Mud Pies 10.04.21
Hello Little Beautiful,
I wish you could remember how beautiful Avalon was this morning. The sun rose lazily, and the forest air distilled into pure honey, glazing every breeze with a chill and gilding every bough in gold. Everything was cold and wet, studded over with dew. As the morning came, the earth seemed to give off a cool exhale that rose to meet the sun. The cabin roof dripped, the gutters muttered, and the wind tapped at the living room windows. The breeze through the kitchen was the clearest I’ve ever felt, and the rain at noon only revitalized it.
I let you out to play in the mud; nothing could keep you from it. On any ordinary day, you would have been thrilled by any mud construction, but today I was making bread in the kitchen, and the impulse to mimic my art with mud was far too strong for you to resist. For nearly two hours, I watched you through the window over the sink as you formed mud pies, carried them over to the stone wall by the crest of the hill, and set them up to bake in the best possible sunlight.
While our respective loaves were baking, I read on the porch and you busied yourself by divining channels of water through the mud and sending beetles on bark pieces down to navigate your newly-carved waterways.
I realized, a good while into reading, that you, for being my child, had been suspiciously quiet. When I called your name, you stomped back to the porch, distraught but more angry than anything. You claimed that you had been searching everywhere for your favorite red boots but couldn’t find them. You said you had called my name and asked for help, but I hadn’t answered. You were sure I must have gotten rid of them.
Part of me wanted to smile, but part of me understood your frustration. Explaining to you that you were still wearing your boots but that they were merely covered over with mud turned out more difficult than expected. Finally, I took a rag from the garden bag by the backdoor and wiped off the top of your boot: red as an apple. Suddenly, you grew very quiet and stared at it. Your favorite red boots had been there with you the whole time, you just hadn’t been able to see them.
And I knew it would make a memory for me, if not for you. Because seeing the realization on your face reminded me of all the times I have worn that same expression. It reminded me of the all the times in this long life that I had been surprised to know that I had what I had been searching so painfully for.
Little Beautiful, God has given you everything. Everything you’ve ever enjoyed, and everything that brings you pleasure or wraps your heart in gratitude. Anything that sustains you or nourishes you comes from Him. Everything that sets your gut a glow and causes a smile to break out on your face is from Him. And, yes, those painful things are from Him too. Those memories that turn your stomach and those instances that make your ears burn were all carefully sifted through His gracious fingers. Beyond that, every aspiration that has ever seeded in your soul is carefully developed by His hand.
You worry you are falling short. I know it. I’ve seen you, even as a child, come to the startling realization that this world is big and that you are small. But please remember, my Little Beautiful, that everything God has made you to be is in you. Because He is in you. You are His, and He is yours. You own God, Little Beautiful, so don’t hold back from laying your head on His breast and reviving yourself on His Spirit. Draw from Him, grow in Him, rest in Him—oh, lean on Him. Lean hard. Realize in Him all that you are.
It’s not our ambitions or our hard-work or our connections that fulfill us and bring us success. Taboo to say, I know, but they are just the mud covering your candy-apple red. It’s the grace of God empowering every part of our lives that disqualifies us from falling short. Trust me, the grace of God is too all-encompassing for you to fall out of it. His grace is too faithful for you to fall short of it. It’s meant for you to fall apart in. It’s meant for you loose yourself inside, forgiving yourself for any assumed mistakes and embracing every glorious gift he has given you.
Don’t give up. Though sometimes you can’t see it, you’ve always had it in you.
Love Ever Always.