Saturday, June 20, 2009

God in Everything

I'm visiting Michigan for a month. It's beautiful here. This is where my husband grew up, swimming and splashing in the same lake where his own children now swim and splash every summer. Our kids are the 5th generation to call this "home," even though it's only a few weeks out of the year for us.

I love that sort of tradition and rootedness to a place. 

While being here is glorious, getting ready to be here was not. Laundry, cleaning, squeezing everything that 4 people need for a month into 2 suitcases, Cupcake unpacking what was already packed, the mile-long to-do lists before we left. I was Momzilla incarnate during those final days before takeoff.

Driving around town on one of those chaotic days before leaving, just me and my ever-present entourage of three, Brownie said something which gave me pause:

Mommy, I see God in everything.

I nearly spit out the thrice-reheated Starbucks as my eyes filled with tears and my heart swelled with conviction.

I fail to see God in everything. I want to. I need to. I'm learning to. Slowly. But typically my grown-up self is too preoccupied with the business of busy-ness, the service of domesticity, and the selfishness of my own agenda. 

The conversation did not remain lofty for long. I'm always amused by children's ability to go from the profound to the absurd in one fell swoop: 

Mommy, is God in my ice cube? If He is, then am I eating Him? 

Does God have a pinky? I think he does have a pinky.

Nonetheless, I long for the eyes and heart and faith of a child. I think I outgrew it about 28 years ago. And now, at 36, I am desperately trying to squeeze back into my kid suit. 

Being here, surrounded by the unmistakable beauty of creation, makes it easier. 

Yesterday Blondie spotted this butterfly as we walked down to the beach. It put on a show just for us, gracefully flapping its wings and squirming its fat red body. 

Later she rescued this baby dragonfly from certain death-by-arachnid, carefully untangling it from a web on the dock and tearfully exclaiming:

Mommy, I just can't bear the thought of this being its last day alive!

Much to her horror, one of its wings was broken.

This is a rehabilitation center for the baby dragonfly. (See how comfy it is on that big purple flower.)


Though unsuccessful in mending its broken wing, she was successful in creating the most beautiful deathbed a baby dragonfly has ever known. I assured her that no dragonfly has enjoyed such comfort and beauty during its final hours. 

She placed the box on her nightstand, fretting over her winged patient until she finally fell asleep. When we awoke this morning, it had passed. Blondie cried and gave it a proper burial in the front yard.

Her tender affection for living things inspires and humbles me. This is her Father's world. 

I love the quote that inspires my photographer friend, Sarah:

Earth's crammed with Heaven, And every common bush afire with God; But only he who sees, takes off his shoes.        

-Elizabeth Barrett Browning

It's easy to see Earth crammed with Heaven in the splendor of this place. To take off my shoes in reverent wonder. 

Beneath a canopy of towering firs and decades-old maples, we have gazed upon deer and sand hill cranes, geese and orioles, groundhogs and snapping turtles, fish and clams. 

And all of this has nourished my dry and desperate grown-up soul, reviving my childlike gift of seeing God in everything.

The real test will be grasping it in the everyday life I'll return to in July.

At least I'll have helpers.

While these children of mine have much to be taught, I sometimes wonder if their teacher has just as much to learn from them.

*This post is part of "Tuesdays Unwrapped" at Chatting at the Sky.


  1. I miss you sweet friend. My blondie and brownie cried at the dragonfly story. They had many questions. We can't wait to see you in less than a month. Stay strong.

  2. Oh, and after Daddy heard the whole story about baby Dragonfly - he said "Poor spider, he went without dinner that night"...suddenly the girls saw things from another perspective and their sympathies were slightly altered. I'm still on Baby D.'s side...

  3. Beautiful truth beautifully written. I miss you.

    Love you forever,

  4. Wow! you've given us a lot to ponder.
    I've just finished reading Anne of Green Gables (for the bazillionth time) and your blondie sees things like Anne did in the stories. She also had a love for God's bounty.
    Thank you for sharing and have a glorious time.

  5. Wow, Marian. Your writing and your kids wisdom humbles and inspires me. Let us all cling to the part of ourselves that see as a child sees the world.

    Aunt Martha

  6. What a wonderful post.......a great reminder to see everything through a child's eyes.


  7. Lovely so does give us pause to think and meditate on all the beauty that surrounds us doesn't it?

    At first I thought the butterfly was a snake's head! Apparently that was what God was thinking when He gave it that disguise :)

  8. So beautifully said. I really loved and appreciated this post!

  9. I must agree with your mother. "Beautiful truth, beautifully written." I'm going to add that quote to my collection.

  10. Your post really touched me - thank you! so glad I came by

  11. can I tell you that Matt did not make the last comment- that is what I get for multiple accounts with my kiddos ;)

  12. I was sad when that post ended. Thanks for letting me go swimming in your thoughs. I miss you too.

  13. Thatz a beautiful post!Loved the word momzilla;) kids do have a beautiful way of putting things, they enjoy everything they see and live each moment as it comes..something that elders just cant think about...celebration should be a part and parcel of ones life, however young or old we may have a way of celebrating everything that they come across..we do everything with all their heart..they indeed are the real teachers..sometimes what experience cannot do innocence does :)
    May God Bless u and ur family with loads of happiness!


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