crowds are made up of people

Soon afterward, Jesus went to a town called Nain, and his disciples and a large crowd went along with him. 12 As he approached the town gate, a dead person was being carried out—the only son of his mother, and she was a widow. And a large crowd from the town was with her. 13 When the Lord saw her, his heart went out to her and he said, “Don’t cry.”

I never noticed the crowd before.

I always thought Jesus just raised the widow’s son because he had nothing better to do. Because he knew he was supposed to, maybe. Because it was his job.

But this is different. Jesus had very important things to do – he was leading a crowd to a town! They must have been jostling, talking, kids running around, people asking questions – “Rabbi!’ “Rabbi!” – with the disciples there, too, blundering about in all their earnestness like always.

If I were leading a crowd somewhere, we would give a funeral a wide berth. People died all the time. People died young all the time. There was no reason for the two crowds to meet.

Jesus, though – Jesus didn’t see a funeral. He didn’t see a crowd. He saw one woman, whose last hope for a family had been stripped from her. He watched her replaying scenes from her son’s life, helpless to stop reliving a happiness she would never know again.

And he had compassion on her. And he stopped. And he gave him back to his mother. Did he even think about what chaos must have ensued?

Zacchaeus couldn’t see over the crowd, but he didn’t go home. The professional in his suit and tie climbed a tree instead; and it must have been a relief to be invisible for a while.

Why did Jesus stop? Didn’t Zacchaeus have some fairly first-world problems? The text doesn’t say what made him single out the sinner in the tall tree; but we know he was always looking, searching out people in pain, people who sought him, people whose sin was bearing down hard on them. The Spirit has a way of calling attention to the people on the edges.

Jesus and crowds have a strange relationship. He alternately has compassion on them and feeds them, alienates them with his weird teachings, confuses them on purpose with impenetrable stories, weeps for them, shows vague disdain and disinterest in them, tries to get away from them, is worshipped by them, seems wearied by them, blesses their children.

This used to confuse me. But my own life has become much more crowded in the past year as an “adult”. I have a larger network of shallower relationships than I used to. Graduation expands one’s peer group vastly. And I live and work near the middle of a city, surrounded by crowds and interacting regularly with hundreds of people experiencing various levels of poverty.

It is exhausting.

Now I get Jesus’ ministry a lot more than I used to, and I’m also more intimidated by it, because even though it’s wiser, it’s not any easier. It’s not easy to let the crowd be and say and do what they will while you minister to one person at a time.

How did he stay open to these individuals’ needs, to their pain, when the needs and follies and demands of the crowd are so blindingly overwhelming?

And how did he so often stand against the crowd… precisely because of his love for the crowd?

I don’t often know; I rarely feel that I succeed. Sometimes circumstances absolutely prevent me from spending any time on the more intimate relationships that make this work worthwhile. And sometimes I follow the crowd in the wrong direction because I just can’t fight the current anymore.

But I find myself looking harder for the lost and lonely, for the rock-bottomers and the desperate-for-a-glimpse tree-sitters. I find myself throwing away efficiency and the crowd’s demands to reinstate compassion, following my heart when it goes out from me to offer the unbusinesslike moment of rest, the hand on the shoulder, the gift of my full attention.

And when it is still all too much, when I get overwhelmed or make mistakes or need to get away, there is the friend, the phone call, the timely Scripture or the whisper of the Spirit bearing rest, and I see Jesus walking through the crowd toward me.

 

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traveling the country and the web

I’ve been traveling a bunch this month, and all my spaces are out of order – my apartment’s terribly messy and my blog’s been horribly neglected. Oh dear oh dear.

Also I have been generally blah about everything because why is it still winter? But inspiration is returning and so will I come April.

Anyway I’m super thrilled to be at threads today with something fun. I have to remember to write more things fun. You can read it, it’s called “what living with roommates taught me about marriage“.

(as if I know anything about marriage. But, I’m a blogger, I know everything.)

A wonderful Holy Week to you, internet friends.

they tell me spring is coming

Internet issues and the busiest few weeks I’ve had in New York have provided quite ample excuse not to write, and I haven’t even felt like an undisciplined slob about it. It has been good.

Not because of writer’s block, either – no, I’ve had too much in my head to even begin to process for myself, let alone share with everyone. Much as I try to say the hard and personal things and it scares me sometimes, I am still determined to keep my blog and my diary separate. If in doubt, I let it be for a bit rather than dribbling it across this screen.

