It’s a pause in a line of verse or meter. It implies, and most frequently, demands, a breath. It’s an between-moment, a brief stop in a journey.
So I’m trying to catch the breath offering itself in this particular ceasura.
2010 holds new promise, new possibilities. The season of full-time ministry is waning, though not complete, and as I’ve spent more time in my home office lately, I can feel the old demands of ideas looking for forms, looking for homes. Questions on hold now pull up chairs, begging for a hearing. Books dusty with neglect cast longing glances in my direction like old friends not much noticed. New projects remind me of old ones, and I rummage back through old CD’s and DVD’s, pondering the road so far. All those songs so few have heard, all those words laying flat on so many pages, floating out in cyberspace amid the galaxies of ethereal stuff known only to God and whatever spirits roam down the fiber-optic backbones now spreading over the planet. Blah, blah, blah, as they say.
But, there’s coffee-shop warm on 34 degree Wednesdays, white Christmas lights swagging along tall window panes, two-part harmonies dropping out of black boxes in corners in tones surely meant for kings. Beauty is a gift everyday, sitting easily on a woman’s shoulders and smiles, a woman who graces me with her presence each day, a woman of power and lush kindness, who years ago lost her mind for a moment and agreed to hang out with me for the rest of her life. Across the country, beauty frolics in red dresses and crazy faces, courtesy of a daughter with head thrown back all crazy for life, howling for joy and grief, depending on the day, the role, and the great gifts raining on her head. An actor, she does what they do…takes action, the world looming up to greet her in all its New Yorkish frenzy; she gathers herself for nothing but sprinting. Then there’s the state a little further east, and beauty hovers in a boy’s lungs and throat and heart, waiting. Just waiting. Waiting for the jaw to unhinge, the lungs to gather, and the heart to spring to life, and suddenly, like prisoners rushing for open fields, notes of sheer grace pour into the world through the music this boy has been gifted to make. As beautiful as those sounds are, though, his spirit outstrips his voice, the gift of soul comparatively reducing angelic music to that of a bent penny whistle.
Hyperbole, maybe, but if I think with any clarity at all, how can life be anything but glorious when three humans such as these hold my heart?
And that’s not all. What of Mother and Jody, Nikki and Julie and Sam and Mike and Scott and (add 10, 20, 50 names), my companions on the journey, our shared lives, so harrowing and unpredictable (except that they won’t go like we thought), and all the times and possibilities yet to come. Thanksgiving, indeed.
So much can be in a ceasura. The pause, the silence, the great quiet creating the bed from which next beauties rise.
And yes, I know suffering. (Others have seen more.) I know loss. (Perhaps you’ve lost more. Probably.) I’ve even seen death go by. (Go ahead and say it, “Jeff, you have no idea.”) But just now, it seems I’ve given far too much of my quota of days to darkness, depression, and grieving. And they’ll all come visit me again tomorrow, or the next day. And I’ll roll around in them, bend words to pull down everyone in sight. But today, in this ceasura, as a new jazz tune comes wafting from the black boxes in the corners, and the coffee-shop banter turns to the lost and crazy man who killed four policemen in Lakewood the other day, I’m just pondering the season, the coming of the Christ, wondering why God ever bothers with me. With us.
What comes next, after the ceasura? We watch, we listen, we engage, and sometimes we sprint.
Whatever is coming, God will be in it.