Sick Day Ponderings

Am I enough? Am I doing enough? Am I doing enough the right way? Or am I simply a messy failure of a twenty something?

Lately I have been rediscovering myself, as a desert rose does after a long and cruel winter. I suppose moves away from familiarity always raise such introspective ponderings. In this period I find myself continually inspired by anything green. Green is life, pushing forward to the new. On the good days, this is. On the bad days, I lean towards charcoal.

Life is found on the road of these curious insecurities, of thwarted desire, as we press on towards truth. To deny myself to feel the pain of betrayal, of disdain, resentment, and the continual sense of being not enough is to deny myself the joy of honest kinship, of mutuality, of watching as He fills all the places I’m cracking like delicious frosting fills a cupcake. These triumphs can only be reached through taking the painstaking journey of walking through the hurt with open hands, as He takes apart each memory and emotion and illuminates them with truth.

I have been hurt, deeply, by one I thought would be there till the end. But that does not make the desire for sisterhood unnattainable beyond that which already exists. I have one friend who has, in these short years I have known her, utterly changed me for the better and continues to show me through insane acts of selfless love what friendship looks like. I am well aware that never in my life will I have another sister like this covenant friend. She is the Jonathan to my David. When Jonny and I moved across country, I felt God was playing a trick on me. “How dare You,” I would whisper at Him in the dark. “At last, you bring me the kind of friend Solomon would write about, only to move me thousands of miles away from her. What kind of sick joke is this one, Lord?” Cheap comfort was the reality that FaceTime and cell phones make these things easier. What’s that to the joy of her presence? Slowly I’m learning the tragic truth that it is the same thing which makes this distance so hard as what makes our friendship so beautiful.

Pain and beauty, on this Earth, seem to always intertwine. We will always be left desperate for more. A few days after a date with my husband and I’m aching for the next one. I look into his eyes and wish I could jump inside those forests of gold, experience the depths of his soul in it’s fullness as he explores my own.

I used to spend entire nights gazing out my bedroom window as a little girl, in the room painted to be a fairy hut, dreaming of fauns and centaurs and voyages to the land where stars go to rest, wondering why we could dream up and imagine such things if we could never reach them. One day the deepest tragedy struck: I grew up. Now He’s bringing me back to this world of desire, this time with the resounding truth, echoing into the soil where these bones take root, that the time is coming.

These desires, ravaging our souls and playing tug of war with our emotions are the signal that we were made for something, somewhere, Someone, so much more than what we have here in this life. The solace of a covenant friendship is but a shadow of the companionship He designed us to experience with Him. The intimacy I enjoy with my husband was created as a shadow of the intimacy we are meant to know with Him. Even the wonder of our childhood years was destined to awake in us the realization that there is more to come. In the words of C.S. Lewis, “If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the only possible explanation is that I was made for another world.”

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Sandcastles versus Marble Palaces

There is an undeniable scream inside all of us crying out for something more, a meaning beyond the world behind our eyelids. Like stormclouds gathering, we let the emotions roll in one after the other. Insecurity. Disappointment. Hurt. Bitterness. Perhaps they don’t always arrive in that order, but arrive they do. All are symptomatic of the same thing, what my brother calls “sandcastle pride.” We stop trusting entirely the Lord’s plan for us, and start searching out ways to make our dreams happen on our own. True, any dream worth anything at all requires work, but at what point does work transfer into idolatry?

In the words of one wise nine year old, “Start reading your Bible so you can learn how to get your life back on track!” We are desperate to be alive, yet terrified at what that would mean. Authors make millions off self-help books, either about gaining control or letting go, or doing one to achieve the other. We all dream of a higher existence of some sort, but only once we seek and pursue the Lord’s vision over our lives will we find any sort of the divine calling we crave.

“‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ – this is the Lord’s declaration – ‘plans for your welfare, not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.'” Jeremiah 29:11

It’s not about the work itself. It can never be about the work or else we’ll fall into either a cycle of obsessive over-achievement or bitter resolve to press on. Neither can it become about whatever earthly outcome, money, or fame, for in the end, once it’s been realized, there will be an inevitable sense of “that’s all?”

I’m not saying we all need to jump up and become ministers; He did make some doctors, filmmakers, musicians, or writers, etc, but there must also be some eternal goal for our lives or else what’s the point?

We all have some daily burden; what’s yours? The daily awareness of what is, and screaming response of what should be? This is your battleground, so wage war! There we find our sense of purpose, of vitality- there we bring bits of His kingdom to earth. And it is in this process of fighting for the “should be,” of fighting for some necessary change weighing on us so heavily it seems that to not strive to bring it about would be a moral slight, that we being to trade the sandcastle for the marble palace.