So I can’t tell you everything that’s made a mess of my head. Some of it is too private, some of it is just a really long story. Some of it feels silly, but it’s real to me – like the incessant grey of the sky making my thoughts and feelings too dense and foggy at the same time. A lot of it is the mess of my day-to-day life described in my last post. Because beyond the enormous relief of tying up loose logistical ends, the emotional bits are more unruly. They are not “resolved” according to a step-by-step timeline.

I have spent a lot of time, therefore, in silence, letting it surround me like a protective shield, a shield because I have found one word for how I feel these days: fragile.

It has been about a year since I first realized that I had to start saying things, that I’d been hiding all my life and it was time to share. That the truth is not the absence of a lie; you have to tell it.

All this time I have thought I would get to the end of this journey and go on to my next self-improvement project. Or something like that. And I have changed dramatically in the past year (a few weeks ago, I had a fight with a woman I barely knew, which is a twisted sort of speaking-my-mind accomplishment for me. PS it turned out very well for both of us in the end). But even though I’ve gotten better at being honest, it hasn’t gotten easier. 

Before, I didn’t speak my mind, say my feelings, tell my stories – I didn’t share with people and let them carry around those little bits of me – out of truly mind-numbing fear. People would hurt me. People would not listen to me. People would look at my gift and not think I was worth giving back to. Overcoming that fear, bit by bit, has been exhilarating, but now my fears have been realized in a really big way for the first time. The temptation has never been stronger to rebuild the walls and go back into my efficient, comfortable shell of self-sufficiency and a blank face. That place feels like a haven right now.

To be honest it is all I can do at times to stay in one place, feeling all the fullness of being hurt in a place of raw, tender new growth, without fleeing.

But, look. It’s Lent – a season of repentance, a time of renewed obedience. I made the decision around this time last year to get rid of those walls out of a sense that I could wait no longer, that I would die somehow if I didn’t stop cowering away from vulnerability, and that my Bible was pursuing me from every corner with one message: truth.

Now my obedience is different, more quiet and pedestrian, not flinging away bonds with both ecstasy and utter terror the way I have in the past. I am just at a point where continuing is costly; where I am weary of doing good. I don’t stare down fear – this is the gift of that earlier obedience, that bravery is part of me now- but I must face the pain itself. And I trust that there is a new and more beautiful strength in this quiet but open, surrendered, unafraid fragility.

i am not in charge here

It feels fair to describe last week as traumatic.

A scant two weeks ago I lost a housemate to something, I may never know what – to something called “sadness” and probably my own failures and certainly those of  many other people. “Intentional community” of three suddenly downgraded to housemate-dom, friendship, whatever other words describe a dyad.

Three days later I lost my other housemate, my house, and a lot of trust to all the same mistakes, piling up like the snow outside and breaking everything at once after six months of trying and hoping and striving to hold it all together. The program is ending. Your housemate is leaving. You have 72 hours to find another place to live. I had weathered a lot of dysfunction, disappointment and pain on stubborn hope and the sense that everyone was still trying, but here we all suddenly stood, defeated.

How dysfunctional is too dysfunctional? Do some things, relationship-buildings, take longer than a year? Was our little family doomed to disintegration from the beginning? Maybe there will be answers eventually, but there is this to be said for the living-together brand of “intentional community”: like your real siblings, you share more experience with your housemates than you can really explain to anyone else.

So what does it mean to be the last one holding onto a commitment, like someone forgot to tell you recess was over and you’re holding one end of a jump rope alone? Was it foolish after all to care and reach out and pray so much for people who so often seemed distant, even unreachable? Or was it foolish not to care and search for patience and pray even more?

I already felt fragile, brittle in the February cold, and now these relationships were abruptly terminated or redefined beyond recognition. Nothing about the year made sense; it was Ash Wednesday and I had never felt so deeply that humans are all of us all dust. Jesus was driven into the wilderness by the Holy Spirit and I had followed without knowing – but here I was, stranded.

Or so it seemed.

This year’s refrain, the Spirit’s voice sometimes frustrating me: you can’t do everything, you can’t fix everything, it doesn’t depend on you; an overwhelmingly supportive community at my worksite church, caring friends there, an over-and-above boss, and a devoted boyfriend – all buoyed me even in this chaotic sea.

