a continuing project of reading and writing through Ann Lamott’s bird by bird
chapter 6: polaroids- discovering what it is about something that compels you by staying with it long enough, writing about it until something emerges from the murky green
chapter 7: character- similar to polaroids in that “it takes time for you to know them” (44); it’s important to have a tea party with them, stay open to them, and really listen to who they are and what they want.
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One day I began to sing “We Three Kings” aloud, out of the blue, on a day not leading to Christmas nor on a day shortly after. It’s the song we learned as kids at church about the three kings of the Orient bearing gifts, who traveled afar to see the Perfect Light. And my mind sort of wandered (like it so usually does), wondering what happened to these wise-men after they saw the baby Jesus. They had packed up their bags and each prepared a gift of significance, loaded up their camels, and braced themselves for a long journey with only a bright star and the prophecies they’d heard and read about, to guide them. What happened after their brief visit to Bethlehem when they journeyed back home and returned to daily life? Were they never the same again? How could they not be?
I want to be that wise-man who grew up studying the prophesies, hoping for the bright star to appear during my lifetime, readying my heart with the hope of seeing the spoken of King and Savior with my own eyes and worshiping Him with my forehead touching the ground and my lips trembling with the words, My Lord. I want to be that wise-man, who when the star appeared, leaped into the air and dropped everything to make the journey not many would make, to see the baby that would be talked about for an eternity. I want to be that wise-man, who when looked at the star, everything else faded and was of no importance, just noise and more noise that settled into darkness when he left his town behind. I want to be that wise-man who searched his heart for the perfect gift and wrapped it carefully in a silk fabric, that he secured to his saddle where he could rest his hand on and dream of the moment he could give it to the receiver. I want to be that wise-man who rode for days through the wilderness, never once wishing to go back because of what he knew was ahead- despite the harsh elements, the string of oppositions, and the fatigue that set in. I want to be that wise-man who constantly gazed up at the bright star for guidance, to know it was there even when the clouds covered it, pointing to the perfect light who would redeem him and had already filled his life with such hope. I want to be that wise-man who stopped in front of the small house where the family lived, heart beating fast and swelling so big, climbing down from his camel, untying the prophetic gift that spoke of the boy’s calling, and knocked on the door, saying, “We are three wise-men from the Orient, and we bear gifts for the Messiah.” I want to be that wise-man, who when the door opened and he was ushered in, fell at the boy’s feet and cried tears that he’d held in for this day that he would meet the One, the only One who knew the story of those tears and would collect them in a bottle, not letting a single drop fall unnoticed. I want to be the wise-man who kissed the feet of an infant who’d later become a man whose feet were nailed to a cross and spat upon by the very world whose weight he bore, all in the name of love. I want to be that wise-man who rode back home, filled with nothing but hope and the sound of the boy’s laughter that gave life to his weary bones and joy unshakeable.