Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Elimination

     There is a heaviness that drags on my heart, like mourning a death, like mourning a thousand invisible deaths. 

     I am being “eliminated”— at least that’s the official process we are beginning in order for me to receive disability and help relieve some of the financial strain that our family has been under since my illness. Although its just a technical term for my employment status, it seems like an appropriate word: eliminated. Like being erased. And that’s what it feels like— as though parts of me were slowly being erased.

     For the last six weeks, my health has been really poor. Most weeks I barely leave the house, and most days are spent laying in bed, trying to save up what little energy I might have for when everyone comes home. I feel small, only existing in the few hours during the day when I help get the kids out the door, welcome them home, or put them to bed; and in the in between times, it can often feel as though I’m not there at all.

     I grieve a thousand deaths— deaths that no one else sees or feels, deaths that happen quietly inside. The death of my identity, my work, my importance and usefulness, being able to contribute to the world around me. I grieve the death of independence and of belonging, of community, of being remembered. I grieve the death of conversation, of collaboration, of thought and creativity. I grieve adventure, exploration, risk, and I grieve both spontaneity and the ability to make plans. I grieve the days and years I have missed with my boys, and I grieve for the vision and energy that has been slowly sapped from my husband. I grieve for the relationships that have slipped away, the lives I am no longer an intimate part of, the beauty of living alongside others.

     On the outside, I look the same. Everything that has been erased has happened on the inside, behind the curtain. The deaths that I grieve have been small, but together they add up, leaving me feel…well, somewhat eliminated. The thought of filling out actual paperwork to officially be “eliminated”— to have my status changed from a local director to “disabled staff”, with a different account number, different rules and rights— it feels both fitting and much too real.

     I know that my identity, my true worth and value do not lie in my job title or status. I know that, although I grieve for the many things I have lost, I still have more to celebrate than I could ever count. I know that I will not be in this season forever, that my symptoms fluctuate, and that there is some hope that one day I will return to health and work and life. I know that there is still much that I can give and do and be, even if it’s not what it was before. 

     And on good days, I believe that death leads to rebirth— that after winter comes spring, that “unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds.” In my better moments, I trust that all of this letting go, all of this death and grieving and all of these thousands of little losses will be made new, will bring new life, will turn into something beautiful. In those moments, I can feel my Creator nearby, and my fear— of uselessness, of not earning my keep, of not being loved— fades. And to be loved when there is nothing I can give or earn or do is an extraordinary thing, the most beautiful thing I have known.

   I try, the best I can, to hold my hands open— to let go of the things that are being taken from me and grieve them honestly, and to receive the gifts that come in packages I never wanted, but are beautiful just the same. I don’t always do it graciously or gracefully, but for now, it’s my job, and I try to do it well.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Reflections

     Color and sound only really exist in relationships. Although light is all around us, we don’t actually see the colors in it until they are reflected off of an object. In a way, light needs to to be in relationship with something, to come together and reflect itself to another in order to be color.  And sound-- the tiny vibrations of energy that we hear-- cannot exist in a vacuum, but only when it is traveling through matter, when it is moving through and bumping up against something other than itself.

     I have been thinking lately about how we are the same. We need others to reflect back to us our light, our color, our voice, our song. Unless we have others to help show us who we are, to reflect back to us what they see and hear and experience, its tough to recognize our own selves, to know who and what we are.

     What is difficult about chronic illness is not so much the physical aspects, but living life in a vacuum. We find our color and our tune as it bounces off of others, as we see it reflected in the world around us-- whether it be through our work or art or conversations or relationships or simply our presence. But when someone is sick, the hours and days and years of isolation seem to leave little to reflect back to them their light and energy. It is easy to forget who we are, to forget our vibrancy and song when we can’t see or hear it in others.

     I have been sick for over two years now. I have energy for a few hours in a day-- sometimes more, sometimes less. I struggle with my memory, with keeping thoughts in my head, keeping up with conversations. Sometimes I can barely walk or hold a pen. It’s tough to get out of the house, and I never know how long I’ll last or if it will be safe to drive home. Almost every ounce of energy is spent trying to be present with my two little guys, and I admit that I don’t always do that well.

     We have this little unwarranted bedroom in our garage, with low ceilings and one window facing our neighbor’s wall, four feet away. I spend most of my time lying in the incredible king-sized, down-comforted bed down there, listening to the sounds of life traveling through the floors and heater vents to where I am.

