Matti Mattila

(This is a re-post from January 2012 when the twins were just six months old and my older kids were 3 and 5.  It was a crazy time.  This January I’m working full time and my kids are sick (as is par for the course come January) – it is also a crazy time.  In light of all the craziness, I thought pulling something out of the archives might serve me well.  Enjoy!)

There’s a level of desperation around our house these days.  Winter’s arrival has us cramped and snotty, sneezing and feverish.  My husband and I make daily trips to the store for things we forgot and debate who should go to the Dr. next as we shuffle endless loads of laundry from basket to washer to dryer and back to the basket again. 

It feels like an endless game of “whack-a-mole.”  

One day, between phone calls and drop offs and trips to the library, I turned to see one twin chewing on the now-empty bottle of infant Ibuprophen.  Running to call poison control, hurdling the baby gates with Olympic precision, I realized I don’t know for sure who drank the medicine.  I doubled-back quickly to check both boys over, frantically searching for tell-tale sticky hands and berry-flavored breath.  Thankfully, it was “not a toxic dose.”

I called the Dr. the other morning about our son who’s running a high fever after two days of antibiotics and left the wrong birth date on the message.  I thought it was wrong as I said it and tried to correct myself on the phone.  In the end the message went something like this, “His birthday is 8.11.2011.  Or wait, that’s not right, it might be 8.10.2011.  I’m sorry, I really can’t remember right now.”

I’m at the end of my rope, you see, hanging here white-knuckled with fingers grasped tight. As I dangle, gasping for breath, waiting for things to stop spinning, I’m reminded of Eugene Peterson’s translation of Jesus’ first Beatitude,

“You’re blessed when you’re at the end of your rope. With less of you there is more of God and his rule.”

How can this be?  

Blessed, right here, right now, dangling, struggling, sagging with nowhere to go.  Blessed because the end of me is not the end of everything, only the beginning of something more, Someone more. 

Peterson’s words remind me of something I read a few months ago in Scott Cairns’ book, Short Trip to the Edge.  Cairns is an Orthodox Christian and writes briefly about the role of a prayer rope, a string of 33 square knots used to focus the fingers and mind during prayer.  As Cairns puts it, the prayer rope “does its bit to re-pair the inherent schism within the human person, [it] helps to  . . . bring the mind into the heart (36).”   

Reflecting on this image I wondered whether prayer itself might be like the weaving of a rope leading us deep into the heart of God – where we’re anchored and at rest.  

The rope woven through prayer is so different than the one I work to climb most days.  I struggle along the rope of my own striving like a scrawny adolescent in gym class trying to perfect the hand-over-hand technique necessary for upward momentum.  This rope, the end of which dangles before me daily, is one of my own making, my striving, my success or failure. 

But the rope of prayer begins where that one ends and leads downward out of myself or perhaps deeper in to the place where Christ now dwells in my heart as I asked him to all those long years ago.  This rope of prayer, when I tend it and mend it, leads me to the places of deep blessedness and true security.

Once again I lower my expectations and ease myself down off of so many cliffs of my own making. I sit down, sink down into grace and love and with every prayer I find the courage to let go one more time, to lean-in to the blessedness. 

Here I am, again, at the end of me; here I am, again, blessed.

*   *   *

Welcome to the #SmallWonder link-up.

What if we chose to deliberately look for the small moments of wonder, the small sparks of presence, of delight or sorrow, of true humanity in which we meet God? 

That’s my proposal – that we gather here each week to share one moment of Wonder from each of our days.  

You’re invited to link-up a brief post about a small moment of wonder.  Don’t worry if your post is too long, too short, or not just right – you’re welcome to come as you are.  

While you’re here, please do take a look around and encourage at least one other blogger with a comment.  

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