Expecting the Absurd

Wednesday~December 23, 2009

It sounds absurd, believing in this spirit pregnancy and the coming of a Baby God to a small barn with the stench of cows. It can seem ridiculous to think that both the working poor and Very Important People alike came sandal-footed to see if it were true by starlight.

It sounds absurd.

I don't believe the absurd because religion tells me to (I brush my teeth religiously and still cavities work their way through my mouth every now and again). I don't even believe it only because the Bible tells me so (I have found a recent adoration for the Bible, but that was slow in coming, later than my belief in a stable born God coming to rewrite a story that would have had a very sad ending).

I believe it because I see the aftermath of this beautiful story. These eyes to see the never-ending string of holy are mine because of the absurd arrival of that Baby King. What I see is as miraculous as a spirit pregnancy. It is hope and joy in rubbled failure and regret. It is mercy.

My faith is a belief that there is a Source for the seeing of this.

If religion itself could keep away my decay and paint the world with hope that covers despair, I would consider myself religious. But religion can't do that. So I call myself a Believer of the Absurd rather than Religious or Conservative or Right. I am none of those things. I am just me with faith.

The seeds of my childhood beliefs burst through the soil and pulled toward the sun in the last ten years.

It became real and profound and good in a place as unlikely as a manger.


I hadn't liked church for a very long time and so I was there feeling nothing, waiting for things to start and expecting them to follow the usual routines of an empty kind of forced thing. And so I didn't expect what I got. I got what I'd never met and now expect.

What a stable child started was there despite my cynical attitude, my decidedly fed up with religion arrogance and the guilt-based teachings of many a past attempt at church.

I stood, arms crossed, waiting to be ashamed and frustrated. Expectant.

Then it hit me like cold air to the face, catching my breath and leaving me awestruck.

What is this? I don't know, I don't know, but this is how it should be, I thought. If only we humans could let it be this way all the time, there would be no escaping belief.

My soul welled up in response to it.

The music, the culture, the people and the very place were alive with it. The sanctuary was pregnant with it, this rush of love so thick and so real I could not escape its welcome suffocating. It was not forced or fake, it was simply life-giving and affirming and as real as the nose on my face. An unconditional and accepting nose.

It was absurd to a jaded girl like me, this feeling I can't explain, one that only comes from real love being acted out as it should be.

What started my tears was the children's choir, the way they swayed with culture, differences, voices high and low and off-key and on and yet they were all the same. They were joy. They were thankful. They were praise. It couldn't be contained, this deafening beautiful thing from small hearts.

One of them, she was maybe around twelve or thirteen, she stood on the end with the others, the younger ones of ten and five and six. She sang and her face lit up the place as she swayed with her own baby belly sticking out like sin for all to see. Right there, up front and center, here I am, I'm a pregnant child and I'm fully loved, accepted, singing praises because I can.

I couldn't take my eyes off her.

It was absurd, this radiance.

And the swaddled baby 2000 years before? He is our source for radiant faces. A source of mercy and grace. A source of love.

. . .

We all are, I thought that day back then. We all are loved, all pregnant with our mistakes but not slaves to them because of a stable baby. Like the careful work of wiping a newborn clean, He does it. We're God's prizes and daughters and sons and it's so good.

And now it's here in my home all the time, this seeing of it. This suffocating love I can't escape. Bigger and bigger like a round expectant belly because of the belief in it, growing and birthing forgiveness from my children after I throw up my arms and yell from my lungs. It is here in the praise from my heart for all the many things that are of my boys. It reconciles the broken pieces of marriage and redeems the ugliest of actions. It gives me hope in dark and hard things where I sometimes can feel so suffocated by being so stuck.

It is not of me or of religion or of church.

It is all because a Christ baby came in a strange way for the purpose of making it so.

It was the feeling that must have been there that cold night in Bethlehem, the new thing for always, softening hearts and eyes with grace.

It is Him. And He is the best kind of absurd.

. . .

MERRY CHRISTMAS! I'll see you after we move house. Peace.

43 clicked right here to comment:

Kristina P. said...

This was beautiful, Heather.

I truly wish you and your sweet family and wonderful Christmas.

Kristina Joy said...


Kelly @ Love Well said...

Yes, yes and again yes.

The absurdness makes it all the more believable for me. Who does this - but God?

Peace and joy on your Christmas and your move, Heather. Hope the storm doesn't get in your way.

Em said...

I envy your clear vision - there's a reason it's one of the deadly sins.

You inspire me to work harder.

Thank you for that.

Merriest of Christmases sweet Heather.

(good luck with the house move - so exciting!!)

Boy Crazy (@claritychaos) said...

Sitting here admiring you for your courage to put it all out there, out here.

We could have intersting talks over coffee, my friend.

Merry Christmas, and happy moving. Can't wait to see you in a few weeks. xoxo

Becca said...

Thank you, thank you. Yes. Merry Christmas. Your beautiful reminder of the Real, the True, the Important... thank you for it.

Kori said...

The fact that I don't get it, can't wrpa my mind around it and make sense of it all, just IS; I can't even know the truth of it, not REALLY, yet-I do.

Peace to you and yours this Christmas.

KK said...

I believe because of what He has done in my life. No religion or guilt just proof of grace. Merry Christmas.

Jen said...

This was perfect, Heather. Just perfect. Thank you for this.

You touched my heart and brought tears to my eyes.

Merry Christmas my friend.

Chief said...

I will word verify for you Heather!

Can I say I felt I might have been reading my own thoughts in this post. I too, had a religion forced upon me through childhood and so when I was finally able to escape the strangle hold (or so I thought it was) I rebelled and tuned my nose up as if I knew something far better than those who blindly went to church, following rituals.