     Our boys’ new favorite game is called “Blast Off Man” and consists of them wearing their baby blankets around their necks like capes, standing on the couch, counting down from five, screaming “Blast Off!” at the top of their lungs, and jumping as high and far as they can off of the furniture. It’s great.

     I hear their muffled voices and feel the thud of their landing from our little room below and smile. Even though they make it impossible to sleep, their echoes and vibrancy still reach me, and its beautiful. It helps give me light and color and song (and plenty of sound) and I absorb it, but have little opportunity to reflect it.

     So often when I do get out, I hear my own voice muffled, like the conversations I catch through the heater vent from down in my room below. The light I carry inside sometimes seems to have a strange tint, and I hardly recognize myself when I see it reflected around me. I am still there, still me, but the isolation, the vacuum that I so often find myself in has affected my color and my tune. I come home puzzled and often a bit embarrassed, wondering who that was that I saw reflected back to me. I ache to be around people, but when I am, I forget the words to my song.

     I still hear it, though-- that tune that’s only mine-- and do my best to plunk it out on the keys, even when its awkward, even when it’s ugly. It’s better than going silent and forgetting altogether. And I see it, too, reflected back in my husband’s eyes, in the ways that my boys look at me. They can sift through the noise and the fog and can find me, as can my gracious friends and family who are patient enough to sit and listen. And when I am still, I hear a familiar voice: “I see you. I know you. I made you.”

     Color is about absorbing and reflecting light, and sound is about energy (vibrations) on a journey through matter. Absorbing and reflecting; energy on a journey. I get a lot of time to listen, to absorb, to hold on, in the silence and in the dark, what I have seen and heard and felt in other times. And although the journey is slow-- so slow that at times I feel trapped-- when I allow stillness inside, I can feel that there has been forward movement. It doesn’t come easily-- I fight for every inch-- but it does come: the song, the color, the vibrancy, the richness and beauty. I fight, I slip, I struggle, clumsy and awkward, and I do my best to keep moving forward, to reflect the very best of what I am.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Hold on Tight

     I have always wondered what was wrong with those weepy moms dropping off their kids for the first time at Kindergarten. I mean, honestly, this is the goal, right? For them to grow and develop and become their own little person-- not to be a 40yr old man living in mom's basement, playing video games. From the moment Nolan was born, it seemed like I was counting down the days until Kindergarten started and I could become a real human again.

     Well, add this to the list of things I simply didn't understand, because although I didn't actually stand outside his classroom weeping, I felt a noticeable, physical ache in my heart all week as I left my little guy for the day and watched him wander off into his Kindergarten class.

     What I realized, though, is that this is not a new thing-- this ache that feels like a tiny death is not something exclusive to moms (although it seems we get a pretty good dose of it from here on out). It's that familiar feeling of starting something new-- the ache that comes with needing to let go of something old.

     I remember feeling that same feeling coming home from our honeymoon-- all the excitement of a new marriage mixed with the ache of leaving my old home and life and identity. And again with graduating college, and high school, and a million other little deaths that have died as something new is birthed. This one is bigger, though; this is actually a piece of me. Something, someone, who came from within and was a part of me and who is beginning to separate themselves from me. It hurts, as though a piece of me was missing.

     I've spent the week searching and examining this loss, this ache, wondering why something so natural would feel so much like death-- something that was never meant to be. I thought of all of the times I will have to let go from here on out-- not just of these little guys, but really of all my relationships that will change and die. The morbid (but most likely realistic) thought that one day I will give anything just to have these moments back again-- this time with my boys and my hubby-- almost smothered me. It's something that we rarely ever talk about, but the truth is that most of us will (and many already have) experience great loss throughout our lives of the people and times that we love.

     A strong desire to bottle up and save this moment-- this air, this emotion, the feeling of my little boys' skin pressed against my cheek, or their tiny hands reaching for mine-- came over me. If only I could keep this, save it for later, and take it out again when I need it and could appreciate it more.  But then these words came to me, almost like they were rising up from somewhere inside:

“Listen carefully: Unless a grain of wheat is buried in the ground, dead to the world, it is never any more than a grain of wheat. But if it is buried, it sprouts and reproduces itself many times over. In the same way, anyone who holds on to life just as it is destroys that life. But if you let it go, reckless in your love, you’ll have it forever, real and eternal." -John 12:24-25

     These moments aren't meant to be bottled or kept, at least not as they are right now. I have to let them go; that's the deal.  If I hold them too tightly, I crush these perfect gifts.

