Back in the north, I wonder if I need to re-grow some of my thick New York skin.
I don't want to remember how to hide what I'm really feeling in cutting words and removed demeanors.
I don't know how to get you to crack open. Your hard shell is cold and icy, and my fingers recoil with one brush against your steel frame.
I don't know how to get you to hear that you're loved just as you are. That community is not only for the happy, sociable, speak-too-soon Peters. It's for the reclining Johns, the fishermen who love solitude, the woman who sat at his feet and just listened, the Man himself who would retreat to hide from the crowds.
It's not just the north. Or the south. It's just us. People. Oh how we need grace. We need the good news to not just save us, but be the power to change us as well.
There's our common ground. I found it.
So here is today. All I know is I'm rising with the sun this morning and praying to see beyond what I see. I've just filled the french press with coffee and hot water, and I sit and wait for the richness to happen inside. I'm glad for coffee on to-do list days.
Today, my weakness wants to scathe against itself. Make what feels raw, bleed. I feel my patience wane thin when I sit to work and the toddling one finds every possible reason to turn one question into a 10-minute experience. My heart races when I watch the clock tick towards a deadline and I am cleaning up spilled yogurt, or washing peanut butter off of the television.
Days ago, I wrote it down. To see and remember, recite.
"...while we were still weak." Oh yes. That.
My hope today is to not react to life, but respond to graces. Grace only, and always; in and through me, and her, and you, and all of this. It's so easy to just react. When something hits me where I'm weakest, I bend and wince, cry out and stare only at the wound. It's a work of grace to respond. To wince, maybe, and then lift my eyes.
Looking is believing, right?
Rely on the fruit of a tree that I did not grow. A tree with roots deeper than my own, branches reaching to the sun. That's the fruit I long for.
And isn't the shattering of shells, the fingers reaching back after recoiling, the space we give one another to be unsure, uneasy, cold, broken, and the first person to admit they're weak
— isn't this all a work of grace?
I'm sloughing off this thick skin that's trying to cover my heart. I will be me, by grace; I will be honest with you, by grace; I will not grow hard to you, by grace.