the ponderings of a mother

These are the ponderings of a mother in love with her children, both in my arms and in the grave. Some of these ponderings are quite emotional, some are funny, others contemplative and spiritual. All are sincere. May these writings bless you in many ways and bring you closer to the one, true God and Redeemer of all things.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Big Life

As of late I have been considering why the life and death of our son was a doorway to such things that could seem, at first step, antithetical to such an experience. Healing, joy, gratitude…things like that. Seems like the wrong doorway to those types of things.  I have been asked, at random, why this wasn’t the straw on that overburdened camel that finally broke me after years of difficulty.  Legitimate question. My answer, until now, has been a simple one: God. The presence of whom transforms and fills, tirelessly loving His own.  God is real, He is not my “faith”, as in my “faith” gets me through tough times. My faith is in Him; He is alive. Real.  The Someone who journeys with me, ahead of me, in joy and in devastation. I get to share it all with God, or maybe God shares it all with me.                                                                                                     

But my answer has just been God. God helped me in this time. True. God brought healing to my bleeding soul. True. God gave me peace that Jonan lived the life he was called to live. True. All true.  But me, Kimberly who pondered why God gave us two hands at 4 yrs old, you know, instead of just one hand. (I determined one day after a visit to the bathroom it was so we could wash them, in case you were wondering as well.) That Kimberly wants to know why. Why, 8 months later, is the realness of the healing, the joy still alive and deep? Why? If you have read much of my writings you know that while I love to ponder and understand, I am also at home with mystery. The works of God will always be mysterious on some level, I am certain, so delving deeper this one I will either find more of God, or I remain in just as much wonder.  Well, by all means then, let’s forge ahead!

I am writing in the center of this revelation, not fully formed theology…yet…And these thoughts are of no instigation of my own. I am reading again this morn the book “One Thousand Gifts” and receiving from the author’s sustenance. Her thoughts strike me deep this morning, so I write.

“All wonder and worship can only grow out of smallness”.

Eek. Smallness. Not a culturally-esteemed word. Smallness. Become less, don’t think of yourself more highly than you ought. Humble yourself and the Lord will life you up. Oh, she writes “don’t I often desperately want to wriggle free of the confines of a small life?”  Yes. That’s my answer. I want to be loved and known for great things. Great creativity, great love, great thoughts, great writing (a-hem). Eek. Smallness? Confession: for years I have hated that word, despised the teachers who have taught of Christ becoming small so we could be healed, have salvation, be with Him. I love that Christ did that, for it changes my life constantly, but I don’t know why we have to focus on the smallness of it…is that really essential? Can’t we talk about how powerful He is and how He has defeated death and sin? Yeah, let’s talk about that. Not smallness, that makes me uncomfortable.

About ten years ago I was reading from John 13 of Christ as He kneeled and washed the feet of those who would betray and lie and clamor for position and as I entered into the story of Christ becoming small I had a significant epiphany: smallness does not equal meaningless, purposeless, uselessness. Smallness, akin to humility, is simply true estimate of oneself.

What does smallness offer when I look at the Milky Way smattered across an unending cosmos? What does smallness create within when I feel my daughter’s hiccups in my swell? What of smallness when we are rendered still, hemmed in by feet of white powder on a January day? Awe. Smallness ushers in awe. And “awe ignites joy because it makes us bend the knee”…

“All wonder and worship can only grow out of smallness.”

These moments remind me of my true place, my small place in the cosmos. Not insignificant, not useless, not meaningless, just small. And small ushers in joy. Like children are small, they do seem to ignite joy more than those of us big. We wonder at children’s joy and their love for life, for us. They are small, yet to know big. We know big, and we clamor for bigger. Joy disappeared. We demand, expect, claim our rights, sue, hate, rage, take, despise. I do as if I have a hand-written invitation. But, author writes “is it only when our lives are emptied that we’re surprised by how truly full our lives were?” Is it? When we lose something dear to us, perspective changes.  View of smallness enters, joy ushers forth. Maybe that’s why St. Peter wrote in the 5th chapter of this first book, “Humble yourselves before God.”  Humility, seeing rightly, seeing who we truly are, that opens the doors for God’s gifts.

“And what humbles like and extravagant gift?” my author continues.

What? What can humble like that? For each of us to answer. So back to my original question: why the healing, joy, gratitude from the life and death of our son? Why so many gifts from one small life? …Maybe the increased capacity for smallness it created in us. The smallness that ushers joy. The reality, again, that God is God. Though I would clamor for control and bigness…in all the earth it would offer me the same as it offers our narcissistic world…emaciation of soul.

Accepting that within my rightful place of humility before Him I am offered great gifts directly from the Big Himself. God. And so through Jonan we were yet placed small in our world. Not in control, chosen to be humbled, and choosing humility. Big offered joy and healing to small. God, who loves and offers to all who humble themselves: Big Life.

So as I began at the beginning, the simple answer is God, the rest of the answer is the smallness it created. The short story would go something like this: Big used small life to create Big Life in those who thought too big of their life. Big graced the thought-too-big-of-their-life with small life to show them what Big really is. And they learned they were small, too. Big now brings Joy and Healing as they live their small life within true life. Big Life.

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