     The thing is, if I were to boil down these moments or feelings or experiences to their base components, what would they be made of? I think the answer is Life. What I am tasting and feeling and wanting so desperately to hold onto is simply Life, abundant and eternal. And like manna from heaven, it is a gift that is meant to be enjoyed in the moment, but cannot be saved or hoarded. More will come-- not exactly like the one today-- but they will come, as long as I "let it go, reckless in my love." (I love that phrase-- when does God ever invite us to be reckless?)

     Embrace it, recognize it, discover it, soak it in, be grateful for it, and let it go-- let it go, and more will come. But unlike manna, it only gets more real, more full, more beautiful... and one day I believe we will be able to hold it in our hands and say "Here it is-- this is what I've been aching for all along."

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Float

I'm losing my hair.
A big fistful every time I wash it, and a bunch more in between.
It's been happening for a while, but I wasn't ready to admit that it was one of my symptoms... or maybe I just wasn't sure. But I'm sure now-- and at this rate, even though I have (thankfully) a lot to lose, it's not going to take very long before it's gone.

And I am also sure that I will be just fine if I lose my hair-- that I will probably end up a stronger, deeper, more centered person. I'm sure that you, my friends, will still love me, with or without hair. And I'm sure that this mysterious, undiagnosed illness is going to pay severely, because now it's personal.

This is the part of the movie where the character clicks into hero mode. This is the training-for-the-fight-scene climactic montage, with the uplifting soundtrack blaring Eye of the Tiger. Watch out, I'm a lot tougher than I look. Here comes an epic battle.

_______________________________________________________
...At least that's what I tell myself, lying in bed. It's what I tell myself standing on the bath mat, wrapped in a towel, looking down at another clump of my hair in my hands. The truth is that I haven't brushed my hair in days, in the hopes that I can keep it attached to my head as long as possible.

Honestly, I'm scared. Losing my hair doesn't actually make me any more sick or less capable than I already have been for the last eight months-- but it some how makes it all feel so much more real, so much more serious. I've kept this idea in the back of my head that one of these days I will wander into the right doctor's office and I will get a diagnosis and a cure, and bam: within a few weeks, I'll be better. But maybe not.

As much as I would love for there to be a "fight scene" in this story-- a moment where it all gets serious and I buckle down and kick this thing, there is no way to fight when I don't know what I'm fighting. And I don't think I am supposed to be fighting right now, anyway.

Over the summer, Nolan has been taking swim lessons. It always cracks me up when the instructor has him try to float on his back-- his shoulders pinned to this ears, his face all scrunched up in concentration, every muscle in his body tense, trying to float.

But floating doesn't work that way. The funny thing is that as relaxing and peaceful as floating in water sounds, it's actually a lot of work, and it's completely counter-intuitive. If you just go limp, you sink. If you stiffen up too much, you sink. There's kind of an art to it, and it's really hard to explain to someone, but after a while, the instructor starts to let go little by little, and you hold your torso up, relax your limbs, and just... float.

There have been many times lately where I have been laying in bed resting, thinking about what it will be like to lose all my hair, what it would be like to be sick like this for the rest of my life, what it would be like if that was just the beginning, and I continued to get worse... The longer I lay there, the more these thoughts creep into my muscles, into my jaws, into my shoulders, until I start to sink. Every couple of minutes I catch myself, shake it off, release the tension that has gathered in my body and in my mind and try to lift myself up again. "The Lord is my shepherd..." I begin to recite as I take deep breaths and settle in again to the truth that I am not alone.

I don't have a lot of deep, insightful spiritual moments lately. For the most part, when I feel well enough, I am up trying to spend time with my kiddos or catch up on some important thing (like eating) that I have missed; and when I'm not well, my eyes and mind are too foggy to really focus on much. But recently I have had this quiet sense that my Creator is with me, and that He is very good. Simple as that. No promises that it will be alright, no understanding of what to do next-- just the knowledge that He is here.

