On Holly & Holy & Here Inbetween
I’m thankful for Emily’s words, and the way they really do cause me to pause, to stop and let this soul breathe. And today, I needed to heed her advice. To step outside, away from the doing and not done and into the quiet of the frigid air here.
And sometimes I can rest easy and just be, relying on the hope that I am fully known and loved, and in the just being, the being with the Creator in His creation, I am renewed and refreshed. But today I find it difficult to just be. I read these words before I wrap up in vest and scarf, an attempt to mute the incessant ramblings of my mind with something strong and still:
“A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse;
from his roots a Branch will bear fruit.
The Spirit of the LORD will rest on him—
the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding,
the Spirit of counsel and of might,
the Spirit of the knowledge and fear of the LORD—
and he will delight in the fear of the LORD. He will not judge by what he sees with his eyes,
or decide by what he hears with his ears…” Isaiah 11
And I go out with pruning sheers, because I’m afraid if I go with nothing, just the stillness and the Word alone, that I might waste my time. And this way, I’ll at least hold holly pruned to prove the worth of my time. It’s holly over the Holy, I value today, productivity over presence.
And I find, in the quiet I hoped for – now disrupted by the steady hammering and clamoring of builders next door, I find the source of the nuisance we could not discover in the lush green of summer. And I hack off a pile of unwieldy branches so large that it almost dwarfs the holly bush itself.
And the largest branch is the hardest to prune, this one that grew ridiculously long all summer, ignored by previously owners and left to grow long till this, its dormant season, when pruning harms least and promises future growth, when the cold air is forgotten and snow not yet seen is a melted memory.
And the living fibers I find inside the cut branch remind me of a vine and its branches, and the desperate need I have to be connected with the source of life. And out here in the unwieldy beauty and the air that toes the line between unbearably cold and deeply refreshing, I pray for a heart that’s not afraid to be still, that needs not pruning sheers and distraction to shelter me from the mixed cup of wild beauty and heartbreak this life offers. And I offer thanks to the author of my faith, who meets me in the still centered times, and also in the dailiness and in my failures and in the dormant beauty here.