Winter's morn

Frost lies crystalline on the window pane. The darkness stubbornly hangs with refusal to give way to light. It's ironic that the trees stand naked when this cold would urge anyone else to clothe themselves. I shiver, thinking about their vulnerable stance. The hope of morning, this faint glow, presses the black covering of the earth into hues of blue. Those bare, wooden limbs silhouetted, unmoving, looking like intricate lace. The artistry of this morning sky amazes me as gold, orange and ochre gently move the horizon into a glow, the changes are almost imperceptible, until they roar with their insistence that morning will come. The canopy of the earth bows in submission to this greater force and allows the light to transform it into iridescent blue.
A thought, vague at first, as if still waiting for that morning light, peeks out of the shadows every so often. I was touched and yet a little startled when I recognized that the trees stood naked and, in fact, all of creation finds glory in its nakedness, that is, except humans. With a flicker of recognition, the thought would pass by, but as a faithful friend keeps coming back, so did the thought, threading across this thought to that thought, like the assembling of a silken web. I found myself reflecting on how far we have separated ourselves not just from each other, but from our creator. The beauty and simplicity of innocent nakedness has been lost in the myriad of images that serve to stimulate and titillate. When did skin stop being the clothing for the soul and start being what defines the soul? I feel sadness and anger as I write this because surely I have lived this and felt this - the fight to be beautiful on the outside, the pressure of feeling like there is this invisible standard that I can never quite reach, that I am not enough. I look again on the tree, beautiful in nakedness - no hiding, there is no shame for that tree.
We have been hiding since the garden. It is the sickness of mankind, cutting through communion with God and one another which is the very thing we were made for. No wonder the ache, the pain, the turning to other sources of comfort. I see it in me, the cry to let the darkness cover me because exposure seems so brutal, so final. Yet, in a strange way I take comfort in the roaring of the sun rising, because, one day, He will reveal us forever in the warmth of the Son, our skin will be clothing of our soul, our souls will be laid bare and He will make the darkness and the fear flee away.
Yet, how do I live today? That piercing, revealing light that I shun because I feel so vulnerable is the very thing I need to find that deep place of aloneness filled today. I internally squirm because who wants the flashlight shone on them? But I have to remember who He is. He is not one that abuses, probing into our area of weakest vulnerability, He is gentle: "A bruised reed he will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out." Isaiah 42:3
Everything within me recoils at the thought of this level of exposure before Him and I question whether I have ever tasted the goodness of all that He is. Certainly I have tasted the apple from the forbidden tree but have I drunk deep from the water of life? I remind myself that vulnerable nakedness before Him is safe. He doesn't first see my body and then, maybe, if he find the time, bother to figure out what's under the skin. No. He  sees all that is within me, the longings, the fears, the questions, the hopes, the anger and He calls me beautiful, and He sees all that I am on the outside and says, "my work is perfect." It is the strangest thing to consider that I am who I am because He made me that way. But that is all theory until I finally choose to test Him out and that takes faith - the leap into the great unknown. 
Until I am ready to make that leap I will pray for grace to become like a tree:

1Blessed is the man
who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked
or stand in the way of sinners
or sit in the seat of mockers.
2But his delight is in the law of the Lord,
and on his law he meditates day and night.
3He is like a tree planted by streams of water,
which yields its fruit in season
and whose leaf does not wither.
Whatever he does prospers (Psalm 1:1-3)


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