this evening tim and i had our supper on the front porch, in that funny little fold-up love seat we have there. we had a favorite stew. hazel sat across us in her little chair, smiling at us like a fool. and then, next thing i knew, this scene had unfolded in our front yard: four boys of three colors, having dropped their bicycles on the sidewalk, were wielding light sabers, laughing with abandon as they rough-housed together. and then, tim joining them, playing in a way i haven’t seen him play before, while i held hazel in my lap (she is just the right size for cuddling these days), watching with a smile in my heart. lots of days i resent these boys who come knocking on our door more times in a day than seems proper, always wanting something or another, and always just at the moment when we are sitting down to eat or trying to put the baby down for her nap. but tonight i had affection for them, seeing them behave at last like the children that they are, rather than the bad asses they so often feel compelled to play.
we begin again with the boiler room rhythms. once again we’ve sat down around a table, dreams held in open hands, quieting our voices to hear His guidance. our job is always to discern what He’s asking us to do in each season; to be more committed to coursing like a river through the bends of His winding ways than to be a rod, straight, stiff and unmoved by changing seasons. so we let go of some things that seemed so central, so essential, in the past… and we pick up other things that we wouldn’t have seen coming before. over three years now, my life has been connected with this family and the corresponding work of God here. three years of revisions and surrenders and surprises. it may seem hard to put labels on, difficult to pin down, but then so is the Holy Spirit.
three weddings down and one left to go this season. and that’s enough. as for next year, i’ve got one on the calendar already, but i’m not at all sure that i will intentionally pursue booking more weddings. i sense it’s time to release those intentions. if folks come knocking, wanting me to be the one to capture their wedding through my lens, i will most likely agree to it; but i won’t go looking for it like i once would have. because these days i see the world as babies and families more than as young people in love. having a baby changes everything, including, apparently, the eye of an artist. so i’m looking forward to doing some family sessions this fall, and senior portraits, and i’ll likely just about beg my friends with new babies to let me spend some time photographing them, too.
many days my eyes brim over with tears of affection and deep love. this love for my daughter is qualitatively other than all the other deep loves of my life. loving her opens me up. she sleeps horribly and eats like a greedy little horse. lately – after three nights of waking every two hours to feed and to comfort her – i am an empty well with mush for a brain. but then she looks at me with recognition and joy, and i can forgive her anything that she’s ever cost me.
i think that one thing we are learning these days is that dreams are far less lovely in their actuality than in the imagination. like this thing with the neighborhood boys and bikes (“this is what i dreamed of,” tim said one day after answering the millionth request for help, “so i guess i can’t scorn it.”) being a parent is another example, of course. and so is missional living in a neighborhood with not much going for it. and now there’s this other dream… a Big One; the one that drew tim and i together with a sense of shared purpose foundational to our marriage… and it, too, is inching into actuality… so it, too, is starting to feel a little less romantic. we dream without even knowing the cost. i wonder if the dreams of God planted in our hearts are the only ones that can survive the onslaught of Coming True. and i wonder what will happen to this one. all i know is that i stand at the threshold with more ambivalence than i would have predicted.
(being vague for now intentionally).
remember: to stand behind a good man with all your strength and conviction, and to raise a child with all your wisdom and endurance are large enough contributions to humanity and the Kingdom.