Cheerios, Transience, Sticky Fingers, and Righteousness
My fingers run over familiar lines in my home. Edges of tables. The soft back of the sofa where we have played and sat and read. I have a minute to think. The walls are colored with pieces of our lives like finger-paintings or crayon drawings. We’ll take them down soon, temporary things. We’re moving—not across the country or anything, but somewhere new. We’ll leave behind our nail holes. They’ll be filled. Someone else will start over with it all.
My fingers move to the binding of a book I am reading. But some of the pages are stuck together. Babies are messy; nothing is safe from them. I look down. She’s reading her own book now, my baby who I am so grateful for in everything. She’s big and solidly walks on her own. She has words to tell me what is on her mind and cognition to understand so much of what is on mine. It won’t be long before she’s in her own home, coloring the walls with her own crayons, sitting still and hoping to understand time for herself—or so I’m told. She’ll ache too, just like I have. And it will be over more than not being allowed to put sticky fingers into books—books, which the press builds and spews forward.
I’m hardly, or not at all, reading enough to get caught up—but that’s not as important I guess. Blogs are daily and it’s hard to make that the conversation when I’m still processing something from last week or last month. It’s fast; it’s all too fast for me. Even moving to a new home is too fast, too easy. I am looking to reach the ground somehow so that when I move it’s like my feet are dragging in concrete because I had somewhere to stay. But in reality, I suppose I could do it again (but I hope I don’t).
I saw an edited picture the other day, a double exposure making a child’s head look like it was filled with Cheerios. And I sure could cut-back more on my baby’s Cheerios—I laughed at it, I think out loud. But I wonder what exactly we’re doing online sharing our hearts and our good messages. Part of it is so very good but part makes me want to sign off forever to de-clutter my brain of the many, many pieces of little Cheerios that I no longer digest. I must be doing something wrong. I sort of admire the people who are, mostly, offline. But then I think of the people I have met online and I am grateful. Still, if the whole of the web went away I have more than enough and so much joy and life. I have more than I could ask for.
All these things in my home, crayons and the sofa and a couple of tables that serve us well, they’ll be in motion soon—in the same type of motion as those who have moved before me, but many for far different reasons and with more urgency. The Israelites out of Egypt. The Israelites out of the promised land. The promise stated in the earliest generations of human history might have been fulfilled then (God is faithful), except they stopped moving toward God and so He said when it was enough, far enough. I’ve got sticky-finger “problems.” God, the Maker and Ruler of all, has children who hate Him. No comparison. But He is still faithful to Himself, and so, to us. He will fulfill each promise.
Part of me wants to combat the culture in my own little way by staying grounded and by never moving and by never do anything that is fast. Another part says that this isn’t my home anyway; it isn’t supposed to feel that easy, or as good as I want it to feel. Part of me remembers the vanity of Ecclesiastes and part of me to enjoy gifts from God—also in Ecclesiastes—but I also know to wait for the end of that book too to see that what matters is to fear and obey God through it all.
This is not as though authenticity and art and moments don’t matter; I believe they do. But in them—or, the goal of them—everything that is not righteous will not endure, and hopefully, we don't want it to. Is that my main thing here, in all of this? Because if not, I had better trade crayons for markers or lay off every weight—everything that’s too rapid. It’s easier to disengage altogether in the places we could engage well. I know that too. But every kind of medium has a different kind of beat—social media, blogs, and endless books too. Every medium, itself, communicates something. I hear the cautionary and the explorers each in my mind with their warnings and their passions respectively.
But 10 years ago, I was still deciding if I should join Facebook and—did we really think this thing through? I am still pointing my arms in different directions on here—is this right, is this it? But I don’t think I am supposed to feel blind anymore. After all, I like solidity and conclusions, and I like that the Bible is absolute in authority. Pausing, I am so grateful; we owe more to ourselves than the lie of total transience—except, of course, we are transient. I think you know what I mean. God is not transient and we are His.
Righteousness, moderate choices with limited time, identifying weights well to lay them off, seeing people in person, and, just, running my fingers over the pages of the Bible that tells me what to think from the God who knows me—these are things I keep coming back to in the quick of this all. Having fewer Cheerios, engaging more with the tangible stickiness that I can run my hands over in this home, in the physical places around, and in this heart, and do my part to clean it, and nail in—hard—the righteousness that lasts.