Dear Miss Lavender,
It was a beautiful day in the neighborhood today. You will ask why, I know, for you are inquisitive, like all of us ought to be. It was beautiful because the sun rose, crisp and new from underneath its covers. It graced the sky with a message of lilac and petunia hope. You would have loved it, for you love early mornings and promises of beauty for a day yet unseen.
At 7:47am, I lifted my head to begin work, and drooped it again, taking a moment to sink into a silence of prayer. I don’t pray enough, Lavender, and I wish I did. I wish I could pray like Augustine; pray those magnificent prayers that aren’t just for show, but for love and awe and gratitude to a God who would give so richly and generously. I probably prayed something like, dear God, please help me to do better and not feel such and such and to think thoughts of such and such and to be better and do better and such and such. I am sure He heard, for there is nothing too distant from his ears, even the mutterings of a simple woman in a simple room, simply speaking simple phrases. But, oh how meager sometimes. Don’t you just feel like a small pigeon, picking at crumbs sometimes, when there were such giants before us?
If God isn’t for us, aren’t we dreadfully doomed? Would God be like Dr. Frankenstein who is appalled at our ugliness and turns away from us in shame and disgust and leaves us to ravage the world? Hmmm. Would He?
I ask a lot of questions, Lavender. Last week I was with a friend, and I was a silent as a stone. Sometimes, we mistake questions for interest. But couldn’t it be that it’s the feeling to be uncomfortable in your own silence? You speak because your heart cannot stand to be still. I was still and that was a wonder, for I am the hopping-about type; the one who must jump from one lily pad to the next. I am full of ripe apples, ready to be roasted, or corn kernels ready to be popped. There is much to be done and not enough time. To be silent is to be at peace, you know. At peace with someone else as much as with yourself. Can you take 10 minutes and not fiddle? Can you keep your fingers from groaning and your eyes from darting frantically, hoping to fixate on something new?
I saw something beautiful today. It was a picture of an old man, placing his arthritic, graying hands on the top of his wife’s grave in a moment of silence. He thought she was beautiful and he came back to tell her so. I wanted to give him a rose right then and there. I wanted to hug him and say, yes, you will see your wife again. I don’t know that, and I wasn’t there so I couldn’t do those things. I just watched the still life of this silent black and white man through the lens of someone else’s camera. It’s beauty, though. Beauty that God would place us here with people and with a thing we call love. What is this thing we call love? Type it in sentences and frame it and see if everyone understands.
Lavender, it is 9:48pm and almost my bedtime. If I were a grandma, I would be a very good one. I cannot wait for the day when I live in a brick cottage with a red door and give out cookies to little children who point at my wiry gray curly hair and ask why my face is full of lines and wrinkles. I don’t know if this will truly happen, but I hope it will. I hope there will be cookies in my future and kindness too. The Lord knows I need more of that. Will there be a more fully sanctified grandma handing out cookies one day? Lord, may it be.