there’s a song that The Guitarist added that I love and have listened to about two hundred times too many. sometimes when someone sings a thing and their voice is that just right tone, it grips you by the soul and shakes you hard. “You’ve got me chasing promises on the horizon. They come and go. All these visions come and go. And I keep chasing knowing I will never find them.” right now it’s playing in my background as I sit, right side up in a state of pain, considering words and shadows as they form on my sheets.
new ann voskamp stared at me from the hobby lobby shelf today and I was a goner; by the time I walked out, it was mine. and again, like so many other times over the past 3 years, she spoke to me the words that bottle up in my chest and mind. “how, how, do you always know what I feel.” is what I always think when I flip through her pages, letting the wisdom and the broken seep into me. the world flies by my window as I absorb and little ones howl behind me, making me do a turn around and sing Christmas songs for a moment.
so, the sky is blue and I’m reading. and then she hits me. square in the chest, where I’m weakest and where it hurts and the words seep in and I’m feeling. Because suddenly there is love on the page and it’s the love I feel, that I whisper to be real in words that don’t make sense outside of my head. “Real love dares you to the really dangerous: die in the diminutive. Be broken and give in the small, the moment so small no one may applaud at all… The broken way is the beautiful, boring way, the way two lives touch each and go deeper into time with each other, one act of sacrificial love after another. The best love could be a broken, boring love – letting your heart be bore into by another heart, one small act of love at a time.” (Ann Voskamp, The Broken Way)
all of a sudden, broken me breaks a little more. the cracks in my heart split farther. somehow it hurts in a beautiful way to finally see it the way I wanted it. that the titanic, notebook, while you were sleeping love isn’t the realest (though wonderful in their ways) most lovely love, but rather… the head kissing Mama love, buying the notebook for the little girl with-the-big-eyes behind you in line love, the slipping cookies onto a plate and leaving it unnoticed on a doorstep love, the canned pear carrying-to-hand-out Redhead love. the love that no one outside of you and the blessed and the observer know about. this love slips into the whispered hush of the universe and oh, oh, there it rings on.
this brings me to the song that plays behind me. “You’ve got me chasing promises on the horizon. They come and go. All these visions come and go. And I keep chasing knowing I will never find them.” and suddenly I ache. because human love can be so broken; the illusion of it shows its face more often than it rears its real, real head. humans play games and abandon and abuse and show extravagance where simplicity should resound. it breaks us. and makes us. over and over and over into the oblivion that someday we will all enter into. only that father that looks down on me from somewhere in eternity can love so totally, so fully, and my Ann would argue that even his heart breaks. that our savior died of a broken heart and the weight of a humanity that was loveless in the realest way. his promises are the ones I will never have to chase. unlike the ones of a love-lacking humanity, where the wind blows opinions and words and feelings, the ones of the Master of the Broken will never break in the ways that flesh will.
so here goes in the continuing of my small loves. continuing of the soft notes written on paper for The Guitarist, of the shoe-tying of my Kindergarteners, of the messages scrawled in surprise books for Anne-Girl, of the candy apples in Little Ones’ lunchboxes, of smuggled Pine-Sol and scrubbed floors, of memorized Starbucks orders for later times. because I’m not one for extravagance and now I know, oh, I know, that the way I try to love is loving at best. like the foot washing of Jesus, a mix of perfume and tears. the stopped bleeding of a woman reaching in a crowd. in the eternity, won’t these be the most resonant? why don’t you join me? look around in your laundry clutter, your daily crazy, your grocery searching — and breathe. do something small and realize it is large. take a chance and let your actions whisper your intentions.
my Daddy always calls out to us as we leave be dangerous, take chances. I hadn’t thought of it, but that is love, true and real. it’s a love of life and people and the father that looks down on me from somewhere in eternity. tonight as my beads slip between my fingertips, all I can whisper is lord, have mercy, lord, let me be dangerous. in the small, in the large, oh, it is all a chance.
Links related to blog post:
Ann Voskamp’s website