i'm bundled in bed with two comfortors, fuzzy red socks, purple fleece pj pants (thanks gramma), and the hood pulled up on my sweatshirt. and as i read i try to figure out a way to have my hands inside the warmth of my blankets while still holding the book in a position that is conducive to...reading.
Scott saw Phoung outside walmart a few weeks ago with one shoe on. i have no deep meaningful thoughts...just worry and heartache for her. i sat in church today doodling a manger scene through a sermon on a topic i've heard discussed over and over and then something came through loud and clear. the world is not the way that it was intended to be. and Jesus' life gave us glimpses of the kingdom that will be restored. Phoung should be sleeping in a warm bed. Anita should be able to eat all the cookies she wants without needing to be fed. Ron was meant to laugh out loud with a full rich voice instead of his silent formation of words. my gramma should be jumping on a couch as she cheers on the sooners. my dad should be able to wrestle on the floor and play catch with his grandkids. i know this leads into a big debate on what heaven is and whether or not the sooners will be there...(my gramma says yes for what it's worth)...imagining all this hurts my heart. i think it's easy for me to take in all the suffering around me and just sit with it...it's sort of like sticky mud. you get stuck and it's miserable and you just want to escape but you can't because it covers you even as you try to walk away into your "normal" life of school and work. But something i was reading the other day painted a beautiful picture of the glimpses that Jesus offers.
Nouwen tells about his friend...
"who is so deeply connected to God that he can see joy where I expect only sadness. He travels much and meets countless people. When he returns home, I always expect him to tell me about the difficult economic situation of the countries he visited, about the great injustices he heard about, and the pain he has seen. but even though he is very aware of the great upheaval of the world, he seldom speaks of it. When he shares his experiences, he tells about he hidden joys he has discovered. He tells about a man, a woman, or a child who brought him hope and peace. He tells about little groups of people who are faithful to each other in the midst of all the turmoil. He tells about hte small wonders of God. At times I realize that I am disappointed because I want to hear "newspaper news," exciting and exhilarating stories that can be talked about among friends. but he never responds to my need for sensationalism, He keeps saying: "I saw something very small and very beatuiful, something that gave me much joy."
a few weeks ago at coa i was helping a woman get some new clothes and on my way back from showing her to the restroom i heard a beautiful stream of music coming down the stairs from an old beat up piano above. it wasn't the best playing i've ever heard...but in the place that it was in -surrounded by pain and weathered people from a weathered piano- it was heavenly. a few days ago at a christmas party anita and jane from hillcrest had some pretty outrageous make up on...lipstick on their teeth and mascara smudged all around their eyes...and they were gorgeous. and the activities were not spectacular and the gifts were humble...and love filled that place. at church today i had a very real moment of remembering my gramma. an older woman came up to a table i was at and straightened the table cloth with her elderly hands and tapped it gently just like my gramma would have done...it seems so silly, but she was there with me for a second as i closed my eyes.
it's these moments that keep me going. which is strange...i used to operate out of a need to see this horrific suffering eradicated. a desperate pain that needed to be removed...and when i realized that there was just more pain to be discovered i eventually burnt out and gave up in my heart and continued the work out of obligation or guilt. But when i accept that this world is broken...i can move on from there and take joy and find hope in those glimpses of the kingdom...not even a kingdom that will come...but moments when a bit of the kingdom is right here among us.
and these are the glimpses that lead me to wait with anticipation for Jesus and the restoration that is to come.