Maybe I could have done more before it came to this. Maybe I will reach Judgment Day and all my failures at community will be replayed for me. But I doubt it. I am far more inclined to believe that such wonderings are mostly fruitless. I gave this year to God and God, I trust, has not dropped it. I asked for guidance and did my best and grew and tried some more, and this is what occurred.

And what occurred has overwhelmingly smacked me upside the face with the simple truth that I am not in charge here. I was not good enough to fix it.  No human was. Forces conspire. People choose. And outcomes occur.

And then solutions arise. Impossibly cheap, beautiful apartments appear out of thin air, and people rally to help you, and you warily believe some of your damaged relationships might come to something after all. The entirely unexpected news arrives that you’re going to be paid to attend the school you’ve been praying to somehow afford. And before you have the chance to even try to fix it, you find out you were never going to be allowed to fall.

 

audacious humility

This general sense of malaise won’t leave me. I want to hibernate, to give up, I feel content to go through motions; dare I say – it feels like an attack.

Because I’m supposed to be doing stuff. Namely taking on new responsibilities and participating in new directions for the food pantry; writing things; applying to grad school; and working on a sermon. And in theory, in the abstract, I’m excited about all of these things. In practice, I’m discouraged and unmotivated.

It’s that same question, the one you’re supposed to know the answer to, you think you’ve figured it out but (if you’re me, at least) every time, it pops back up and bewilders you: “Who do you think you are?”

Why should I be preaching in place of a beloved, gifted, wise pastor? Where did I get the idea that I could earn a Ph.D.? Since when does my writing deserve to be read? What does it even matter if I buy fair trade or recycle my milk cartons? What makes me think I am special enough to sustain this nonsensical approach to life as some kind of countercultural anticonsumerist adventure?

Enter this quote. I don’t care if you’ve seen it a thousand times, it’s one of the truest things I’ve ever read:
Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small doesn’t serve the world. There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. -Marianne Williamson

In the past, this paragraph has inspired me. But this time around, even though I still think it’s true, I feel cynical: great, Marianne, you’ve described my situation, any ideas for what to DO now? And behind the cynicism – fear. I feel myself cowering under the glower of these words. They feel harsh. I mean, I’d like to shine, but I don’t feel shiny.

I wonder, though, if all this self-doubt isn’t actually wrapped around a kernel of pride, or at least self-preservation. I don’t want to stick up or stick out. If I speak loudly, I may be misunderstood. If I learn too much, I might encounter too much responsibility.

If I try to do all this stuff, I could fail.

And there’s the kernel.

Pride would rather be “successful” at small and unchallenging things, in a little pond, with good-enough results, than take a risk on big and difficult things on a grand scale with preposterous dreams. Pride cannot stand to think what others would say if they did not understand, if they became jealous, if all the hard work in the world turned out to not really do much of anything. Pride wants to see labor rewarded and accomplishments lauded, and that is best guaranteed by exceeding low, manageable expectations.

Humility doesn’t really need to be able to write all that well or “make a difference”; but it will. Because humility doesn’t plan to do these things alone. Humility proclaims, my help comes from the Lord, and therefore so do my dreams. Humility asks for help, does one thing at a time, and waits on God for the outcome in quiet confidence.

I will serve and trust that it can be called leading.

I will speak with conviction in my small voice and trust that I will become a preacher.

When darkness threatens to overwhelm, I will not stop pursuing justice and love. I will live out of hope in a world I cannot yet see, even when I do not know how my small part matters; such things are too wonderful for me. I know only that I have been called to an audacious dream of the kingdom, and the step toward it I am taking today.

May we all know ourselves to be gifts of God, that we might find strength to forget ourselves and shine the more brilliant under God’s care.

subzero windchill, day 1

a proud Atlantan encounters the white, glittery dark side of Syracuse, New York.

Right Now: 14 F. feels like: -4.
know thine enemy.

Leaving my office, my face has I have already learned a lesson from the morning’s trek. My scarf winds around my neck and face five times to cover my nose. For one second I wonder if this will cause the people I encounter on the sidewalk to think I am dorky; then I realize, no, it will cause them to be insanely jealous of me, because they have frostbite and I do not.

