"Just that maybe ... maybe you don't want to change the story, because you don't know what a different ending holds."

The words I choked out that dying, ending day, echo. Pierce. There's a reason I am not writing the story and God is. He knows how it all works out, where it all leads, what it all means.

I don't.

His eyes return, knowing the past I've lived, a bit of my nightmares. "Maybe ... I guess ... it's accepting there are things we simply don't understand. But He does."

And I see. At least a bit more. When we find ourselves groping along, famished for more, we can choose. When we are despairing, we can choose to live as Israelites gathering manna. For forty long years, God's people daily eat manna—a substance whose name literally means "What is it?" Hungry, they choose to gather up that which is baffling. They fill on that which has no meaning. More than 14,600 days they take their daily nourishment from that which they don't comprehend. They find soul-filling in the inexplicable.

They eat the mystery.

They eat the mystery.

And the mystery, that which made no sense, is "like wafers of honey" on the lips.

A pickup drives into the lane. I watch from the window, two brothers meeting, talking, then hand gestures mirroring each other. I think of buried babies and broken, weeping fathers over graves, and a world pocked with pain, and all the mysteries I have refused, refused, to let nourish me. If it were my daughter, my son? Would I really choose the manna? I only tremble, wonder. With memories of gravestones, of combing fingers through tangled hair, I wonder too ... if the rent in the canvas of our life backdrop, the losses that puncture our world, our own emptiness, might actually become places to see.

To see through to God.

That that which tears open our souls, those holes that splatter our sight, may actually become the thin, open places to see through the mess of this place to the heart-aching beauty beyond. To Him. To the God whom we endlessly crave.

Maybe so.

But how? How do we choose to allow the holes to become seeing-through-to-God places? To more-God places?


How do I give up resentment for gratitude, gnawing anger for spilling joy? Self-focus for God-communion.

To fully live—to live full of grace and joy and all that is beauty eternal. It is possible, wildly.

I now see and testify.


So this story—my story.

A dare to an emptier, fuller life.


One Thousand Gifts

Copyright © 2010 by Ann Morton Voskamp
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