Everyday Wonder

in the land of the living …

You might not know this about me, but I’ve got a lot of old scriptures rattling around in my head.

I was raised in a world where –for better or worse — the Bible was Law.  At the conservative private school I attended as a girl, I copied out long passages of scripture from memory, my girlish hand careful to pin down the exact placement of each comma and semicolon.  

Go on:  picture me now, a wide-eyed girl in a knee-length skirt and high-collared blouse, reciting whole chapters in front of the class.  Hear the lyrical lilt of the Psalms wearing rhythmic grooves into my psyche, the way the breakers wear grooves on the shore.

Decades have passed since then, and still — the Good Book is so deeply etched into the folds of my brain that its words often sound like my own thoughts.  

I couldn’t get rid of them now if I wanted to.


I don’t know why, but lately I keep circling back to a little snatch of words I’d all but forgotten:  I would have despaired unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living (Psalm 27:13).

The words are King David’s, but they might as well be mine.  

And I’ve been thinking a lot lately about what it means to see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. 

In a different season, I might have seen that goodness as prosperity… Goals met. Accolades won. Or perhaps even some deep place of spiritual enlightenment

But now, I’m wondering if seeing the goodness of the Lord isn’t just a matter of noticing the dew on the clover:


The shadows playing on the sidewalk:


A sunset, washing gentle and gold over our Roanoke sky:


Maybe seeing the goodness of the Lord is a matter of faith: the simple, outrageous belief the smallest works of the Creator might be, in their way, holy… 

And I’ll tell you: this life is brief, but for now I’m here, and I believe that all this beauty is mine to see. 

And to share.

Here’s wishing you the same. ❤


Everyday Wonder

Glimpses of Goodness on the Road

This weekend, I drove all the way across Virginia, west to east.  I drove alone, on Route 460, a narrow ribbon of country road that sometimes seems to roll on forever — out of the mountains and into the hills, past sleepy farms where cows graze, their coats gleaming like black satin.

Since I was behind the wheel, I couldn’t exactly take a lot of photos.  And they say a picture is worth a thousand words, but — I promise — I can give you a dozen pictures in half that space.

Just watch me try:

Outside of Bedford, a rusted windmill turns slow in the sun.

In the town of Crewe, a decommissioned army tank stands guard over a brick ranch house.

Near Farmville, a man walks along the edge of the road in the hundred-degree heat, his bald head glistening.  He walks against the traffic, his face set in such a way that you know he doesn’t want a lift.

I drive on.

I drive past a hundred white steeples, past houses where you can go to have your hair curled or your palms read.

I drive through long swaths of land where the only music on the radio is country music, and Johnny Cash floods the inside of my car with stories of all the places he’s been when he, too, was on the road.

I flash pass cornfields yellow-tasseled and ready for harvest, grain silos with tops domed like Greek temples, winking silver in the light.  I pass a van with a child’s small arm thrust straight from the passenger window, the wind lifting the airfoil of that tiny hand into tentative flight.

I take the ramp onto 85 near Richmond and look up to see a dozen tiny skydivers hanging suspended from their parachutes, silhouetted in the sunset, gliding down slow.

And then, at last, in the purple dusk I feel the XTerra lift onto the familiar arc of the High Rise Bridge, turn my head left to see the City of Norfolk twinkling like its own constellation against the black of the harbor.  I smile, thinking of my years in that city when I was young and on my own for the very first time, becoming what I’d be later — my soul flickering alive little by little, like city lights.

Then the bridge lowers me down again and I skim out onto a tidal marsh called Chesapeake — the closest thing I have to a Homeplace.

And I could keep going; I really could.  But I swear, if you gave me another five-hundred words, I’d just keep multiplying ways to tell you how much goodness is rushing past us by the moment.

How it belongs to each and every one of us with stubborn hearts hungry to see. ❤


On Quiet Grief, & Quiet Goodness …

Can I tell you a secret?  For a little over a week now, I’ve been quietly carrying a private hurt — one I caused myself.

And I won’t explain any more on that subject, except to say that for days now the hurt has been dogging me like a shadow, the way deep hurts often do.


A few days ago I went for a walk, and I thrust my face in an open magnolia bloom.  I gasped in a lungful of its lemon scent …

And it was good.

I walked farther, and fireflies sparked around my ankles.  Locusts whirred in the trees.  I stroked the silken fuzz of a mimosa bloom, and glimpsed for the first time how each baton-shaped pink petal is tipped with gold.

(Have you noticed, the way mimosas fold their leaves up for the night?  Believe me:  all the world sleeps, and starts again).

I walked a little farther still, and suddenly a doe stepped lightly across my path, three spindly-legged fawns following behind.  I caught my breath — oh, God, what beauty, the way their white spots glowed in the dusk, the way their wide eyes stared into mine…

This world is bent and broken… And also, it’s breathtakingly good.  


I’d be a fool not to see. ❤