Witness – To take note of; to be present
They broke at the top, where I’d punched a hole with a straw when they were drying, and now the empty yarn hangs on the bare branches of our lilac bush.
The day I hung them, Dane waited by the window for twenty minutes, watching. Birds is comin! He kept saying it, long after the sparrows had tried them and found them inedible, brick-like hearts—seed cemented with flour and Karo syrup to hold a shape.
If I had known, I would have just strewn it loose across the snow—wild seed mix, free for the taking.
But I am always trying to make things pretty. And, of course, this is how I have done it with God.
I am cramming all this beauty and mystery into a prescribed shape. I have taken the unknowable questions and the doubts and wonder and love, and I’ve pressed them flat into a set of words, a three-minute testimony to hand out on the street.
But the birdseed ornaments have fallen, unwanted, and I am thinking that maybe it is not my work to give you the pretty thing, the well-made, inedible thing.
It is winter, and the days are short. We are so many winged souls, looking for rest. Who can carry that whole brick of food? Who has the strength to break it apart, to take it down all at once?
I will give you this instead, my friend: the scattered truth of a life marked by grace, the broken pieces that together make something substantial, something good.
Right now it looks like this:
The January dark is pressing in on the windows, and I am tired. The unseasonably warm weather has kept, I think, the Seasonal Affective Disorder at bay, but I am wary, always watching for it, always waiting for it to take me down.
My prayers are short, distracted, dissolving into to-do lists in my head while I hold my coffee and wait for light to appear over the rooftop of our neighbor’s house. I try to pray for my sons, but the only thing I can think to say is Let them love you.
The truth is, I’m not sure what any of this is really supposed to look like.
The morning stretches on, and the sun never does rise in that red-yellow-orange way I want it to. But it gets light just the same. The gray-white winter morning falls in through the windows, and I am present, taking note of it, a witness to the quiet mystery of a God who is here, in this moment, in this living room, in this cold new day.