I'm running too fast. So, I decide to make it fun
and throw myself down the hill—a perfect head first grass-stain. I slide right by her. She keeps running
and throws herself on me, “Yeah!” she shouts. The mountains
When I catches my breath, I runs, just fast enough, into some old friends and they talk about life and babies and church and the mountains—how beautiful they sing. The wedding party is detained with photos, so I sip lemonade, nibble cupcakes and continue to run into my past and present relationships. Quick nuanced discussions, the kind that corner and reveal.
I pile the family into the truck and drive home through the mountains—in the graying the mountains sing. The river echoes the round.
Shuffle, shuffle. Plunge the press. Coffee-hot, the morning soars. Hymns on the Airport Express usher me and the girls on to “the gathering,” to church—it is a celebration. The pastor speaks of Thomas, “My Lord, and my God!”
After the Body and the Blood, the congregation is dismissed. I wipe my eyes, turn to leave and collides into radiating faces—brothers and sisters united. The soundman runs into me and grabs my baby girl. “I just want to hold her. She is beautiful.” We smile together, he gets his fill and more collisions ensue.
Lunch is a lovely fiasco. Two families, six children, and a floor full of Teddy Grahams; the wait staff is patient as the girls scream and run. We adults raise our glasses and toast: “To the celebration!” Once home, we all nap long and hard. Somewhere in the distance, the mountains sing again.
The weekend emerged from the week and grabbed us by the throat. We loved and laughed, fought and cried, and passed through the other side shaped by it all—the run-ins, the discussions, the here, there, and everywhere.
When I am finally able to sit and reflect on it all, life doesn’t seem so grand—just full of tension.
But I think of the Eucharist, how it always seems to break me (and everyone) in half. How, on this past Sunday, it reminded me that grace and confession and love all coalesce in the person of Jesus—they are signatures of humanity made beautiful through the Divine. The immensity of Jesus’s sacrifice wells up and pours from my eyes. So much to take in.
From the Eucharist my thoughts land somewhere amid the Trinity. I thinks how God runs fast toward humankind, overwhelming everyone with his lavish love. God can’t help but love—I love that fact. And those loving fingerprints are everywhere—especially on my family and friends.
So Much Like Bees
We are social creatures. With our loved ones we dance through this life, though it most often looks like frantic running. And we lean into one another, pushing headfirst to see who will give. Then we fall in a heap mid tears and laughter and pain and joy. God created us this way and the mystery of the Eucharist completes the puzzle. We are only able to love because he first loved.
The bees in my back yard love the jasmine blossoms and blueberry buds. They hover, and then climb the popping plumage. They collide and swirl into each other high up into the maples. In a frenzied disappearing act, they abscond into the holly tree—a violent aerial display.
Are they fighting? Love making? Discussing? Laughing? Killing?
We are so much like bees, living the Gospel mystery of the Eucharist in the wild collisions of life. And we disappear into death and sex and work and play in a violent showing that rings out, like the mountain song. One another, one another, one another, “our fellowship of kindred minds … like to that above.”
Timothy Willard is the author of five books, including Longing For More: Daily Reflections on Finding God in the Rhythms of Life and the forthcoming The Life-Giving Adventure of Chasing Beauty (Eerdmans, 2019). He has collaborated on over 20 books and has written, consulted and served as spiritual director for organizations such as Chick-fil-A, Catalyst, Q Ideas and Praxis Labs. When he’s not riding the trails in the Appalachian mountains you can find him by the fire with his three daughters and his wife making up stories about Tom the back yard badger. He lives somewhere in the south Charlotte woods.