My dad is one of the wisest people I know, and one of the most important things he has taught me is that you have to show up. Throughout my life, I’ve seen him show up to gut houses for pastors, take extra shifts at work for a sick colleague, serve on the church board, and taxi my brother and I to and from rehearsals and workouts. I’ve inherited this legacy of showing up from him, as if it were infused and passed down from within his genes like my dimpled chin.
Of course, as we grow, these basic moral imperatives evolve with us, becoming peppered with other philosophies and pieces we pick up from the various places we’ve been. Sometimes, they can become heavy with our baggage, with all of our fears and imperfections and fight to compare and come out on top. Sometimes, when our hearts break, they can go missing altogether, like a love lost; we spend our days and months retracing our steps and frantically asking strangers have you seen this piece of me, only to be met with blank stares and shaken heads.
For awhile now, I’ve been waiting for her to return. I had all but resigned to call off the search, deciding to take five on the sidelines. 2014 was declared a year of rest, but it turned out to be anything but. I’d much prefer for you to think that as the curtains close on this year, I’m writing out of a place of rejuvenation and a renewed sense of where all my pieces fit — but really, I’m bowing out feeling restless and fragmented, as if that one lonely, lost piece of myself that I can’t survive without has managed to board a train and is now thousands of aching miles away.
Truthfully, much of my year was spent wallowing in those feelings — but the fewer days remain on the calendar, the more fiery haste scalds my feet. My restlessness has begun to far outweigh my fear of walking through the blaze, and I can’t wait another minute. My bones are hurting for alignment and starving for true things.
I’ve begun to take an inventory of the raw materials I have to work with. Admittedly, at times, it doesn’t seem like much at all. But I believe with all my heart in a God who makes it His business to create beauty out of nothing. And what I’ve come to know in the hustle of this crazy year, deep down in my soul, is His nearness. In the midst of my striving, His comfort and affection have been unabashedly close. If that turns out to be all I take away from 2014, I’d consider it more than enough.
And as 2015 glows brighter on the horizon, one truth rings loud and sure above all the rest: I must leave the sidelines behind and dive headfirst into the arena, and shout from every rooftop that there is pure art to be discovered within the messy, the raw, the unrefined. And then, I must take the first step, picking up tender pieces and trusting that God is intimately aware of how they are to come together.
My desire for 2015 is this: to live a better, more aligned story. I want my whole being to infiltrate my whole doing. I want to bask in the pleasure of a tidy home. I want to buy cookbooks, shop local, try a yoga class, leave the stress of work at work. I want to learn about flowers and when the best time is to plant them. I want to get back into fiction and read a lot of books. I want to get my hair done on a regular basis. I want to wear bright lipstick. I want to go to Allume. I want to have dinner parties. I want to mentor college girls. I want my authenticity to count for more than my efficiency.
I want to figure out exactly what it is that makes me come alive. It might be a messy process. I might scrape my knees and get dirt on my face. I might get my heart broken. I’ll grieve the pieces of myself that fall off along the way, like the trees that watch their leaves wither and fall away every autumn. But I’m reminded, all the time, of Donald Miller’s words: the trees are not worried. They bend low before Creator God, trusting that life will soon be restored. The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof. My life is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof.
Grace and peace to you. And also to me.
May it be so.