Our family had an opportunity to partake in an event recently that I felt deeply moved by, yet as it moved closer I recognized an old drive within me peaking its head out, one that was afraid of missing out (FOMO); me—on the look-out for the next-great thing. The anticipation that brings joy is not wrong, but sometimes I have let it blind me to the participation in the present offered to me like a feast, ready, in the here and now.
I curled in. I hid in the shelter of Brother Jesus and asked how to be born new, here, in this? He is the first-born so I know He welcomes these questions. My heart was gently turned away from FOMO to love-that-does-not-envy.
At the root I saw myself still dealing with fears of how to garden my family in this new place, this new (to us) side of the continent, how to cultivate their world (as far as it is up to me) enough…Yes, that word again. I know it’s not a bad desire, it is right for me as their mom, but I would have been deceiving myself to not recognize I was looking out at the horizon again all while a deeper truth, low down in the dirt, right where our feet are already planted, was waiting for me to appreciate it.
Then I read it: “I am a companion to all who fear (revere/are in awe of) You, of those who keep Your precepts”, said the Psalmist. “Yes!”, my heart cried, This is at the deepest heart of it. I want my children to know they are not alone, here or anywhere. I want them to know companionship at the most profound level. I want that.
There it was again. First fear, then truth, waiting for me on the other side—and just like that, something new had been born.
The very next line, struck a cord so trustworthy: “The earth, O LORD, is full of Your steadfast love; teach me Your ways!” I could see us in that moment going to or foregoing this new possibility I had been so excited about before, it didn’t really matter one way or the other anymore. I could envision something else too, our children out among nature knowing this companionship, this song, this psalm by heart.
I recalled that it is when we are out on the trails, breathing in the mountain air that I most hear them spontaneously and comfortably worship God. “Look at this design!”, “How amazing!”, “Thank you God for today, for these gifts…” and it was then that I heard a whisper, “If they can see Me and My love here, written into the rocks and trees, they’ll be able to see Me anywhere…everywhere. Do not be afraid.”
The next morning wind was breaking against the pines high up on Beacon Rock, I was like a bird looking out from my perch and there, where this love was like wildfire, we caught and taught the children this song while we hiked higher;
“The earth, O Lord, is full of Your steadfast love. Teach us Your ways!”
And I realized, once again—like I will a thousand times more—I cannot teach them what they cannot already see—because it’s true. So it is my job to climb with them and sing my song, unlearning the old ones and listening for the ones about love-that-is-not-afraid. Beyond that, the rest is not up to me.
“Steadfast love and faithfulness meet;
righteousness and peace kiss each other.”
The way the unbounded, uncompounded, infinite lovingkindness of the Eternal One chooses to enter our world, our days—through our restrictions, our limitations, our heartaches—is this, one perpetual call to our entireties: “Do not be afraid.” I believe, with my whole being and a raptured heart, that this is the place we learn love-that-does-not-envy, always looking for what is not or not yet. It is here that we can begin to explore contentment. Amen.
Next in this series: Love, part 5
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