Healing Spaces

Tall grasses lacy with seed tickle my fingers–beautiful if I weren’t a child again, hiding from my mother in fields and swamps. That was a long time ago, I remind myself. Then the field daisies fling me back to our wedding, and the priest who said we hadn’t a chance.

Why tell myself only the bad stories? Is this part of the grief process?

Down at the creek, I search for the water ouzel–God’s little joke–a bird that flies underwater. I often see her hop on stones, study the chattering stream, brave the current. She folds her wings to dive–sleek, black, and small. But the creek is empty today and terribly low.

The world’s splendor whirls and chirps about me but I shut my eyes.

In the house I unload tomato soup, apples, and milk, forgetting to give thanks. I set the last roll of paper towel on the laundry shelf. In that motion God brings a shaft of light into my darkness. But I don’t see it that way at the time.

At the time I see the shelf support break, the board tilt, the contents slide. I see paper towels, bathroom cleaner, and laundry spray bounce on the washer and hit the floor.

I don’t need this, I say, resentfully. Of course, I’m wrong. God knows exactly what I need. None of the bottles have spilled, I think, so I leave the mess for later.

In the laundry room, a slick puddle pools on linoleum. When my Cookie takes off his boots for dinner, he remarks on the stench that crept in so slowly, I hadn’t noticed.

Do not dwell on the past. Behold–I am doing a new thing (Is. 43:18-19).

I discover a leaking bottle of pine cleaner behind the dryer. In a room too small to move the appliance, I wonder how in the world I will clean under it.


I pour glasses of it on the slanted floor. It dilutes the pungent oil streaming down. I pour and sop with the paper towels I just bought. I listen to the soft voice of God Who sent His Son to pay for my mistakes, to sop away the stench when it creeps into my soul.

Water is the universal solvent. Given long enough, it can dissolve stone.

In Me, you are already clean. You need only to wash your feet (John 13:10).

I dip the feet of my heart in God’s today forgiveness through Jesus. I bow in thanks for …whatever is true, whatever is good, whatever is lovely…(Philippians 4:8) to God who redeemed both my relationship with Mom and our marriage–by fire first, then by water.

True, good, lovely…OldCompBackup 3501

My mom walked the long grasses of our sheep pastures with her grandchildren, happy, her hands brushing the lacy tops going to seed for the next generation, for new life. She said she loved me.

True, good, lovely…

My non-farmer husband wrestled sheep, llamas, pigs, along with tons of hay, and fenced the healing spaces of pasture on the farm he bought for me.

True, good, lovely…

He prayed beside me as I slid the loose skin of my dad’s hand back and forth over the too-large knuckles, over the bones of his departing soul. After, on a healing expanse of beach, Tim watched me sieve sand through my fingers again and again, loving me in the wait.April 2015 093

I nod to myself and resolve to walk the field with new eyes and a washed heart, to smile at my husband putting a window in a shed.

I brush the grasses and daisies with my hands and breathe in sunshine. I realize the fields and creeks have always drawn me, not from fear, but because here I see God’s hand and feel His presence. I find hope in the breezes, the quiet, and the splendor of His creation.

He makes healing spaces even in the mess.

Where are your healing spaces? Where do you find hope? Where do you wash your feet?

The living creek rushes over rocks, melting the roughest edges first. Nothing can stand against it. The water ouzel dives deep, seeking caddis fly larvae or minnows. She stays under a long time, rises, and dives anew.

June 2015 007Do you see her? Do you hear God’s quiet voice in your mess?

I fold my wings and wash in the healing spaces of His grace; I dive fearlessly in the wide expanse of His love. Like the water ouzel, I rise full.

Step in with me, dear one. It’s a big creek.

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