As simple as it sounds, it takes work. It takes work to let go of the thoughts and fears of what-if, or the worries of all the things that are suspended in mid-air, left undone and neglected.  There is a conscious effort in remembering the moments when God was there throughout the day-- when Jack buried his face in my neck and rested on my shoulder, arms burrowed in, or I caught Chris' eye and saw that he was with me. Releasing the things that cause me to sink, and centering myself on that sense of Presence.

 I confess that I had a good cry this morning after showering and throwing away another frighteningly large handful of hair. And it felt good and honest to cry it out a bit-- to just be scared and to admit it. And there were times today when I was so exhausted and irritable, my legs buckling under me and my mind unable to focus, that I indulged myself in some mopey, martyred thoughts. But then, once I finally stopped and unclenched my jaw and released my shoulders, I found equilibrium again. He was there, and I was alive, full of life, floating.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

The Rest Can Go Undone

Pounds. Gallons. Miles per Gallon. Miles per Hour. Hours...
 We have ways of measuring things as intangible as wind, speed, and time, but how does one go about scientifically measuring love? Until recently I would have told you that there is no accurate measurement, but now I know that there is: Tupperware.

I know this because I have had about 9 billion units of this measurable form of love pass through my kitchen over the last few months.

I've been sick-- on-and-off since the Fall, but really noticeably unable-to-function sick since about February. We don't know why. After countless doctor's offices and blood tests, we still don't really have any leads.

I'm weak:
  • my immune system: I had a cold that landed me in the E.R. and left me in bed for 3wks
  • my muscles, which buckle under me constantly and leave me unable to pick up my baby or sometimes even stand
  • my stamina: I spend about half of the day in bed and can't leave the house for more than an hour or two without really paying for it later
  • my mind: I am often so dizzy I can't drive, and my mind is usually in a fog that makes me frighteningly (often comically!) forgetful
But one thing I have in abundance is love: love in the form of meals delivered by friends (sometimes even strangers!!); love from friends, family and students who care for our kiddos when I cannot; love in the form of prayers, emails, texts, cards, folded laundry, cleaned bathrooms, grocery store runs, mini-van chauffeur services... The list goes on and on.

It has been an interesting season, learning to receive so much from others, learning how to ask for help, learning how to be still and do nothing. I have not been the most graceful learner, but I am learning nonetheless.

What a strange thing it is to feel so loved and so lonely at the same time. Most weeks, the only time I leave the house is to go to the doctor. There are times when friends come by to help or to bring dinner, and I have to stay in bed while Chris graciously receives and thanks them. Other times I push through my symptoms and have the joy (oh the joy!!) of being around friends, around our students, out in nature. I pay for it later-- sometimes for weeks-- but it is so worth it to be with you, to feel like myself.

There has been such a mixture of gratitude and frustration. Stillness, silence and solitude are things I ached for six months ago, but a doer and a planner like myself can go crazy pretty quickly lying in a dark, low-ceilinged in-law bedroom in the garage while listening to life go on upstairs without her. But then the gratitude--
  • for friends who drive all the way across town to bring a meal (whether it's mac and cheese from a box or made-from-scratch ramen)
  • for amazing health care and brilliant doctors
  • for family members who drop everything and drive hundreds of miles (or even fly across the country!) to "sleep" in the same room as my teething baby
  • for a husband who graciously takes on my job, cares for our kids, drives me to doctors appointments, and drops everything when I need him (seriously, I can't say enough about how incredible he has been)
  • for a job that allows me to focus on my health, rather than demands performance
  • for a backyard that allows me to get my vitamin D and play with my kids while I'm still in my PJ's
  • for millions and millions of other little things like strangers who pray for me regularly, or Curious George, who entertains my toddler for hours while I nap, or Amazon that brings shampoo to my doorstep so I don't have to leave the house :)
And I am thankful that this doesn't seem to be anything life-threatening. Every time I get a negative test result back, I am disappointed that we still don't know what's wrong, but so grateful that it isn't all the awful things I have been tested for. My organs seem to be working, my blood work looks pretty good, I am not in any pain, and my hair has never looked better ;) There are people in this world who are truly sick, truly suffering, and I am so, so grateful for all that I have.

So I wait here in the tension-- being so grateful and so very tired of feeling this way; feeling loved and extremely lonely; learning to receive and learning to be without doing; learning that there are a few things in life-- putting my kids to bed, holding them when they cry, lying next to my husband late at night-- that no one else can really do. The rest can go undone. The house can be a mess, the laundry can stay unfolded, dinner can be delivered, makeup can be left undone, even ministry can go on without me. And through it all, I am still loved-- overwhelmingly loved, just as I am. Without any of the performing, earning or striving that feels so necessary.
It's enough to bring tears to my eyes. Maybe it already has...

