Thursday, May 17

So She Danced

Me and my forever friend, Nicole. Some people think we're identical. We're not.
Shockingly, this is the only photo I could find of me hands-up dancing.
So She Danced
A paraphrase inspired by Momastery

I am sitting in a bright white kitchen with God. It's gleaming, open and immaculate. A butcher's block is fit into the corner of the stone countertop with the sharpest knives money can buy. I didn't get to test them out, but in dreams you can be certain of things without truly knowing. Sharpest knives in the world. That—and their handles were encrusted with pearly ivory.

The north side of the kitchen opens into a living room through a breezy walkway. I wander in. My bare feet felt smooth on the wide-plank herringbone wood floor. I nestle back into the wide embrace of an overstuffed leather chair and drink in its earthy scent. We are the only ones in the house.

God remains in the kitchen at the countertop with the knives. Apparently he is quite the chef. I hear he's also pretty kickass at soccer, but he leaves the knives at home for that.

Although I can clearly hear his warm yet booming voice from the living room, I'm annoyed he didn't follow me in here. I grab a linen-covered throw pillow and hug my knees into my chest along with it, obviously pouting. I can hear him repeatedly pounding the utility knife against the cutting block. I know he knows I'm in here. I know he knows I'm upset. 

I let out a long breath against the back of my throat—like Ujjayi breathing in yoga. It's loud and intentional, but it doesn't calm me this time. I reposition myself in the chair, leaning hard onto my right arm, my cheek weighing heavy into my right hand. I can see him now through just a sliver of an angle in the walkway. He has the short paring knife out now. His demeanor is calm and collected as he cuts bite-sized pieces out of one of my Fuji apples. 

I kick childishly at the leather ottoman, trying to knock it over, but instead it just makes a loud scuffing noise against the floorboards. He doesn't look up from his work. Now he's pulling scallions from the ice box and is slicing meticulously.

Fine, I think. I can be the bigger person. I can start.

Why am I here? Better question—why would you lead me here and then leave me? Because clearly, YOU led me here. I didn't kick down any doors or plow through any barricades to get here. And now you're being awfully coy and quiet over there in the kitchen. What's your big plan? It's been over a year. There isn't a plan, is there? Is there?!

God keeps chopping. I can smell the ginger wafting over. He says nothing though.

The job rejection letter, you know, the one job that I would finally feel proud to tell everyone back home about...? And how I got it in the mail on Valentine's Day? Reminding me that not only am I the only single female left in America, but no one in this state has heard of my college and no one wants to hire me...? [Clearly hyperbole was getting the better of me at this point.] 
Was I supposed to learn something from that?
This is NOT where I dreamed I'd be at age 26. And you made me, didn't you? You gave me these dreams, and now I want to know why. What's the point? 
And then the real kicker, because all the yelling wasn't really about a silly job: Why does life make love so hard?

During all of that, God is still a picture of serenity in the kitchen. I heatedly watch him rinse the paring knife of ginger and turn to slice a lime in half before reaching for a basket of freshly picked kale. 

In my mind I hear myself brooding, What is he even making? It better be good.

It will be. He breaks his silence. Actually, it is already.
Then he sets down the knife, smiles in at me and says, 
My sweet girl, you are so upset. I get that. I feel that. And I love you so freaking much. [Yes, God said freaking.] So would you like me to shut down the dinner prep for a while so we can talk face-to-face? 
His sudden direct attention unnerves me, and I rise to standing. My curiosity pulls me into the kitchen, where I can finally see all of what he has been doing. I gaze into the over-sized serving bowl and the presentation takes my breath away. Jewels of produce—ten times more than what I had noticed him handling—intermingle with water particles freshly clinging like diamonds. Rich reds and emerald greens and orange, yellow and purple. It was a mess of color—so vivid that I could actually taste them without bringing any of it to my mouth. The best summer squash and dried currants. Persian cucumbers and wild mint. Blueberries and shavings of baby asparagus. 
I'm a big salad girl, but I'd never crafted something so nuanced before. And the smell—I couldn't place it, but I never wanted to let it go.

