A backhanded slap from the end of fall teases festive leaves that have grown and turned color on the wiry twigs that sprout from the tree. It has no real branches. It’s a stumpy tree topped with a mess of twigs and garish leaves, and I think of this tree as a quirky old English woman. She wears red and orange leaves as a hat. It perches at a rakish angle and her sense of fashion is a bit loud among the statelier pecan trees.
There are other trees like her, but none wear their hats quite as well. To me, they are all like grand old ladies given to gossip. When the wind rustles through the wood, I hear them murmur. Their leafy hats bob outrageously and I amuse myself wondering how much of their gossip is about the lordly pecan tree standing at an aloof distance on this side of the fence.
This morning my breath comes out in a silver chill. I pull up my hood.
I have smudgy bathroom mirrors to clean today. Well, actually, I have the whole smudgy bathroom to clean. My bottle of multipurpose surface cleaner with vinegar is nearly empty; it just spits at the mirror and the window over the bath tub. Spit, spit, wipe. Spit, spit, wipe. It is what it is.
I can’t entirely blame the smudges I see on the lack of glass cleaning solution. Some of the blame is on my eyesight. It’s a little smudgy, too. I don’t mind blurry eyesight enough to go to the eye doctor, and apparently I’m not overly concerned about the glass in my bathroom.
But there is the matter of seeing truth. I care about this.
I need to see truth, because there are matters that plead for hope.
I think about the blind man. Didn’t Jesus spit on him? He did, and the blind man saw people walking about like trees.
I pull the trigger on my multipurpose cleaner.
I don’t fancy being spit on, and I wonder why there was no other way for the blind man or for me.
But there wasn’t and still isn’t.
Life itself makes that clear enough.
My eyes have been wounded on the battlefield and I'm pressed to see my husband and myself as we truly are-as Christ sees us.
He doesn’t see us as we are in the flesh, but as we are in Him.
I don’t want to see my husband and myself as trees walking around; and not even like the trees in the autumn wood. Never mind that it’s hard for me to say that Jesus spits. He does. It seems so unclean. But my surface cleaner spits too, and it’s not unclean.
I just want to see rightly.
Blindness is thick, kind of like the toothpaste blotch on the bathroom mirror. Jesus spit on the blind man once and wiped twice before he could see clearly. Spit, wipe, and wipe again and the blob of toothpaste is gone; and I wish it was that easy to see clearly.
“How?” I ask Him. “How can I see my husband and myself as smudge-free as truth is clear?”
I stare into the mirror and puzzle about us. “What about us? Oh Lord, please; what about my husband? What about me?” I want a straight up answer. I’m not up to piecing a puzzle together because I’m like a puzzle that’s falling into pieces. I close my eyes, plead with Him, and the hard surfaces, the floor tiles, mirrors, windows, and glass shower stall add echo to my plea.
Aren’t echoes and reflections the same? They are. Sound reflects and it’s called an echo; light reflects and it’s called a reflection.
I don’t hear anything from Him.
“Okay, Lord. I don’t have anywhere to go." I aim my multi-purpose cleaning solution at the mirror above the sink. Spit, spit, wipe.
I spent time earlier just watching the woods, listening to the wind, and waiting to hear from God. He let me wait. He was silent.
I used to become impatient in waiting, but now I choose to wait when He remains silent. We can be silent together. It's better than empty echos. It's not a waste of time. And there's something absorbent about waiting like this.
Spit, spit, wipe. I watch as the cleaning solution dries, streak free, on the glass.
I watch as my reflection becomes clearer as the mirror dries and, "Lord?"
He doesn't need to say a word.
I get it. Wait and see.
Wait in the silence He gives. Absorb it.
Where hard things seem to echo restless, silence seems to absorb.
My cleaning solution absorbs into the cloth I'm using, and somehow this is hopeful to me. It's hopeful that the very silence He gives me is the solution.
Absorb the silence He gives-just the pure brand silence He gives and not a substitute-and absorb what will bring clarity.
Wait and see.
Wait and see.
written by: Carolyn-Elizabeth Roehrig