holy Saturday

Truth, truth. It is like a dye, staining every thought I have this weekend. I have scripture ringing in my ears – a lying tongue hates its victims; Proverbs 26. I repeat it to myself, thinking not just of telling lies but of softening truths. It is so easy to sidestep truth, to just assume somebody knows my beliefs and positions and that I don’t need to clarify them.

I never want to present truth unlovingly. It’s the spoonful of sugar with the medicine. But you can’t be nourished on spoonfuls of sugar alone, and that’s the way our culture has leaned. Religion is suddenly acceptable if love is the only real application. But truth and love are inseparable. That is actually my clearest memory from my recent trip to California.

Redwoods are beautiful, don’t misunderstand me! I loved them. But on the way back to the airport, Tiffany reminded me of the absolute vitality of truth. It’s unloving to not speak the truth she said firmly. She’s right. I’ve been mulling over those words since I reached the airport and quietly circled the terminal with hot coffee.

I read a post about celebrating Easter as a millennial who’s left church culture, and the post was about the spirituality (in a loose sense) of the holiday and the beauty of celebrating newness. I love newness and celebration, but the truth of Easter is so much more brutal, so sin-dyed. And it is so much more powerful, beautiful, so earth-shattering light-filled. Easter is the obliteration of our blackest wrongs through brutal death. Earth is the glory of new life where no life was even possible before.

Tiffany was right about truth. To withhold the glorious beauty of Easter and just celebrate newness? That is no kind of love. I do not want to alienate people who are on the fringes of faith and church, but I’m not going to break the truth into pieces we can consume without fear. Truth in love, yes. Half truth, no.

Those are my thoughts on this Saturday of waiting – the day in between death and Resurrection, a grave day of not celebrating, not yet. And this is my invitation to you: celebrate with us tomorrow. Celebrate life and grace and forgiveness, the truth of the holy day.

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I went for a barefoot walk yesterday. It forced me to be more aware. I noticed the old, roughened sidewalk outside our home, the broken gravelly walk beside the Missouri Synod church, the fresh new sidewalk a few blocks away. I imagined the prickly dry grasses, the packed full gravel of alleys. I began to notice other things too, with my senses so heightened. The fresh pine scent of a new fence around a corner house. The rocky shadows as clouds gathered around Pikes Peak. The way my legs itched to walk and walk and walk, muscles begging for exercise.

I pondered too, while I walked. In some smooth sequence of thoughts which I have now forgotten, my mind moved from the sidewalk textures to my aversion to review.

I’m not a perfectionist, but I am very success oriented. I’m wired to read social environments, to understand what other people value, and to try to be that as well as I can. It’s a comparison trap but one that’s always changing. If introspection and writing are what’s valued,I want to be the most introspective writer. If outdoor skills are in, I want to be the one acquainted with the most trails, the girl who makes her own granola for hiking snacks. If I don’t think I can do something well or impress a group on the first go around, I don’t usually try.

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I hate to be told “That’s good, but you can do better.” All my rough drafts have to also be final edits. My first thoughts on a new topic must be airtight considerations.

I once heard that reading your writing out loud is the best way to catch errors in flow and grammar. It’s true. I hate it; or at least I used to. Now I’m slowly learning the power of double checking.

I view and read each of my blog posts as a preview before I publish them. I don’t catch everything but I do find a few improvements, errors, better ways to express myself. It’s still a challenge; I’m still a stubborn people-pleaser sometimes. But I’m learning. I’m learning how to practice, to let myself grow into skill instead of hiding anything that’s not immediately perfect. Mediocre is not always an insult; sometimes it’s a phase in between poor and excellent. Good work takes several practice rounds, multiple drafts. A series of photographs may reveal only one keeper. That is good. That is growth.

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So, here’s to the in-betweeners, the ones who are practicing, who aren’t giving up even though they aren’t there yet. Tell me, what are you practicing?