How to Reach Across the Quiet

We love to drive together, so we do—a four hour journey of side-by-side and music and leaving things behind. Earth carries us on her hip and I watch the tops of the evergreens wave us by through miles and miles of naked trees. A hawk catches an updraft for pure joy—dark wings spread wide against pale sky. The arching arms of sycamores stand out like old bones against washed out winter oaks and maples—fair sister in midst of wrinkled rough bark and fragile leaves holding on until the last.
I am happy and I tell him all my thoughts—about this beautiful life crowned by this amazing community—these word-lovers I am longing to see.
He grows quiet.
How to touch that empty place—the tender space where two branches meet and grow up and away from each other? They begin as one—climb up from the root and push through the loam of earth together…but one leafy hand reaches for light this way and the other stretches up that way and grows away…
I sing the words to the music soft.
We arrive and I go chase words and he walks streets and stops in a pub to taste some Belgian ale. He watches people–the man who sits beside him, the people at the bus stop, two Orthodox Jews—young men, in black dress with long locks framing faces.
I text him during breaks and he is resting and the quiet in the space between grows louder.
At dinner I press my cheek against the window and look out at the streets glistening in the night—all dressed up for a night on the town. In that moment, I am held.
On Sunday, my pastor preached the story of David and Goliath.
It’s a familiar story, she said. But don’t let that keep you from listening. Don’t let that keep you from hearing.
She read the story and I listened with new ears.
The Israelite warriors looked at Goliath and quaked with fear. They looked at Goliath and saw a giant. David looked at Goliath and saw a giant target—one he couldn’t miss.
And Saul took David in his tent and dressed him in his armor. And David couldn’t move…David only needed one kind of armor to defeat Goliath…
But isn’t that what we do? She said. We put on the armor of a giant and go out to fight the big guy. When really, only one thing is needed…Oh, Lord, when we pray, you come to us and enter our lives and make us strong…
This doesn’t feel like a giant. Love bridges most any chasm. But I feel the growing pains and I know what this requires.
…come to me, Lord. Enter my life and make me strong…
The giant target I cannot miss is love. But I must take off the armor first. When I do, my heart is left bare and I feel small, frightened, vulnerable. One arrow might pierce these tender places. I reach a branchy arm across the quiet space and dig through the earth to touch the root of me, curl into him.
We grow this way—following light but always turning back to one another, braided together in love.
blogging in community,
with Emily:

and Michelle:


  1. says

    I especially like this image:

    “Earth carries us on her hip and I watch the tops of the evergreens wave us by through miles and miles of naked trees.”

    Sometimes I close my eyes as the filter light moves in rapid waves through the spaces and I think of the spaces between us. How they differ, how they are the same.

    Blessings and strength to you.

  2. says

    Oh, Laura! Your words just slay me. And, yes, taking off the armor and asking for strength–this is how we fight for what matters. Blessings to you, my friend.

  3. says

    Beautiful, vulnerable honesty. I so appreciate that, Laura. And your imagery is breathtaking — I’m with Cassandra…”Earth carries us on her hip” got me right from the start. How do you come up with such stunning imagery?

    And thanks, friend, for linking. Love, love seeing you there!

  4. says

    It’s all so true…two branches trying to find their way together…reaching out across the space is the only thing to do…swallowing pride to do it.

  5. says

    Timely for me. Been thinking about branches. . . and my husband is traveling a great deal for work. These words and thoughts really spoke to my heart.

  6. says

    ‘One arrow might pierce these tender places. I reach a branchy arm across the quiet space and dig through the earth to touch the root of me, curl into him.’

    this is so true…our intimacy isn’t built by becoming the same branch (even when, as us, we are so seemingly in tune to Him and flowing into ministry)…intimacy is always found in the root and laying bare…thank you Laura:)

  7. says

    Wow you really put a lot of work into this post, you deserve to stand up and boast.
    So I’ll give you a toast, as I eat some roast.
    It was a great read, glad you follow your own lead.
    You don’t need images to paint a pic, now that is a good trick.
    Enjoyed the read very much and will keep in touch.
    Now I must go and break free of the flow.

  8. says

    The giant target I cannot miss is love. So true, but at times, it feels closer in size to the tip of a pin. But I see its boldness, its enormity, its gregariousness when I see it through the eyes of its Author.

  9. says

    Laura, This is beautiful! Yet reaching across the quiet is more difficult since hubby is in heaven. I have never felt so terribly alone in all my days.

  10. says

    It surprised me that I felt tension, anxiety while reading this. Like I was holding my breath waiting for the bridge to be crossed, nervous that it wouldn’t be. Feeling pain in the chasm. Nicely done.

  11. says

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  12. says

    ” Earth carries us on her hip”

    such beautiful imagery… i want to lay aside that heavy armor, too, and be clothed in His love.

    thank you for this, today…

  13. says

    Earth carries us on her hip…

    i loved the entire post, felt like i could see your husband drinking his ale and you, soaking up words, but part of me lingered with the opening lines, with the earth carrying you on her hip, because the imagery was thank you for taking us on this journey laura. xo

  14. says

    Breathtaking imagery. You capture that odd place where happiness can suddenly shatter and one can withdraw or press in. Marriage is full of such quirks and yet it brings such joy when the gap is bridged.

  15. says

    ah, the tension between word lovers and everyone else…A spouse is especially tricky…and yet it is love that permits leaves to fall at different angles and yet remember the same roots which bound them together. My bride is so in the moment at all times and I tend to be beside the moments looking for a writing angle of the situations. We too feel at times a quiet distance but love keeps us close enough to tangle. Love this write and so glade you husband supports you this way as my wife supports me.

  16. says

    I love the live oak trees that grow here in Texas. They don’t grow straight – the trunk and the branches all seem to twist and turn in all directions. I think it gives them character. They grow strong and beautiful despite the growing together and apart. It just takes time.
    Your writing; your heart – so beautiful Laura.

  17. says

    The other branch of my tree does not understand the word-lover in me. And I know those tender spaces. And I look out at the trees and see smaller branches tangling, intertwining, twisting, weaving, and then I read your last sentence:

    “We grow this way—following light but always turning back to one another, braided together in love.”


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