It doesn’t surprise me that much that Cara and I get along. She was once an English teacher and has been talking to me about her experience in youth ministry. Cara is vivacious and loving. I think you will love this one.
The Kingdom of God is like my Little Lady
I call her my little lady.
She stands to the left of the kitchen sink, dressed in pearls and a sexy black dress. She doesn’t don heels, nor is her hair all done up, but she sees me in yoga pants and in rumpled, just-woke-up pajamas, in heels and in the same pair of skinny jeans I sport day after day. Together, she and I keep each other company.
I suppose it’s a little strange to give this much thought to an inanimate dish soap holder and the pearled black dress that clothe her.
But I suppose it’s even stranger to compare her to God.
To think her Spirit-like might be to start humming a chorus about how my sin, like the dishes piled high in the sink, has been washed away. I have been made clean and renewed, sudsy bubbles scrubbing every last speck – and while that may be true, to an extent, it feels a bit too individualistic, a revivalist’s visit to the campy King of my youth, complete with good ol’ Baptist songs belted around the campfire.
Likewise, I could expound on her watchful, all-knowing, all-seeing presence. She, like the eyes of Dr. T.J. Eckleburg, take in every last bit of activity and of restlessness, of household screams and broken tears and hushed moments, too. She looks over the valley of our small space: ashen dinner remnants stayed from the night before, the moral wasteland of our kitchen floors most certainly a swift ticket to hell’s fiery furnace. But like the sin-cleaner, an uninvolved, uncaring Great Judge isn’t the Jesus I know.
So who is she?
To me, she is Beauty.
And to me, Beauty is found in the most unlikely of places, where and when we least likely expect it.
I can hike a mile or two into the forest. I’ll come to a clearing, and I’ll look out over the cliff and I’ll be reminded that beauty is not hard to spot. She’s in the green and she’s in the blue, and she’s in the rise and fall of mountain ridges and ocean crests. If you’re really, really quiet, she is not just a thing that is seen, but she is a Real Heard Presence, wings flapping a thousand times a minute like her hummingbird muse.
But when Beauty isn’t the first thing I see, she seems to matter that much more.
When my three-year-old sports his Batman costume and cape, and runs around the house saving the day, I see his Fully Alive Self. I see the way he embraces the moment, and I see how he pauses to hug and kiss Baby Brother, and I see how his contagious smile lights up the room. And I think, this faith, this love, this LIFE is a gift from above, for this child shimmers in Christ’s beauty – and this Beauty changes me.
When we’re walking down MacArthur and up Lakeshore, through the streets of our urban neighborhood, and concrete and weeds and garbage seem to overwhelm the landscape, there is a lone daisy popping through the mess. So I stop and I stare. I pause and I give her a head nod. I tell her to keep on growing and to keep on pushing through the obstacles, for she is one beautiful, necessary, admirable being. And if I think this much of her, her whose petals fight for grace, how much more does Real Beauty think of me, of you, of us?
I am haunted and I am stilled by these thoughts. I am found in want, desirous that I may pry open eyeballs as to not miss a single moment of the Spirit’s gift.
So that’s why and how and where my little lady reminds me of God. For when I’m covered in suds and the front of my shirt is soaked and the pile of plates and cups and knives seems an overwhelming obstacle in and of itself, I see her. I see her and she makes me smile. I see her and am reminded that it’s all a gift. I see her, and my mind begins to dream of Beauty.
Because when Beauty finds me in the most unlikely of places, in my ordinary, everyday life, then I am changed.
A former high school English teacher, Cara was in full-time ministry for eight years before getting a Masters of Theology (Fuller Seminary). She now juggles her days as a writer, speaker and mama, and hopes to finish her first manuscript by the end of the year. Cara enjoys reading, the great outdoors and any excuse to eat chips and guacamole. A Seven on the Enneagram, she can’t help but find Beauty in the most unlikely of places. She and her husband, the HBH (Hot Black Husband) live in Oakland, California with their two young sons.