you are wonderful
From the worn table–an oval thing, brown like the hull of a nut and rubbed with a history of fingers, a delicate kaleidoscope of tiny butterflies drifts, falling lightly on our living room carpet. I scoop up the thin, papery things with one hand as I walk by, kneeling just the moment, and carefully dump them back in a lovely pastel pile. Their wings look faded, like something salt-glazed and sun-bleached. I can’t help but tweak a few, bending their wings to suggest only a temporary lighting, positioning them in sweeping movement across the background. I’m not finished yet, but I will. I always do. And then, just a whisper of something–I am confident that He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion (Philippians 1:6). Yes, God always finishes too, eventually.
In our home, we treasure a thousand unfinished things, works in progress that when finished will only move us to start again. For each one of us, these breathing spaces look a little different, but I find them alive in nooks all over the house as I move through collecting the bits of things that seem to fall from our fingers as we live and move, those unattached elements that fall to the floor or land, abandoned temporarily, on every flat surface. Riley’s puzzle on the dining room table looks as though she’s just walked away from it–the halves of the box heaped with extra pieces, one tilted awkwardly, as though the sound of its solid landing only just melted into the air around us. She always starts with the frame, and that part stretches long and linear, solidly complete, while the rest of the puzzle exists in sections she’s put together in the middle. Some of these float like colorful, disconnected islands, still trying to find their place.
On the ottoman in the living room I find Adam’s cd collection, neatly organized in uneven stacks I do not understand. I have watched him stop on his way through the room just to lay a hand against the edge of one of these glossy silver towers, deftly sliding a thumb through the center just to make sure they line up correctly. Together, those stacks look familiar–a representation of something I can’t quite place–and then I see it, the pulsing digital lines on his keyboard when he plays, or on the television screen when he uses the DVD player to fill our house with music. Although he doesn’t like to hear anyone else sing or watch them dance, he seems always to be mid-song himself, and here, on the ottoman, he has created the visual equivalent of a single sound, still reverberating.
Creativity flows out of us as we breathe. It is the colorful, vibrant, resourcefulness in all of us, though it doesn’t look the same in any of us. Zoe’s works-in-progress wait on a device she holds in her hand, photographs and montages and collections of favorite things she blends impressively in moments here and there when I find her curled up in a chair beside the window. And in slices of time Kevin discovers like hidden gems, he pours his creativity into taking care of us. There’s the faucet he replaced in the kitchen, building me a shelf for supplies underneath out of reclaimed wood; the small vegetable garden he’s dreamed up outside. And then, of course, is his photography, the way he can capture the natural beauty of a moment with just the right measure of light.
So, today, I’m walking through our home, scooping butterflies up in my palm, gathering up all the sweet and simple ways God expresses the Truth right through us. We are, after all, billions of works in progress, the art He touches with His hands. And all this life, He tweaks us, gooping up His fingertips in thousands of ways in living, breathing spaces. Finishing one work only leads Him to begin another. And just as we pour ourselves into our little creations, He pours Himself right into us, with a Love that is both lavish and enduring.
I don’t know about you, but this is just the reminder I need today, and it comes to me by surprise in the middle of a morning. Just the moment after I catch my reflection in a mirror and a sigh rushes out from my heart, He lifts me in His hands again and gently sculpts something new. Hey, look around a little. I have summoned you by name, and you. are. mine (Isaiah 43:1). You are fearfully and wonderfully made. My works are wonderful. Know that (Psalm 139:14).