Beauty for Today, Too

I could not stop crying yesterday even as my kids hung around me and looked stressed, even after I stared into my HappyLight until it felt like I’d journeyed to the heart of the sun. Today my face is an old water balloon, like I knew it would be.

When I slammed my alarm off and opened my Bible this morning, this is what greeted me:

“All flesh is like the grass

And all its glory like the flower of grass.

The grass withers,

and the flower falls,

but the word of the Lord remains forever.”

And this word is the good news that was preached to you.*

And, friends, that’s truly where my hope lies–and my grandmother’s. It’s not in tightening or whitening creams, not in regimens or good lighting or even temporary good health. Our hope lies in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, by which he purchased forgiveness of our sins, and it lies in the promise of eternal life with him. The promise of himself as the ultimate gift. It really is more than enough for today, tomorrow, and forever.

*1st Peter 1:24-25 (ESV)

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On the Sagging of Time

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Nobody cares to listen to someone gripe about her age.  I find it as boring and depressing as the next person and yet I’m about to do it.  Well, kind of.

My 38th birthday is in a handful of days and, while I’ve always loved birthdays as a category, I’m not ready for this one.

Thirty-eight is no man’s land.  To wit:  I’m not old, but I’ve kissed youth goodbye if my eye bags are an indication of anything (and I suspect they are as I’ve been sleeping through the night for years, thanks).

I believe in Heaven as an actual place.  I believe in the doctrine of future new bodies for those who are reconciled to God.  These are truths I’ve embraced for more than two decades now.  So I shouldn’t fret at the blotchiness of my skin, at the tired expression I habitually wear even when I’m feeling kind-of awesome.  These things are not my forever.

But I do fret.  Not always, but often enough.

I’m stuck in the middle of things–longing for the eternal and, sometimes, for flashes of the vigorous past.  After all, I can still jump on a trampoline with my kids without peeing on myself, but I can’t finish a movie if I start it too late.

This is the way it is for everyone fortunate enough to have her health and a modicum of stability in the in-between years.  I suppose it’s a kind of luxury to feel safe enough that one can afford to fuss about crow’s feet.

In the end, I won’t offer pith or wisdom.  I’ll leave these words suspended, like I am

Another Home

We lived in a dingy, Indian apartment for three years. We shared square footage with mountain monkeys, mice, and mongooses (mongeese?). The pipes leaked but only when we weren’t experiencing water shortages.

We ended up kind-of loving that place.

A dear family member visited us once and delicately called it a shit hole. After taking a deep breath, I looked around and tried to see it through his eyes in order to cut him some slack. I couldn’t. After all, the neighbors were living in tin shacks. Our concrete floors and lumpy walls had begun to look decent to me. My bedroom with the little porch felt familiar the way pajama pants do, the ones you wore after having your third baby.

Now we’re two years back in the US and we’re house hunting. I find that I’m at odds with myself and Husband about everything pertaining to domiciles. I mean everything. I look at ramshackle houses and love them (memory-soaked walls)/find them repulsive (why must the ceilings be so low and the walls so wood-paneled?) I visit new construction and salivate over stainless steel appliances and shiny wood floors while judging these Americans with their monstrous master bedrooms and cocktail party baths.

I decide that I want to stay in the cottage we’ve been in for two years, the one my parents own.  The one in which I crashed and burned upon our reentry into This American Life. But it feels itchy, like arrested development. I’ve got rocks in my nest, as good as it’s been.

I am propelled forward.

Husband will board a plane to Africa today. The kids and I will wave goodbye and then set the GPS to look at another house. I will imagine myself in it.  I’ll come away hopeful, then worried about money, then worried The One will slip through my fingers. Or I’ll come away muttering.

I will face the fact that I am uncomfortable searching for a home and that this is OK. I will remind myself of what Scripture says. Also C.S. Lewis.

I’ll find a house one of these days and it will be good.  Time will make it a (temporary) home.