Sunday, April 8, 2012


When Emmett was experimenting with pasta making, he tried his hand at making gnocchi.  We quickly determined that he needed a potato ricer, which presses the cooked potato through these impossibly fine holes so that you're left with something very much like a pasta dough that you then shape into those tasty little gnocchi nuggets.

I feel like one of those potatoes, but much lest tasty.

Wednesday night I went to bed with a cold, feeling overwhelmed by everything in front of me.  And my prayer for a good night's sleep was answered by waking up three hours later with a painful sore throat.  After administering the usual remedies, from Neti to Jack, I was wide awake.  So I did what any sane person would do and cried for the next four or so hours until I had to get ready for work.  I managed to incorporate the entire spectrum of subjects to cry about, from self-pity and loneliness to sin and shame and fear and exhaustion.

I find emotional purging to work something like a 24 hour bug, just vomit everything out at once and be done with it.  But like a stomach bug leaves you physically exhausted and weak, I went into Thursday feeling emotionally drained, like a zombie.  I still had not recovered emotionally by the Good Friday service, incidentally my favorite church service of the year.  The Good Friday service usually brings the fullness of Christ's sacrifice into stunning clarity for me, but during the whole service I had this picture of myself, just like Mary, wandering in the garden near the tomb, weeping and looking for my savior.  Where have they laid him? I can't find him!  From John 20: 11-16

Now Mary stood outside the tomb crying. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb and saw two angels in white, seated where Jesus’ body had been, one at the head and the other at the foot.  They asked her, “Woman, why are you crying?” 
“They have taken my Lord away,” she said, “and I don’t know where they have put him.” At this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not realize that it was Jesus. 
He asked her, “Woman, why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?” 
Thinking he was the gardener, she said, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will get him.” 
Jesus said to her, “Mary.” She turned toward him and cried out in Aramaic, “Rabboni!” (which means “Teacher”).

I read that passage several times this weekend, and I still can't get over how much I love it.  Frantic with grief and a desire to be close to her savior, Mary just sits there and weeps.  She knows her insignificance, her inability to change anything, yet grief and love drive her just to be there, as close as she knows how.  And that is exactly where Christ meets her.  But why did he wait so long to call her by name?  Why the questions?  Why the same question twice?  Christ was drawing out the most desperate desires of her heart, to find Christ, but she misunderstood, and in her misunderstanding she was unable to see who was right in front of her.

And boy do I feel like I misunderstand, only I'm not sure what it is that I misunderstand because I can't read the ending of my own story.  But I come, and I cry, and I make up ridiculous answers to simple questions because I so don't see what is right in front of me, just like Mary.  But I come because he knows my name, and I know he will say it, but only after drawing out the truest and deepest desires of my heart.

This weekend has felt like a wandering in the garden, revisiting how much I long for my savior.  If you had any sort of conversation with me, I probably looked a little lost and didn't make much sense because that is how I felt all weekend.  This evening was the first chance I've had to process my thoughts, and I was looking for some of the music we sang when I came across this little gem:

Alive Again by Matt Maher
I Woke Up In Darkness

Surrounded By Silence

Oh Where, Where Have I Gone?

I Woke To Reality
Losing Its Grip On Me

Oh Where, Where Have I Gone?

Cause I Can See The Light

Before I See The Sunrise


You Called And You Shouted

Broke Through My Deafness

Now I’m Breathing In

And Breathing Out

I’m Alive Again!

You Shattered My Darkness

Washed Away My Blindness

Now I’m Breathing In

And Breathing Out

I’m Alive Again!

I'm listening to this song on repeat as I type this blog, and it makes me want to get up and just run!  And I find myself struck by the tension between loitering at the tomb and running the race with perseverance.  But really those two actions must coexist in bizarre juxtaposition.  If we want to run the race, we can't really ever leave the tomb.  We run because he knows us and calls us by name.  We run because he breaks through our misunderstanding.  We run for sheer joy knowing that a risen savior means death has been defeated.

May the eyes of our hearts be opened to the sound of his voice.


  1. I just wanted to say thanks Ms. Stallings. I wanted you to know that this blog entry was EXACTLY what I needed to hear right this second. Your blog inspires me all the time. Thank you for your strength, vulnerability, and wisdom.

  2. "she knows her insignificance, her inability to change anything, yet grief and love drive her just to be there, as close as she knows how."

    let me join the choir in thanking you for your insight and transparency, again. love this. been praying for you...

  3. Hallelujah! I'm so glad he breaks through our deafness, and blindness, and misunderstanding. Remember how lost we were before knowing him! Running and staying. A sister at the monastery pointed out a statue of Scholastica, St. Benedict's sister, and she pointed out Scholastica's feet. One was stable and the other moving, as if she were about to take a step. That has stuck with me--this groundedness in our Anchor, and this movement toward our Anchor. I love Him! And I love the fellowship we have together because of him.