My turn with L.L. Barkat’s book, God in the Yard is drawing to a close. I could toss my womanly self onto the floor and pitch a royal hissy-fit, complete with thrashing legs, a wailing mouth, and pounding fists. Or I could thoughtfully pluck some pretty things from my yard, sandwich the flowers and leaves between waxed paper, write a little note, and repackage the bound beauty in its original mailer and send it on its merry way. Since I am a grown-up, I obviously will choose the latter reaction. But, I may kick my legs just a bit en route to the post office.
One should really take at least an entire week for each chapter. Hmmm. That would make it a three-month journey. I had one month. I skipped the activities and the majority of the writing prompts so I could read it in its entirety. Although the previous borrower suggested I take it slow, I didn’t listen to her.
You see, I was really hungry and I needed to eat this book, cover to cover. Sure, I may have passed on some of the appealing appetizers and skipped the fanciful desserts, but I did eat the main course, even the sprigs of parsley and curly kale underneath… It was when I most needed a yard to call my own that I started this book. What I found was a poetically written recipe, free from concise measurements and mandates, but oh so full of nourishing ingredients, enough to replenish a starving woman’s soul.
On this trek, L.L. took me to the woods’ edge, sometimes she even pulled along a red sled. I felt like a miniature joy-rider stealing away in the author’s pocket, peeking over the edge to spy upon her God in the Yard revelations. I even learned about trading in my bossy green pajamas for something more comfy, more individual and form-fitting.
In the midst of some power reading yesterday afternoon, I looked upward and then I wrote…
I see God’s magnanimous
awe as it rolls
on the edge of
that expands and contracts and morphs
in His wind,
like fluffy fireworks of billowing
white Truth and love and redemption
across the beautiful
Also in that chapter regarding hospitality, I did something rare and I ceased my greedy gobbling and exchanged my fork for a pen. I did the activity…
God, are You in my summer river sandals, waiting for my cracked heels, scratched feet, and paint-less nails to walk along Your path? Are You really in those grooves of dried dirt or are You only in the clear, beckoning creek, that gurgles with delight and whispers words of love over rocks, where You carry wild currents of communion?
Because this has been a borrowed book, I have written many quotes and scribbled lots of notes (and even whole paragraphs) in my own notebook. This is quite simply not enough. Although I kindly, kindly thank you, miss L.L., for this sharing book opportunity, I am going to have to buy one for my very own self. I need my pencil and pen marks next to your worded heart. I need to dog-ear the pages. I need to hold it in my hand.
Despite gaining a most delicious insight about God’s presence from this splendid book, I remain fraught with questions…
- Why do I struggle with submission?
- Why do I submit differently with different people?
- Why does taking even five minutes to sit in solitude hurt? How could L.L. have done it for an entire hour?
- What if the shutters of my house really get hungry and eat everything inside?
- Can I be reflective without a pen in my hand and paper on my lap?
- How do you spell “kerrplunk” because that is the noise I heard while listening to my yard and the creek yesterday?
- What can I do to keep Sabbath in a way that pleases God?
- What is my temple?
- What do I see in the ashes?
- What is an ordinary day?
- Who decides what is beauty?
- How can I push back from the table completely satiated, but stand-up with hunger pains for more?
I found some guidance in L.L.’s own words from God in the Yard, “..I’m thinking I’ll continue to develop hospitality not as a prescriptive set of recipes and decorating ideas but as a welcoming state of mind.” (p. 117 in Week 12/Home: hospitality)
Yes, me too. I will open the gate of my heart’s yard to God’s Truth. Just a second, let me smooth out this woolen blanket before I open the picnic basket. Now, let the feasting really begin!