Then I went to the childrens program 14 years later after our neighbors convinced my son to join in and let me say it was like a blast of cold air that seeped into my bones and then slowly warmed me to to the core.

This was it all along. and I had missed out on so much those 14 years...

beautiful post.

good luck with all you have going on!

L.T. Elliot said...

These are all the words I've been trying to find for days. Your voice, my heart. Your heart, my voice. Oh, how you get me.

Thank you for this, Heather. This is the gift I wanted for Christmas. This full, round truth. This joyful, brimming grace. Thank you, so.

Merry Christmas, friend.

Sue said...

Beautiful. Merry Christmas Heather.

Anonymous said...

I want to write like you when I grow up, Heather.

Truly. The things I want to say but can't-- here they are.

Have a merry Christmas.

Kelly @ The Miller Mix said...

I am waiting for the moment I feel what you feel, but I'm open and ready for it. I feel it on the edges when I go soft and unguarded, and I see it wrapped around my children. My plan is to be patient and take it as it comes. Your thoughts seem like a vision of what's to come.

Anti-Supermom said...

Just beautiful! Your path is and will be blessed.

Sara Joy said...

So beautiful.
So well said.
And it feels so much like my experience. Thank you for sharing the love of Christ so eloquently. I am now all the more excited to meet you. :)

Erin said...

Good luck with the move, and everything involved. And Merry Christmas to you!

(Beautiful post, too.)

Terra said...

Thank you for sharing your path to belief with us. I love how C.S. Lewis wrote that the stable was bigger on the inside than on the outside, and that it contained the entire universe.
Best wishes on your move.

Sheryl said...

THAT was breathtaking. thank you.

merry Christmas, my friend!!

Corinne said...

Tears... thank you for this.
Good luck with everything, you'll be in my thoughts! Merry Christmas :)

charrette said...

How can I add even one word to this when you've expressed it all so beautifully, so perfectly, so YOU.

I love you and your beautiful heart.

Stopping by to wish you a merry Christmas and a stress-free move...


Kristen@nosmallthing said...

Oh holy mackerel, Hoteo. That was really really beautiful.

I LOVE the story about the children's choir.

Good luck with your move. I'll miss you when you're gone!

Leah said...

Beautiful... let's not forget the real meaning of Christmas.

Merry Christmas Heather! Big hugs from the Philippines.

The Park Wife said...

Amen sistah! Beautifully written.
Merry Christmas!
The Park Wife

Iva said...

so beautiful!! Merry Christmas to you and yours!!

deb said...

Oh , Heather. This is so my very heart.

I love you.
And peace.
Peace .

Melanie J said...

I hope the peace of the Christmas season sustains you through the busy moments of the coming changes. You are wonderful.

Adventures In Babywearing said...

Heather, this is extraordinary!!!

I hope you have a great move. I can't wait to see you soon.

Love, Steph

Annette Lyon said...


May you have a joyful and peace-filled Christmas.

Nap Warden said...

Good luck with the move, and Happy Holidays:)

Anonymous said...

Lovely and true. Thank you for your wisdom. I read religiously, and I don't comment on how much I enjoy you nearly enough. Merry Christmas and happy new year to you!

Eowyn said...

Beautiful! Again! You're awesome!

BoufMom9 said...

I don't even have words to describe how very much this moved me, other than to say "amen" and thank you.

Pam at beyondjustmom said...

Stunning, simple, perfect. Amen and amen. Hope your Christmas and your move were smooth and sweet. See you on the other side!

Kazzy said...

It does sound absurd. But your explanation makes it real and believable.

You are a rock star!

Brianna said...

Beautiful. Just beautiful. This is my first time visiting your blog. I've so enjoyed scrolling through your posts. Your writing is captivating. And I love your little guys glasses. My Sylas has blue glasses too! Looking forward to meeting you at Cupcake 10.


Jamie @ Six Bricks High said...

Beautiful. I'm a bit awe struck...you stated it perfectly. It is hope and I believe it too.

Ma What's 4 dinner said...

Merry Christmas, and good luck with the move.

Thanks for stopping by Ma, What's For Dinner! Glad I got the chance to come back check out your little pad again! I'll be back soon for sure!

p.s. you have my absolute fave comments line with the whole Top Gun thing...coolest!

Alex aka Ma What's For Dinner?

Deb said...

Another great post. I did not go to church growing up (my parents were extremely jaded and cynical about religion) and I'm still trying to figure out what I believe and how we'll instill some faith in our children, if at all. I want to at least expose them to the stories and then let them decide for themselves if they believe in the absurd. Hope you had a joyful Christmas!

MidnightCafe said...

Merry Christmas, Heather!! I'm going to go read this post again so I can really take it all in. Thank you. And I have been and will be thinking of you as you move in the coming weeks. May your lives be full of peace and grace in the little nooks and crannies, even as the big changes happen.

kiki said...

Heather - just a quick note to let you know I've been thinking about this post of yours for the past few days and can't seem to get it out of my head! so much there that i can relate to... thanks for you, your words, and your courage to put it all out there. you rock.

happy new year and new home to you and yours!

Tooj said...

I think I need to come back and re-read this post a few times. Thank you for posting it Heather. I especially felt drawn to this line...and the entire paragraph in general:

"and redeems the ugliest of actions"

I hope you (belatedly) had a merry Christmas and that your ringing in of 2010 is wonderful.

kanishk said...

Peace and joy on your Christmas and your move, Heather. Hope the storm doesn't get in your way.

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