Monday, May 12

this nest: for when you miss someone greatly

A sweet friend came up to me yesterday, wrapped her hand in mine, and said, "You have more words in you. They're in there. I just know it."

Lately I've not been paying attention to my words. They lay dormant and still.
I've been quietly remembering.

But, you know, she is right.

Yesterday was Mother's Day. I have a number of friends who I knew had to be missing their moms so badly it felt like work just to breathe. That's what missing feels like, sometimes.

And as May works itself into June, I have been remembering a friend who I miss very much. Lately it seems a good amount of my close friends have been doing that same remembering.

So this is for you. For the empty chair at your table. For the conversations that you miss, and the memories that you keep. For the ones who you remember, who you wish were here. For them. For you. For us.


Dear friend,

I woke up a few weeks ago to the sound of chirping. But I didn't listen closely. I just kept on with my getting-ready, going-to-work, drinking-coffee noises. A few days later, I saw a few twigs on my windowsill and nearly brushed them away. I had been missing my friend, and remembering some things, and I just kept concentrating on getting through today.

Tying my shoes. Throwing in the laundry. Getting gasoline.

Just right now. And the next moment, and then the next. Until one night I got pretty honest with God about how much I don't like death, and I don't like pain, and I don't like remembering people who I wish were still here. I just let it all spill out.

The next morning, I opened my blinds and there was this nest, so intricate and beautiful that it almost didn't seem real. 

I remember thinking this can't be possible. You see, birds are my favorite animal, especially sparrows and robins. This nest, so intricately woven, felt like a well-wrapped gift directly from the heart of God. It was as if He was telling me, I remember you.

And even as I missed my friend, I began to remember the God who drew me to Himself. How His timing is nothing but faithful. And even as I grieved for what was, my God was creating new life right outside my window: what will be.


I peeked outside my window today to find two little balls of fur snuggled up against each other, and one turquoise jewel egg still waiting to be hatched.

The mother robin returned to the nest to provide for and protect her little ones.
As they fumbled around on weak legs, begging to be fed, and kept warm, and crying out, I realized that this is how He cares for us. And even when I am missing someone, when I am miffed about death, He just stretches out His wings and draws me closer.

We are only here for a little while. We celebrate and live, and we miss and we mourn, and sometimes we do both at the same time. 

It may seem like the most simple, obvious thing, but I still can't fathom how the same God who cares deeply for the small and intricate, cares equally for this giant world, and the canvases of our hearts. That He sent Jesus so that death might be swallowed up by glorious love.

I take shelter in this: He is still making things new, right outside my window. In people, and in places, and in the gifts disguised as ordinary. In you, and in me, and even in the pain that shapes us, this, here: new life.


Anonymous said...

Thank you.

Naomi V. said...

I love you Elizabeth. What beautiful words. I'm glad you wrote them.