"The tears of shame for what's been done,
the silence when the words won't come,
are better than a Hallelujah sometimes...
We pour out our miseries.
God just hears a melody.
Beautiful, the mess we are.
The honest cries of breaking hearts,
are better than a Hallelujah sometimes..."
If you know, or love, someone like me...someone who persistently longs to experience God's tender mercies -- the uncommon grace found hidden in a common moment -- listening to Amy Grant's, "Better Than a Hallelujah," might just give rise to something unexpected and holy...bursting from your heart.
That afternoon may have felt like a thousand other springs in suburban St. Louis for the people I ran into. Dogwood trees carried umbrellas of delicate pink and white blossoms. The grass, sprinkled with wild violets, was as green as Easter basket cellophane, and the breeze was a silky 71 degrees that floated over your skin like a vintage slipdress.
Mothers picked up toddlers from preschool, track coaches held stopwatches on the sidelines, and I stood in the doorway of a building I never thought I'd feel welcome in again. But I was. I was greeted with warmth, embraced with fondness, treated with respect, and ushered in with courtesy.
I am sure that, for everyone I met, their gestures of friendship and kindness were just "business as usual"...a commonplace occurrence in the course of their day. But for me it was the rolling away of a stone on my heart. It was a holy day, a day of mercy, a moment of grace, a resurrection within, an Easter Sunday on a Tuesday afternoon.
Afterwards, I returned to my car...and wept honest tears of gratitude, and love...love, not just for God, whose tender mercies have taken me apart and put me back together in ways I will never be able to fully explain, but for each moment of human kindness I've experienced on my journey towards that threshold. Without those, I would never have had the courage to face my fears, overcome self-doubt, and walk out of the tomb of my own making.
So, as you move into this weekend...I invite you to look for ways to be the expression of the Prodigal's father...eyes on the horizon, expectant of innocence, prepared to run towards the weary child, to envelope him/her in a warm embrace, and welcome them home....
Kate Robertson, CS