I blog all the time, I get that. But whatever. It’s incredibly therapeutic for me.
You get down on your knees in the middle of the night when you’re spooked and studying and just generally not sleeping. For the first time in months you pray from the deep places in your heart and you’re surprised to see what’s there. Gratitude for new friends and for the lokomat and for the best bosses who ever lived. You hadn’t noticed how thankful you really were. And it bubbles up inside you, and you thank God for being the bringer of the myrtle when you sowed nothing but briers. In the next breath you ask. Not for survival, the way you have been.
Eating a chunk of cookie cake that proves to you that things are more than they seem to be, you ask for restoration. Because the Shane Claiborne liturgy book took you to Nehemiah and everything is exploding in new for him and you long to be remade.
It rains. And you’re not that person who hyperspiritualizes the weather (actually yes you are. You totally are), but this rain feels like it comes from the very top of heaven.
You can’t articulate it for so many days. You sit in front of a computer and try to form the words that will speak this into your heart. You need to write it to yourself because the noise in your head is loud and the white page is quiet and none of this makes any sense. But you’re feeling like it’s spring. Something in your heart unclenches and starts to open. But the words escape you. The joy is somehow too fragile. It’s new and it’s thirsty like a baby flower and the rain is soft outside. So you sit barefoot on the wet grass and soak it in, sort of afraid that the newness will leave you.
The sun comes up on Sunday morning, and you promised yourself to try a new church. Just to see, just to hope one more time. The cynicism attached to the old one seems too heavy for the fluttery thing in your heart. It meets in a middle school and the greeter has dreadlocks. And they read a prayer and sing hymns and take communion, but the people on the stage are casual and the people sitting around you are friendly.
The sermon is about persevering when joy is faint and about being made new. Your smile almost breaks your face.
They baptize a kid who looks like Kevondre in a kiddie pool with a hose, and it’s so beautiful that you could burst.
It’s church the way you always sort of hoped it could look. The grape juice on your tongue brings you suddenly back into this place where you want to be connected to the church again. It’s a body, and you were so angry with it. You were so hurt. You were so tired. But the nourishment isn’t a mouthful of bread, it’s the casual loveliness of the body of Christ.
The thing that was so delicate. The tiny, quivering newness inside your heart. It sprouts and shoots and curls around your cynicism and your anger. It burrows restlessly through the wall, cracking and splitting and throwing chunky patterns of light on the dark places.
There is a hole in the wall, and you are astonished to find that through the crack everything is bigger on the other side.
And you sit with a seventeen year old who could not sound more like the way you were at seventeen and instead of angry you feel quietly grateful for the God was with you and is with you.
And you see a face on your computer that you haven’t seen, and for two hours the joy leaks out of every part of you.
8 “For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways,”
declares the Lord.
9 “As the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.
10 As the rain and the snow
come down from heaven,
and do not return to it
without watering the earth
and making it bud and flourish,
so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater,
11 so is my word that goes out from my mouth:
It will not return to me empty,
but will accomplish what I desire
and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.
12 You will go out in joy
and be led forth in peace;
the mountains and hills
will burst into song before you,
and all the trees of the field
will clap their hands.
13 Instead of the thornbush will grow the juniper,
and instead of briers the myrtle will grow.
This will be for the Lord’s renown,
for an everlasting sign,
that will endure forever.”
And it sounds like a lie, but I’m so happy to be here. It’s been a lie, honestly. I’ve said it because it needed to be said. Today I can say it because I mean it. Because God is here and I’m here and it was always supposed to be like this.
And everything will be made new again.