Inventory: thermal shirt, other shirt, jacket, knee-length wool coat, tights, jeans, socks, boots, scarf, gloves, hat. I walk outside fairly confident in my armor, and am immediately hit by a blast of wind that causes my eyes to water. This response seems counterproductive, I tell my tear ducts. By no means do I want to be in any way wet right now.

I begin my tromp across the snow. 1.5 miles to go. Throughout my entire journey, I see six people outside, and we are all traveling in the same direction. I think this is so we don’t walk into the wind.

A ways down the road I see two kids, probably five and eight, getting off the bus or something. My first instinct is to run over, scoop them into my arms and tell them not to cry.  I remember that they have encountered many more days like this than I have, and imagine their reaction: “What do you want, lady? It’s a balmy several degrees out.”

There is a young woman taking her dog outside. This snowy situation is an aspect of New York dog ownership I never considered before. I make a mental chart:
Dogs
Cons:
want to go outside
Pros:
adorable
can be disemboweled for warmth

My hat is slipping down and covering the last three square inches of exposed skin on my body. As deliciously cozy as it feels to have warm eyes, I reluctantly concede that I’ll have to prioritize vision over comfort for now. I push my hat up. It slides down. I find a crochet hole to look through.

A bus slows down next to me. I’m pretty sure the bus driver expects me to get on. I don’t look at him or her in case this elicits an awkward shouting/sign language discussion about how much I love walking up enormous snowy hills. The bus pulls away, leaving me to my fate, like when Albert leaves Bruce Wayne. 

I get home and start taking off layers. Now I know what it’s like to be a hermit crab and shed your shell that’s the size of you and get a bigger one that’s the size of a house.

It turns out breath vapor will get your scarf wet 1,000,000,000 times faster than tears.

one day’s worth of life

My alarm jolts me awake, heart racing. It’s been like that lately.

After the usual shower I plod my way down the stairs. I’m up earlier than usual. Most of the time my housemate Brendan makes the coffee, which is lovely, but there’s another kind of pleasure in making it myself, the smell of the beans and the precise measuring. I’m always thankful for my cup of coffee, I don’t know how.

Even after a cup, though, I sit down to put on my shoes and my eyes close involuntarily, reminding me I didn’t sleep well at all. Yesterday was a hard day for living with people – one of the hardest. The conflict still hangs in the air.

I’m five minutes late because I slept five minutes longer. It’s a reliable 22 minutes to walk to work in the winter, when I keep up a good pace to stay warm. This is the best way to start the day, outside, feeling the city I live in, using my legs and praying. There’s always so much to see – today tiny snowflakes are dusting everything and it looks just like powdered sugar.

I say hi to people on the sidewalk. There’s a lady on the phone next to her two wiggly toddlers, and I am thinking how beautiful they are when she screams at the girl to “get the f*** over here”, picks her up by the jacket, and throws her on the other side of the sidewalk hard enough to leave a bruise. The girl starts wailing and I walk on by, wondering like always what I should do in these situations; coming to the conclusion like always that there’s really nothing. These episodes are common in my neighborhood and I always pray for the kids. I feel small.

I get there after the Food Bank truck leaves but just in time to actually move the stuff with Joe. I messed up our order for the first time, an understandable mistake, but I still feel bad. Worse because Joe doesn’t say anything except to list all the stuff he’ll have to go buy. There’s no one to be mad at but myself; of course I offer to go with him to the store. He’s playing country music in his car, and I want to cry for how much I miss home.

Like I said, I’m tired. The tire on the dolly is flat for the twelfth time and why the hell doesn’t someone get that fixed? Usually I am glad to help move the hundreds of pounds of food, feel the strain in my arms and create order out of our little stock room; but today when I drop a box of margarine I swear and just stand there, all my energy fighting the urge to step over the box and walk out, walk home. Why do we even give people margarine? It’s not a food. They don’t deserve it, they’re not looking for work. Ugly thoughts, I don’t like myself at all today. Help.

I feed myself lunch but quelling my hunger does nothing for this foul mood. I spend the rest of the afternoon looking for the motivation to send some e-mails, mostly staring at nothing instead. Today it seems pointless. Whether the e-mail gets sent or not, things are never going to change, people are just self-absorbed and messed up. I’m done with the homeless people, done with the church people, done with myself.

