Playdates with God: The Sweetness of Things

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Today we go back to the normal. Normal has been interrupted by Winter Storm Jonas these past couple days. We’ve been digging out from under 16-17 inches of snow, bit by little bit. But today I return to work, Jeff resumes his teaching schedule, and though school is closed for Jeffrey, he won’t be snowed in the way he was this weekend. Temperatures still sleep below the freezing mark, but yesterday the sparrows sung the sun high and we warmed under her gaze. Still, all this white is going nowhere—save for one shovel full at a time.

There is something so sweet when normal is interrupted. We huddle together and light the fire in the fireplace and hearts are soft to one another. We walk together through snow drifts, slipping on ice patches here and there, giggling and holding on to each other like we haven’t for years. We catch snowflakes on our tongues. And our eyelashes. And shoulders and the tops of our heads. Both of my boys had birthdays this past week and though we celebrated with Teddy before taking him back to school, I kept finding myself near tears as his day came to a close and I did not get to see his face.

“I miss you today,” I texted him. “First time you’ve not been home on your birthday.”

“It’s the way it has to be, mom,” he replied, always the practical one. The new semester has only just begun and he is busy learning his new schedule, getting the lay of the land on the new classes.

“I know,” I replied. “It’s how it’s supposed to be and it is good. I’m glad you are having some fun.”

I watched the birds hop atop the frozen crust of snow under the feeder. A Cardinal pair, a handful of snowbirds, some house finches. The day before, an Eastern Towhee stopped by, his cinnamon breast and side a sharp contrast to the pearly world he haunted. But after all that snow, today the sky gleams brilliant blue and the glistening trees carve their shapes into its void. In all this alabaster I struggle to feel what is greening inside me.

Belden Lane quotes Jonathan Edwards as saying, “The works of God are … a kind of voice or language of God to instruct intelligent beings in things pertaining to Himself.” When I watch the birds I am listening to the voice of God. It’s a kind of synesthesia—every sense engaged in this knowing.

I watch the male Cardinal tap a sunflower seed against the mottled trunk of the Maple tree. His insistent tapping sends an avalanche of snow from the slender branches and the air is filled with flashing shafts of powdered light. My throat catches at the sheer abundance of nature. I remember the question Augustine asked of God,

What do I love when I love you? Not light nor the fragrance of flowers, not the taste of honey, nor the gentle touch of the human body. None of these and yet all of them! I do love a kind of light, a certain fragrance, a food and an embrace when I love my God … I said to all those things which stand about the gate to my senses: ‘Tell me about my God … ..’ And they cried out in a loud voice: ‘He made us.’ My question was in my contemplation of them, and their answer was in their beauty.”

This interruption of the normal has been a gift of space for contemplation. For a short while, life slowed to a stop, warmed under a blanket of snow, baffled in white, breathed beauty in every language.

Every Monday I share one of my Playdates with God. I would love to hear about yours. It can be anything: outside, quiet time. Maybe it’s solitary. Maybe it’s loud and crowded. Just find God and know joy. Click on the button below to add your link. I try to visit a few of your stories every week, so if you are a new visitor, be sure to let me know in the comments so I can welcome you. Grab my button at the bottom of the page and join us.

Laura Boggess

Comments

  1. says

    Just beautiful! I love both quotes which you have shared. It is so true that nature speaks to us of God in ways outside of ourselves. A few weekends ago, my husband & i were able to get away to the mountains. The beauty spoke deeply to my soul of the majesty of God and that I am His created. I have written both quotes down in my journal to remember in days to come. Thank you, Laura, for encouraging my heart this morning. And Happy Birthday to both your boys! Blessings to you too!

  2. says

    Edwards and Augustine all in one dose — I’m set for the day, at least!
    I know that sinking feeling of “happy birthday” on the phone, and even with one married and another in college, I’m always thankful when I can see them on their birthday. It’s a bittersweet thing to be happy for them and the achievement of their goals . . . but to miss their daily presence.

  3. says

    To echo Michele above~Augustine and Edwards all in one day–delicious~ their words are so full. AND birds…thank God for birds. We have towhees here, too, and they never cease to delight as they noodge their way in our feeders. I’m so grateful for a view to the outside while my day is pressing in everywhere else. There’s something about the carefree flight of those winged creatures, the way God faithfully feeds them. I think He made them simply for His pleasure and ours.
    ’tis a joy to smile at your words and ‘hear’ your voice (it’s been a while).
    And the snowstorm was named ‘Jonas’–who knew? (and who thinks of these things??

  4. says

    The interruption of our normal is the breath of joy we need every so often. My daughter’s birthday was my first this year, too. So difficult, yet we rejoice in her following God’s plan. Hard time for a momma!

  5. says

    Such loveliness here. Makes even me feel dreamy about a snow day. (Mark you, that is very temporary and quickly fleeting – I truly don’t like being that cold and wet. Truly. But I love your pictures and your description of your own experience of it.) I do think snow days are a brilliant idea – and something that is missing in the lives of southern Californians. Maybe that’s why this culture is always pushing to do more, be more places . . . we’ve got stunning weather and it feels downright wrong not to be OUT THERE, DOING when it’s so gorgeous. I used to call intentional quiet days ‘mental health days,’ because I think they’re sorta crucial to that. Thanks, as always, for your skill and sweetness.

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