My lips parted to ask, What is it? But just before the words came out, I tilted my head and saw myself. The wild and perfect concoction was me. All swirly and crunchy and life-giving.

No, keep going, I say. I want you to finish the meal.
Because he is preparing my life, of course. His hands are touching me. Cutting, chopping, peeling away. And I wouldn't want to distract him from that. I decide I still trust him.

I don't want to get in the way anymore. But I don't really know what to do exactly. So I’m just going to dance. While you cook. Is that okay?
He walks toward me, pauses, and gently brushes a few strands of my hair back behind my ear. Then he says, Dance? Is that okay? That's all I've ever wanted for you to do, sweet girl. So you go dance, and I’ll cook. It’s going to be so, so good. I've got this.

So I twirl my hair into a big messy bun on the top of my head and throw my gaze and my hands skyward. And God turns back to the cutting board, beaming over me.


laurenjeanallece said...

I am completely speechless. This is possibly - and I mean this so sincerely there are hardly words to do it justice - one of the most beautiful things I've ever read. And I relate to it so much it hurts.

I guess I'll keep dancing, too :)

wildchild said...

holy cow, maddie. this is so beautiful. and so true. i never even thought of it this way. thank you.

Adam K said...

I was hooked from word one. God's always working on us. This was a really good story, Madeline. I can totally relate to feeling like my life is stuck in a ditch or (to lean on your analogy) pushed to the back of God's refrigerator. It's nice to have a reminder that not only do I not see my life the way He sees it, but that He sees it with the eyes of a Father, with love and discipline. Again, great story.

ika said...

cjacks said...

I can't believe I just read what I read. That was so good, it brought tears to my eyes. “What is he even making? ” …What a great line. Wow.

Eackers said...

AHHHH....goose bumps all over!!! Thank you for writing that and posting it!! It was a gift to me today. MISS YOU!

Casey said...

This is a beautifully descriptive picture of God's wonderful timing. You relate effortlessly to any person seeking God's plan and living out all these seemingly obscure desires he's stored up in our hearts. And you absolutely nail it- we are his piece of art, a delicately nuanced gourmet meal, and a perfectly untamed concoction of his heart. Totally inspired!!

Tamara said...

I wish I'd known you when I was your age. Stunning. Encouraging even for the older me who has moved on to other stages of waiting and wondering.

Candy said...

Dear Maddie,
it was a joy to read your blog that your mom tagged. you have such a gift of painting pictures with words. Reminds me of the book 1000 gifts. if you haven't read it yet, you would thoroughly enjoy it...and it's life changing, in the process. your blog made me think that through the hardest of circumstances and the deepest pain, comes tremendous beauty. beauty for ashes......and maybe the beauty isn't seen to other people yet, but that deep inner beauty is what is so delightful to the Father. Keep growing!!!!

nicole mullen said...

Wow Maddie... what a beautiful world you live in with a very real God. Thank you for sharing the deepest place in your heart so we can all eat a part of the life giving salad. I loooove you! and I love that picture! how do I not have that?!

your spirit is stunning

Karen Sloan said...

Just posted a comment on your mom's FB page...this is delicious! And I know this feeling, even at double your age :-}

emme said...

You should know, this brought me to tears.

Allie said...

This is so beautiful! Thank you for this. "It's going to be so good, so good. I've got this."

MareMare said...

This was amazing.

Jenn @ PSP said...

Thank you so much for this incredible post! I seriously can't tell you how perfect this was to read right now. Feeling the same way about life and dreams and just the question "Why?" Thank you! : )

Lydia said...

Wow! All I can say is I am amazed, I just poped over here from em=me and this is the first thing I read. Your gift with words is amazing! What a blessing.

strider said...

This is so rad. Thank you for writing this. Honestly, this is beautiful.

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