I’m on my second cup of coffee and it’s well before 7 a.m. I’ve woken up at 5 without an alarm for the second morning in a row. This is unusual. My stomach flirts with the idea of rejecting the scalding black liquid I keep sending down into it because it wants to be asleep like my teenagers are, but I keep on sipping.
Being awake turns out to be what I need. Now I can think in straight lines. The breath of the box fan tethers my brain to the real, though, if I’m honest, the real isn’t strictly better than the dreams.
The world has lost its mind, like I’m sometimes sure I’m losing mine, and this forces me to ponder Things That Matter. Should I have had another baby, I wonder, now that the kids are stretching toward adulthood like the potted ivy on my side table? (There is nothing like housing a human in one’s core to realign everything). But there’s the self-destructing world–that giant live coal that blisters our souls as we walk on it. There’s us.
And that’s when I realize I’ve been tired for a long, long time.
I reach for my coffee mug, but this time my stomach is not playing around. I need more than caffeine can offer anyway.
“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light,” he says to me, to us.
I fill up my lungs, let the air out slow. I close my rusted eyes and choose to believe Him again.
This summer has been a doozy. I lost a grandmother, rode the rails of the cancer train with another grandmother (still riding), had a grandfather fall and break his hip–and this while he suffers from late-stage Alzheimer’s. I’ve been on an extended family vacation, finished a manuscript, tried to sleep at night (and found myself unsuccessful). I’ve done my level-best, along with millions of other Americans, to ignore our political candidates and their latest absurdities, but found myself horrified anyway when I peaked through my fingers.
All in a few weeks’ time.
This summer has been a doozy, yes, and I’m almost ready for it to be over, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t necessary. Everything we go through, each day that passes, is, in its own mysterious way, a necessary part of the whole that makes up our lives. Our experiences shape us and we shape them (which is what writing is, in the end, the shaping of events into stories we can tell until we begin to understand them a little). God helps us with the shaping, and that’s a good thing since he’s the one who holds everything anyway.
Still, I look forward to the coolness of fall, the reassurance of routine. I prepare to kiss summer goodbye this time without a hint of nostalgia. It’s almost time and I’m ready.
You position yourself and
you do not know if things will turn out,
though you’ve bled a little, and hoped, and hated.
And there are worse things in the world
if your words return to you, flat yellow and slightly
dishonest, and you have to swallow hard because they belong to you.
There are worse things than that.
So you keep sending them out, you keep pushing, letting the dead ones die,
because what else can you do?
Yesterday Husband had no job. He had the hope of a job, which is not the same thing. Today he sat through an interview in which, during the first five minutes, the hiring committee said, “This job is yours for the taking.” Then they all sat and chatted for two hours.
Scripture says that hope deferred makes the heart grow sick. We know a thing or two about sick, anxious hearts. Today, in a small way, our hope was fulfilled. It somehow makes all the previous waiting seem worth it.
Of course we know that there will still be bad days after this; days where nothing is going right and we wonder what God is up to. That’s why it will always be of utmost importance that our hope rests in Jesus and his finished work on the cross. We know that no new job, new baby, new success, or relationship, or power, or fame can ever be hope’s final resting place. As the old hymn says,
My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness. I dare not trust the sweetest frame, but wholly lean on Jesus’ name. On Christ the solid Rock I stand. All other ground is sinking sand. All other ground is sinking sand.
Still, thanks Lord, for a job.
I believe God heals people because I’ve seen Him do it. I believe he releases persecuted people from prison because it’s happened to friends of friends. He does big things, and I know that he does small sweet things, too. So why am I always surprised when he blesses me in the most minute ways?
I’m trying to adjust to life in the US. One of the things that’s been hard for me to deal with is the difficulty of finding clothes to wear that don’t make me feel uncomfortable. I wore kurtas in India, long, blouse-like tunics that hit about three inches above my knees. They’re beautiful, hide everything, and feel uber-feminine. I liked them. Ok, not the orange, paisley ones with silver sequins, but most I loved.
Since our return to the States I’ve not been able to make myself wear shorts. Not that I think shorts are bad. I just can’t make myself do it. I trust I don’t need to reiterate my issues with swimsuits. Even little t-shirts make me feel weird. So I was hoping that today I could go shopping with my sister and find tops that would be pretty and make me feel comfortable in my skin again.
But wait! Plot complication alert. I hate shopping, and we don’t have a lot of money. And we had my sister’s 2.5 year old with us. And I had a short window of time before picking my kids up from music camp. It was a dicey hope at best.
I had $100, 1.5 hours, and a ridiculous sinking feeling to bring to today’s outing. But what I left the store with were 7 American-style kurtas (!), three pairs of earrings, and the ridiculous exhilaration of someone who spent $99.54 with tax.
It’s not a big thing. It’s small, I know. But then I also know how it was a direct blessing from the Lord; how today he reminded me, yet again, that he cares about small things, too.