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Hundreds of shimmering strands hung stretched between the slats of my back door stairs. Gresham stood with a juicy pear dripping in his right hand and his left wrapped around my forefinger. He inhaled deeply, his back arching to take as much air into his three-foot trunk as possible. He drew his lips into a tight circle and blew into the spider web with all his might.

"Try again," I chided.

He blasted the web with another gust of his warm air, this time his face turning red and his eyes crossing at the end.

"Why won't it break," I asked.

"That's strong," he answered between pants, and collapsed to his bottom on the stoop.

"But spider webs are tiny, Gresham and you're so big." I sat beside him.

He proudly smiled opened-mouthed, a large bite of pear half mashed and jiggling on his tongue. He sat up straight, adding six inches to his stature, and balled his pearless hand into a fist while bending his arm at the elbow to show off his four year-old mounds of manliness. "I'm big," he garbled.

"I know," I agreed, "but that little bitty spider web is stronger huh?"

He slumped back down into a curvy lump, eyed the dainty web again and bit another chunk from his pear.

"What else is tiny but very strong," I wondered out loud.

"ANTS!" he blurted. "Ants are so so SO strong!"

"Yea, they are. So so SO strong."

As we sat together cooling in the afternoon cloud cover and serenaded by crickets and the hum of the busy street just over the fence, my mind wandered. I thought about tiny molecules of air and slight curves in wings giving lift to tons of metal and dozens of passengers. I thought of small black dots on paper singing tears and smiles onto the faces of millions. I thought of a hundred different small things accomplishing more than it seems they should.

And then Gresham broke our silence. He threw his pear core into the yard, wrapped his arms around my waist and grunted and squeezed and writhed. "I can lift...you...Daddy," he strained.

I lifted myself slowly, only an inch or two, and his eyes widened, amazed at his own strength.

"I did it!"

Tonight, hours later I'm still thinking about Gresham's super powers. I have a lot on my mind lately. I have some fears, some obstacles ahead that seem insurmountable, some weights I don't think can be lifted I guess. My brain is spitting and spinning constantly. I don't sleep well. I'm excited and anxious and creative and stuck all at the same time all the time. My head is full of activity. And I've just added this moment with Gresham, his feats of strength, to the hopper.

I don't have some clever closing paragraph, some meaningful metaphor to unveil here. You can write your own. I don't know exactly what kind of wisdom Gresham and the spider web have to offer me. But there are moments, you know, when things slow down and something greater comes into focus. The worries and hurries and hurdles and objections of life fade into the background and you're suddenly keenly aware that Something in the right now is speaking. Or trying to. And if you only knew the language you'd solve a million riddles.

That was juicy hands gripping my waist and spider web swaying in the breeze made by a four year-old today. Something spoke to me. If only I knew what It said.

For now it's enough just to know It talks.


Blogger GrovesFan said...

Thanks for sharing this time Shaun. It can be so hard when our mind makes our faith difficult to find sufficient at times. Of course we tell ourselves it is and we believe it is too, but trying to live like it is easier said than done sometimes. Sleep is a powerful state for the mind to be in when troubled by whatever "demons" are haunting us, and being deprived of it serves to strengthen the demons sometimes. I will pray for sleep, rest and sufficiency of faith.


Blogger Rachel said...

I probably couldn't begin to understand what all you're facing, but this entry caught my attention and I wanted to share something with you.

I found a quiet place tucked away in the "Prayer Gardens" on my campus a few weeks ago...all I did was take in nature and marvel at the way it was so perfectly synchronized by Hands greater than any man's. Something spoke to me then, too. I had a lot on my mind and honestly felt like breaking down for reasons that most people wouldn't understand.

But the longer I sat there, the more I sorted things out piece by piece with God, the He put me at ease about every single thing. Sometimes the simplest moments, the words of a 4 year-old even, can teach us volumes about strength and what sustains us. It's more than a moment of peace...it's a staying power.

I'll pray that for you, Shaun. I miss you guys o'er there in Nashville. Hopefully I'll be back soon.

Take care,

Blogger Davidge said...