I finally get out of there at four. I’m glad to at least be walking home; I think better on the move. East Genesee Street slides by and I’m not really looking – until I’m almost back at that one bus stop where I saw a little girl being abused. I saw a little girl being abused. I haven’t even thought about that girl in the seven hours since I passed her, not consciously at least, and suddenly this fans my sullenness into white-hot anger. I’m angry at the woman hurting her child. Angry at whoever hurt the woman. Angry at the apathy all around me all the time, people going about their junk food and their Netflix and their politics and money so they don’t have to touch these people and feel their pain. I wish there was someone I could fight. I’m walking fast up this hill; I was really cold before, but now I’m sweating in these layers.

In a couple hours I’ll go on a Tuesday-evening just-because date with my boyfriend. I’ll worry that I’m not very fun today, but he can always get me to relax somehow. I’ll sit across the table and tell him my ugly day and wonder again where he came from, how he got so caring and intelligent and lighthearted; we’ll make Rice Krispie treats and play with the marshmallows and be sickeningly happy together. My heart will be big again.

—-

Do you know, do you know how beautiful it all is, do you see at all? So many days in this work I think my heart has shattered out across the whole world and I’m just too broken anymore. But then I walk out into the world and I start to find the little pieces, one at a time, here the tracks of birds’ feet in the snow, there a backpack bouncing wildly, it’s happy to be running home off the bus.

Do you ever sit and wonder at how much tragedy and how much that is good and true all exist together in this little space, the earth? You can’t name evil until you know what we’ve lost, the wound of it, but is there anything more right and whole than redemption? It’s all right there, soaring sweeping glory next to black despair next to a holy cup of coffee so near to innocence betrayed.

It’s too much, really it is, none of us is God and thank goodness, I couldn’t stand to really see it all like he does. I only occupy so much space and my heart can only stretch so far. But we choose our worlds like never before and I’m not going to wrap myself up in a car for when it’s cold and a radio for when I’m bored and a smartphone for when I don’t want to deal with people. I’m going to fight to choose the real physical world where all the stuff happens, with the blue-and-yellow house on the corner and the stray cats and boring conversations and homeless people muttering nonsense and babies with hats on. That’s where I help feed people, where my choice of transportation affects others, where I’m falling in love. It’s so miraculous God couldn’t stay out of it, he came here and lived and died for the beauty and pain of a girl on a sidewalk, and all the people passing her by.

adventures are crappy and boring

The day after I saw the first Lord of the Rings movie I found myself moping around, feeling depressed. When I stopped to think about it, I realized this was because my life would never be accompanied by an epic orchestral soundtrack, nor would it ever deserve such a thing. I wanted to go on a quest of some kind, to ride a horse and meet with important delegates from other creature species, and I was stuck in the suburbs of Atlanta with nothing to conquer, evade, or cleave with a battleax.

I have since made a lot of decisions using the following criteria:
-Could it qualify as an adventure? or
-Is it a good story? or
-Is this a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity?
If “yes”, do the thing.

This includes the decision to move to Syracuse and live in an intentional community and work at a church in The North. Doubts and fears? Necessary ingredients for a true adventure.

After three months abroad I have confirmed for myself what I have always, deep in my heart, suspected: adventures are crappy and boring.

What I don’t mean to say is that everyday life is crappy and boring. To me, this journey still feels like a good adventure story: new experiences (snowshoeing! liberals!), lofty goals (community! Christianity! un-povertizing Syracuse!), and interesting companions (housemates! mentors! kindly church ladies! The Love Interest!).

But a good adventure story also includes obstacles – the bigger the obstacle, the more epic the story. As much as we all feel Sam deserves second breakfast after all that walking, the story wouldn’t be very good nor Sam very heroic if the orcs carried a nice stash of snacks. In the movies, though, we get just a glimpse of the arduous work – “then the hobbits walked with their orc captors for many days” – and then are led to understand that the obstacles are really overcome in fiery climactic episodes by people with swords and magic.

The obstacles in real-life adventures are not so exciting. They are rarely even so clearly visible; often the first task is just to uncover what is really hindering you. And then the solution is usually to point yourself in the right direction, and then trudge. Up and up and up some grey mountain, against the mass of the whole earth drawing you back, away from the sky.

Such is community; such is church work; such is day-in and day-out life with the poor. You keep cleaning the kitchen and asking for help cleaning the kitchen and apologizing; you keep going to meetings and repeating yourself; you keep listening and stocking the pantry shelves. And none of it feels heroic.

