My skirt is still damp when I sit down between my husband and his co-workers for dinner. All eight of us turned around to inspect the water marks left from a drizzly boat ride at dusk moments before. Our soggy seat stains rival the sweat rings under our arms but I don’t mind. It’s the first time I’ve had dinner with friends in months. They don’t know that, no one does.
Lately, I’m alone at the community table, trying to read His lips across the street, through rain falling like a waterfall on glass. And no matter how close I put my eyes to the glass, how much I press on the transparent wall for clarity on all the questions that begin with why, all I see is my own reflection staring back at me. It doesn’t look the way I imagined; the empty table or my reflection. And perhaps that is the point.
In her new book Wonderstruck, Margaret Feinberg writes, “We all need a table, a place where we gather to be fully and truly ourselves. Without such a place, we may lose track of our souls, embracing a cheap, snap-together fiberboard image of ourselves instead of the uneven, rustic, knotty reality that, when unveiled, reveals the mystery and beauty of the imago dei—the image of God. We need a place where we pray for a replenished wonder of friendship and wait for God to answer in unexpected ways.”
My friends and I, we tell stories about honeymoons and memorable trips. Tip stemmed glasses to quench soul thirst and laugh about parenthood. And the heaviness, it falls off in belonging.
The more I live in the confines of my own mind, the busyness of my own making, the less I bare the image of His likeness. I forget the “uneven, rustic, knotty” soul that I am.
And I’m willing to wade waist high in floodwater to get close enough to hear His voice and touch his face but perhaps if I did, then I wouldn’t know the wonder. Wonder that comes on the heels of hunkering down in the wait of isolation, for the crack of light to skim the floor and turn my head toward the voices around the table.
Loneliness, it’s the rut we step over between the old eyes and the new ones being made in the hollow. New eyes to see that what we’ve taken for granted is often our greatest gift.
Margaret writes, “Despite the miles and meals they shared, those closest to Jesus had lost their childlike receptivity, their ability to recognize that both God’s response to us and our response to God is seldom what we anticipate.”
When taught by depravity, a hole in a leaf becomes an intricate web of myopic beauty, dead nettles like a choir of heads hallowing halleluiahs; sun, the illuminator of translucent glory, and a soggy water mark on the seat of your skirt, an answer to prayer.
That’s when you know you are Wonderstruck, that you’ve seen the face of God and you’re not alone.
“Therefore once more I will astound these people with wonder upon wonder.” Isaiah 29:14
Q4U: Where have you seen the wonder of God in your own life?
My friend, Margaret Feinberg, has a new book and 7-session DVD Bible study called Wonderstruck: Awaken to the Nearness of God, which releases Christmas Day. Margaret’s books are on my Books I Read list and I’ve had the privilege of reading a few chapters of this new one. I know you will love it. So I’m giving two copies away today on the blog. Just leave a comment and I’ll add your name to the drawing on Thursday.
Leslie Durham and Michelle DeRusha won a copy of Wonderstruck. Congratulations and Merry Christmas friends!