Grace … in media res
“In the Middle of Things”
Between our creaking dock
and the park’s rocky point,
from Fowler Lake’s surface,
the perilous sandbar lurked.
Rowing across it one day,
I spied my future:
strewn across restless sand,
a scatter of strange shells.
Shells meant PEARLS.
And P.E.A.R.L.S. meant . . . CA$H!
Any kid who loves books
can tell you
• Pearls fall from the sky
when dragons fight, and
• Pearls always match the color
of the host oyster’s lips, and
• Pearls are made of moonlight,
trapped inside dew
The part about salt water?—
completely escaped my notice.
What would I buy first?
Sixty Years later
As a kid obsessed with treasure I’d probably spotted freshwater mussels. My schemes of wealth now seem endearing.
But the wide-open heart, the hope and dreaming … this is still me.
Especially in media res, “in the middle of things.”
It is the hour of pearl, Steinbeck wrote, the interval between day and night when time stops and examines itself.
Isn’t this how we often awaken, half-aware
• the dog wants breakfast
• deadlines loom
• chores clamor
• sellers may reject our bids
• loved ones battle disease
• hopes wane
• relationships fray
Where are the PEARLS?
Pain proves annoyingly democratic:
and almost all shelled mollusks afflicted by broken shells, or parasites, or one measly grain of sand can—incrementally—create a living gem.
… the pearl is the oyster’s autobiography.*
We mortals, too, must process harm and grit and doses of brine, withstand rogue currents and shifting ground—while keeping our (eventual) luster hopefully strung through average days.
Give me room. I’m trying to make pearls here.
I’m trying to save my self.
And I can’t.
Grace is weightless
And wait-less, I’d add.
Grace is a gleam in the soul. It soothes and guards us against each day’s irritations and intrusions.
Grace is a pulling force, attracted to tacit fear and each relational shard we secretly harbor, or overlook, the mediocrity chafing our days and thoughts, our loves, and lives.
And it shifts, as needed, to meet our next breath.
Singular as each whorl
embossing our fingertips,
every pearl embodies
insult and imperfection.
Grace waits for us at the imminent, ravaged ends of hope.
Any pearl sightings at your place lately?
Update: Our daughter Kristin has surgery Dec. 18, and Dreamer has an EMG (to assess health of muscles and motor neurons) on Dec. 21 with a follow-up evaluation Dec. 31. Thanks for keeping us in your thoughts and prayers.
I am also so grateful for your support of this blog. May grace and peace newly delight and envelop you all this Christmas season!
*Frederico Fellini, Italian film director and screenwriter.