I Will See
the lesson she learned
when her memory serves
is to marvel with love at the sunset
– iron and wine – the swans and the swimming –
heading into work one particular morning this november, the eastern sky pushed gently against the rain and the gray. the yellow leaves and the sun’s rays called and responded to each other in a quiet harmony. a hopeful melancholy.
sitting at my desk, upstairs in the Theatre, i can look to my right to a window that faces 36th street. from my chair all i see are the top halves of two trees outside of Smelly Cat. i stare out my window often, but this morning was different. for the first time this year, i met the two trees’ glaring claret stare. the trees caught my eyes and my heart. for the moment, i gave myself over to their captivating, to let the Lord take my spirit where he would.
i noticed the dusty windowsill with chipping paint, my struggling plant, the hand thrown pottery that will become baptism bowls, the borrowed and beaten instruments. my office light is off, so the natural light streams in unchallenged.
“i have an office with a window.”
isn’t that what lots of people dream of? there are people, my friends, working in big buildings down the street who dare to hope to have a cube someday remotely near a window.
and then, “i have a corner office, with two windows.”
a corner office with windows? when i worked at a big bank, i was so far down the ladder i never dreamed of having an office with one window. a corner office in a corporate high rise is not (necessarily) a bad desire, but it was never my desire. i simply knew i did not want to stay long enough to achieve it. yet the Lord saw fit to bless me with. a corner office with windows. i sit there and let the moment of contentment and gratitude wash over me. i am thankful for the sunlight, the view of nature, the glimpses into my neighborhood that they give me.
now it is evening and i am writing at my kitchen table. tonight, the sky glows again. my kitchen window faces west, and i see the violet, blue, pink and orange flames behind the blackened silhouettes of the trees. unlike the gentle glow this morning, the evening sky is a fiery blaze. even though i can’t see the horizon line, i know it’s going to be a killer sunset. after spending a summer out west, every single day i feel claustrophobic in this piedmont city where i cannot get high enough to see a horizon line. suddenly i feel panicked and anxious. i am afraid i am missing something wonderful. i think about getting in my car and chasing after the sunset, but i don’t want to leave my warm house. i curse my altitude, and every sunrise and sunset i’ve ever missed because of my geographic location. i sit, taunted by the sailor’s delight. i want to run after it. i take off my apron. i eye my keys and my bike. i come close. then, instead of running, i make myself sit. and i begin the fight to love it from afar. i turn myself over to the Lord again.
this time, the wave is grief. for the sunsets i saw but did not appreciate, the sunsets i will never see, the friends i will never see them with again, for desires of my heart that
i can never get enough beauty, enough altitude, enough horizon line to fulfill the longings of my soul. and this is why i need Him on this journey…
He will keep some beauty out of my reach.
He will bless me with glimpses of Jerusalem.
He will help me to be grateful for every view.
“I will see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living.” (Psalm 27)
Jessica Dean is a lover of roots – that grow in the ground, that make a sweet old banjo dance, that tangle up into the stories, pictures and songs of people today and long ago. After college, she spent nine years in Charlotte, North Carolina working in banking and non-profit management. Currently, she is a graduate student at Middlebury College’s Bread Loaf School of English, working towards a Masters in English. She recently moved to the green hills of Knoxville, Tennessee where she lives and works on a 55 acre farm and spends this season of life growing food, writing stories, playing music and hiking the Smokies with her dog. She is working on her first book, a collection of children’s stories and songs, hopefully to be completed this winter.