Don't know when I'll be back again...

So kiss me and smile for me
Tell me that you'll wait for me
Hold me like you'll never let me go
I'm leavin' on a jet plane
I don't know when I'll be back again
Oh, babe, I hate to go - Leaving on a Jet Plane, John Denver

I used to travel a whole lot more than I do now. There may come a time when I am, again, on the road. 

But now, right now, I am apart from those I love the most in this world. Every morning I step out and separate myself from them in one way or another. And they do the same. Out of my sight I cannot hear them nor can I call for them. They won't answer. I won't either. We don't need a jet plane to separate us. Time and any measure of distance does that.

Kiss me. Smile. I am leaving you now and I don't know when I will be back. I don't know if I will be back.

There is One that does. And he requires that I trust him with the secret things that are his.

Nothing less, and nothing more

Every day, more and more, I realize that I am not home yet. Creature of earth that I am, son of a man that I am, I have been given just a glimpse of a wonderful place. I have seen it in my wife, my sons, my church - this Place of Peace. This Person of rest. This Light that shines undimmed forever. 
Today I am left here wondering. Unsure of when I will see the light. I know it is there; He is here. But my frail heart of dust and flesh wants to reach out my fingers to scrape it and open my eyes take it all in. I want it to satisfy my hunger, heal my cold, and dry my eyes. I want it to hit me in the chest and leave a mark so that I can hike my shirt up and see it, once bleeding, and now scabbed over. 
Oh Jacob's glorious limp! Every step a reminder of the night he wrestled with his God!
Dad, your faith that you've given me, that holy thing that burns sometimes so hot that it makes me shake, will it constrain me? Will it set me free? Will it allow me a moment's peace or throw me …

Breathe deeply now

Just now. I went back just now.

I was 10 again and descending the stairs of my Grandma McKinley's house after a semi-restful sleep with my brothers in our sleeping bags in the red room. The carpet was soft on my feet and the thick banister shielded my sight into the living room. I smelled the toast and eggs that she made for us in the morning. It was there that I learned to pepper my eggs. There that I learned my dad liked his toast nice and burnt. It was there that I learned that all the adults liked to get up early. It was simultaneously so ordinary and such magic. I had no idea what to make of it. I didn't judge. I never did. I just breathed and twirled it all around in my head.

There it is again. I need to breathe deeply now. I want to go back there now. I want to toss my blonde hair from my eyes and stare at the cups of coffee on the table. I want her to call me Mark-o again. 

I don't know why.

I just do.

The potential arrogance of understanding

I know that I seek knowledge. In fact, I do like to uncover relationships in things that are, seemingly, unrelated and see how they all fit together. When I was younger I watched a lot of PBS. Shows like Cosmos, The Undersea World of Jacques Cousteau, Nova, Nature, and even Bits and Bytes were endlessly interesting in how they uncovered how the world worked according to science and even faith. There was one show, in particular, that made a lasing impression on ma called Connections with James Burke. It was exciting because it was part mystery, part history, and endlessly fascinating helping me understand the interrelations between what is happening today in light of developments that seemed impossible to uncover. Yes, I have a rather insatiable appetite to understand and comprehend. I am reading a short book now called The Joy of Keeping Score: How Scoring the Game Has Influenced and Enhanced the History of Baseball. Needless to say I am enjoying it quite a bit.

The one thing that I ca…

It was impossible for me to have known

It was quite simple. She hadn't done anything special. There wasn't really anything different that she did with her hair and I had seen the clothes that she had on before. All she did was open the fridge and crush the empty carton of milk on the side of the island. That was really about it. 

Maybe the light from the window lit the streaks of gray in her hair to recall the years that we walked through together, hand in hand, with sometimes heavy or feather-weight hearts. Maybe it was her eyes as she quickly glanced my way and flashed a smile as our boys worked on getting their school books together for their classes. I have no idea if was all of that, or none of it. What I do know is that, at that moment, I was overwhelmed. 

"You look very pretty today."

I was rather abrupt and, upon realizing how ordinary the day was and that this was probably not the time for compliments of that sort, I had to try to say something funny.

"How do I look?"

Her answer lightened th…

My master's happiness - part 1

...Enter into the joy of your master. Matthew 25:21b

Those seven words hold so much meaning for me both in the context of the passage in the Bible where they are spoken and in my position as a father. As these words are spoken, a master has returned from a long journey and has seen the wisdom of a servant in his handling of the money that was entrusted to him. The master is thrilled so much so that he invites the servant close to him. So close. I get the sense that this is not a begrudging willingness to share in his master's happiness. It seems rather spontaneous and born out of the servant functioning at his highest level. A level that may even have been born out of love. 

This is not a "good job" pat on the back. This is more of a visceral reaction - the master reaches deep and offers everything that he can possibly give to the servant. His happiness is not something that he holds onto. It is something poured out onto the servant. Overflowing. Soaking. Immersing. Baptiz…

I scarcely understand

If only I thought of the right words,
I could have held on to your heart.
If only I thought of the right words,
I wouldn't be breaking apart
All these pictures of you. - Pictures of You, The Cure

I can feel the lament of these words as sure as I can feel the peace of being known by God. I needn't find the right words in his presence as if my poetry would open access to him. All I need to do is sit. Even sit so still and be.

I scarcely understand as I lay myself bare before him. On my face, on my knees, driving in my car, walking with her I open myself wide to him and he sees. He knows. He smiles. He loves.

Pictures? No. Presence. Deep abiding light that sees me. All of me. Not the part that I expose to others. All of me. And the drumbeat of his heart arrests mine and we know.

Me, in part; he, the whole.