I’ve been going through some old journals lately, listening to songs I haven’t heard in years, and thinking about the person that I used to be. I read once in one of Don Miller’s books that the body regenerates every six months, and the truth is, I find myself wishing that I could go back. The person I was had grit and resolve. She was honest and less guarded, and hated small talk with a passion.
I used to love poetry. Have I ever told you that? The person I was could sit for hours and marvel at the way words came together with unparalleled decadence. But now, the only books I buy are about time management, and when I made a color coded calendar for the month of March, I ended up feeling as though I had lost myself.
The person I am now is an expert at inviting walls into wide open spaces.
And maybe this is just part and parcel of growing up, but it all feels so extreme and heavy handed.
We went to a parking lot carnival last summer, and there was a ride called The Fireball. It was the only one I was scared to get on, and I almost backed out. It swung you on a pendulum, spinning, and suspending you at a moment’s notice. In the end, I did get on.
It has taken me this long to realize that the past few years have felt like one long ride.
The other night, I asked C if he thought we were happy. We were in the car, as usual, headed home from some Bible study or work obligation. He said yes, but honestly, I’m not sure.
There was a time when I thought we had really hit it big. We have everything we want. Our needs are met, but are our souls truly satisfied? The psalmist never said that our souls would find rest in 401k’s or throw pillows or self-help books.
I’ve been feeling the tug of the Spirit every time I open another one of those books. The words may help you through this season, but I am using this to make you whole.
A friend’s words slip quietly into my inbox: what every artist needs is a handful of friends who are allowed to see them at their worst, friends who won’t back down or shy away from an invitation to step into their ugliest moments.
I hit reply, and through tears, shared that I don’t know if I have those friends. Not in my real life, anyway. This season of life is so transient. Graduation day saw some of our closest friends move away. Last year, we helped the man who stood beside C as we became husband and wife fill a U-haul with the things he and his wife had collected and waved goodbye as they drove to New York. Then, in January, we watched our pastor and his wife answer God’s call to move to Nashville.
This past Saturday, my best friend from high school buried her baby. And despite having grown apart in college, I drove the half hour to go to the funeral, because that is what friends do. And as the eulogy was spoken, I wept, both for the life of her sweet boy, and for the lives of the people we used to be.
It is hard to be known by anyone else when you surround yourself with bricks and mortar. And the truth is, I’ve never needed a lot of people. I just need the right people.
Two weeks ago, I sat on the front row of the church and listened our pastor spoke about emotional wellness. And T, with the nautical eyes and the untamed hair, played guitar and sang about a love that doesn’t fail, and I cried.
I cried because I’m not the person I want to be. My soul craves rest and simplicity. Simplicity: freedom from complexity, intricacy, deceit, guile, division into parts; absence of luxury or pretentiousness.
I cried because there is more to me, more to the person I am than has ever been given credit (especially by myself).
The question crept into my inbox, so quietly that I almost missed it among all the other things that demanded my attention: what are you watering that is already dead?
She said that sometimes our roots become tangled and begin to die, and the only way to survive is to break them.
The surest way to miss out on seeing the beauty and the birth of something new is to resist and refuse to be broken and allow what’s dead to rest in peace.
For three years now, I’ve been meditating on Psalm 46:10.
I think back to that Tuesday night, circled up with some of the most beautiful searching souls I’ve known, and the definition of perseverance that K shared: being willing to cooperate and remain under pressure. In other words, the cessation of striving. How much more simple could it possibly be? The man who strives is unstable in all his ways.
Don wrote that this is the time that a lot of people give up, but I am not giving up. I am still learning to rest. And I promise, I am trying to remember that spring is coming.
I look at these hands, the blood coursing through veins, and I know that she’s still in there. She just looks different now, and that’s okay. I am learning to love her.
And I do want to be known. From now on, I’ll try to be more honest.
In the spirit of old MySpace blogs, I wrote this while
listening to House of Heroes’ album Cold Hard Want.