I am on the trail again. Chief among the wonders I found here is a woman parked at the same picnic table every morning. The table is pressed to the water’s edge with two trees towering on either side it. The trees hold the promise of autumn; leaking color into their tips before the great fall begins. This woman sits, every day, at the water’s edge. Her hair is short and styled loosely, her clothing comfortable, her gaze consumed. Ink pressed to paper, her focus hangs low on the page beneath her eyes. She writes.
A few days ago, her corner of the park was populated with noise. A club of Moms, strollers, and infants gathered around an enthusiastic stout coach. They hung their bodies upside down on purpose, and fluttered around their screaming children. Ink pressed to paper, the woman’s focus hung low on the page beneath her eyes. She continued to write.
Yesterday, it was scorching hot. The sun beat down and told every living thing to find shade or go indoors. I passed the woman’s table on the trail and found her there with a sun hut on her head. It’s long yellow wings hung down around her determined face. Ink pressed to paper, her focus hung low on the page beneath her eyes. She sweat, and she continued to write.
Today it is raining. She has a bright red umbrella tied to the table. It is secured and “hands free.” Raindrops collapse around her, but her square foot of the world stays dry. The leafs overhead dump pools of water; she seems to be writing faster. Ink pressed to paper, her focus hangs low on the page beneath her eyes. She continues to write.
On the banks of a river trail, I found a writer. I don’t know what she writes, but it is not what she writes that makes her a writer, but rather her dedication to the art form. She does not have to look up to teach me. The power of her focus radiates from the back of her head.
Dedication to anything looks like something. It looks like sticking yourself like glue to that thing and doing it, every single day. Dedication is the vacuum that pulls our passions out of mid air and into a committed existence with us. What wild thing in your heart is waiting for dedication? What if you dedicated some time to it, starting today?
Ink pressed to paper, my focus hands low on the page beneath my eyes. I write.
Thrown into the hot hands of grief,
The waking nightmare of terror,
The sudden racing of survival,
The demand for life-altering courage,
The right to scream, scream hard,
In One life.
The deficit in the home,
The deafening silence,
The shattered family unit,
The injustice of a forced change,
The cycle of chaotic robbery,
In One life.
This still matters. It matters most to those who have been forced to navigate life differently ever since. For those touched by 9/11, I honor you today. Your voice, your loss, and your life are important. Your story is a cradle for history that is paramount in our time. May trauma flee the scene of your ongoing courage today, and may you find a healing grace in remembrance.
The impact of 9/11 remains,
In many lives.
Underneath the role.
Underneath the productivity.
Underneath the appearances.
Underneath the expectations.
Underneath the successes.
Underneath the failures.
Underneath the hard-earned favor.
Underneath the grace-infused space.
Underneath the ability to smooth it over.
Underneath the inability to fix a thing.
Underneath my feet.
Underneath my skin.
Underneath my broken heart.
What is underneath?
Inside of me? Inside of you? Honestly?
That is where God wants to meet with us, raw as it is. This is the essence of Immanuel; God with us. Not God stopped still at the outer layer, but God piercing into the inner layer, the inmost layer, our inmost being.
The core me. The core you. The core of us...
.. is the only authentic meeting place with God.
Katie Luse is a speaker and writer who is passionate about navigating life with eyes on a hunt for beauty.