When De(Tales) Preach
Cayla is one of the first people I started connecting with through this blog. Her writing has been on my radar for a while now, and she's someone I've simply wanted to be friends with for even longer. Last weekend, I got to give her a hug (which was not planned when we set this date) and I'm pleased to tell you that she is just as lovely in person as on the page. ...
It was just supposed to have been a walk.
Of course going for walks has never been something I do well. I love the outdoors to be sure, but I am constantly fighting the compulsion to run. You know, to burn calories, push my limits; get stronger, slimmer, better. Somewhere along the way I’ve managed to convince myself that walking isn’t sufficient. To move slowly in any capacity is to be wasteful, to squander time. It is inefficient at best. It’s American culture screaming in my ears and reverberating through my bones; and largely, I’ve bought in. And yet, there are moments; moments I allow to grow and expand into slow mornings, granting them the permission to turn gracefully into slow afternoons. It’s a sacred space where coffee is savored as a luxury rather than consumed compulsively for the sake of necessity. Where the Living Word rises up to meet me as sustenance, as daily bread, as fuel and inspiration rather than just another item to be crossed off a to-do list.
Settling back into a 4-seasons state, the winters are long, cold and gray, and come brandishing a brutal blow to my spirit with their prolonged and imposing stays. And yet, it’s incredible to see what a single day of sunshine after a treacherously long week of downpour can accomplish within me. When the sun finds that chink in the atmospheric armor, breaking through the gloomy, clouded seal overhead, light pours through my windows like a flirtatious invitation to come and play. Normally, I would have thrown on my running shoes determined to capitalize on this concentrated dose of sunshine; this brief reprieve from rain. But this was not to be a normal kind of day. On this particular morning, I felt a distinct and unusual sense of permission to simply accept an invitation for a stroll with my Maker.
So I threw on a jacket instead and made my way outside, breathing in deep the pine-scented, crisp air of nature imbued with the rich aroma of earth after fresh rainfall. Immediately I felt clarity sweep through my body, filling up my lungs on the inhale, expelling clutter on the exhale, creating space.
Now, I’ve never really been a details person. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had to dodge this inescapable, dreadful question during interviews; I’ve become somewhat of an expert in this regard. After all, “The devil’s in the details” right? But if I’m going to be completely honest here- and I am- I'm just not. It’s the big picture I see. I’m great at taking steps back and seeing the beauty of sweeping tapestries that all the details have come together to create. It’s likely not too surprising then that these are also the places in which I see God. I see him on the mountaintop after an early morning hike, where the clouds form a blanket at my feet hugging the curves and caverns of the dew-kissed earth, sprawling out over an endless blue horizon. I see him as I make my way into the city, as I cross over the Marquam Bridge and a breathtaking cityscape stretches out before me, glimmering in the night and upon the soft ripples of a still riverfront. I see him in the sweeping grand gestures: the sunrises that turn to sunsets, crawling up and down an endless, intangible sky that I can’t quite wrap my head around. I see him in the forest, but I forget that the forest is made up of trees.
In my life, I can confidently say that I trust the Lord. I trust that at the end of my days I’ll look back over a full and bountiful life. That I’ll be able to look at the hard times, all the mishaps along the way, and see all the good things the Lord was crafting in preparation for redemption. I believe he will deliver on his promises. I do. I trust him with the entirety of my life.
But I find it infinitely more difficult to trust him with my tomorrow.
In my enslavement to the swift movements of life: the running, the accomplishing and attaining... the doing, I miss his hand at work in the meticulousness of the minutiae, in the stillness and all the single but necessary stitches making up the fabric of my story.
But this day, this day was different.
Making my way to the park situated just a short distance behind my house I found my senses somehow heightened as I took in the landscape before and around me. The air was crisper, the sun kinder somehow, the bird's songs brighter in their exchanging of sweet melodies overhead drawing my attention heavenward to a canopy of pine branches filtering the sunlight into concentrated streams of illumination on the path ahead. It was akin to the moment I got glasses for the first time and everything suddenly shifted from soft to sharp focus. The difference: subtle enough to go unnoticed in the day-to-day, but powerful and arresting when corrected. Suddenly, there was bark on trees and moss dressing the damp and loamy soil. Large, brown and dried up maple leaves clung to bare branches for dear life, and I wondered at their determined fortitude after a long, bitter winter. Could I be so strong?
With no agenda to keep or cling to, I found myself freed up to enjoy what simply was as it was, rather than for the potential of what could be.
They say the "Devil is in the details," but I think they are wrong. I may not be one who is naturally bent toward the details, but I have seen the declaration of the divine dwelling in them. I have heard their song, and they sing the praises of a loving, intimate God who has abandon his big, far-away throne to enter our small, seemingly insignificant stories, breathing new life after long, wearisome winters. A God who dives head-on into our messy reality, hands muddy, able and willing. My God is big, yes, absolutely. But he is not removed. He is nuanced and intricate, neglecting nothing. He sends the earth into orbit, and he leaves no stone unturned.
And to think, I almost missed it.
Cayla is a city dwelling, shower singing, coffee guzzling, food savoring, community loving daughter of a king, sister, friend, writer and disciple of Jesus. She owns her own event coordination company with her dearest friend is SE Portland, works full time as the Event Director at a golf course to pay the bills, and writes to feed her soul with what little time remains in a day. Passionate about community, matters surrounding gender equality and women in the church, Cayla seeks to use her voice by leaning into the hard conversations in an effort to move them forward toward a more Kingdom-oriented framework. She writes about all this and more on her blog Chasing Sunrise. You can also connect with her on Twitter: @CaylaCheri23.
You can check out the other de(tales) (so far) here.