Children’s children are a crown to the aged.
I remember my grandmother kneading dough, green beans simmering on the stove nearby. I’d stand on the stepstool so I could watch her hands lovingly shape the dough into biscuits. We’d talk about little girl things—butterflies and pigtails and the pony I wanted. Now, standing in my kitchen, my hands move the dough of the bread I’m making, and I’m overcome with wishing I’d known then what a gift it was to watch her hands—what a gift it was to be her granddaughter.
I looked out the window, my head swimming with such poignant memories that it took a moment for me to feel God’s hand on my shoulder.
“I miss her,” I said. “There are so many things I wish I’d asked her. But the time went by so quickly. I was a little girl, then a busy wife and mother, and then she was gone.”
“She loved you,” God said tenderly.
“I loved her, too. Tell her when I see her again that I’ll sit down with her and get to know her better. Will you do that for me, please?” I asked.
“She already knows,” God replied. He hugged me, and I got back to kneading my bread, looking out on another gray morning, this one filled with longing and gratitude.
The seed is the word of God.
All night long the rain tapped at my windows. And I, unable to surrender into sleep’s embrace, tossed and turned to its gentle metronome. A family of skunks foraged for food under the pear trees. I heard them eagerly squealing as they sorted through the grass for seeds the birds had dropped from the feeders. I envied their simple lives. They didn’t stay awake in their dens pondering the problems of the world. A single seed was enough to delight them.
I considered getting out of bed to light the fire which had burned out hours ago. Instead, I pulled the blankets tighter to me. “It’s going to be a long night,” I whispered to God.
“No longer than any others,” God replied gently. “What do you need? How can I help you?”
“I need to know that everything will be alright. That the world isn’t going to hell in a handbasket,” I answered. “I need to know that you really care about us down here.”
“I’m not up above, looking down. I’m there among you,” He said. “I’m in your heart. In your soul. I’m in the eyes of the strangers that you meet. If you knew my river of love that flows, you’d be fast asleep. Trust that I’m moving through all of life. Today, tomorrow, always,” God said with such tenderness that my eyes filled with tears.
I pressed God’s words to my heart. No need for me to worry. He’s here, connecting us with His love. I relaxed and closed my eyes for sleep and promised myself I’d learn to take delight in a single seed.
The Word was made flesh and lived among us.
“How can we make sense of you God, when we can’t fully fathom you?” I asked as I hiked the nature trail in-between the storms that had been battering the area.
“Through my Son, whom I sent to you as one of you. In Him, you find your way to me,” God answered. “Why do you walk this path?” He asked me as I stepped cautiously around a big puddle.
“Because I can follow it without having to figure out where to go,” I answered.
“You don’t have to figure out where to go when you follow Jesus. He walked before you, to show you how to live. Imitate His behavior—how He lived and died as a human being.” God explained. “As the Word made into human flesh, Jesus brings you to a closer relationship with me who is beyond your human experience.”
I glanced up and saw a rainbow breaking through the clouds—God’s promise to us. I smiled, knowing that my human mind may never fully comprehend God, but I could try my best to do as He instructed. As I walked on, I thought of Jesus’ simple way of telling us how to be closer to God. “Follow me,” was all He needed to say.
God is my refuge and fortress.
Branches broke off from the oak tree as another storm blew in from the North. I heard them hitting the roof of the cottage as the windows protested against the force of the wind. I drew my shawl around my shoulders and stood at the window, watching sticks and leaves fly about the yard. I spied the feral cats taking refuge under the hedgerow, their little bodies turned away from the gale. Not a single bird was at the feeders that swung like pendulums from their poles.
“The animals are riding out the storm in protected places,” God said to me. “They know to be patient, trusting that this storm will pass, just as all storms eventually do.” A gust rushed through the old oak in the yard. God pointed to it as its branches moved wildly in the wind. “Its roots grew strong from storms like these,” God said.
I thought of the storms I’d experienced in my life, each one making me stronger by taking me deeper into my only refuge, the Heart of God. A flock of birds braved the wind and fought their way across the sky. I watched them as they struggled forward, determined to get to where they were going.
“With you as our fortress, we will all make our way through the storms,” I replied. I didn’t want to leave the window, but there was work to do, and so I turned away and got on with my day, taking with me God’s promise that storms don’t last forever.
“Goodnight, God,” I said, my eyes heavy with the desire for sleep. “Thank you for another day. It was wonderful.” I put another log on the fire and hoped it would burn well into the night before allowing the cold to enter the room. “I’m really tired, so if you don’t mind, I’m going straight to sleep, without my usual prayers,” I mumbled the words as I started to drift off.
“I know what’s in your heart,” God said and gently pulled the blankets up around me. He turned off the light but left His light burning softly so that if I awoke from a dream, frightened and confused, I could see Him and be comforted.
“Thank you, God, for being there,” I said and fell fast asleep.
When I woke the next morning, He had already pushed the sun above the horizon and woken the songbirds for me. “Thank you, God,” I said, and got out of bed and stepped into another wonderful day of His creating.