Wednesday, April 7, 2010


I'm not a sunny side up person. I'm not. I'm actually quite negative. I see failure and brokeness everywhere. Daily basis. Hourly, really. But, I'm not a pessimist.

Over the years, I've understood some things about myself. It took me a while to get it clear. Am I a through-and-through optimist? Not at all. But, I see beauty everywhere. I see redemption everywhere. In any horrible circumstance I've experienced myself or through the eyes of another, I see all the negative, all the pain, all the awful- but tend to find the undercover beauty. I don't try. I just rises to the top. It just does. I've realized that's just me.

Does that take away the pain? Does it make things right? Does it make the mess clean? No. But it makes the experience fuller, rounder, gives it color in the sea of gray and black, and points me to the day when things will be whole again.

If I saw a garbage dump, I'd see the sea of scum, be overwhelmed by it's stench, and automatically search out something shiny or glittery, and get all hopeful and poetic over it. I have an unfailing ability to scan the dusty shelves of a thrift store to find the one jewel lost and forgotten, mistreated or left behind, and I take incredible joy in bringing it home, cleaning it up, and giving it life and purpose again.

That's me.

I'm not an optimist.

I'm a redemptionist. I see it everywhere.

And so this blog has become over the years a picture of our lives, and as I am the lone publisher, it's a picture through my eyes.

It's not that life isn't a multi-faceted experience of frustration and beauty, richness and poorness, struggle and victory- it's just that I tend to be inspired to write about the beauty. Not the mundane, or the failures (though if they produce something wonderful I'm drawn to tell). I never, ever feel a pull to make things seem more wonderful than they are- but I am drawn to call up the glory of the good, of those things that are beautiful in the midst of a life of ups and downs.

Yesterday I was up to my shoulders in attitude and tears from my passionate 2 1/2 year old, struggling with the language barrier and learning to handle the huge emotions that live in such a compact body- even when I grew near the breaking point ready to lock myself in my room and sever all attempts at reason with him, I was thinking, "Man, life is good. I love my job. I love this fat little man. I don't want to see him for the rest of the day, but he's so infinitely valuable to me." Even when things are horrible. This is where I go. It's not a lie, it's not glossing over the truth. It's recognizing a whole picture. The pain and the glory. And it's holding the glory up to the light and seeing it from all it's angles. The thing that points us to forever. That's what I'm drawn to do. And it rose up out of struggle. Now it's even more beautiful. And so that struggle had a good purpose. And now that's beautiful in it's way too.

And so now to what inspired this post, my Paperwhites.

Flowers are miraculous. Seeds. Bulbs. Cut them open, and they're just made of nothing. And out of these pieces of nothing, a scientific miracle of grand design shoots up color and beauty.

And so when Sesame Street provided an hour of rest from said 2 year old, I spent a chunk of it photographing our Paperwhites. And thinking of how amazing they are. Did it take away the attitudes of my son's heart? Not at all. He was back in full force in no time.

But the beauty was real. True. A balm. A place of peace.

And so now, after a full night's rest and time to muse on my lovely Paperwhites for this little blog post, I will hit publish and begin another day teaching a future man how to harness and express his emotions, how to honor and respect, and how to say things just the right way to make his mother and all other women's hearts melt into a puddle.

What a fantastic job.


Buckeroomama said...

Beautiful post (and photos --goes without saying)!

Redemptionist. I love the sound of that. I love your definition.

Rachel said...

I really like this. I would like to be an optimist. Or a redemptionist. I'm a pretty through-and-through pessimist. Although I will say, Noah's pushing me hard in the other direction with his own pessimistic tendencies. Kids are good like that.