I get lost a lot.
And if you know me at all you just rolled your eyes, right? Because that’s one of the truest things about me. The first time I tried to go to the Wal-Mart on Franklin in Waco by myself I ended up at the Bellmead HEB—forty five minutes later. And if you’ve never heard the story of the first time I tried to drive to Woodway by myself, then you should remind me to tell you sometime. It involves a maximum security prison, an empty gas tank, and the Baylor challenge course.
I got lost yesterday. In Edmond. Which is fine, except that I have lived in Edmond for 21 years. When I realized how lost I was, and that my phone was dead, I cried. A lot of tears. It’s a rough feeling, lostness. You feel like there is no one and nothing anchoring you to where you are—like you’re there by accident. And you panic and try to get somewhere familiar, or at least somewhere with helpful signs. That’s life right now. I’m sort of living in two houses, all my stuff is in boxes, and it seems completely by chance that I am sitting in a green room typing this on my laptop from high school (but I don’t want to talk about what happened to my real laptop). Everything is in limbo and uncertain and…random.
I sat at Lauren’s last week and we talked about whether it is easier to believe in a God who is not good or that God does not exist. It’s the kind of thing that comes up when you move and then there are tornadoes and tears and lots of misplaced things. We got deeper than I was probably prepared to go, and when Rowan Williams came up I just started looking up to try to find stars. I love summer stars. But Edmond gonna Edmond…it was way too bright to see any. I thought that maybe, if I could see a few, it would be this big spiritual moment where I suddenly knew God had placed me here with intention and I would be okay. To be honest, I’m not convinced that big emotional moments are all they’re cracked up to be. I used to think feeling found was the goal. I’m not so sure anymore.
Emotions are a battle for me. Because they’re real, but also they are fickle. Mine in particular have a track record that is less than commendable. It’s easy to revert to that high school self who thought that if I could just feel okay, or feel holy, or feel forgiven, then things would be okay. But then I think about a conversation about Perks of Being a Wallflower and I realize that emotions let you down. When you chase feelings, you end up realizing that Jeremiah was right—your heart is deceitful. The things that feel good can destroy you. When God tells the exiles in Jeremiah 29 that He has good plans for them, (if you ever quote Jeremiah 29:11 out of context, by the way, I tend to come unglued) He also tells them that it isn’t what they want. They want to go back to Israel, but God tells them to stay in Babylon and to seek the welfare of their captors.
The sky has no stars, and I’m listening to Lauren talk about how God is trustworthy, I don’t feel grounded. I don’t feel rooted to this city, to this moment. I feel exiled and angry. I feel lost and shaky and drifting. The stars don’t suddenly start shining from the darkness and a dove doesn’t descend on my shoulder and the song on the radio as I’m leaving isn’t uplifting or appropriate (in fact it’s Pitbull). But deep in my heart I realize one thing…God is here. He is here among the soccer moms and the endless miles of highway. He is here in this room painted bright green where nothing has happened yet and in the one painted lavender where too much has happened. And He has already found me.