There’s a thinness to life these days.
An awakening, a sleeping, and all the parts that make up a day in between. Lifting a spoon to the mouth, a dumbbell to the chest, a curly-haired pup to the cheek.
I find this inward craving, this drawing of all of life toward me a bit unsettling.
Because in the past, I am always a creator. Rarely a consumer. I have always breathed from a place of frenetic, creative energy and these days, well, these days…
The canvas sits atop the easel, unfinished, untouched, the water evaporating away leaving brittle, lonely brushes. My desktop is littered with half-effort writings and I neither finish nor drag them to the trash. The kitchen, once a place of testing and tasting and falling in love is a place where protein, carbohydrates, and fats are consumed.
I go for a run and only a mile in, it starts to rain. I watch it fall, splatter against the ground. The cold penetrates deep into my bones, drops fall from eyelashes. Ervin, my goldendoodle’s tail, once floofed and poofed, is now stringy, limp. He grins up at me. I grin back. I think of all the creative ways I will describe this moment later and now the words are falling flat, lifeless against this paper.
I find a new artist. He mixes media, photos, acrylics and watercolors, onto canvases all different shapes and I’m drawn back time and again to look at Storm Islands by him. There is darkness and light, neglect and nurturing, angst and hope found within it. I see it is sold. I hope it finds its way onto a wall where few will see it but those that do, will see with intention.
I turn to my Bible. The thin pages are stuck together, like my faith, all bound up in anxious murmurings. “Are you really trusting God with your future,” she asks, this woman by my side, and I notice the way she doesn’t inflect her voice, how it is more of a statement than a question. She knows. I know. This thinness of life is caused by a thinness of faith. A doctor at work notices the thinness. “You’re not grumpy,” she says, “You’re just not you.” She offers to pray with me, for me. She gives me a bite-sized cookie wrapped in a Kleenex with a note of encouragement. I walk past later to thank her but I see her standing at the foot of the bed, someone pushing against the chest of another, the monitor flat-lined on the wall.
That line is so thin. That line that leads to death, I think.
I walk out the door towards home.
Days begin. Days end. One week blurs into another. I need the rain to stop. I need the snow to start. I need the sun to shine. It’s so cloudy all the time. Aren’t the clouds just a thin layer of condensation?
Maybe that’s where my paint water is, I think. Maybe it floated upward and is blocking the sun.
It has snowed since I wrote this. I was out for a jog when it started. The tiny flakes bounced off my cheeks, my eyelids, and I focused on keeping my eyes open, feeling the way their cold startled my corneas.
The man who preached the message talked about faith today.
I think about the rain, while he talks. I think about the snow, the paintbrushes warped by sitting in water too long, my dog running in rain. Me, here on this earth, doing all these things and not knowing why, sometimes, it all feels a bit lacking.
I think about the thinness to life and I realize that a thinness of faith is remedied by acknowledging the greatness of God. Because it has been written that one’s faith should not stand in the wisdom of man, but in the power of God (1 Cor. 2:5) and I find myself here, where I am now, believing more in my own abilities to orchestrate the perfect life than acknowledging the One who can.
Last night, at work, there was the thinness again, another heartbeat flat-lined on the monitor. I watch the airway snaked down through the vocal cords. I see the tubes placed near the chest. The liquid life dripping away from the arms. I see the pushing and pounding against the chest, this final attempt to bring back the tired.
I stand back. This thinness of life? Maybe its not over. Maybe they’re sitting in silence, dipping a toe to the water, waiting for a Man to help them cross that final river. Maybe they’re catching their breath, at the foot of Jesus, tired from running this wild race of a life. Maybe they’re holding their spouse close, this one they’ve missed so terribly since she left.
Maybe the thinness isn’t so bad sometimes, I think, because it allows us to see the magnitude of God’s plan, how He steps in and turns darkness into light, neglect into nurturing, angst into hope and I find myself, once again, trusting fully in Something bigger than I.