Saturday, July 2, 2011


We are sitting in Lauren's backyard about midnight, looking out over about 100 acres, the sky navy blue and studded with stars. And we are talking about life, but it strikes me that we are really talking about whittling. A woodcarver starts with a chunk of wood and a vision. There have been lots of events in her life and in mine that have pared us down, made us sharper and brought focus and uniqueness to bear in making us who we are. A lot of that has involved hard work, and some of it has even been painful. But the journey's in the process, not the finished product. And I think that's where God calls to us, in his age-old whisper...He calls us to recognize the path. The twists and turns are His way of honing us and creating us in His image. I was wondering if God has anything to say about woodcarving, and He does! In Exodus 35:30, he tells us that His spirit brings us wisdom, understanding, and ability in every kind of craft, to include carving wood. Wisdom has been a study I've worked on for some time, and Lauren shared with me some insights from her childhood that gave her wisdom beyond her years. Perhaps more than any other gift she's shown me since we celebrated her birth 32 years ago has been her uncanny understanding that exceeds her age. At birth, she understood my need for her and her need for me...when she entered school, she understood the need to succeed...when she welcomed each younger sibling into the family, she understood the added responsibility of being the oldest. Today she understands how to let go of the past and live in the present. She's teaching me how to do that as well. She has the woodcarver's vision; she's able to see beneath the rustic exterior of a chunk of wood what it is capable of becoming...she can see the wood's future...and it's something I love about who she is. What a gift it is to give someone understanding, and what a present it is to be understood. We sit in the silence of the time just past midnight, and listen to the far-off cries of coyotes and their pups. In the distance, you can hear the lazy yawns of cattle as they settle into the grass, hay ready to be cut. There is a light breeze, and it scoots a few leaves around our feet. We laugh at her lab, crunching on beetles and pecans he's discovered in the yard. A star shoots across the sky and I whisper my simple wish for my firstborn...happy birthday.

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