In the Passenger Seat

I watch the condos slip by us, one by one. A Christmas tree glistens through the glass windows, and I have to smile. October 30 – too soon? Never. 

I see the couple in the car that we pass, and I wonder when they fell in love. Was it a whirlwind romance or was it a story built out of a million moments? Another car makes its way by us, and I watch the woman grip the steering wheel and frown. What wearies her heart tonight?

I am used to the driver’s seat. I am used to the feeling of the wheel beneath my hands, my eyes on the road before me. I don’t usually find myself in the passenger seat, watching the world pass me by. I study the streets of this city as we drive over them, watching the lights and thinking of the times I walked their sidewalks. I see the buildings, the windows, the dark sky illuminated by a million city lights.

I miss it all when I hold the steering wheel.

img_7415-jpg

Do you see what happens when you let go and ride in the passenger seat? I hear His whisper in amidst my thoughts and the heart beneath my shirt that beats wildly.

My eyes are on the story that is passing me by.

I really don’t like letting go.

He answers me back in the images that I see, the billboards and lights and beauty painted across the cityscape. It isn’t really even about the city beside me. But look at what happens when you do. You see this whole world you missed before. You see the Gifts.

Can you count it all as joy?

img_7397-jpg

He’s been asking me that since yesterday.

Can I let go and count it all joy?

I want to shake my head and tell Him no. I want to tell Him I can’t add it to the list of good things, and count it as joy, and whisper thanks as I offer Him back what’s His. But tears stream down instead.

“Yes,” I say. “Yes. I’ll count it all joy.”

Silence & Wine

God and I, we met at the kitchen table. Fruit and napkins between us, I would pull out my journal and Bible and I would pray into the silence.

And all I would hear in return was the blinds hitting against each other in the breeze.

It was hard.

I pushed through and I pulled out the Bible day after day and some days it was like pulling teeth to put words into prayers into uttered pieces of grace.

img_7363-jpg

Until the day when I pulled out the chair onto the patio, in the cold fall breeze and I lit candles and played songs on repeat and finally, finally,

I could feel Him again

I tell her this over glasses of white wine, and she is surprised.

That happens to you? she asks.
I nod.

Yes. Yes, His silence sometimes rests heavily and I wrestle underneath the heaviness. All I want to do is push the blanket off and yet it’s wrapped tightly around me, and we wrestle.

I wrestle and mumble prayers in the midst of it.

I want to cry because I don’t know how to change it.

But maybe, that’s the point.

I cry these days because God’s pulling my hands away from the things I think I can somehow control. God’s silence. Her pain. His timing.

He asks me one night, “Do you trust me?”

His arms are around me and I want to tell him that I do. Of course I do. 

But God and I are still wrestling on that one. When I have the hardest time trusting the God who made me, how can I trust the one beside me? How can I trust the one I know best – myself?

img_7385-jpg

And so I reach and I grasp and I hold onto things that are not mine to hold onto, thinking that somehow I can make them my own. Thinking that somehow it’s my job to write the story, to finish the chapters with a flourish, when my story is His story and He is the one that holds the pen.

Oh sweet girl, I can hear Him saying, won’t you just trust? Won’t you let go of the fear that holds you back – the fear that my Love will run out? The fear that I am against you, and not for you? The fear that my plans are not good?

And I ask Him to help me believe.

When my hands let go of the things that I cling to –

will your Hands be there to hold me instead?

It’s Okay.

Twenties are exciting. There’s a lot of change. A lot of hellos, a lot of goodbyes. There’s a lot of learning who you are and who you hope to be.

One of these things I am learning … I guess I just don’t want to be the one who is there when needed but when I’m not needed I am not even a thought. We learn and will prioritize what’s important to us. It’s pretty simple. What we love we will hold onto, and we’ll carve out time in our twelve hours of daylight for space for you to reside in. I wish I had the capacity to love and hold onto more – but my hands only hold onto so much.

Continue reading “It’s Okay.”

Fall leaves and barren trees

Henri Nouwen wrote that “joy and sadness are as close to each other as the splendid coloured leaves of a New England fall to the soberness of the barren trees. When you touch the hand of a returning friend, you already know that he will have to leave you again. When you are moved by the quiet vastness of a sun-covered ocean, you miss the friend who cannot see the same. Joy and sadness are born at the same time, both arising from such deep places in your heart that you can’t find words to capture your complex emotions.”

I read these words on Saturday, as I tried to understand how I could feel sorrow at the beginning of something good. It was as if my heart, although full of joy at the newness of change, couldn’t fully experience that joy – because it was already preparing itself for when it would end.

I realized and wondered if joy and sorrow are inexplicably linked. Because isn’t one gain a sign of many losses, too? One beautiful, glorious triumph is truly built of all the falls leading up to it. As I celebrate the newness of this season in my life, of change and moves and unknowns, I also am sorrowful for what I too have lost – a childhood chapter closed, friendships changing, shifting roles. With every gain, there is so much loss. Yet with every loss, there is oh so much gain.

I am a big believer in seasons of life – that most things have a beginning and an end. But secretly? I also loathe their existence. I hate that some friends are meant for a season. And I even hate that some people are meant just for a conversation, that they are meant to impart wisdom for the two hours you sit across from them in a crowded airplane. It’s sad to me that some jobs are meant just for a time, and it breaks my heart that some homes are meant for a childhood.  I am not good at juggling the contrasting things in life.

But I am trying.

I am trying to embrace both the joy and sorrow, and to hold them together as if they are both beautiful and needed.

I am trying to embrace beginnings and endings, as if they both shape me in different but good ways.

I’m trying to see God in the seasons of life – the short ones and the long ones, the dark ones and the bright ones.

I’m making the constant decision that He is the Redeemer and Author of all things,

of hellos and goodbyes,

of beginnings and endings,

and of fall leaves and barren trees.