We’ve reached that part of summer in Iowa where you can find people selling sweet corn out of the back of their pick-up trucks. Today, we bought a full bag from a father and son who were parked outside the pharmacy. You can boil it, then roll it in butter and salt, or wrap it up in foil with seasoning and throw it on the barbeque. Honestly, you can’t go wrong. It is crisp, like sunshine.
I am not hard to please. Those closest to me know this. I will delight over a simple breakfast burrito or wildflower. If I get to hold an animal, my day is made, and buying a new tube of paint fills me with hope and ideas. I find so much joy watching the way one of my garden vines has looped itself through the slats in the wooden bench outside. It looks wild and English, like something a Jane Austen character would sit on to read a novel.
I am not hard to make happy, but I am hard to make calm. For all my joy and delight, I am often anxious. I don’t know why. I guess it feels like I am holding a dozen fragile things at any given moment, and if I don’t plan my steps right, I might trip. I might drop something. Hurt someone. And while others wisk around me with spunk and spontaneity, I am trying my best to balance my burdens, like a waitress holding too many plates. What if something breaks?
Maybe worry lines my spine, a genetic predisposition that goes back and back and back, or maybe it took root the day I saw the ground crumble underneath my feet. Maybe it has gathered, like wrinkles with age, or picked up speed like a rogue snowball speeding down a steep hillside. Oh God, I want to change. I was trying to write a hymn this week. It was difficult, but I finally completed it - all six verses - and when I sat down at the piano to plunk out the melody that I borrowed from an old Scottish folk song, it didn’t work. The key wasn’t right. So I tried another. And another. And finally, I put my head into my hands and wept.
Sometimes perceived failures accumulate, then spill over in the oddest of places, like a piano bench on a Monday afternoon. The plates just get too heavy, the balancing act, exhausting. I talk to God about it, asking Him to help me learn what it means to truly rest in Him, as I slather butter onto another piece of steaming, sweet corn, marveling at the way daylight and dusk merge, seamlessly.
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