I’m prostrate on the snow, camera to eye.
Snowy hillside is sparkling, and I’m smitten by the God who bejewels flakes. I marvel at a diamond-studded earthen blanket. And I — still in jammies — lay down upon it.
On my way out here, the phone rang. The man on the other end was one of the spiritual directors for the weekend retreat I led. He wanted to reminisce. My heart burned in our retelling and remembering.
I put him on speaker, and lay the phone in flakes beside me as I snap beauty.
“What a weekend!” the voice booms, and then this: “I’m praying for you guys today, you know that? There are many of us praying.”
He and I and 106 others spent last weekend on a spiritual mountaintop.
I’m like Peter. I wanted to build a shelter, so I could stay up there a while. I like the view from the mountain. But life isn’t lived on mountaintops; fruit doesn’t grow there. Real life is lived in the valley.
But there is beauty in the valley.
Cold presses against my cotton pajama pants, and it chills me right through. But I lay here longer, snapping and snapping, as the voice continues: “I just got off the phone with your husband. What time is the surgery again?”
I tell him we’re leaving at 10:30 this morning. Surgery is scheduled for 1 p.m., and yes, we know it’s routine to the doctor. But it’s not routine to us.
The voice in the snow understands: “I have no words.”
And sometimes that’s the very best thing of all to say.
Some say it’s “just” gall bladder surgery. But when it’s your loved one wearing the hospital gown, it’s more than a “just”…
I snap more photos. I’ve come to photograph a quilt, to see beauty out here in the God Gallery.
Azure and silver-threaded sapphire patches for winter.
Violet patches for spring.
Jade for summer.
And earthen hues for fall.
Trish gave me this quilted gift during our weekend retreat. She wrote on the card: “For Jennifer Dukes Lee … In All the Seasons of Her Life.”
I snap one more photo, of a quilt laying upon an earthen quilt, and see how life stitches all together in hands of holy God.
Even the chilly garment of winter holds beauty all its own.
“Life isn’t given to us all of a piece,
It’s more like a patchwork quilt
Each hour and minute a patch to fit in
To the pattern that’s being built.
With some patches light — and some patches dark
And some that seem ever so dull
But if we were given to set some apart,
We’d hardly know which to cull.
For it takes the dark patches to set off the light,
And the dull to show up the gay
And, somehow, the pattern just wouldn’t be right
If we took any part away.
No, life isn’t given us all of a piece,
But in patches of hours to use,
That each can work out his pattern of life
To whatever design he might choose.”
— Helen Lowrie Marshall
We ask for your prayers today — for our “more than just…”