Skip to main content

The high places

The high places break me every time.

My hands crack open and bleed from the dry air and from the wind. My breath comes in gasps. When we sing hymns in the morning it comes in an unsteady line of rich notes, full yet breathless. The meaning is full. Eyes around the circle of faces are full. There is a pressure in my chest and I don't know if it is from the thin air or the emotion. Somehow the severity of the landscape breaks off my hardness.

Is it the people walking out of the empty painted hills, the way they call me Tia or doctorita, or is it the way that Venus actually shines like the star of Bethlehem illustrations from years of Christmas cards? Is it the intensity on Cathy's face as she stands in the main square in Choco reading the Bible to people who cannot read themselves? Or maybe it is the baby girl, born two months premature at home, because the hospital is 2 days away, who is now cooing at me from within the brightly colored blanket that wraps her to her mothers back? It's probably something else that I can't define or describe.

The wind blows a part of me away, the bitter discontented part. The mountains in their emptiness tell me that I have everything I need. And for two of the days, while we walk, I carry my stones and pray.

The first stone is a representation of everything that I want and do not have; to be loved that way, to give love, the curl of a baby's hand around my finger, a garden planted in the ground (not in pots) with flowers in full bloom. I know that none of these things equal my unrealistic expectations, yet they are my excuses for discontentment. They are the reason I squint upwards and mutter, "Why am I supposed to trust you?" I let that stone slip into the dirt outside of Ucuchachas and try to let my discontentment go in the same way. Dust to dust.

The second stone I carry and pray, "Make me soft," a whisper repeated throughout the day as we hike back and forth across the river. This stone has sharp edges, like my heart. "Make me soft." I want to be soft like the moss that grows in the highest places, soft like the stones that have been rolled and beaten by the water; "Whatever way you want, make me soft."
Will I be made soft back at home with my hand on the chest of a dying person, or here, listening to the musical voices of the old Quechua ladies? Or will it be in the loving and letting go? Really letting go, and then making space in your heart for new dreams. Either way, at the end of the day I keep this rock as a reminder that He will soften me anywhere and that I'm willing to let Him.

The high places. My whole body feels the beauty as we drive through the dusty roads. I flatten my hand against the glass window and feel the warmth of the sun. These places break me every time and I am thankful for it.


Popular posts from this blog

(Honest) Prayers of Intercession

in·ter·ces·sion /ˌin(t)ərˈseSHən/ noun
- the action of intervening on behalf of another

Last week, before flying out to California, I was awake in the middle of the night, feeling my baby move inside my growing belly bump and crying into a pillow. My friend Megan had just been told that the doctors thought her baby boy had cancer.

This precious boy has eyes that light up when he smiles at you. He is the epitome of an almost three year old; he is learning to share, he loves being in any kind of water, and would watch episodes of Dinosaur King on repeat for hours if you let him. Cancer. I can’t even process that word when it is attached to Lester, and now the diagnosis has been confirmed as Acute Myeloid Leukemia.

And so I pray, and in my prayers I invite other people to pray with me, but what those prayers look like might not be what you would expect.

What I think of as prayer has changed a lot over the past 7 years.

I used to think that prayer was saying or writing words to God, and…

Why I resemble Donald Trump’s taglines more than I would like to admit, and why that means that I will not be voting for him.

I’ve lived through a lot of change in the past year.
One year ago I moved to Massachusetts from California, nine months ago we got married, and in a little less than three months we are going to have a baby. Whew! Do you ever wish that you could press a pause button when you find yourself in the middle of a slow day and just take a break from the pace of life? I do, but this has not been that kind of year.

When I’m processing change, I usually get a little more introspective.
This is an example.

At the same time as I’ve had a year of change, full of highs and lows, we have had a year of crazy politicking and quite a few shenanigans.
And lets push the pause button here so that I can tell you- I do not consider this to be authoritative political commentary, it is a personal reflection. If you and I were having a face-to-face personal conversation about my feelings concerning the 2016 election, this is what I would hope to say to you.

It’s been very easy to sit back and look at all …

Keep Me Where the Light Is

It’s the Most Wonderful darkest time of the year over here in New England, and we have a new baby which means that when the sun goes down the dance of “will he or wont he sleep tonight?” begins.

The other day as I was walking in the evening (alone for a few precious moments!) the afterglow of the setting sun painted the sky behind dark tree branches with highlights of gold. The words from that John Mayer song filled my head “keep me where the light is” and I thought about how dark this time of year feels and how hard it is to stay in the moments of Light.

Having a new baby is amazing, but also completely disorienting. One moment you feel on the top of the world, like you have figured everything out, and the next moment you are wondering why babies don't come with owners manuals. He started smiling a few weeks ago, and now he smiles at us on purpose and makes cooing sounds when he is happy. I put him under the Christmas tree the other day and it felt like magic… for a moment. A f…