I sat in church yesterday and let the words of the songs run down my heart, the parts that felt raw like salt in a carpet burn. I held the bread and juice of the communion in my hands and felt like the beggar at the tableside. I’m just back from visiting my daughter and her beautiful family this weekend. They are carving out, so intentionally, the landscape of their lives. The little girl she was, the lover of nature and beauty, the feeler of feelings deep, has become a keeper of her own home and it reflects those little girl lost qualities. It’s lovely and gentle and strong and good and it warms me to see the good seeds being planted.
I gave her, early on, the job of decorating the table for family celebrations. From my seat in Panera Bread, where I’m typing these words, I can see her run for the door in the theatre of my mind, returning with hands full of pine cones and flowers and weave them in with bits of lace or things found around the house that she found beautiful. She still does that. I walked past a vase where she’d kept a sprig of their first full sized Christmas tree from this year. That is so like her to think of that.
I watch her with her own little girl now and I am transfixed. She chooses toys, wooden and purposeful and lovely in their own right. She reads her a bible story each day while Bea plays around her on the floor. She makes oatmeal paint colored with natural food dye and lets her paint in the bathtub. She feeds her good, whole food and makes most everything from her own hand. She is a marvel to me. So, it astounds me that I could have wounded her so deeply from my own hand. The divorce, and my own subsequent slide off the track for a few years, cut her heart up in pieces. Her pain comes out in quick, sharp comments from time to time; memories she carries. She doesn’t mean to hurt. I know that about her; but I feel myself quietly implode when her scars become verbal.
It’s a difficult thing, sitting beside the scene of my own crime. I can feel the bumpy parts where the scars grew on the skin of her heart, see the lingering distrust in her eyes. It’d hard for her, I’m thinking, to see me love her girl and remember the shots I fired into her world when she was a girl and not want to make me pay still. It feels heavy in my gut those times when I want to explain but can’t craft anything to say that changes anything.
So, I sat listening to my pastor remind us that the Holy Spirit is about the business of eliminating barriers that keep people from hearing the truth. I lock back tears as I stab at lies screaming at me and force open my clenched up chest to let Him breathe His truth to me. I am forgiven. I can allow myself to be forgiven. I will look on the horizon for His freedom and freely take the bread and the cup offered to me. And take up the basin and towel to wash the feet of my daughter.