October 1, 2010
I love words. I really do. I am a Romantic through and through. To me, life is art; everything is a poem, a song waiting to be written. Each day brings some new adventure, some new lesson, some new discovery. Nothing is as it seems. There is always something deeper hidden below the surface, like precious gems waiting to be uncovered. And my Beloved... Oh, my Beloved is always there, reflected in every good and beautiful - and even dark and awful - thing around me. Yet, there are some experiences where it all falls short. The words, the songs, the poetry, the art... They cannot begin to capture it. Truth and beauty beyond words. A touch so profoundly impactful that it stills my pen - and my anxious heart. And words are replaced by smiles and laughter and gasps of delight and wonder. And then just stillness and the quiet joy (quiet, yet overwhelming) of simply being in the presence of my Beloved, sensing His smile, resting in His arms. That's the place where words fail, the place where simplicity overwhelms profundity.
I decided randomly to drive out to the lake today. I felt like I needed to get away and just sit and write and read and enjoy God. Never mind that I've never been out to the lake before and had no clue where I was going. My friend, Tonye, and I are always up for an adventure. After an hour and about seven wrong turns down dirt roads, we found ourselves on a narrow road lined with overgrown trees. As tempting as it was to turn around, in the spirit of adventure I kept going (after seven wrong turns I knew there'd always be a place to turn around). No one could have prepared me for what I saw. First one butterfly, with wings like the sunset, few passed my windshield, then a couple. Suddenly, there were hundreds! Covering the branches around me like orange blossoms, flying circles around my car. So I parked. Right there on a dirt road in the middle of nowhere (just south of Wits End... really, there was a sign). And I marveled. And I laughed and smiled and sat stunned as those beautiful creatures flew around. Then I glanced to my right and saw the sun setting, painting the sky some indescribable shade of orange and transforming the lake into a giant butterfly wing with its orange and black designs.
And I could say so many things. I could talk about how only when the lake is still can it truly reflect the light and become a work of art. Or how the butterflies simply fluttered about, never questioning their stunning beauty. Or about how butterflies fly in a way I can relate to: less than graceful, far from effortless, yet beautiful and completely content to the glory of their Creator. Or about how, often, it is when we have no idea where we're going or how we'll get there that we find the greatest gifts.
I could say any of those things, but great and true as they might be, those words are empty compared to the ones God whispered softly, tenderly, and directly to my heart. "This is for you, my darling. And it needn't teach you anything more than that I love you. As your physical senses savor this experience of beauty, may your heart savor this experience of my deep affection and fondness for you. As you smile at the sight of butterflies and sunsets, so I smile as I look at you, my beloved, my precious love." And once again, my soul finds true rest.
I will say one interesting thing I learned... butterflies are hard sleepers (who knew that butterflies sleep?!). Once they are at rest nothing can stir them. I'll confess... I tried. And so I find myself singing the words of that old hymn:
Perfect submission, all is at rest
I in my Savior am happy and blessed
Angels descending bring from above
Echoes of mercy and whispers of love
Who is this God I have fallen so head over heels in love with? Can we really go any deeper? Oh, yes! Lord, lead the way!