Thank You, my friends, my family, my loved ones. Thank You...

Thursday, January 16, 2014

An Experiment

Nazis. Spiders. Public speaking. The season finale of Downton Abbey…
The list of things that are universally hated by the general public could go on and on.

But there is one thing that I am discovering is at the top of the list for many women (maybe men too, but never having been a man, I can't say for sure). It's one of those dark, hidden, often subconscious (or at least rarely spoken of) hatreds that seem to span generations, social classes, and ethnicity. It's one of those things that we are expected to think ill of, speak poorly of, be dissatisfied with. In fact, I have never, to my knowledge, met a woman who could honestly say that she loved this enemy of the female sex.

Our bodies.

Having grown up in Orange County, daughter to a woman who actually taught aerobics at Jane Fonda's studio in Hollywood (In the 80's. With leg warmers. Seriously, it didn't get any cooler than that), grand-daughter to Miss Guatemala (no, I'm not kidding), I'd say I'm prone to worrying about my image-- specifically my body. In fact, I would go so far as to say that it plagues me, haunts me. Constantly.

I didn't have a name for it until I watched a video clip on the media's impact on women in our society. It spoke of the shame and guilt that most women feel over their bodies when they compare themselves to the photoshopped, half-starved images in the media. I had never really thought of my dark, often subconscious thoughts and feeling about my body as being shame, but I realized that's exactly it: I feel ashamed of how I look, ashamed my shape, ashamed of my habits, ashamed of the way that my clothes fit… of so many little things throughout the day involving my body.

A few conversations I have had recently showed me that I am not alone. Beautiful, confident, successful women confessing that they too feel hopelessly trapped in the guilt, shame, and the belief that their worth is unwillingly connected to their reflection in the mirror. And those friends of mine that are mothers to beautiful, innocent little girls were terrified that they would pass along their bondage and false beliefs to their daughters.

The more I thought about it, the more I realized that I simply do not have to live this way; that it was time to take action. Although it was a simple realization, I knew that the process of finding freedom from the shame, guilt, and hatred I feel towards my own body would take time, intentionality, and honestly an act of God. I mean, what am I up against here: A lifetime of messages, both internal and external, telling me that my very worth and value come from a number on a scale, a size on a label. A constant barrage of images of what and who I should be, how I should look, eat, exercise.

These are not easy things to erase.

Yet, at the same time, they are all a house of cards-- hollow, empty lies keeping me from deeper life, from real, meaningful love, significance, worth, and freedom.

And so I begin my experiment to see if I can truly love my body-- if I can learn to see it as a beautiful creation from an extravagant, loving Creator. This body of mine is not so one-dimensional that its worth can be found in a dress size-- it is full of intricacies, mysteries & complexities that science still cannot explain. In all sincerity, it is an incredible work, and I have the privilege to live in it, care for it, and call it my own.

So here is a fly-over map of my experiment (details to follow), and I would love, love, love for you to join me in any part of it:

  • A New Mindset: Begin changing the way I think about my body by replacing negative thoughts with truth
    • Wake up at least a few minutes earlier every morning to spend time with my Creator everyday, focusing on Him, and not myself
    • Spend 5 minutes every night reflecting on where I saw my Creator at work, and where I could have responded differently to my circumstances
    • Take a break from Pinterest (where I tend to find images & messages that tell me I am not enough as I am)
  • Focus on Health: This is not a diet, this is not a weight-loss plan… but I have been given a wonderful gift in my body, and I want to care for it well
    • Fast from sugar for 30 days to help break unhealthy habits of eating when I don't need to
    • Exercise 5x's a week-- even if it's just for 10 minutes, even if it's a short walk. Some sort of exercise.
    • Finish all the fruits & veggies in our farm box every week
  • Think Less About My Appearance
    • Put away the scale
    • No clothes shopping, browsing, window shopping, wish-listing, etc.
    • Limit myself for one month to a few staple articles of clothing
  • Find the Real Culprit: While I don't need to feel guilt over my body, there is a real crime in the fact that I worry about my weight, while 20,000 children die of starvation every day
    • Spend one month living on half of our usual food budget, sending the extra money to organizations that feed the hungry
    • Spend that month praying everyday as a family for the hungry, and learning about how we can live more responsibly in light of world hunger
  • Share: There is something so very freeing about bringing things to light, to realizing that we are not alone in our fear, insecurities and shame
    • I am going to do my very, very best to blog about my thoughts, progress and experiments every week
    • Start having conversations with others, learning about their struggles, successes, and root issues
    • Invite others into the process, whether it be participating in the experience or simply praying for me & cheering me on
Some of these steps might seem small to you, and maybe they are. I want to be realistic with what I can do as a working mama of two, and while I want to challenge myself, I don't want to set any goals that will fizzle out and lead to more guilt. These are the areas that seemed to be the roots of many of my issues with my body, but it is different for every person. Also, I am going to be taking on these experiments step-by-step, not all at once in order to focus on them and do them well.

