On the night of a bad day, I wonder if people truly change. If we’re all just out here screwing each other up or if there is, as I’ve been taught, a capacity for a better way.
Can the envious toss away layers of green? The angry encounter peace? Can the yeller stop yelling?
And then, this:
Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?
I used to think this was an old verse about material goods, about how meaningless it was to amass objects void of permanence. You can’t take it with you, and all that. I used to think this was a simple reminder that we’re wasting precious hours adding another chunky knit sweater to our cart, or fretting over our 10-year plan.
And yet, when I re-read it, later mulling it over at the kitchen sink scrubbing oats from the pan, I think it might be about tomorrow, sure, but also yesterday.
Sea cucumbers, too.
Do you know of them? Their ability to regenerate, or as 5-year-old Bee explains to me, “to grow and to grow again?” Sea cucumbers, as a defense, can release their organs to a predator, slipping away to be quietly reborn in 1-5 weeks. Spending themselves entirely. Allowing themselves to be made new.
Waiting patiently, week after week, knowing restoration is already happening within them. Knowing change is on its way.
They do not sow their failures, reap their mistakes. They do not store away each hurt. They do not cater to their wounds and they do not cling to their scars.
Instead: they spill their guts, surrender their insides, become reborn.
They regenerate, and regenerate again.
It sounds a bit like mercy, I think. And patience. Quietly, expectantly awaiting your own small and many rebirths. Delivering them, then allowing them to deliver you.
Look at the sea cucumbers, I wish it read.
So good. Loving these little blogs lately. Can’t help but always swipe up on insta to read the next one. So eye-opening and grace filled and I’m super thankful for them and your heart!
Ugh. This is so good and maybe I am adding my own meaning here…but I am just barely pregnant after a really tough loss last year and I find myself struggling to want to dive in deep and let myself love and commit to the idea of this baby now that I have that fear. But what a beautiful idea, to know that I can give this little guy all of me, and somehow, I will be regenerated regardless of what happens. Each wave of nausea feels like an opportunity to be hopeful and to grow baby–and myself. Thanks for sharing.
oh jamie, that is a beautiful, worthy, spot-on meaning to add. congratulations, sweet friend. (i wish there were a word for joy/grief/fear all rolled into one. alas, language fails.) praying for safekeeping for both of your hearts – the one you carry and your own. warmest blessings, jamie.
I think the word for joy/grief/fear is grace. It’s grace that gets us thru all of it. Love and grace and faith. I so pray for Jamie and this new life and her new opportunity for a new life too. Love your posts.
Thank you, sweet Ann.
Love it!! Great thoughts to ponder today!
SO beautiful; just what I needed 32,000 feet in the air, a bit worried about all the work to do below.
big hugs, alie. :)
Hi Erin. Your writing always stirs something inside of me. I love that. I have been reading this book called Liturgy of the Ordinary by Tish Harrison Warren. I have been profoundly struck by this phrase she wrote in Chapter 1 “We begin Beloved.” I think this is where I find my daily regeneration. Warren, writes this, ” how remarkable that when the Father declares at Jesus Baptism, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.” Jesus hasn’t yet done much of anything that many would find impressive. He hasn’t yet healed anyone or resisted Satan in the wilderness. He hasn’t yet been crucified or resurrected. It would make more sense if the Father’s proud announcement came after something grand and glorious – the triumphant moment after feeding a multitude or the big reveal after Lazarus is raised. Jesus spent decades in obscurity and ordinariness. The incarnate God spent his days quietly, a man who went to work, got sleepy and lived a pedestrian life among average people. Jesus emerges from water a commoner, wet and messy haired. And suddenly the Spirit of God shows up and the deep mystery of the universe reverberates through the air: this is the Son God, the Son the Father loves, in whom he is pleased. Jesus is sent first to the desert and then into his public ministry. But he is sent out with a declaration of the Father’s love. Jesus is eternally beloved by the Father. His every activity unfurls from his identity as the Beloved. He loved others, healed others, preached, taught, rebuked, and redeemed not in order to get the Father’s approval, but out of his rooted certainty in the Father’s love. For all Christians, baptism embodies going under the water, the old self is buried in the death of Christ; rising from the water the self is new, joined to the resurrected Christ. Galatians tells us that we are clothed in Christ in baptism (Gal 3:27), clothed in the Beloved Son in whom the Father is well pleased. As Christians, we wake each morning as those who are baptized. Or to use Paul’s more chilling image, I died and was buried, and then, reversing the whole order of the universe, newly born with Christ. (Romans 6:3-6). We are united with Christ and the approval of the Father is spoken over us. We are marked from our first waking moments by an identity that is given to us by grace; an identity that is deeper and more real than any other identity we will don that day. So as I go about my day, cooking, sitting in traffic, emailing, accomplishing, working, resting – I begin beloved. This reality seeps out of my soul quickly. Days can pass in a bluster of busyness, impatience and distraction. I can strive for a self-made belovedness. But each morning in those first tender moments – I again receive grace , life and faith as a gift. Grace is a mystery and the joyful scandal of the universe. Thanks again Erin, for your words – I think I am writing the above words to keep reminding myself each day I begin beloved. Big hugs, Ginny
Ginny, this is just so very beautiful. Thank you for sharing it with me!
Forrest has taught me many things, not the least of which is when the anger/hurt/frustration/MAD is done, it’s done. And then it’s time for a hug and a piece of chocolate. xoox, Loechner family!
Yes! Over and done with, Amen and Amen. Love this, Jamie!
How genius! Sea cucumbers!!
Nature is such a lovely teacher, isn’t it?
I love this.
I love reading your blog. Such depth and longing for the good that is coming but also the good that can be here now. Thank you for sharing your journey.
Thank you so much for the encouragement, Kristen!
What a beautiful truth. One I need to remember not just daily, but hourly. Thank you.
You’re so welcome, Laurie. :)
Such a simple yet profound message. Thank you for the reminder. We often try to control everything from our situations to our mood. We have to surrender and practice self awareness! Keep writing, love your work <3
Thank you, Chelsea!
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