Yesterday we completely forwent any Fourth of July celebrations. In the past, the Fourth of July used to be one of my favorite holidays, spurred on by a geeky adoration of 1776, the musical on the writing of the Declaration of Independence.
But now? While I am grateful for the freedoms we enjoy as Americans, I don't feel the need to watch fireworks or grill patties of dead cow (as tasty as those are) or blow things up. I'm sure that a part of this is the grief, but really -- it just doesn't seem that important anymore.
And so, at sunset, the Best Husband Ever and I took two of our three pups to play at a beautiful mess of hiking and biking trails. He sped off on his bike with the most athletic of our dogs, while I accompanied the chihuahua on foot.
I hadn't been walking in the evening for a long while. The last time I remember doing so, I carried our daughter, alive, inside me. Last night it was incredibly peaceful, pacing through pooling shadows and thinking big thoughts.
They call Montana Big Sky Country, and for good reason. Last night, the sky felt incomprehensibly large and heavy, but not in too uncomfortable of a way, arching over the chihuahua and I as we walked.
In the city, fireworks began to fire and pop as evening descended. Beneath the sky's dome, just the right shade of blue that always makes me imagine that I could break off a piece and eat it, the fireworks seemed so tiny. The explosions that are so thunderous close by sound like corn popping from only a few miles away.
The sky seemed to drape itself around me like a quilt, softening the unfurling of the night against me. And I thought -- God is like this. So big -- terrifyingly big -- and yet He tucks our souls into peace like a mama tucks her child into bed.
And we humans, we like to think ourselves big, but really we are achingly small and delicate. We need His draping, comforting, earth-shattering touch like we need air. But somehow we forget that (or at least I do, and often), and so we flop and gasp our way through life like grounded fish and wonder why this is so damn hard.
And if God is so big, bigger than the sky that kisses every mountaintop and steams against every desert and ocean and highway, than maybe knowing Him is a lot simpler than we try to make it out to be.
We only ever really see Jesus loving people, after all. What if that is all we're meant to do? Just to love Him, or try? Because He is God, after all, and knows how hard is for us to wrap the smallness of our brains around loving the bigness of a God that we cannot see.
I don't know if the bigness of God is an answer. But last night, as I watched from the mountains as the fireworks began to bloom transient ember flowers over the city, it did. Perhaps the bigness of God is the only answer. The only answer for my heart, which longs to know Him and love Him, but feels so very knotted up in the mess of how.
I don't know anything, really, not for sure. Especially now. Grief has turned me adrift even within myself. But in the fading light, as the chihuahua and I padded back toward the car, the bigness of God seemed to be the only thing that can be anything even close to enough.
"How blessed is God! And what a blessing he is! He's the Father of our Master, Jesus Christ, and takes us to the high places of blessing in him. Long before he laid down earth's foundations, he had us in mind, had settled on us as the focus of his love, to be made whole and holy by his love. Long, long ago he decided to adopt us into his family through Jesus Christ. (What pleasure he took in planning this!) He wanted us to enter into the celebration of his lavish gift-giving by the hand of his beloved Son."