Do you ever think of how small you are? How infinitesimally tiny one human is on this earth, much less on the galaxy and universe and expanse of space, matter thrown and smashed into each other and spinning like plates in the void? In the midst of chaos life is scrambled like eggs and thrown upon the earth. It’s quite possible time might not flow in an even pattern. Dimensions might be fractured or stretched beyond our current comprehension. Dust might not settle.
There is an image of God woven clear through this space, from here to nowhere to everywhere. This God answers prayers for some, perhaps all, maybe just not the way we want to hear or we receive answers we think are stupid. Does he live here? This great unknown? Was there a son of God and son of man? And did he die to be a sacrifice, to be risen from the dry parched earth? How, indeed, can we understand the Almighty? My head hurts and I’m making tacos. I do not know the answers to all these hard questions. Perhaps evidence of my inept servanthood. But who has time for such ethereal nonsense?
But sometimes as I sip my coffee I can’t help but see life as so paper thin. There is a small space between life and death, between pain and contentment, between heaven and hell. A very tiny little space between driving to lunch and being hit by a sixteen-wheeler. That is where we live, in this narrow space. Where we walk our dogs and boil our potatoes and sing nursery rhymes to toddlers.
And in this crack we teeter. The soles of our shoes walk on all the intersections of roads, where weeds pop up and try to choke us. And in the quiet of night we wonder if there is any purpose, if our gifts are fleeting, for two generations ahead we become irrelevant and all our fighting is all one massive battle for our own vanity. In times like this I crave solitude. Sometimes I just want to crumple up my own talents, whatever those even are, and piss all over them.
But far in the distance I see a tiny light, like a star, twinkling. It’s probably an airplane and I need stronger glasses.
It is Christmas again. The season of shiny distractions. And amidst the busy there is a small light that again I see. Even though I look in the mirror and see sags and lines and scars. Despite the feeling of smallness and an abundant crippling fear of not having enough money or time or love. And yet somehow I grow hopeful, like this light is instead a stash of golden ribbons. It makes me smile, and yet I have laundry to do. Tomorrow, I’ll see if it’s faded into the clouds.
One day, I put down my books. I lay down my hairbrush. I simply get up from my chair, the comfortable leather one, and follow this light that still shines for no other reason than sheer curiosity. I wander for months amidst cars crashing into each other and co-workers dying and men who shout Allah and pull strings to blow up their own vests, and I walk over IVs that drip medicine and around boulders that topple upon houses and polluted rivers where dead fish float. And yet there is this star that keeps goading me, leading me, pushing me onward despite my own confusion.
One day I reach it. Despite me walking over all those cracks. Despite the booze and blood and bulging mistakes. Despite the bags under my eyes. Despite being so deeply tired. After a lifetime of walking I stand under this bright burn with my hands to my sides and my hair so light I can’t even feel it. I suppose I might be floating, because all I see is another space, where the heavens have shattered into diamonds and through time and a dozen lifetimes there is only this very small thing, lying in a cave in the sweltering mid-east shadows. My hands reach out, because those eyes are saying I am saved from the wreckage, I am free from slavery, I am fully loved. It’s just a baby. I’m not sure how one life holds so much power.
I lay down flat upon the ground, dust in my face, tears dripping to form mud, because my body just naturally worships that which it is made to worship. How did I live all these lifetimes. How did I not know. How did I doubt God was in the heavens and in this cave, simultaneously.
Come, see what God has done. It’s just me, a shepherd girl. It is me God sees. It is my failures he has come to acknowledge, failures he will very soon die to save. What a gift. What a child, born in the quiet of night.
What a glorious and magnificent noel.