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The scars. The dents. The ink scratched unseemingly upon its finished and polished bark. As I wipe it clean afternoon crumbs scatter the floor. My child lies in a sunbeam on the wooden floor and she whispers to the imaginary bees, “It’s all right. It’s going to be all right.” I am living a memory… this moment has already passed even as I wade right into the middle of it. I clutch my wet dishrag, return to the sink. Plunge it in.
We were made to be worn. Scathed. A serving surface with marks to show the miles. Like chairs that creek and wobble from holding so many bodies. There are better tables to be had but this one, it’s the one I sat at as a child with my family before everything fell apart. There’s power in symbols. Redemption to be had. So I rescued it out from under motorcycle parts to serve my husband and daughter at it instead. New life.
I wake that night from a dream where someone died. It’s 2ish in the morning. The house stands quiet and still as it always is when one of its members wakes when they shouldn’t but the mother’s fear lies thick around me. I tossed and turned for the better part of an hour as worst case scenarios paraded through my sleepless mind like a bad picture show. Then the faintest breath of life, the scripture comes.
She is clothed with strength and dignity, and she laughs without fear of the future. – Proverbs 31:25
It is sobering to acknowledge that I don’t know how to do that or how to be that. In a way I’m always waiting for the other shoe to drop. Security and safety wasn’t anything I experienced as a child. We moved often, changed schools even more. My sisters and I made stories in the air, fairy tale homes of sticks and branches in the apartment woods until neighborhood boys gleefully tore them down. Nothing was certain. Nothing.
Even with proof of the past, I fear the future scars, the dents and the scratches that I know in my heart of hearts are really what will make me all the more beautiful. It’s easy to look on a beat up table with fondness but what of our own bodies when they fail? Or the beloved flesh of my flesh when marriage seems more toil than reward?
Are the sweet moments made so much sweeter when you know they could be ripped from you at any moment? Or does the sweetness suffer from the ever expectant dread? Dear God I want to be that: fearless. Open armed. Full of holy courage that comes from knowing even the faintest lines on the palm of the One who has written it all. Knowing and accepting all from those hands, like Job. So I scribble down thankfulness on a simple piece of paper taped to the cabinet door in the kitchen. Gratitude for pain and pleasure alike. And slowly, slowly, the seasons of my heart will turn til I find the pattern of Him in it all.