Complexity is temporary for the truthful.
A web weaved by one who intends to deceive stays intricate, tangled, confounding. It’s meant to lose people along its way. But the person of truth breaks down the steps, untwists the turns, and unfolds the bending to free the one strand used to form it all.
What a delight it was the day I learned the secret to untangling the lumped ball of necklace chains, twisted and looped on each other in a hopeless mess. I set it down on a firm surface and each loop landed next to the other. Teasing it apart with a small sharp point, perhaps a paper clip unbent for my purpose, the complexity pulled away. Each strand became its own again.
Life is complicated, we like to say, but anywhere within it, we can set it down on a firm surface and use our vantage point to glimpse a bit of straight in the mess of tangled. We can loosen loop after loop, lifting and tugging, over and under, gently freeing.
Lord, let the twisting fall away in my small space. Settle it where I may tease it apart to admire its beauty as One fine strand. Hiding its origin and identity was never your idea.
The Lake and I played today.
We played peek-a-boo.
We played hide and seek.
We played with crayons, mostly orange.
We played red light, green light.
We played follow the leader.
Which started me singing. Step by step, you lead me. I will follow you all of my days. So touched, was I by this Mom who peeked out from the bushes and, seeing only me, thought it safe to cross. She shuttled the brood – mostly grown – out ahead of her, and then sidled past to lead them down the grassy hill to the stream below.
I am that mother.
Across the planks of that wooden walkway I jogged and sang in her honor until entering the path through the wrought-iron gate marked, “Asbury Trail.” I slowed, and stepped, and looked to the Lake.
There it was, playing. Reflecting the arch of a blackened branch. How lovely, but really not remarkable, but for its moment. It became the still waters of psalmists, long gone and modern day. This moment.
A graying man walking toward me, his little furry friend on a leash, smiled in my direction. I, feeling sheepish because he had first looked to where I was aimed and snapping a photo. Nothing remarkable about that spot or that shot his eyes said. I know, I wanted to say. Just illustrating a psalm here. Having a private conversation in this amphitheater filled with years and tears spent in weathered times, hope and peace, gathered in all times.
I’ve written a book, can you illustrate it for me? the Lake had begged. I obliged. But it was not the Lake who asked. It was the lake’s Keeper.
I’ve written a book, can you illustrate it for me? whispered the Keeper. Not with camera or crayons, simpler still. I want you to illustrate my book. You be the artist for my clay.
I rounded the bend and traversed the goose-poop-laden asphalt of the parking lot. I hurdled and jumped, hopped and cut right and left, till I stood face to face with the Lake. That psalm still churning.
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies, You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.
Cup overflows…cup overflows… I’m stuck on cup overflows.
The Lake and I played today.
This flower made me laugh out loud.
Its tall, proud lavender bloom bending way over the edge of the stone wall that contained it. I could just hear its surprise at seeing its own reflection in the stone sidewalk.
But what a meager image that shadow shows. Not nearly the beauty of the lovely lavender petals. Dim and brown, it is only a 2-D, black and white version of the full color original.
“I can see myself!” but the me I see is not who I am.
The words of 1 Corinthians 13:12 leapt to mind: For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then we will see face to face. Now I know only in part; then I will know fully, even as I have been fully known.
What a day that will be! When it is no longer just the reflection I am looking at but the real thing. Just imagine the beauty that God sees. In me. In us all.