Glorious Days

"Come April and on into May, He'd painted an image that I'd locked hold to, one of freedom. Joy."

THE YEAR IN REVIEW. Deep in the old hollow, down where the possums keep their stash, I found a ladder. Rickety old thing, the rungs bent and twisted upward through a narrow hole. Taking a breath, not quite deep enough, I began the climb, though the way wended through thorns and cockleburs. Pesky little things. You pick one off and find there are others. On your socks. In your hair.

Round about February, it began to rain, the slightest mist, not really rain, more of a fog, the air clustered so thick, it could see itself. There’s a lot of strange sounds in the fog and they carry different. Something far off sounds like it's right next to you and things right beside you sound as if they’re miles away. It was hard to judge the distance at times, though I bumped up against Valentine’s Day and recognized it. Lots of hearts and pink-and-red things.

Come March, my hopes were up. I reached a handhold and left the ladder for dry ground. All around me spring bloomed. Flowers, flowers, and more flowers, and there amidst them in His trench coat was … (looks both ways and lowers my voice) … the Holy Spirit. Doin’ His still, small whisper voice. I leaned in. “Keep going forward,” He said.

Forward stretched ahead of me, long. There were nine months ahead in this year. A lot can happen in nine months. Been there, done that, (once, mind you), and it cost me the t-shirt. But not every birth is an infant. Some are plans and footsteps, renderings. Some are artist’s depictions, and God’s the biggest artist of them all.

Come April and on into May, He’d painted an image that I’d locked hold to, one of freedom. Joy. And I discovered that the Good Lord has a sense of humor. He’s not all robes and sashes with golden crowns. Okay, the crown doesn’t come off, but you get my point. He’s been there, too. Walked the earth, ate the food, cleaned up the table. Heard the bad jokes and wanted to laugh. Snickered. That’ll sit you up straight. Jesus snickering.

We’ve got His image correct. He was the Voice that cried out in the temple, the red-faced choler which turned over tables and emptied cages. He’s the gentleness that would lift a child onto His knee for an example and everyone’s looking askance, ashamed. He’s the kindness that called forth Lazarus out of the grave. But somewhere amidst all of that, Peter told a bacon joke, and Jesus laughed.

Despite the rough terrain, cactus thorns and sand in my eyes, I laughed. Despite twisting my ankle around Boulder Bend #2, I limped my way forward, the Holy Spirit’s hand in mine, and found June anyway. Stumbled into July, and the flag caught my eye. Square in the middle of those stars and stripes is an image of the King and a promise to these people to be of the people, for the people, and by the people so we won’t perish from this earth. I celebrated with a chorus of the Star-Spangled Banner and a new pair of walking shoes, left me by the river.

It started under Boulder Bend #111 and grew wider and wider until, come August, it was hot, mind you, but the grass grew across the valley, where I could sit down and rest, drink it all in. Birds and bees, a spot of shade, beneath a tree whose roots dug in deep. No matter the season, that tree held its fruit. So I sat and snacked then God said, “Go.” He led me to a pathway, wandering into the horizon, and He walked there beside me, past September, through October, until Thanksgiving rolled my way, and I realized, this far into November, that the gift I was carrying had spun from my hands and the birth was ready when time came for it.

I realized all that walking had made me well again, and all that speaking to the Spirit, had given me strength. Had given me Jesus. And the Father, whose loving voice spoke, too. What’d started in a hole had become a wide plain, and me, square upon it in a cool December breeze. Now, here it is December 31st, 2023, not 2022, or 2021, or 2020. And tomorrow is January 1st 2024, and though there are things behind me, there are far more ahead, better things, glorious things, and enough love from my faithful heavenly Friends to carry me there.

“But he defiantly replied, ‘I was paralyzed for thirty-eight years; and today, a man completely healed me—something you priests and lawyers could never do—and this man told me, ‘Pick up your mat and walk.’” (John 5:11, Remedy)

Image by inspireus from Pixabay

Suzanne D. Williams, Author