Carrie Newcomer’s new album is titled The Beautiful, Not Yet. She celebrates the time of year that seems mostly gray and lifeless, the days before spring is full. I do see the morning sky with different eyes now. The sunrise is more visible through the bare branches of the big tree in my yard, those branches that twist and turn toward the light. That tree let go of its leaves last fall (another Carrie song) so that new buds will soon appear. Letting go of the old made possible the new, however, Carrie reminds me that there is beauty to be witnessed in the in-between if we pay attention. Carrie notices,
We are not who we were, and yet we are not who we will become. I went for a walk in early spring when the snow was gone but leaves had not yet budded. The light was clear and clean, falling totally unencumbered through the trees. Yes, summer was coming, lush and unsubtle, but in that moment I found myself grateful and in love with the quickening. Life is always lived between then and soon, right here and now, in the beautiful not yet.
So, you might know where this is going if you know that I am sort of in-between, too.
We put our house up for sale a few weeks ago, anticipating a move this summer when my job here ends. The house sold right away. I guess I should be happy about that, and I am a little. It has been a privilege to welcome guests here, to sit on the porches, to come home here, and to watch the sun rise over the Holston Mountain through my kitchen window.
We didn’t expect to be going anywhere. And to top it off, we really don’t know where we are headed. Women and men of faith have always been asked to leave safe places: to go to new lands, to unknown places God will show you, to receive a new name, to take risks, to take a stand that is counter-cultural. Maybe this place was just a respite on that journey.
I have been thinking about what I’ve learned here, what it is that I will take with me from this place. But maybe Carrie’s song is reminding me to notice and rest in this moment when just because I don’t see anything doesn’t mean things aren’t happening. Pay attention.
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