Friday, December 10, 2010

Wondering around Town (and thoughts on Advent)

I wonder... where does time go? 
Now is now, and it's easy to accept it soon being yesterday. Perhaps someday today's now will be a long time ago, but not for many misty years. So we think. My sister Candace spent a week with me. During the 5.5 hour drive from Lancaster, she wanted to log some driving time for her license. It's a strange feeling, this flying down the road while telling the person behind the wheel stories of when they were born.

When began a snowfall of epic proportions, Candace and I went wandering around town, wondering at how all my favorite haunts were being transformed. I love the first snow, the dusty glitter that sticks to every intricate detail. 

Christmas trees for sale along Market St.

I love this town's shabby grandeur...
And the fact that it's home to the best coffee shop ever.

Reading a book while drinking phenomenal coffee... surrounded by art and the warmth of human company... thinking to the beat of live music by local musicians... it feeds the soul, I'm telling you.

This church reminds me of a stately woman, beautiful and awe-inspiring, no matter what the season.

This church, I'm convinced, burst from the ground of its own accord, having been erected by fauns in Narnia.

I wonder what it is about bare branches... especially when all the tiny twigs are highlighted with snow. I wonder if there is a scientific explanation to how staring at them seems to hit "reset" on a hurried me.

See what I mean? Market House is even more inviting 
under that lithe, living lace.

I used to imagine that little gnomes in pointy caps with bells on the tips of their pointy shoes made icicles with their shiny ice-picks. 
I still like to wonder if I was right.

I wonder how the leaves that remain on trees feel at the coming of snow. Are they triumphant at having remained tenacious, or do they mourn being unable to lie at rest on the ground, being silently blanketed to sleep? 

When awe leaves me wordless, I resort to quotes. Lately I've been pondering this one by C.S. Lewis:

"We may ignore, but we can nowhere evade, the presence of God. The world is crowded with God. God walks everywhere incognito. And the incognito is not always hard to penetrate. The real labour is to remember, to attend. In fact, to come awake. Still more, to remain awake."

With Advent underway, I've been thinking a lot about hope.

Like the generations who waited for the Messiah's arrival, 
we wait for Him to come again. 

We wait for many things, and hope enables us to really live in the waiting.

Hope is not a blissful denial of the present, eyes fixated on an expected end. It is an embracing of the reality of today's messiness while expecting a brighter tomorrow. 

We shrink from pain and bleakness, but in estranging our hearts from walking their valleys we forfeit the full ecstasy of our hopes realized.

Whether in the Advent story or in this chapter of our lives, we need not rush too fast to the end, where everything is resolved. Beauty can be found in dissonance. Embrace it with this reassurance: we are not here alone.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Love the pictures! I do wish the Artist Cup were a cleaner place to dine. It's like "Cling to your mug" so you don't touch anything else. Marie