What I love about winter in the north is the way the backdrop of snow and cold highlights every hidden beauty. Visiting my parents’ house, I took a walk in the woods I grew up playing in and stopped at everything that caught my eye – berries, bright red like the world’s own Christmas ornaments, thorn bushes with green and purple branches branches bound together, rich brown stripes on mushrooms growing like shelves on fallen trees. Even in the cold, dead winter, there is enough small grace to take the breath away.
Once when I was a little girl on vacation by the ocean, my grandmother handed me a pretty shell to keep. As we walked along the beach, I dropped it in the surf and a wave quickly washed it away. There was no finding it again. I don’t remember what the shell looked like, its shape or its color, only the sense of loss in my small heart.
My grandmother doesn’t know who I am anymore. When we visit in the nursing home, she tells me what a nice young lady I am with no recognition on her face and asks if I think her long fingernails are real.
This is the world we wake to—a transient kaleidoscope, ever shifting. From the flowers that bloom and then die to the melting snow and our own memories slipping away, nothing is permanent.
I spent the summer in Virginia standing on mountains.
I came for an internship, and when I applied for it, I had some hope of it jumpstarting my career as a world-savvy international journalist writing stories that matter. Instead I wrote a bunch of brochures and read a lot of heartbreaking articles (by actual world-savvy international journalists).
At some point in early summer, I started wondering what exactly I was doing in Virginia. The series of events that led to my taking this internship in a city and an organization I’d never heard of seemed somewhat unlikely, so I figured it was a God thing. But I spent my days writing brochures and scheduling Tweets. It wasn’t exactly my dream job, and I hadn’t really made any friends in Virginia. My presence there didn’t seem to be doing anyone much good.
This is a love letter to you and to the Savior who brought us together.
John 1:16 says “From his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace.”
I have been thinking about grace lately and what it all means. Sometimes we use the word grace interchangeably with mercy, but we also use it to describe elegance: a dancer’s steps, the way eagles soar.
Maybe grace is beauty when we don’t expect it, goodness in a world that is often far from good.