Jesus, on this day when the world celebrates (or grieves, or longs for) love, my heart turns to you.
As I look back on the decades we’ve lived together, I want to say thank you.
Thank you for the richness of the world you made as our home.
The bustle of the day and the calm of the night, rhythms that invite me to breathe and release, work and rest, and live my true size.
The damp green scent after a spring rain, wet soil and earthworms and the promise of life.
The first cool pink watermelon of the season, juice dripping down my chin, and seed-shooting contests with my nephews.
Sandpipers racing along the beach as the August sun dips, painting the sky with glory. Standing on a shrinking sand bar as the ocean laps its way closer, closer, washing away footprints and the castles we’ve built for ourselves and giving us all a fresh start, swept clean with your rolling rhythms of grace.
The blaze of crimson and gold in autumn, reminding me that, in you, even dying can hold glory.
Fresh-fallen snow blanketing the world with calm, offering space to take a breath, to see anew.
You are such an amazing artist, such an extravagant giver!
Thank you for holding me through seasons of grief and unknowing.
Often it’s been when the path is roughest that I’ve known your love most deeply—maybe because then I knew my need of it most acutely.
For your presence alone in the long, silent, wee hours of the morning, and your presence with skin on as friends packed (and unpacked) boxes, scrubbed the shower, brought soup. For drives and hugs and month-after-month gentle listening, and friendships with mutual freedom to be honest and loved. Your gentleness is one of the things I love most about you, and I’ve learned it through quiet moments alone with you, and through friends.
Thank you for music.
For hymns sung in harmony with organ and congregation, and silly and beautiful rounds while washing dishes or on family car trips. For old songs and the new ones you give me to sing. For music lessons and flexible fingers and voices and angels singing around the throne and the promise that one day we will join them. I can hardly wait.
Thank you for work that matters.
For good, hard work with a scalpel or stethoscope, a keyboard or ears open to the heart of another. You trust me to be part of your work in the world. You trust me! I am so grateful.
Thank you for rest.
For a Sunday morning when I head out on my bike a luxurious hour later than usual, so instead of riding in the pre-dawn dark, the sun shines bright on my face, a welcome contrast to the brisk breeze brushing my cheeks. For hips flexing with each upward stroke, heart pumping faster, breath deepening. For awakening, slowly, to the life within me, around me: now seeing the reds and blues and mauves of the runners I pass, now aware of the many shades of green in the wooded stretch on my right. Joy! I have worthwhile work to do, for which I am deeply grateful. And I’m also given these sacred gifts of beauty and play, and invited to rest and let their goodness—and the love of my Creator—settle deep into my soul.
Thank you for words.
For the word that spoke worlds into being, and words that speak hope and freedom. For the words that you speak to me, and the grace to speak back to you.
And for Yourself, Love enfleshed, the Word not shouted from a distance, but spoken up close and in person, in flesh, to show us that we are loved and wanted and safe.
For all this, and so much more, thank you.
When I have eyes to see, and when my eyes are blinded with fear or tears or fatigue, still you paint my days with your love. I am so grateful.
I still can hardly believe I get to be yours, and you mine.
I can’t miss the truth that you love me.
I love you too. In a small, selfish way, often, but it’s a start. And I want to love you more.
Please, will you keep drawing me deeper into your love, freeing me to rest there, and to live from that rest, so that our shared life and love can be a place where others, too, can find welcome and rest in your love?