Finishing the book feels rewarding, but genuinely different from times in the past. Reading the Bible to be with God is mysterious, thrilling, comforting, and much more worth it. I've never felt so connected to the act of page turning, knowing that I am not alone—that I am in the presence of something much bigger and brighter than anything I've ever imagined, and knowing that I am being invited to come closer. I'll set Genesis aside, now, like a book with notes bursting out of its sides. Something to return to. A place where I can continue to seek answers, and a place for recalling memories, too.
Rewarding, yes. But these 20 days have also been difficult.
And, I just can't bring myself to say much about that, but I'll say this: it feels as if there is a tiny rock wedged in there somewhere. Somewhere in a hidden cavity in my chest, where my heart finds its strength and my breath is made full. That's where the rock is. Undermining the natural order of things. Stealing away my words.
In worship yesterday, I saw Jesus as a teacher, again. I was sitting at a small desk in a one-room school house, and He was moving from the front of the room through the spaces in between us. He was smiling as He looked down at our work, pointing things out, one child at a time. His feedback was gentle, and sweet, and we were eager for His attention. When He made it over to me, I looked down with Him, at the paper in front of me—delicate lines and dark gray sweeps, converging to form each cavity, wall, and valve of a human heart. Of my heart. He moved the pencil over the sketch and said, This is how you love. And we shaped and shaded until the heart seemed so real. This is how you love, He said. Because Jesus teaches me things like that.
He also taught me, as I read Genesis, that He is the mediator. He is the Spirit that moves beyond the boundaries of our bodies, that binds us together. He is the peace between Jacob and Esau; He is the favor between Egypt and Joseph; He is the forgiveness between Joseph and his brothers. And since most of what hurts in my world, and most of what I fear, is the pain that exists between the boundaries of our bodies—the harm that can be done between people—I am freed to know that when I found myself on my knees yesterday, asking Him to mediate, He is able. He is willing.
Remember grace, I keep telling myself.
Eyes on me, He keeps saying.
This is how you love.
I wondered later what exactly it was that we had added to my heart. I zoomed in and out of the dream and I realized that the "this" He was referring to was not a part of the drawing itself. It was His attention, His hand, His time, His care. All month long, this word has been on my mind: Proximity—"nearness in space, time, or relationship." And now, Emmanuel—"God with us." This is how You love.
Thank you, God, for Eric. Whose love always makes me think of You.