So you forget you’re even having an adventure sometimes, unless someone reminds you that you could have done something easier with yourself, and you resist the urge to slap them for reminding you it’s your own fault you chose to do these things. And it’s all the more surprising when you finally do witness a miracle.

When housemates, who are as different as three professing American Christians could possibly be, start to really make a life together. When you’re eating lunch and making snowflakes with people who used to eye each other with suspicion. When you pray for workers for the harvest, and they show up. You know this is life victorious.

You live your days on hope and little victories and trembling fingers. Finally light bursts out of a darkness you thought would swallow the world before you’d get your match lit, and you shield your eyes even as you strain to take in more; you realize just how small you’ve always been, and you know only gratitude for all those days of drudgery as the Light whispers well done.

Someday there will be no place to regret choosing adventure.

On life lived against the grain

“It’s not easy… but it’s good.”
Some things are easier to confess with your eyes closed, and I hold my housemate’s hand tighter as she prays. That’s life. All of it, I think.

I really did think it was going to be easy, this tenuous, fluttering thing we call “intentional community”. I thought it would not be fraught with everyone’s neuroses and my failures to throw away the box from the brownie mix. But it is. I have wanted to give up, forget “community” and settle for “housemates”.

It’s not easy to work around others’ schedules. It’s not easy to look out for others’ concerns when you want to defend your own. It’s not easy to speak more softly when you’re angry and it’s not easy to apologize. It’s not easy to believe the best of one another, talk when you’re tired, tell the truth when you want to hide, or go purposefully deeper with people whose differences seem irreconcilable.

But you do it anyway, and one day you realize you wouldn’t give up community for your own one-bedroom studio if someone gave it to you. What would a one-bedroom studio teach you about your own pride, human beauty or the love of God? Who would ask you how your day was? Who would you blame when the microwave got crusty? How are you sure you can count on anyone you haven’t already offended, disappointed, and angered a bunch of times – who would you point to as family?

I understand the desire to do the easy thing, but I don’t understand how so many people let “that’s too hard” be their excuse. So many people lead unobjectionable lives when they could be living excellent ones.

Maybe I’m too young to know better. But the more hard things I do, the less afraid I am to do more hard things, and the less patient I am with the easy answers and the patterns of this world. The path less traveled may be more brambly, but it leads through a better story to a wilder wilderness and a deeper strength. Go with others, go with God; it will be hard, but it will be good.

 

On revolving

I have been in Syracuse for one tube of toothpaste. Ten weeks out of forty-eight. Twenty percent of my time is gone.

Here we all are, staring down The Holiday Season when we’re so busy nothing gets done, and I have to wonder what I’ve done so far. It only took a few weeks at a job with highly nebulous and unmeasurable goals for me to realize that I’m an extremely achievement-driven person. And now I can’t point at anything and say, “there is the fruit of ten weeks’ labor”. I have learned to handle some paperwork; I have built a nice network of friends for myself. I have planned and executed just a few massive failures of events. And I don’t feel bad about any of this at all; but suddenly I, who have always been prone to overthink and under-do, have turned impatient.

I don’t want to go through committees and work around other people’s schedules and think through what “church” means and try to help others imagine it. I just want to get things done, make things happen, and I don’t particularly care if they’re the right things at all. I need to see results.

And in the “life” half of “work-life balance” – all these I-always-forget-how-new relationships – I want to see some kind of progress towards something, something I can’t even describe because I don’t know what it is or looks like. And I write, but I have too many thoughts that don’t even make sense or fit together; I need them to resolve so I can set them down but they’re not ready yet. People keep up with me through my writing, I think, but really, that is self-important and the time will come, the descriptions will come, for these events and musings and mysterious feelings. Sometimes these things have to mature on their own, through sleeps and prayers. But I am antsy. I am wary of process.

There is a season for every activity under heaven, and there is a season before that, for getting caught between activity and thought, action and preparation, gathering momentum and the roller-coaster plunge. It would be a mistake to wish away the stillness before the dance, and it would be a mistake to rush into things, leaving others in the dust and myself overburdened, flailing alone.

So I send my restless spirit for a walk on its own, into windy grey November’s austere space for the process of slow change. We are getting there, I hear, and I know deep inside that this will be a revolution like the earth, turn, turn, turn.

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