i hopped in my car the other day feeling fragile, like the world & all its weighted pain & problems were throwing darts at my heart, slowly deflating its resilience. i often walk through my days feeling fragile, feeling threatened by the pain in my little world & in every person’s little world & in the whole wide world. so as i drove down familiar roads among hundreds of other cars, all holding little worlds, i broke down under the weight i was holding in my hands & the weight i was bottling up inside my heart & all i was trying to take on in my mind & it all felt like too much to carry so i invited the tears & remembered what a friend shared the other day : tears mean your heart is working. (not to say that if you don’t cry as much as i do, your heart is malfunctioning, but you get the point)
i revisited the same kind of concept with my sister this morning as we strolled to the park under the trees with two babies & two toddlers & two red wagons & two blueberry muffins & as we rallied our little ones toward the swings, we tried our best to put into words how doggone hard it is to be human & to feel things at a soul level & how it sometimes feels like there are a million problems that need solutions & how there’s not enough time in the day to address them all & how our hearts have a hard time handling even one of them & how all we want to know is that we’re doing what we’re supposed to be doing & that we’re exactly where we need to be & that we’re carrying plenty in our little hands.
we didn’t tie up the conversation in a neat little bow or tidy up our thoughts with neat solutions & hollow conclusions, but a few minutes later, one of the little ones ran up to me for another handful of popcorn & as i poured a few kernels into his open hands, some rested on his tiny palms & others fell to the ground but i assured him that it was okay that they fell & that the kernels he was already holding were plenty. he ran away happily responsible for those few kernels & i immediately thought what a silly analogy it is but that’s kind of a picture of God & us because our little hands can only carry so much & that’s the design & the rest of what we can’t carry in our own, God will give to other open hands to hold.
i carried that silly analogy back to the swings & shared it with kelly & we laughed at how simple that picture is but how it might’ve just been exactly what we needed for our morning.
in the meantime of figuring out what my hands are carrying & what they don’t have to be carrying right now, i’m on my way to making peace with the fact that i was designed to be highly sensitive & i’m learning to see it as something to be celebrated instead of despised, but i think along with it must come the realization that my hands were only meant to carry so much & even if it’s only a few popcorn kernels here & there, i’m doing just fine.
so here i am, propping up this analogy on a screen for anyone to see & hoping that we’ll all consider what we’re meant to carry right now & what we’re meant to leave for other open hands.
whatever your hands are carrying, carry them well & give those people & those jobs & those passions & those hobbies your time & your energy & all your love & kindness & compassion & steer your heart towards them over & over again because the world needs your little hands, full of purpose & full of light.
the other night, i met an older couple underneath a streetlight. they smiled when they saw me & then we raved to each other about the beauty of the night & then we talked for the next few minutes about the journey life is & our conversation ended with an invitation for me to come over their house the next morning for pastries.
i wrote down their address & memorized their names & let the admiration i felt for them stall me & stun me as i walked away from my new friends & marveled at the kind of radiance they embodied that even the stars above must be envious of.
i showed up to their house the next morning & they were waiting outside for me with their garage door open & packed with boxes of baked goods from the bakery down the road. they welcomed me like i was their guest of honor & handed me a bag to fill with whatever looked good to me & asked me questions about my life & my mind. we talked for awhile as i held my plastic bag stocked full of bread & pastries & cinnamon rolls & i don't think they ever stopped smiling & all i could think about was how these two must be living, breathing, walking angels & then as i got ready to leave for work, she gave me a lollipop from the bag she carries with her everywhere & by then i wasn’t even surprised, thinking of course an angel carries around a bag of lollipops to hand out & then she told me to have the best day & to spread kindness, that i would do just fine in life if i did.
again, i walked away stalled & stunned by their kindness. & not just a subtle, surface-y kind of kindness, but it became obvious to me that they see kindness as a “that’s what i’m here on this earth for” kind of thing.
i left for the rest of my day with a renewed sense of purpose & passion for the hours ahead of me. i left with a confidence in the power of kindness & in the God who created human angels like them to remind me just how kind He is & how stunning this day in front of us could be if we adorn it with kindness.
i’m writing all this down & i’m not even sure why i’m sharing it but i felt the urge within me to because i want their reckless generosity & kindness that has no doubt been strengthened & refined over the years to encourage & inspire every one of us to stun the world with radical kindness in random moments & every moment.
