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Friday, September 6, 2013

Filling Up the Holes. Just Watch God Do It.

Dervish wind grabs ancient pecan tree and wrestles it to the ground. Across the street it stood sentinel of history and witness of time since the Declaration of Independence was signed. It went down with fight famous. Hole in sky, hole in earth where tree spread root and limb, gape wide. Open-mouthed. Silent.

Men armed with chainsaws, ropes, and pulleys step around and climb over mangled limbs. Twisted. Saws eat and roar for more. Pulleys clang, ropes strain, men sweat, and always the constant roar carving through the battleground. Massive disks of trunk are hauled away.

The family keeps one though, and makes it into a patio table. Heads tilt back in upward remembrance at table of what was there, in upward recognition of what is open hole now. They break bread together, thankful because what was there was so good that it is sorely missed now. Thankful because of communion promise, “My peace I give to you; not as the world gives…let not your heart be troubled…” (Jn. 14:27).

Peace fills the holes.

Thanksgiving fills the holes.

It’s morning and I stand outside in the backyard while yellow dog sniffs out morning, and I look up long, rough lengths of pecan tree. My eyes climb woody heights, eighty feet of arms and hands browned as if by age and sun. Old man tree. Clapping, swaying, creaking, groaning shuffling praise dance up and up. And up.

I crane my neck back just to watch this worship and, maybe it’s strange, but in the worship I look for holes. Leafy shadows feather across my face and flutter wing of peace, Spirit dove. And, aha, there they are. In the shadows. Space dappled between leaf and branch. Sky itself.

                         Praise Fills Hole

And I begin to see holes differently. See them there, between leaf and branch. Universe deep as Creator heart, holes. See them here behind living sway and life always in motion. Still heart of God, holes. His heart searches them out between leaf veil, cloud veil, sun veil. Probes space holes between stars. Black hole space. Beyond end of universe space.

And His heart fills the holes.

I hear it. Feel it. It’s holy morning in my backyard. A barefoot holy morning. No shoes to remove. I lift my hands high and sky pieces jig and saw with tree pieces. Fluid puzzle. Kaleidoscope.

I read this morning, “The beginning of love is to let those we love be perfectly themselves, and not to twist them to fit our own image.” (Courage to Change).

The first person who loved me, loved me when I was perfectly full of holes. Unholy. It wasn’t another like me, but One who is perfectly whole. Holy. God. He doesn’t twist me into His own image, but fits me into His own image. Fit me securely in holy breath breathing life into Eden dust. “Let us make man in our own image” (Gen. 1:26-27). And He is fitting me this morning. Gifting me. I am fit in to this, His image. Barefoot on dew on grass on earth. And I have Eden-wonder.

It’s morning, and all He gave then remains even now. It’s in my backyard. A wonder that it was all gift to fit hole. To fit void heavens and earth. Praise filled every place, I’m sure, when “Let there be…” became. There, where holes gaped.

God-gift fills the holes.

I’m looking for holes. Searching for them in jig sawed tangle. And I glimpse the heart of God in it. How He fills what gapes wide in what tangles tight. I turn squinting eyes inward. Close them to better see my jig sawed heart. The jig of praise; the sawed holes. Sawed, but sawed open to be filled with praise.

A breath of wind parts leaf from leaf, branch from branch, high in tree. A pause in its praise. Selah. But it open a wide-eyed, gaping mouth hole and it kind of hurts. I hold my own breath. Breathless, It’s how I feel sometimes, But then, I’m learning to look at holes differently, And pauses differently, too. The opening above lasts a breath. A Selah pause. And then closes full with whoosh and rush, branches, leaves and old man tree praise.

                                          Pecan Tangle

Praise fills the holes.

There are holes along the path in my garden where I’ve had to dig up dead plants.

There is a gaping hole in my rose garden where my most prized bush suddenly shriveled and was dead within the week. It filled the dining room window and glowed iridescent when approaching lightening storms turned the air itself green.

There are holes around my kitchen table. Empty chairs. I remember filling those chairs one at a time. High chairs, booster seats, and how the children would sit at table on the “grown up” chairs, chins at table height and plate level. Two sons are now married, one daughter half-way out with one foot in college and the other at home. A pregnant pause. Selah.

And holes too quiet where a houseful of rambunctious children hummed loud and where dishwasher, washing machine and dryer sloshed, whirred, thumped off kilter, and spun every waking moment and sometimes into the night.

And soul holes.

They are weighty. Who would have thought? That open space, air, too much silence is heavier than enormous hard wood trees, rose bushes heavy with scent and bloom, an armful of toddler and infant on hip and the time when two teen aged sons swung like Tarzan down at creek on poison vine? Nothing is heavier to mother’s heart than brave manboys fighting tears and losing a little.

I call yellow dog. And God. I call to God, “So many holes!”

“My peace I give to you,” He repeats. And I don’t want to hear, “In all things give thanks.”

I balk. “What do You mean? What sincerity is there in me when I thank You for shriveled rose bush that I loved? For house too quiet and table too empty?”

I call out more, “Heart! Of! God! Will You fill? These? Soul holes I try not to feel?”

“I filled the heavens and the earth when there was void and it was good. I filled empty jugs with water and it became wine and the wedding guests rejoiced. I filled five-thousand hungry people with two loaves of bread and five fish and my servants marveled amazed. I filled empty nets and the fishermen recognized Me. And I filled Peter’s sifted, gaping and wide open heart.”

“Oh. Well, yes, there is that.”

                                Filled With Promise

So that’s what He means. Holes are fit for what He’s going to fill them with. Holes are there because from the beginning there was hole. And the very movement of life is holed. And I am holed.

Holes are the weighty pause between void and filled. The hungry empty between too little and more than enough. The Selah pause, the pregnant hope, the holding of my breath. Holes are uncomfortable. I’ll hurt between breaths and in the Selah stillness.

And I’m sure I’ll forget most of this when I feel most hole.  But right now I am remembering. And right now pauses breathe and Selah stills and I am barefoot on dew waiting weighty for the jig and saw that fits me to His image holy.

And that’s a start for when I fill soup pot half way and know that the bread I baked will last three times as long. I’ve taken to giving loaves to my sons' wives. It takes hole and makes table of it and breaks bread.

It fills.

written by: Carolyn Roehrig

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