When I was able to (gasp)
Go to a store,
Load up a cart,
Unload it into my car,
Move the bags and boxes into the house,
All by myself,
In that time so different from my present,
An odd thing occurred
That it earned itself a name.
In the vast chasm of a warehouse,
I would add to my cart some throw pillows,
A doormat perhaps,
A box of frozen chipotle black bean burgers.
Among the lofty rafters
Where a helium balloon would be lost forever,
Among the aisles long enough to cheer
Any fitness tracker,
The things in my cart seemed perfectly Goldilocks in size,
Somewhere between the store and home—
Did I pass through a magic portal?—
Those perfectly normal items transmogrified.
When I brought them inside,
They were too big for the sofa,
The front porch.
How had this happened?
We finally concluded
Context was key.
The warehouse dwarfed the purchases,
Making them seem smaller than they were.
Our home shrank the context
And expanded our perception of size.
An elephant overwhelms a powder room
But finds room to roam on an African savannah.
This phenomenon we dubbed
“The Costco Effect.”
These last few months,
One idea I’ve been preaching to myself,
Overwriting the false story with the True,
Is that the Bible presents a reverse Costco Effect
Regarding our sufferings.
The sorrows which seem,
And indeed are,
So great and overwhelming
In this tiny house,
Of a life,
Can truly be called “light and momentary”
By the apostle Paul
(Who had endured more than I)
Because he had seen them in the third heaven,
The vast landscape of eternity,
Incomparable weight of glory.
“Therefore we do not lose heart,”
Because in the pages of our Bibles
We can see that invisible vista.
We can behold in words,
Through a glass darkly,
The shadowy pictures of how great,
The kingdom of heaven will be.
When we behold that reality
With resurrected eyes,
Walk the golden streets
With resurrected feet
And ankles that don’t need braces,
Sing praises with resurrected voices
That stay in tune
And don’t crack on E-flat—
When we trade our mourning for joy
In the presence of the Lamb
Is it just possible,
That when we see the splendid sequoias
Sprung from the very seeds of our sorrows,
That we will fall on our faces
(If regret were possible)
That we had not suffered more?
Is it just possible
That the unbearable burdens
We struggle even to roll off our backs
In this annus mirabilis
Will seem miniscule when
Dwarfed by their proper context?
Is it just possible
That gazing at that possibility
With eyes of faith
Until we can gaze
With eyes of flesh,
Will make firm our weak hands
And make strong our feeble knees
So we can rise again when morning dawns
And keep treading
In the footsteps of our Savior?
This hope rooted in promise,
Anchored in truth,
Keeps me fighting for joy.
No tear will be lost,
No sorrow wasted,
But all are producing for us
An exceeding and eternal
Weight of glory
Beyond our best imaginings.