[Polka dot feather on a white ceramic plate.]
Because life isn't really like this, and it is. It is everything happening all at once and engaging fully with the world around us, and it is a bath of loneliness and checking out of the corner of your eye to see if you're doing it right.
A feather is beautiful on its own but if you want to fly you must possess the whole lot, all the different kinds, all together.
So it is with my people. I need the whole lot, all the different kinds, all together. I have been blessed by good and struggling people all around: loving, coming alongside, living wholehearted and vulnerable.
How did I ever think I could live well on my own? Who would I be without other people's babies on my lap who smell like milk and newness, without my cousins, sisters, aunts, and grandmothers, without a boy who challenges me at every turn yet heaps coals of forgiveness upon my head? How could I grow without the friends who have graciously witnessed my unfolding, who ask for prayer and who offer it up readily on my behalf?
How worthless and untethered I would feel without 32 years of my mother's words echoing in my heart: You are so much more beautiful and perfect than we ever imagined.
And my father's: I will fail you and you will fail me, but you will always be my daughter and I will always be your dad. There is nothing on this earth stronger than my love for you.
And without my husband's maddeningly patient and fiercely gentle love? I'd be living on the streets! I'd be a wild raving lunatic!
I would go on, but too many more tears of gratitude at the kitchen table might wreck my Monday morning. Better to live a life that says "thank you"-- sometimes with literal words, always with an open heart and hands.
These are the ways God has loved me. He has sent these people, this mess of feathers, these stars in my crown. It is astounding to think about this. I am so small and so much of my mind and heart are still in darkness, and he loves me like this so I might be whole and free, and fly.
Thank you, is all I can say.