i hesitate to write this post because I'm not one for complex questions to be summed up in simple answers & then forgotten about. i’m more about the wrestle, the struggle, the gray areas. i find comfort in the question marks & i try to avoid clichés that carry the undertone that we should just get over the hard stuff, forget about the mess & move on from whatever we’re wrestling with.
so with that disclaimer in mind, allow me to continue with what i hope will not be that ^.
when i feel pain, when news of a tragedy punctures my small world & my sight gets blurry because tears are my most natural reflex to pain, & a random guy at the mall follows me around the corner to ask if i’m ok, it feels like a thorn bush has shoved itself inside my mind & taken up residence there. & it makes sure to thrust itself against every thought i have, making each of them bleed more heartache. leak more pain.
pain threatens our control. it threatens our safety, our plans, our comfort. it voluntarily stains itself on our life story & forces itself to play a role in who we’re becoming. pain often comes with baggage. layers. a certain kind of depth to it that makes you unpack a dozen other things about your life or your self or your family or your habits or your tendencies in order to work through it. pain is a pain. an open wound. a permanent limp.
so what happens when we feel like we’re walking from one dark room to the next & there is no morning in sight, only more mourning?
(this is where that disclaimer comes in — i am so desperately hoping the following won’t come off to you as cliche)
eventually, sunday happens.
this is what sunday means : it means a renewed hope that’s grounded in a breathtaking eternity that’s just on the other side of this world. it means a final peace that lands on every thorn in our minds when we remember what the cross accomplished. it means a solid trust in an empathetic God who never fails to understand, but keeps on whispering, “i know, i’m here.” it means a faith as small as a tiny seed that knows that life will send hurricanes of pain over our souls, but our souls are safe.
that’s not all to say there’s no pain that seems meaningless to us. the “why’s” are painful & they are necessary & that’s why we need each other. we need to come alongside each other when things are going well & when things are going terrible & we need to say to one another, “i’m not going anywhere,” & mean it. we need to walk through one night to the next holding hands & whispering to each other in the darkness what i know God would say if we could hear him : “i know, i’m here & eventually, sunday happens.”
i haven’t written in a long while, or at least it’s felt that way to me, for a couple reasons. one being that i’ve read a lot of books that have weighed me down with their wisdom & lessons & every time i try to put what i learned into a brief number of words to share, i simply can’t. the other reason is tied to the first. i haven’t written in awhile because i’m just plain tired of telling people what to do & how to live in a concise number of words. i’m fed up with my own contradictory habits & i’m trying to wrap my mind around how to be at peace with being a person that is both/and, not either/or. but i’ve put my fingers to the keys this morning because i don’t want to be a writer that only pens pretty words when she feels she has a grip on her life & feels she has finally ironed out her inconsistencies (which is never, ever, ever true about me) but i want to be a writer that strings words together when she feels messy & complicated & so crammed full of contradictions, but has come to the same conclusion at the end of every day : we need more grace.
this in itself is a contradiction as i’m here telling you what we need to do, but alas, there’s no way around it. we need more grace for each other & we need more grace for ourselves & we need to recognize the overflowing grace that is ours from the Father. we need, more than ever, to hold each other to this standard : that we are unfinished, that we walk through our days making a handful of wrong decisions & a handful of right ones, that we are not black & white, that we are complicated & crave someone to believe that we’re capable & that we belong to the Father that tenderly whispers in the midst of our messy moments : “you did this wrong, but i did it all right.” (erin loechner said it first in her incredible book, chasing slow) & there we have the gospel : our freedom, our song, our reason, our peace.
i’ve been reading a good amount of mary oliver’s poetry recently & if you haven’t read her work, this is my subtle plug to tell you that you should start to. she writes in one of her poems “listen, are you breathing just a little & calling it a life?”
while i haven’t been writing, i’ve been chewing on this quote & overanalyzing its message & figuring out how i can implement its strategy & i — surprise — haven’t come to any incredibly profound conclusions that would ensure we are all living a life that is more than a culmination of little breaths, but i have concluded that a life that lives up to what it was intended to be is made up of the following : risk & love & sacrifice & curiosity & awe & laughter & a whole lot of grace.
it’s a life that’s rooted in the freedom of the gospel, a freedom that doesn’t require us to iron out all our inconsistencies to be saved, but a freedom that declares that God already did it for us. a life that is so imperfectly put together, that it almost never makes sense, but it pauses often to find the grace, like in the barista that looks up & smiles at you after you push open the door to sound the soft chime & the grace in the old man you pass for the third time around the lake that waves to you each time like it’s the first time & the grace in the smile of the woman leaning against the trash can outside the grocery store when you tell her she’s rocking her red sneakers. it’s a life that sees grace & gives grace & pours grace into every crevice & every crack & every contradiction. it’s a life that lets grace be the only conclusion. oh, & we’ll fail at this over & over again because we’re all a bit inconsistent, but there’ll be grace enough for us when we do. that's what this whole thing is all about.
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.