Sunday, December 21, 2014


I went for a walk this morning. It was hard. My body didn't feel up to it, it rarely does. But while my full house breathed deep and heavy, I pulled May's college sweatshirt over my head, and tip-toed out the front door. I love mornings, you wouldn't think this was true, because I do own a mug that says in bold black letters, "Good F-ing Morning", but really I do think mornings are absolutely lovely, I just also happen to think the mug is funny.

It was kind of a hazy morning. Winter in California doesn't really know what it wants to be. The honeysuckle and jasmine are always so confused. Just when you see snowy peaks over the Inland Empire, a string of days will come so bright and warm that random blossoms will spring from the greyest of vines.

I stuck my nose deep in the yellow of a honeysuckle this morning. I inhaled the velvety sweetness and closed my eyes. I wanted so badly to pick it, stuff it into the pocket of May's sweatshirt, so I could take it out and smell it later. But it was all alone out there this morning, peeking out from it's wiry branch, and I thought it best to leave it for the next passerby. Although, I don't know if many of my fellow morning trail blazers would crouch down, booty in the air, eyes closed, face pressed into this quiet solo bloom, but one has to hope.

It's four days before Christmas and the faces of my community are mostly friendly but also frantic and tired, and I'm sure mine reflects the same. We are all doing our best to be merry in this season. Along the way, people pass me a lot, I walk slow, but I keep hearing Annie Lamott telling me, "One does what one can, one does what one can..." She is so good to me. I practiced grace for my legs, they kept going, they were good to me this morning too.

I walk in flip-flops, my wide-spread German feet need to breathe, only my dad really gets this. So I trade blisters for shin splints, but my feet hug the earth and I think this connects me more to God.

And I had so much to talk to Him about this morning. My kids, my friends, my husband, my siblings, my mom, my dad, the general state of the universe. My head was so foggy, blurred by the traffic and the shopping and the wrapping and the hoping of the last few weeks. I asked God to put a song in my heart but nothing really came, so I just kept on walking and breathing, step after step and eventually some of the holiday anxiety lifted.

As I came to the end of my walk, I rounded the corner near the bottom of my street and a butterfly crossed my path and landed on one of the square bushes that lines the trail. I have never seen a butterfly like it before. It was magnificent. It was sort of a blend of copper and mulled wine, like it was a holiday-themed butterfly. It sat still on a leaf, wings spread wide, displaying it's intricate beauty, shimmering in the light and a wild contrast to the bland backdrop of trees and bushes.

I immediately thought of my friend Julie, I think if she was a butterfly, that's the kind she would be.
She's Italian and passionate and smart and witty. And she sparkles in all the right ways, not show-offy, just talented and kind and dedicated to God and her husband and her kids. She is my Jewel.

And then I started to cry. And God stopped me in my tracks. I said out loud, "I just want to be a bush." And then I said it again, "Do you hear me God? I just want to be a bush!"

He said no.

And I realized something about myself that may not be a new realization, but when God reflects something back at me from His creation, I tend to take notice.

I've always wanted to be a bush. I work really hard at trying to be a bush, to just blend in to the backdrop, to be "normal". Hah!

But now I'm thinking maybe that's not really what God wants me to be.

Maybe God wants me to be a butterfly, like my Jewel. Maybe God wants me to spread my wings a off my intricate beauty... and  maybe even fly...maybe He's got colors all picked out just for me...and maybe, I too...will shimmer in the light.