Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Stringing beads

photo credit: Matt on Flickr

There is this girl I know who strings words onto worn strings like so many colored glass beads and I walk around for days, fingering the rainbow forms until they are worn smooth and I know them by heart. For this girl, she mines beauty from her days. She sees how glory rains down like manna and, faithfully, she gathers and eats and it is good.

A couple of months ago, I linked arms with her for the first time in Nebraska. That time, we both crossed cornfields and there was a great unknowing that preceded our meeting. Would the person behind the words be real? Would that first embrace reveal the truth of who I was and rather than pixie dust, would I leave ash in my wake?

But her azure eyes found me across a crowded room that day and, in an instant, fear evaporated and remnants of those colored word beads split like prisms and danced between us. And there was only joy.

So when this girl offered to drive across more cornfields and rivers in order to see me, I was humbled and joyful and radiant. And I cleared the calendar.

This time, we would bring more than just ourselves. We packed our families (husbands and children) into cars and vans and food into bags and met at tables under trees, hoping, once again, that who we really were would not disenchant.

I am a silly, silly girl.

For when that long white van pulled up and those eyes found me, once again, and children began to spill out like pearls flung wild, I could only smile.

And know.

For we--she and I--we are among those lovers and dreamers who turn our insides right out and invite the world to wrap themselves in the threads that are undone as a result. There aren't many places left for us to hide.

And as the portrait I had studied for so long was drawn fuller and deeper through the paint splatters of children and spouse, I felt a fullness rising.

There were smiles and hugs and handshakes. There were quiet looks exchanged and boisterous laughs and giggles. There were bare feet and sweaty hands and games of tag and sips of cool water in sought after shade. And there were questions to draw each other out and in and deeper. It's not easy to forge trust in one afternoon.

But you can begin to carve out space.

And then the two of us were given three hours to do just that.

Carve. Whittle. Sculpt. Inscribe.

We found a coffee shop on the corner, where two streets converge, and began our settling in. And that, really, is what we have been doing all along. Taking up residence in each others' hearts, positioning ourselves to look long and hard and with love.

Words are powerful like that.

I believe that is what emerged so clearly that afternoon. The two of us and our written words? They have lit lamps into one another's heart spaces and the long shadows and bright flickers have wrought a path of love unfolding.

So as I drank my cardamon and honey laced coffee and she sipped her iced latte, our spoken words gave birth to harbors.

It's hard to walk away from moments such as these, when you are known and heard and loved anyway. When someone you study and admire speaks life into the deep places and throws a rope to your desperate places...you want to linger in those truth doused sanctuaries and bathe in the glory of how you see yourself in that new light. You want your life to sing like that. Always.

But suns must set on every day and children need cool sheets upon which to lay their sweaty heads and all of us need time to let the dust of our days settle down deep.

So, that girl and I? We hugged long and hard and I fought back tears of joy and surrender. But, despite the parting, there was this:

I will carry her colored glass beads that have been blessed by real live kisses with me always. For that girl?

She mines beauty from her days. She sees how glory rains down like manna and, faithfully, she gathers and eats and it is good.

14 comments:

  1. oh, my Holly.
    every word of this. just every word.


    undone. cannot type any longer...

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  2. This makes me want to cry, for all the best reasons. So lovely Holly. So thankful God allowed your hearts to meet online and now in person. With your families, oh my goodness.

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  3. Ashley Tolins LarkinJuly 9, 2013 at 3:02 PM

    So much here, Holly. This is downright beauty, and I love that I have had the chance to wrap my arms around each of you and see your words full life before me. You are both such treasures.

    This is an amazing piece, so reflective of you, and this:
    "I believe that is what emerged so clearly that afternoon. The two of us and our written words? They have lit lamps into one another's heart spaces and the long shadows and bright flickers have wrought a path of love unfolding."

    Praise God for this glorious gift...this manna, and for words that bring life and for the lives that reflect those words.

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  4. Sigh. So very lovely. I did not know your families had been a part of this. What a beautiful picture I've got in my head, all of you making space for one another. This just sounds like a foretaste of heaven.

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  5. it is such a gift - to have relationship like that - to risk and find trust - and you paint it so beautifully - I especially love this: (well, I love every. single.word.) "have lit lamps into one another's heart spaces and the long shadows and bright flickers have wrought a path of love unfolding" - you have captured the blessing - what God has enabled us to do here:)

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  6. Glorious, even sensual in its detail, Holly - this is just lovely and what we all hope and pray for in this life. A kindred spirit. Breathe deep, friend. BOTH of you.

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  7. Oh Shelly, it was so wonderful. I so hope to be able to meet up with you again, in the flesh, hands clasped, hearts dancing. Thank you for your joy. It makes it all the sweeter of an experience.

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  8. Like I said before,
    I speak truth.
    Love.

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  9. Yes, Diana, it was cloaked in loveliness and joy. Thank you for seeing that and understanding.

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  10. God is so good to grant us friendships such as these, you are so very right.

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  11. Nancy, it just filled out the picture so wonderfully to see extensions of someone I love so dearly...and they are all so beautiful.
    Truly a foretaste, yes!

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  12. It's amazing, isn't it Ashley, when we can touch and see and feel that those whom we have come to know through their words walk right out of their mystery and glory and are all that and more?
    Truly, it is a gift to know folks like you and Kelli.

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  13. Amanda Johnston HillJuly 21, 2013 at 10:36 AM

    Yay! Two wonderful women and friends!! I loved this so much. Warmed my heart.

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  14. Thank you, Amanda. I would be lying if I didn't say I was uber jealous of the time you'll get with Kelli at The High Calling writing retreat in the fall but I will choose, instead, to wish you wonderful conversations like I was blessed to have.

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