Our older four children are away on a trip, so this week, driving the weekly trash to the corner fell to me. And since the oldest three boys home were helping me with the task, I couldn't leave the youngest four alone in the house. We all piled into the van. Adventure ensued as the kids, gloriously free from seat belts on our own long driveway, huddled in the back to make sure the two bungee-corded, wheeled-trash-bins continued to follow the van down to the corner. A minute later, the boys jumped out, set the bins neatly on the side of the road and hopped back in, laughing, and proud of their work.
It's been good for them to be the "older kids" this week.
A glorious evening.
We decided to drive a hundred yards further to visit our 91-year-old neighbor for a few minutes. The long way round to turn the van back to home.
Our neighbor and I watched the kids play tag, and run shouting around the house, as beams of slanting sun shot long shadows at their feet. Moments like this I always turn to smile at our neighbor and try to imagine him running barefoot in the grass at dusk as well. He was ninth of ten growing up in that house after all.
On the way back home, I drove, blinded by the sun, back to the west then turned right to go up our long gravel driveway. Trees, and weeds, and all manner of wild have grown up along the left side of the drive and I was struck by the darkness of the path. Here and there a beam of light would break through and shine a patch of shining light upon the ground. But largely, night had claimed the drive. If anything, the few beams of light only intensified the darkness.
I slowed before continuing back home, and thought... "Too bad we have to take this path, with all that sun still filling up the fields."
Immediately, I thought of the past two years.
We had to take that path. It was the only road. And although the sun still shone as bright as ever in the fields, sometimes the glimpses of light we saw only accentuated the darkness and the length of the road, curving on ahead to points unknown. And now, once having gotten used to the dimness of the path, it's a little hard to believe we have the freedom to get out again and walk back out into the field and feel the heat of sun, and have even a minute to breathe again. We're shy and uncertain, even in the gentle evening light.
I had someone send me a note the first year, urging me to write again, besides the CaringBridge reports. A kind note intended to encourage me. But, I just couldn't. I remembered all the promises of God, believed them more than ever in my bones, knew He was Good and True and Eternally Shining like the sun. Like the sun that shines the same whether we are blinded with glory facing West, or resting in the sunny field, or trudging down a dim uncertain road. But it's hard to speak that Praise out loud, or write it down, when hidden in the shade.
Sometimes, even a driveway declares the glory of God.
The heavens declare the glory of God,
and the sky above proclaims his handiwork.
Day to day pours out speech,
and night to night reveals knowledge.
There is no speech, nor are there words,
whose voice is not heard.