Spider webs flutter in the wind, like butterfly wings, so fragile that a light pass of the hand can destroy their beauty, but pound for pound they are stronger than steel... life is fragile, such small things keep us alive, our bodies are such an intricate machine, all of our pieces working together to keep us going, all part of a bigger picture, and us all working for ourselves, but really for someone else, the computer guy working for a builder who builder the house of a record executive that takes on an artist that plays the music the computer guy listens to...( ;) real scenario!) life is full of cycles... what you may need is a Selah... found in psalms, we know of no definitive meaning for the word, but our closest guess is a pause, a holy pause. For us today, a pause in the busy bustle of life, flights across the counrty, and even the wonderful joys of life. Just time to take it all in. You are part of a family, your wife and kids, and a bigger family, the church... just like the church in Acts, we cannot survive alone, the circumstances in life make us support each other when in need. So as a believer in the church of Acts, I will do what i can to help you any way I can. know that you are loved Shaun, By God and your Family through Him.

Blogger Seth Ward said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

Blogger Susanne said...

"For now it's enough just to know it talks." Beautifully said. I'm having a bit of a sleepless night too, as you can tell from the time of posting! I never had insomnia before I had two kids. :)

Gresham was in my class when I taught VBS at your in-laws' church last year, and he is a precious little boy. Kuddos to you for taking time out of your day to just sit on the steps with him and talk about things he wants to talk about. In this busy day and age, we often forget to just sit and listen to children. We forget that they have really important things to say. And sometimes they don't want to talk; they just want to sit close to us.

Thanks for the beautiful post. I'm going to go hug my 3-year-old now, and maybe tomorrow we'll check out some spider webs or ants!

Anonymous hollybird said...

Shaun... nothing that I could say to you is worth anything, so I will pray.

I want to lift up to you my brother in Christ. I read his words here and I hear the fear and doubt in them. God, I know the loneliness that comes with those feelings, and I pray for healing immediately. I pray against the Enemy who wishes to devour Shaun with the lie that the worries and the the hurdles of life are too big for defeat.

I pray for more spider webs in his life, more talks with his son, more moments of just "being still and knowing that You are God" even if he can't hear the exact words.
I pray for wisdom and discernment in whatever it is that is weighing on his mind. I pray that he will hold firmly to Your promise that you love him "with an everlasting love, that you have drawn Shaun to yourself with unfailing love, that you will rebuild him". I pray that he is "joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer". I pray that Shaun will "open his mouth wide and let you fill it with good things". I pray that he will be able to "fly away and be at rest, far from the tempest and storm".

God, you are holy and mighty and so much more than I can ever imagine or understand. I pray that you bless Shaun right now; show him your awesomeness and your holiness in a way that causes him to stagger with amazement. Teach him your language so that he can understand what it is that you want him to learn in this moment.
You are incredible God. We love you.

I promise to continue to pray for you....

Blogger Mustard Packet Pelter said...

Well dog-gone-it of course you've got a lot on your mind! You've got a live album you'll be doing in about a week! Durr of course you can't sleep. I wouldn't be able to sleep either. I love to hear about the time you spend with your family. It's beautiful and amazing to watch you learn. Praying for you.

Blogger Kathryn said...

the way you wrote that, i was right there observing you and your little son. The way you talked to him and asked him questions and the way he answered you. . i thought of God and how he is with all of us. . teaches us lessons without putting us down, involves us in discovery, lets us get close to him and moves in closer to us, spends time with us, smiles at us, loves us.

This made my day!! Thank you.

About your brain. . . sounds like i'm not the only person with this 'affliction'!!! i'll ask God to give you some peace for your thoughts and all the swirling things in there.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's kinda like that poem, for once then something at the bottom of that well, but I just can't make it out.

Blogger Tracy said...

I wonder how many times we wrap our arms around the waist of our Heavenly Father, insisting that we can lift what only He can. And I wonder how many times He lovingly stands up just an inch or two so as to encourage our spirits because we're His kids, and He knows we could never do it without Him.

Blogger Christopher said...

Wow, that's awesome. Like the others said, it's great you took some time with your son and all that cool stuff. I like your writing style, it's very interesting.

I hope that you can solve your worries and get some sleep! :)


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