streetlights are there to shed light so that we can actually see each other & where we’re going. they are a pause from the darkness & an invitation to encounter what’s in front of us. which gets me thinking that there are thousands of different streetlights in the world : there are the standard streetlights, but there are also living rooms & grocery aisles & fitness centers & coffee shops & cubicles & hallways & classrooms & break rooms & elevators & hiking trails. streetlights are anything & anywhere that invites us to really see each other & visit awhile.
the next time we pass someone underneath a streetlight of any kind, i hope we see not just a stranger, but a soul & that we listen to what they want to share with us & then invite them over for pastries. & maybe a lollipop, too.
i'm sitting on a bench in a no name park in the middle of a sun shower. it's a bit past noon & the sun is still soaring high & proud & there are grey clouds splattered across the baby blue sky as if God's finger painting out here in golden, colorado & rain drops are kissing my forehead & notebook pages. the thunder sounds angry & the leaves are shivering in response & i am the only one here to watch the show. to watch the sun shower.
& at the moment, i can't think of a better metaphor for this wild life we live.
life is absurdly complicated & when i try to wade through the complexities of relational dynamics & aging dreams & childhood memories & present grief & the ebb & flow of seasons, their weighted beauty & heartache overwhelm me. which leads me to believe that life is nothing but a steady sun shower that we are always showing up for. life is never one-dimensional. it's layered & heavy & multi-angular & anything but black & white & i think there's something relieving about that. there's something relieving about knowing that we are always living in some sort of tension, in some kind of unfinished. & one of the secrets to life is learning how to live in its discomfort.
right now, i'm navigating through the second year of my twenty's & learning to define what healthy risk looks like & learning what long distance friendship requires & struggling to redefine success & figuring out how to piece together a productive schedule & how to be a God lover & how to make new, meaningful friendships & how to love ben creatively & how to seek out adventure in the ever developing moments.
in some of these experiences, i'm showing up to them for the first time & others i'm revisiting, but in each & every one of them is something like a sun shower : a consistent unfolding of what is bright & damp & what is chilling & soothing & i'm here, bathing in their unpredictable magic & breathing in the everlasting show above me & inside me : the sun's shine dancing with the grey clouds.
two months down of living in colorado & i’m slowly settling into a steady appreciation for my new home. i’m learning the bends in each mountain road & memorizing the way home & figuring out the house chore that makes my sister the most happy when it’s over with & realizing what it is i do that makes my nephew laugh the hardest & learning the best way to hug & hold my new niece.
& although it’s all been beautiful & exciting, i feel the thrill of being in a brand new place simmering itself down & the excitement evening itself out & i’ve learned that with the dimming of anything comes a challenge that has presented itself to me over & over again throughout my life : the challenge of quitting “the chase.”
this is how i define “the chase” : a state of constant hunger for “one day” & exhausting angst for the next experience or the next thrill or the next purchase or the next visit or the next best.
the chase has always been a faithful companion of my life routine. as a little girl, i couldn’t wait for the bell to ring for recess & as a middle schooler, i couldn’t wait to try out for the basketball team & as a high schooler, i couldn’t wait to get my license & then i couldn’t wait to graduate & couldn’t wait to go to college & couldn’t wait to graduate college & couldn’t wait to move out to colorado & so it goes.
& i guess this cycle is part of what it means to be human : we are restless beings, tossing & turning in time & scurrying around to stock up on what we think will leave us finally satisfied & sprinting towards what’s next, then trampling over the present in our rush to get there. i don’t know if you find yourself like this, but i know this is so often my chorus & i’m exhausted from it. i want to quit the chase of what’s not here, yet.
instead, i want to prize what’s right in front of me, give it my full attention, stay awhile. i want to replace my angst with gratitude. i want to walk from one morning to the next & from one night to the next instead of sprinting through them & missing the sights on my way. i want to be engaged with today, even when it’s hard to & fall in love with what i see & what i hear & what i feel & what i read. i want to love the days & not wish them away or wish they pass by faster. as a beautiful woman wrote in her stunning memoir about living with & dying from cancer & how to treasure the hours put it, “these days are days. we choose how we hold them” (the bright hour).
this is a mighty challenge & a tall order, but i really believe God gives us a thousand gifts a day & gives us the permission & the grace to quit the chase because He knows we’ll be better off when we do. & i think because He’s good & faithful, He wants to gently fill every crevice of our thirsty hearts with Himself & with the freedom & the joy that comes from knowing we have nothing to prove & nothing to earn & that every day, because of the cross, even in our chase & restlessness & constant craving for what’s next, He sees us as perfect : perfectly whole & perfectly spotless & perfectly His. yes, we are oh so perfectly His : in the past, we always have been, in the present, we always are, & in even in the chase, we always will be.
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.