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Glimpses and Gaps

Sometime in April I spied a book that I wanted to read a couple of years ago.
I quickly snatched the book up and turned it over noticing that the price was greatly reduced. I decided I couldn't pass it up. 
After only a couple chapters I was deeply enveloped in the story.  Soaking in the poetry of the writing style and connecting with the stories told.
The book is Atlas Girl by Emily T. Wierenga.
The book covers topics such as living in a pastor's family, missions, anorexia, recovery, relapse, cancer, care-giving,  travel and different cultures, doubt, marriage, motherhood, brokenness, and forgiveness.
There is one excerpt that reminded me of something my kids recently said.
Madelyn had quietly observed , "Mom, why do most parents not play a lot with their kids?"
I eyed her in the back of the car. My stomach dropped slightly.  I knew I was part of that 'most parents'.
"Well, I suppose it's because most parents are busy working and then working when they get home too.  Making sure everything is ready for school the next day. They are running errands and making sure everything get's done."
It sounded lame even to me. But pretty much the sum of things on most evenings.

Later as I read Wierenga's words I thought about Madelyn's quiet observation. Wierenga writes of her childhood,
"But what I needed was love, to wrap me up in its arms and tell me how beautiful I was and to make me laugh.  I needed a love that smiled. And I needed to know that God wasn't my dad or my mum, but when you're little He is.  He is the face of your loved ones.  But your loved ones make mistakes.  And God doesn't.  That isn't something you can see, though, when you're nine years old.  Yet, there are always glimpses." (pg. 47).
Wierenga goes on to describe treasured moments of her Canadian childhood.  Good and golden moments of camping trips, and cross- country skiing, maple tree tapping, and festivals. 
She concludes the observations by saying, "But when you're young, you see the gaps more than you do the glimpses.  You see the hole more than the donut." (pg. 47). 

I starred the page and thought of the all of the golden glimpses we have shared with our kids.  Yet they do seem more like glimpses than the regular vision of most days. I thought about Madelyn and her observation.  How she was describing the most days that fall into the gap category. 
 Rolling those thoughts over in my head I reached two conclusions.
I want to fill the gaps with more glimpses.  For my kids.  For my husband.  For me.
I can decide to give that my best effort.  To make conscious decisions to interrupt the normal with something memorable.
A glimpse.
There could be lots of glimpses.
And those glimpses could all add up and fill gaps. 

The other conclusion I reached is this.  I want to remember more glimpses, less gaps.
These words convicted me earlier this year and apply here, "What matters in life is not what happens to you but what you remember and how you remember it." Voskamp, The Broken Way
It's necessary to go back to our stories and look into the gaps. Sometimes it's the gaps that have left us anemic and in need of healing.  Healing so we don't hurt others and perpetuate the cycle of hurt in our own ways. So we don't try to fill the gaps with things that empty us and rob others.
 But after the studying, the acknowledging, the knowing there comes a time for looking at the gaps with grace.
A time to forgive the gaps and let our mind's eye play the glimpses back. To choose to see the good.  To choose to see the glimpses God gave us of His goodness.  Even if those glimpses were displayed by imperfect people in small moments.  They are there.

A few days later I surveyed the upcoming weather.  I groaned. Rain. Days straight. But not today.
I needed to seize this one solitary sunny day promised for the week and offer myself and my family a glimpse.
I called my husband and asked.
"I know it's Monday and you may want to go to the gym, but could we take the kids on a picnic? It's the only sunny day of the week," I added for emphasis.
As I walked through the grocery store I reached into my envelope of put aside cash and decided to dip into it.  It would be worth it. I wanted this evening to be special.
The day was sunny, but chilled.  A breeze tore through the evening and sent napkins and cups flying.
My husband sliced through the different cheeses I purchased.  The girl's voting on the best.
I think we all pushed back from the table stuffed.
Remnants of pickles, croissants, scraps of roast beef and cheese, grapes, strawberries, and bakery desserts littered the patchwork quilt.
The girls were off to play.
For two hours the kids played on every possible piece of equipment. They raced across imaginary obstacle courses and even coaxed their dad onto the merry-go-round.  I heard my husband laugh several times.  His smile wide. 
As dusk approached Keith went back to our car.  I tugged on a sweater.  I was getting cold and ready to leave. "We should leave," I told them listing off things in my head that needed to be done for school the next day.
It wasn't time yet. 
Three bedraggled kites were lying in a haphazard pile of knots in the back of our vehicle.  Easter basket presents they had remained untouched for the season.
Keith brought them back to the open grass, working out the knots and sending them soaring in the periwinkle twilight.  The girls' faces told the story.  The best part of the evening happened last.  They love to fly kites and Keith has always been good at it. It's something that usually happens sometime during Spring, but it hadn't happened yet. 
I think they flew kites for another half hour. The girls climbed in the car rosy cheeked and hair tangled from the breeze. 
It was cool, almost dark and nothing much remained of that early May night as we drove home.
But we had glimpsed God's goodness that night.  Together.
The glimpses keep us moving on through the gaps. 
And we do have the ability to offer those we love with longer, more frequent glimpses.
We can do that.


  1. Somer,
    What a beautiful night you and your husband made as a memory for your family! You are so willing to play with your girls and bake and create fun times for them that I can't imagine your daughter was thinking of you when she made that comment! :) You are such a caring and sweet mother that so thoughtfully raises her family to love God and others by your example -- loved reading this glimpse into your family! xoxo


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