29 . together

Our days together are numbered, mine and this baby’s, whose sleeping head is sweaty against my arm now. Periodically, his blue eyes open to check that I’m still here holding him, and then the long lashes fall slowly, and he’s sleeping again, safe.

He’s closer now to one than to birth, and today I watched him push a little car across the yard, legs working just as they will when soon he lets go of supports and starts walking — running — into the future.

These days, he wants me within his vision at all times, and most often wants me within touching distance, but soon it will be two little boys trying to disappear around the house when we go outside. Two little boys napping in beds away from me.

I’m excited for them: excited that, only eighteen months apart, they’ll get to do so many things together and be best friends as well as brothers.

But for now, I’m soaking up these days with my baby still a baby, both of us content to be together.

©️Stacy Crouch 2018

28 . sing

I sang in church choirs of one sort or another for 22 years of my life. That’s a lot of years. Now, our church is choir-less, and I’m holding babies in any case.

But before choir, I remember the singing: leaning against my mom’s ribs in our little community church and hearing the song vibrate inside her. Songs to go to sleep in my bed at night. Songs from big the stereo during the day, when I danced on a sunny wooden floor. Songs sung to guitar in a living room Bible study.

In our house now, we sing constantly: hymns and pop songs suggested by conversation, made-up-on-the-spot songs about bath time or eating quesadillas or how much we love our boys. And they sing, too. Banging wooden spoon on metal pot lid, my toddler belts out “Jesus Loves Me” at max volume, and my baby sits singing baby words over a farm animals board book. My husband sings in practice for leading Sunday worship, we sing as a family in the evenings, we sing our toddler to sleep. Tuesdays, our house is crowded with Bible study attendees who enthusiastically sing selections from battered hymnals.

God made music. God made words. Each of these mighty gifts in their own right. And God allowed us to combine them: meaning and emotion meeting — gift of gifts.

©️Stacy Crouch 2018

27 . whole

Whole.

I’m sitting here playing with the difference between “whole” and “hole” in pronunciation — whispering them, actually, but rolling them around in my mouth to feel the changes.

Honestly, there isn’t much difference: not in southern American English. But if I think about that w, I find that whole fills a larger space in my mouth, feels like a more important word.

Their meanings, of course, are nearly opposites: whole has to do with completion, or something in its entirety. Hole indicates an absence of something.

Whole is what I need this post to be. Complete. Finished. Published. It stumped me all day yesterday.

Hole describes the space where ideas about whole should be in my mental writing files.

Make of it what you will: we’re all waiting to be made whole, aching with all the aches of losses and lacks.

Yet scripture reminds me: The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want. He feeds, restores, accompanies through death’s valley, spreads out a feast while my enemies look on, pours His oil of blessing over my head, and fills my cup with more than it can hold. My whole life is traced out in His goodness, His mercy. I shall be whole in His house for the whole of eternity.

©️Stacy Crouch 2018

26 . moment

And how could we endure to live and let time pass if we were always crying for one day or one year to come back–if we did not know that every day in a life fills the whole life with expectation and memory and that these are that day? —C. S. Lewis, Out of the Silent Planet

These words have been echoing around my mental space lately, as October brings all it’s accustomed nostalgia and I’m aching with the knowledge that these long sweet days of babies will be part of that nostalgia before I can blink.

These are that day. These are the every day that fill my whole life with expectation and memory. The days which must mound together and together with their sweetness and their pain to make a complete life.

At the end of the creation week, when God saw all that He had made and declared very good, it wasn’t just the sum of things on that seventh day which He declared good. He had declared the end from the beginning, and somehow, in that very good He must have included all of it. Those days and these days we live now all of them even to the end we cannot see.

And because He is good, and because I am in Him, no expectation, no memory need cause me to fear. He is good: then, now, forever.

Linking up for the weekly Five Minute Friday even while I continue my month of prompted writing. Use the “moment” button below to see more from Five Minute Friday. Click on the door above to see all I’ve been up to this month.

©️Stacy Crouch 2018

25 . capture

A few beams of the sun fought through our cloud cover for a minute or two while I did lunch dishes and boiled water for afternoon tea. They’re gone now, but I’m thinking of what it must look like on the top side of these clouds: all that golden light bouncing off the fleecy white under a blue sky.

Behind the frowning providence/He hides a smiling face.

Somehow, just imagining the glory of the sun up there — glory that I KNOW is there even though I can’t see it — makes me feel sunnier than the day’s earth-side aspect warrants.

Set your minds on things above, not on things that are on earth, Paul instructed the Colossians church. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.

Paul is talking about spiritual, not physical realities. But the physical gives a good illustration. What I know to be true is that my life, my real, true life, is with Christ above, hidden, as it were, behind these clouds. Below, all seems dreary indeed, but where Christ is, where my life is, is glory indeed — glory beyond all comparison with feeble sunbeams.

I can set my mind here below, and grumble at the oppressive clouds, or I can set my mind above, and rejoice in the glory that I know is mine, even though I cannot see it yet.

©️Stacy Crouch 2018

24 . brief

Somehow, this word brings with it scents of rubber, sweat, jet fuel, and the feeling of following Daddy’s black flight boots up concrete stairs in a building connected to a Navy jet hangar. Those memories are pushing 25 years old, but it’s amazing how a word can put you somewhere.

Daddy would talk about being “in the brief” before a flight — upon mature reflection, I realize this would have been mission instructions of when and what and where — and I can hear his voice saying “ready room,” and see in my mind a big white board covered in flight schedules, someone in a uniform at a phone behind a desk, the sturdy zippers and patches on Daddy’s green flight suit.

But a brief — or, officially, briefing. My dictionary defines it as “a short, factual oral summary of the details of a current or projected military operation given to the participants or observers.” Maybe something like Acts 1:8?

“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.”

©️Stacy Crouch 2018

23 . common

The Bible assures us that there are no uncommon temptations: we’re all tempted with the ordinary temptations of millennia of mankind. God promises that with temptation, He’ll provide a way of escape.

I tend to think of big temptations when I read that verse: the sort where you’re standing at a crossroad with a sign pointing to “SIN” one way, and “ESCAPE” the other.

I’d do better to picture myself standing at my kitchen sink, because that’s where I’m more likely to succumb to temptation: such as tonight, when warm water poured out of the cabinet onto my feet when I drained the dishwater, and I discovered our sink drain pipe rusted through, draining into the cabinet instead of out wherever it ought to go.

There was no shiny “temptation” sign, and I didn’t even consider whether there was another way to go: I sped immediately into anxiety and grumbling as I ran for old towels, emptied assorted bottles from the cabinet, and mopped up the mess. The old house and all its attendant issues, the fact that it happened an hour before we expected a house full for Bible study, the mess, the crying baby vying for my attention, fears about plumbing everywhere else in the house …. I spiraled quickly.

These are common temptations indeed, are they not? Yet I might have paused and seen the way of escape, if I’d only looked for it. The way of gratitude: that the leak came after the supper dishes were finished, instead of before. That my husband was already on the way to the store for disposable cups, before we knew we wouldn’t be able to wash any cups tonight. That we have two other sinks in the house, so hands can still be washed easily. That it’s a pipe in a cabinet instead of in a wall. That I have a kitchen sink. That we can probably fix it ourselves. That we get to fill our house with people tonight ….

It’s the Lord who directs my steps, even into greasy dishwater, and He is always good.

©️Stacy Crouch 2018