hired too soon
i come into an empty room; wooden floors and a basket of yarn in the corner. the table is holding four squares of sunlight and a fireplace is giving off heat from a morning fire.
it is a beautiful place.
i get the same feeling when i get to the shore. the empty beach stretches on and on, all along michigan, and i’m the only one out here.
i’m envious of a generous god.
this is the question jesus poses to those who do not live comfortably with grace.
“are you envious because i am generous?”
he tells the story of the man who hires men in the morning, noon and night and pays them all the same. the ones from the morning time aren’t pleased.
that question has always struck a nerve, a chord, something.
my soul answers with a resounding yes.
i am envious of your generosity, lord.
but maybe not like you meant it there.
i see the empty, beautiful places.
i can go to them, inhabit them, experience them – and then i have to go.
and maybe you know that feeling, too. the arrival and the leaving of an empty, beautiful place.
the ones that resound, the deep places.
the water’s edge.
a clean room.
you can’t stay forever.
but god, you can.
and i envy you for it.
the great generosity of so many places in this life, this world.
the circle of friends around the table, the room after they’ve all gone and are in their beds. left over coffee in cups and crumpled napkins, evidence of the night, of friendship.
waves rolling in and out unseen. every sunset, sunrise – always watched by you. maybe seen by us. the laundry in it’s drawer. the clean house with doors locked and no one home. the fields of wildflowers out doing solomon with no court ever seeing their blooms.
i’m jealous for all of your beautiful world, lord. i wish i was able to see it and stay long everywhere, all the time – like you.
but i can’t.
and so i take the wages promised for the work of each day and i’ll try not to bury this treasure. i have a feeling that if i want it, then there must be a way for it to happen.
it is this way with you, lord.
if we desire to know you, it must be that we can know you.
if we want to see those we’ve loved and lost, it must be that we will see them, hold them, again.
if we want to stay long and exist in the generous way that you do lord, you will somehow answer that deep place in us, in me.
i pack up the beach bags. i turn and leave the room. the day is dimming and the laborers have worked until the agreed upon hour.
and still i hope for more.