The last hour of this day

The last hour of this dayThe day has slipped into the night a long time ago.

Children’s sweaty bodies are draped across their beds. Miniature chests move up and down, gently letting air in and out and the little mouths open up halfway to let it all happen a little more conveniently.

Behind closed eyelids little boys awaken in another world, slaying dragons and flying over roofs.

Beside me lies their dad, in whom I can see little pieces from all of them.
His labored breathing could almost be called snoring and his mouth opens just like theirs.

I tiptoe down the stairs to close the door and can’t resist going outside for just a few minutes.

To lie down on the damp grass and stare into the night sky.
The stars are staring right back.

They can already see the day of tomorrow coming. Far, far away over the horizon.
I beg them to keep it at bay for just a few more hours, but all they do is stare back at me wordlessly.

The cool night flows around me, crawling up my skin as if it’s a paint brush just dipped in goosebump-paint.

I don’t want to go to sleep yet. I want to hold this moment just a little longer.

The evening is for dreams, for everything that is yet to come.

And now, in this hour that is left to me before the clock relentlessly announces the arrival of tomorrow, anything is possible.

That, from now on, I will only pour kind words into those trusting little hands my children stretch out to me.

It is possible that I will have the energy to do all the things I think I will do.

That I will always know who I am, and that I will never forget that.

That I will never have black outs in which I forget that who I am has nothing to do with what I accomplish.

That I will never be confused about whether those children need a hug or a darn good scolding.

And that I will know what to cook for supper.

Right now, anything is possible. I can’t give it up just yet.

As if, by staying up for five more minutes, I could overwrite every hour of today.

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what I need

I’m paid with a price. But He’ll relinquish me if I want to be relinquished. I can walk away and He’ll let me go.

I don’t, because I want to be bought. I want to be bought back and saved and made into me.

The me He had in mind when He was creating my soul.

Because I don’t always know who I am, and what I should do. I don’t always know who I want to be, and what I want to do. And sometimes I am who I don’t want to be and I do what I don’t want to do, not knowing how to stop.

But the one who made me and bought me when I fell into the wrong hands, He knows how to lead me back to the one I should be.

He holds me close to His heart, so close I can hear it beating, and shows me who I can be.

I stay and I trust and I feel the water wash of the grime I didn’t even know was there.

For a second, it feels like He is the cause of the dirt washing up. I consider just turning my […]

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Never alone

For 10 days, purple flowers blanketed the forest floor in the Hallerbos, enchanting thousands of people.

The bluebells do it every year again: prepare all year, to give everyone a peek into perfection for just a few days. They are fragile, vulnerable, and all over the place.

If someone steps on the flowers, they never recover. But they’ll leave their seeds. If uncaring shoes walk on the bare forest floor more then 25 times, the seeds have no chance to take root. The surrounding flowers take years and then some, to encroach on the empty spot and fill it up again.

It can be hard to get back up when all life seems to do is knock you down. Again. And again. And again.

It can seem like it isn’t worth it, when people keep walking over you like you aren’t even there.

When life drags you down with yet another wave, leaving you in the forgotten depths of the ocean.

It’s the most cliche thing to say… But you’re never alone.

Even in the depths of despair or in the black numbness that envelops you, making you oblivious to despair and joy and any feelings at […]

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The past in the now

The past is in the past. And it always stays with you.

I’ve wanted to go back to the past, to who I was. To a place that was home and to people who used to belong in my story.

I’ve held on to my past and I’ve wanted to turn back time. I’ve thought that, if I could do that, I’d like to take some things from now back to then. And I’ve thought I’d leave even more things behind in the now.

But then is then, and now is now. “Then” lies behind me, “now” all around me, and “what will be” stretches out before me like the ocean, covered by a fine mist.

And yet there’s a bit of what is behind me inside of me. Like a shadow that stays in the mirror. The red stain that stays in the white container years after the spaghetti sauce has been washed out.

I’ve often seen my childhood as a burden, something to forget.

And I’ve seen it as the only thing that matters, something to anxiously cling to when all the other things in my life and in the world seemed unsure.

I’ve realized […]

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When the magic begin

The sun shines into the cold, bright air and little white clouds float through it effortlessly.

The birds are singing a song again, and I’m wondering which warm spot they camped out at this winter.

I know they didn’t come home because they wanted to encourage me to hang in there, to prove that spring and summer are on their way back.

They came to build little nests in hedges and trees and bushes, to make everything ready for their arrival of their babies.

Either way, I’m glad they came.

The song they sing while going about their own business lights up my day.

Some of the trees are turning pink, prettier then the prettiest princess dress. The magic is beginning.

Children who are cranky from being cooped up inside go out and play, discovering wondrous things they have seen a thousand times before.

This time, more than any other time before this, it’s new and special and utterly delightful.

In a different realm and also very much here, is the Lord of All. The Lord of the mountains we try to climb, the oceans we can’t fathom. The Lord of spring and forget-me-nots and the babies that are […]

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Being small

From the time that we are very small, we long to be very big.

Dads and moms and teachers say, or at least it is generally thought to be desirable that they say, we are important and unique and special.

And then we get bigger and we see we are just small dots. Dots among dots, like sand at the beach.

We are not inclined to feel grateful for that feeling.

So we stand on a platform. We swing our arms around. And they walk right on by.

We sigh a deep sigh and wave our arms around halfheartedly before sitting down despondently.

Grains of sand accept they are part of the whole, they won’t be put on a pedestal to be admired above all the other grains of sand on the beach, but we don’t accept our fate so easily.

We want to be seen. Preferably alone. The numbers of admirers are never quite enough. We feel out, despite the high numbers some of us manage to accumulate.

As if there is an elite in-group, and if you can only be part of and call out their admiration, that it will fill all the empty places, the vague […]

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When I’m the girl in the photograph

When I'm the girl in the photograph

January, 1922, a young dutch girl is at school in Zaventem, Belgium. She writes the date carefully, each word a work of art.

96 years later I hold it in my hands. I trace the letters she wrote; my great-grandmother.

She started writing it just after a world war, not knowing it would only be the first. Before she had children, before those children grew up.

Did she make ever make the fancy recipes she carefully wrote down, for visitors or in-laws?

Sometimes I think of life back then in black and white, or at least in the faded colors of the photographs I find.

But the sun shone just as brightly, and the grass was just as green.

Life seemed to stretch out just as endlessly for her. After she went back home and put her simple brown notebook with its elaborate curly writing on a shelf, she couldn’t have known that almost a century later it would find itself back in Belgium close to the place where it received its first word.

Someday I’ll be the girl in the old fashioned photograph. And although it won’t be black and white it will seem just as […]

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