All Things Hold Together


He is before all things

You can’t know–when waking at the gray cat’s paw to a dark sky–how the light will come through the trees at noon.

Other things come first: the sliced turkey laid just so on the bread, carrots and cherry tomatoes, the mandarin, the note on the napkin.


He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.

The very bad traffic at the light.

In the car-line, Emma’s friend waved at me while I stared blindly out my sunglasses. Then he pulled his hoodie over his flume of hair and kept walking.

Meanwhile, news was of bombings in Aleppo and the child mortality rate in North Carolina, of strategies toward peace in Syria and the horrors of opioid addiction. Of forest fires in the South and a new presidency.

Of four-year-old Susie in the UK who called the emergency hotline and saved her mother’s life.

In Him all things hold together.

But last night you played board games and ate brownies and enjoyed the first fireplace fire of the season, and today you sipped coffee and talked with a new friend about books and guilt and the portrayal of guilt in books

and you realize a thing you are just beginning to know, which is that guilt is like grief, that guilt is, in fact, a kind of grief. And as grief, it won’t go away. It can be denied or pretended against. It can be shoved into a corner or hidden neatly with compassion and the magnanimous gesture

but It Will Out.

He is before all things

And you say to your new friend what you know is true: that there are no easy answers. That even though you believe absolutely in an Answer, that answer isn’t easy.

If it were easy, it couldn’t possibly be the answer.

But in Him all things hold together.

It’s on the way home that you see how the yellow leaves filter the sun like lace inflamed; how the scattering of leaves pointed like pins rolls like a flume in the wake of an SUV; how air and light and color are caught and impossibly suspended together around you; how the loosened maple leaf, drawn down by its stem, inscribes circles on the air.

For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross. 

Colossians 1: 19-20


(Amendment made with gratitude to Lynne, who understands so well.)

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