Monday, September 4, 2023

Catalog of Fragile Beauties

Listen to me read this post:

Male ruby-throated hummingbird at feeder in our back garden

Male ruby-throated hummingbird at feeder in our back garden

Female ruby-throated hummingbird at our feeder

“He was despised and rejected by men,

a man of suffering who knew what sickness was.

He was like someone people turned away from;

he was despised, and we didn’t value him.”

Isaiah 53:5, CSB

A butterfly’s wing, royal orange and black splendor,

A translucent teacup, bone china with roses and gilt rim,

A Faberge egg, ornate and intricately ornamented,

A sparkling Irish crystal goblet,

A new marriage toasted with a clink,

A much-desired embryo in the shelter of her mother’s womb,

A spider’s web iridescent in the morning light,

A forest of patriarchal trees, enduring strength as fleeting as a careless cigarette,

A shadowed field made bright with bluebonnets, bluebells, or daffodils,

A bright shooting star, heart stopped on the basketball court,

The voices of my childhood, song silenced by disease or scalpel’s slip,

The mighty hero Achilles with sandaled feet,

The mother fading into twilight before one’s eyes,

The embattled child living final days with cancer,

The daughter born with half a heart,

The friend homebound, dying incrementally of autoimmune disease, Long COVID, or both,

The beloved child, future hopes and past memories stolen by an inhaled enemy,

The prismatic soap bubble of health and youth and beauty—

The flickering candles of joy, hope, love:

With these fragile beauties I take extra care,

Guarding and shielding them like the precious treasures they are.

Heirloom lace needs different handling

Than cast-iron skillet or roasting pan.

Ephemeral delicacy invites extra care and protection.

The worth of a human being lies not in strength, health, talent, productivity,

Toughness, or durability.

The worth of a human being is being human.

To be alive is to be vulnerable.

To be human is to be vulnerable.

To walk with the Suffering Servant is to be vulnerable.

Jesus the God-Man chose woundable flesh,

Stooped to take up the fragile beauties of soiled nappies and splinters,

Sore muscles and scoffing,

Excoriation of tongues and scourge,

Hunger, thirst, hanging breathless and in pain on a tree,

Cursed and thorn-crowned for my sake,

Deity despised:

To discard the vulnerable by the wayside is to discard Christ.

Bearing the burden of sufferers’ suffering,

Samaritanlike, not passing by on the other side of the road,

This is the pattern of the King on His knees with basin and towel.

Will you imagine with me a world

That dares to embrace the mystery,

The sacred stewardship, of shared mutual vulnerability?

For the illusion of invulnerability is itself a vulnerability.

Leaving fragile beauties to fall by the wayside is not the only choice.

We are our brothers’ and sisters’ keepers.

I choose life.

I choose protection.

I choose to value the vulnerable.

(And we are all vulnerable.)

I choose love.


  1. Thank-you. I needed every word of this today. I can keep going now...

    1. God sees you. He hears the unspoken groans of your heart. He has not forgotten you. Courage, dear heart. xo


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