I invite you to join in the conversation, and any part of the experiment...



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Friday, December 6, 2013

discovery

It took twenty two years before anyone discovered the connection between Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon and The Wizard of Oz. For twenty two years, the album stood alone, and even after it became Oz's brilliantly dark alternative soundtrack, the band shrugged their shoulders and said "I'm sure I don't know what you mean." Twenty two years.

A few days ago, I discovered something while piddling online that almost made my head explode, and changed the way I viewed God. It was as though I had unlocked some mysterious secret of the universe-- something as significant as the Grand Canyon or a redwood forest, hidden away & unnoticed for years.

Snowflakes.

No really, snowflakes.

Okay, maybe this was really just something I should have know a long time ago-- like someone running out into the streets and screaming that they had discovered a secret connection to Pink Floyd and The Wizard of Oz. Old news. But just in case you didn't know, let me let you in on a little secret: snowflakes are incredible-- like I said, mind blowing. Look at some of these microscopic photos and tell me it doesn't change your life.

The thing is, when we look at the Grand Canyon, or a redwood forest, it is difficult to be unaffected by the grandeur, the beauty, the magnificence. It is difficult for me to see something like that and doubt that there is a God, and that that God is good (and I often have my doubts). I feel small in comparison, but in a good way-- in a way that reminds me that my worries, my comings-and-goings are not quite as significant as I would like to think, and that there is a creator of beauty that is at work.

But these snowflakes-- these are something different. The Grand Canyon or an ancient giant of a tree is almost like showing off-- even gaudy in comparison to the delicate intricacy of a snowflake under a microscope. Everyday, millions and millions of these awe-inspiring crystals fall to the ground unnoticed, and melt unseen. Somewhere, a creator chisels out each one and lets them drop, undiscovered. We ask "Is there a God, and if so, is He good-- does He care?" and all the while, every day a million silent answers fall from the sky.

Maybe "answer" isn't quite the right word. When we ask God the big questions of Why?, the answer is usually not an explanation, but a statement: "I am." Why, God, is there pain & suffering? Why am I going through this? What is the point of all this? Even when Job asked, after all his suffering, Why? and God actually showed up to answer, his answer was basically "I am"... I am the creator of the heavens, the earth, the oceans, and the snowflakes. Strangely enough, that response satisfied Job's questions. It's not an answer that we need sometimes as much as the reassurance that we have a Creator who is good, who creates beauty-- around us and in ourselves-- who is big enough to keep the world spinning, but notices details and intricacies.

A snowflake doesn't end world hunger or heal my friend with cancer. It is so microscopic and delicate that all but the tiniest fraction go unnoticed. It is silent, beautiful, and undeniably created-- each one-- with care, thought, intentionality. To me, it speaks so clearly of a great joy-- the kind that comes when we make something that is Good, special. Only this creation-joy is spilling over, multiplied exponentially with every snowfall. It has no real purpose or function, was not meant to be seen or admired by anyone else, like humming to yourself when you think no one is listening. That is the image that comes to mind-- a creator humming to himself while doodling-- working, not to meet a deadline, or even to impress, but simply for the joy of creating. A God who was angry, disappointed, frustrated or uptight just wouldn't create a perfect microscopic star out of ice and send it floating down to earth for no particular reason.


It makes me wonder what else I am missing-- what simple everyday elements of life might reveal to
me some brilliant unknown. Oh, that I could approach even one day with that expectation-- even that hope. If there is joy in creating beauty, imagine the joy in discovering it for the first time.