We’ll start this Friday morning psalm with a fleeting memory of your grandma’s gingerbread cake, or that strawberry rhubarb pie, or those sugar cookies she served you with a cold glass of milk.
While you lick the crumbs of memory from your fingers, let’s tie our sneakers and walk outside and listen to summer cicadas and watch how sweet Joe-Pye Weed blows in the breeze. Wonder how it petals up to the sun so beautifully while the dictionary calls it a weed.
How can it feel so cool and hot in the same moment? The thermometer reads 65 cool degrees, and yet the sun pounds down hot and persistent on the broken pavement as you walk up the half-dirt road. Hot and cold, both. How can such a thing be?
How can you be happy one moment, grinning ear to ear and giggling about something silly–and the next moment stewed in sadness, a soup of simmering confusion? How can life tell you a truth so right you feel it in your bones, and the next paragraph it’s all smoke and mirrors designed to slay friend or foe?
Oh, gingerbread girl, watch how your mind weaves untruths and then gifts with insight so sweet and honeyed, like an angel come from above to dwell among the gargoyles, like grandma come back from her flowered grave.
Look how buttercup and raspberries and deer die and rot into the soil, just to create dandelions and baby lettuce and zinnias. Look at you cycling around in this compost of words, creating again and again something from nothing, and lassoing back to the beginning again.
See how storms sweep through our homes, collapse our roofs, while the next morning waves lap gently and tenderly against the shore, as if nothing happened. As if nothing happened, nothing at all!
How over 1,000 people died of COVID in the United States yesterday and yet didn’t you laugh with your child on the phone, truly laugh, a big guffawing belly laugh that lit up the lantern of your soul and spread it across the meadow like yellow buttercups?
Do you ever wonder how you can dislike and like all in one afternoon, before supper calls you back to yourself?
Where it’s not always “happily ever after”, but more like a young girl or boy on a swing flying up toward the sky and down toward the earth. Or a couple young girls jumping fearlessly off a tall Lake Huron buoy.
Or like a roller coaster careening up toward the heavens and plummeting down to your heart’s deepest ache. Sometimes we disembark and exclaim, “Let’s do it again!” Another lifetime, please.
Some of us didn’t eat dinner tonight. No salmon patties, lettuce salad with goat cheese and cherries, multi-colored carrots. No after-dinner popcorn. Some of us suffer so damn much. Fears lick our plates. Forks pierce our hearts. The color of our skin matters. The legacy of our grandfather matters. Our genes matter.
And so does something else–the elusive burst of wind through the trees. Sunlight reflected in a mud puddle. Something holy and strong and loving and fierce rises up with the moon tonight. Something like shining pearls in the milky sky. Or owl eyes calling us back to what’s real, what counts more than coin.
In this world of ups and downs, love sings its golden psalm. Hidden, it peeks out of the ordinary kettle, cup, cracked plate. Hidden, it peers out from despised weed and mask and despicable Facebook posting. Hidden, it feeds us in the spaces between all these words, whispering holy, holy, don’t forget it’s holy here.
Like an elusive river otter, it sneaks into view–and then dissolves back into the inky darkness of night. But it never disappears. Never disappears. Never truly disappears.
Look around, sweet sister. Fairy godmother is spinning your crown of sweet Joe-Pye weed and humming you whole again, because she knows how hard you’ve tried, how very hard you’ve tried, and you’re almost home, Cinderella, you’re almost home. Taste the gingerbread and reach out your open hand. Grandma’s coming to remind you to feed your soul in this land where nothing stays the same and yet something stays still and steadfast, never born and never broken.
May this Friday psalm spin you back to how you felt in Grandma’s kitchen, whole and loved. May sweet Joe-Pye Weed bless your weekend, dear one.