your brow you form the man you imagined. In your work did you pick up a stick to sculpt the features of his face? No, I see you taking this lump of clay into your hands deliberately shaping a body, a forehead, an ear, eyes and a nose.

You are plying your finishing touches, when you take a moment to step back to observe your progress on his face—and a smile breaks across your own. You add a mouth with two lips desiring that he be able to form words just like you. You bend over his form kissing his lips with the breath of life.

Did Adam cough and shudder awake? Did his eyes flutter open, seeing for the first time, the One who sees him—and did he smile back? You reach out your hand lifting him from the ground, the very soil that became his essence—mixed with water and imbued with life giving oxygen. You introduce him to your world.

Later you would see that he needed companionship. You would invite him to recline on that same ground, to take from his form to create a suitable companion—to eat bread with, to amble and admire the garden together and to commune with their Maker.

Did you add the same mixture of soil and water to that rib? Was the rib a structure to build, to sculpt and to shape this next being around—a female image bearer? I imagine your desire to make another human hinges on the joy and satisfaction you experienced in making the first. Similar, but different.

This one would have a womb. Did you knit together her inner person before forming the body around this cradle of civilization? A being that would be able to produce fruit—not like a tree, but in a mysterious, soul-drenched way. In her womb would combine blood, water and soil cells.

Another soul born out of two. A new way of conceiving life. Their bodies designed to become one in the most intimate, delicate and creative act.

An act of love.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

See: To Perceive the Meaning or Importance of

The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes,
but in having new eyes. (Marcel Proust)

There’s always something to look at if you open your eyes! (Dr. Who)

Joy is always a function of gratitude—and gratitude is always a function of perspective. If we are going to change our lives, what we are going to have to change is the way we see. (Ann Voskamp)

Once upon a time a woman bought a backpack. Was she out in Colorado with her family or was it some outdoor store here in St. Louis? Now she can’t remember. But she purchased this backpack, when she decided to go to community college. It carried her books to Intro to Theater one semester and kept her company the semester she gutted it through College Algebra.

It joined her on trips, when she visited her sisters here and there.

It came with her to rehearsals at Center Stage, where she had the chance to work both backstage and onstage. It followed her to UM-St. Louis bearing with her through six semesters to complete her Bachelor’s of Art in English.

And one time it carried a few belongings and snacks, as she hiked by herself along the Fife Coastal path in Scotland for her 45th birthday.

She found the discarded backpack in her garage today. She dropped it there on her last day of finals, as a sort of nod to her accomplishment. Thinking she wouldn’t need it anymore, maybe she would even give it to the Goodwill one day.

But she remembered that she left a journal in it. She was searching for something to guide her into this next season of life.

As she dug out an old newspaper, she began to weep. What a joy it used to be to sit on campus and read the New York Times for free. Crumpled napkins from the coffee shop, where she bought coffee and a bagel to make it through the day. Pens and pencils, a miniature stapler that she stapled her papers together on their due date. Memories tumbled out onto her kitchen floor with tears of grief and gratitude.

She was mourning the loss of such a rich season of life. Not really lost, but no longer experienced in same way as before. So much has filled her mind, changed her life and saturated her soul. Grateful tears. Much needed release and a time to see the importance of that simple backpack.

It carries her memories. And today it takes on new meaning, a satchel to fill with provisions as she ponders the new frontiers awaiting her.