Friday, August 24, 2012

For Nights My Heart Turns Back

I had a moment the other morning.

I was standing in front of the cleaning cabinet at my new job (a part time cleaning job that really barely counts, but it’s income, and I’m not rejecting that at this point). The cabinet was about as disorderly as you can imagine-- bottles on their sides, used latex gloves piled around old keys, trash bags in a heap. And I burst into tears.

It wasn’t necessarily because it was a mess. I can handle that-- put it in order, organize it. Learn to use what is available to me efficiently and effectively. I’ve been doing this since I was a child. It was more because I remembered 12 years of working under my dad, and I knew there was no way in this world that his supplies had ever been or ever would be in that state. And suddenly I was desperately homesick.

I haven’t blogged much about this adventure, but most of you know the basic outline: God told me to go to Colorado when I graduated, so I did. I threw a few bags into my battered old car and set off for a summer of sleeping on a friend’s futon, praying every night in the semi-dark and asking God if I heard Him right.

There are good things here. I am surrounded by some of my closest friends. I am healthier than I have been in five years, due to getting 8+ hours of sleep every single night, eating three meals a day, and walking or hiking between 4 and 6 miles over the Colorado hills at every opportunity. I am rediscovering the creative part of me that 4 years at an engineering school almost crushed.

But at the same time, some days everything in me aches for the familiar-- for the way my 11-year-old brother screamed my name and ran to hug me when I got home from class every single day. For the hours of working with my dad, being able to trust that no job was too awful for us to endure together. For the sharp warmth of the cheap coffee in my library. For the professors who each had a greeting for me when I passed them on the sidewalk. For the structure of a schedule and a system I knew by heart. Even for the slow-spoken southern drawls encountered in Wal-mart.

In those moments where my world seems to be nothing but that ache for the things I will never know in the same way again, I have considered turning back a million times. I’ve run over and over in my head ways to get back to Texas, to just be there-- being unemployed and restless in the familiarity would feel a bit less lonely. But somewhere in me I know that wouldn’t be best. There is a fight to be faced here.

I’m not even fully sure what the fight is yet, but I know it has to do with defining myself by a name much greater than the things I’m familiar with. I know it has to do with recognizing truth that transcends socially constructed concepts of success. I know it will involve fully taking hold of gratitude for what is and hope for what will be. In other words, it’s going to have a lot to do with grace... which means I won’t be the one to win it for myself. The Author of grace, the One who promises He has already overcome the world... He will take the victory in these battles to come.

But for these nights, I have a surety to cling to of things that are beautiful, that shine even in shadow-- I have friends who love me more than I will ever deserve. I have a beautiful family who, despite all my failings, loves me and accepts me still. I have been gifted with music that keeps my heart beating in rhythm with truth. I have hope burning like an adamant star caught on my hand-- before long, I will be married. And I have a Rescuer who calls the weary to Himself, who holds rest in His hands...

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.

There is grace even here. There is more grace to come.

Peace to fellow wanderers tonight.
- Elraen -

1 comment:

NarnianWarHorse said...

Very well said 'Raen.

*hugs* It's good to have you in Colorado for a while, & get a chance to know you better still. :) You are a treasure - I can't wait to hear & see what's coming out of this visit to the mountains, & where God will take you next. :)