“what is it?”
That’s what I’ve been asking myself for the last six months.
That’s what the Israelites were asking. They were hungry in the desert and suddenly there’s this stuff everywhere. Turns out it’s bread. Turns out if you don’t eat it right away it’s worthless and wormy.
Manna. “what is it?” (that’s the literal translation. I swear I can hear people confused. This is the salvation we were promised? Blech.)
I am here to tell you something. Please stop keeping it in your pockets. I think we’ve been turning it over in our hands so long that…it’s gotten disgusting. It’s worthless. We will choke on it. (why didn’t we just eat it when it fell?)
What I mean is this:
She texted me when the scholarship letter came in. When it said paid in full. She cried, she smiled. But she’s going. Across a bunch of states because there’s so much more of God to discover.
Meanwhile I’m here, looking at all of it. Wondering what God is doing, and trying to be absolutely positive that I know what He wants me to do next. Trying to be exactly sure before I pick it up and eat it. She is the kind of person who opens her mouth and catches it on her tongue. I am the kind who tries to see if I can possibly mask the flavor with ketchup as I gulp it down with water. I am the one choking it back up in a trashcan. (but yeah. I’ve always been weird about food)
We used to share prayer requests every week, and they kept coming up the same. Something about figuring out the future, and a few stray prayers about tests or papers or something. We wanted the gift of what we would become, and we wanted it right then. We were more than willing to trade away what we were in favor of what we could become. And somewhere deep in the Bible there’s that persistent reminder that tomorrow isn’t a guarantee anyway. We missed that.
There is a gift that we might not have wanted. The gift of this breath, even if it seems monotonous. But it’s here. And it’s almost funny, the way we used to sit and fret over the future and uncertainty. When, really, anything we tried to hold onto that long would have rotted in our hands anyway. When really, it was there for us. We had someone to be right then. Not someone to become, someone to be.
I learned to be so many things. I learned to be a friend, a roommate. I learned to lead. To learn. The trail of crumbs led me here, and suddenly I see so much of it that I was missing.
How to be a daughter. How to be a sister. I really wish I’d been those things already. I wish I wasn’t walking around my house like some kind of alien. But it’s going to take time, because I wasn’t. Because I bought into this future, these plans…I assumed I knew how things would go.
I did not know. Anything. And now I am learning to be all this stuff. Now.
There’s a lot happening here that’s weird. So much of it is so good (and I’m astonished). But I also spend a lot of time asking “what is it?” Family will most certainly do that to you. But it’s deeper than that. It’s following God’s voice, and then feeling like you’re starving in the desert. It’s the food you’re trying to stockpile because you don’t really trust God anymore. It’s discovering that every time you set your eyes on tomorrow you miss the reason you’re here. Again. You pray for change, and then you behave as though it will never happen. I make fun of the Israelites, but I am ridiculous.
And she’s laughing on the side of the webcam about how the Holy Spirit is working. She tells me not to ask what it is all the time. Just to accept it. It’s food. It will nourish you. You will grow.
Some days you choke it down. Other days it’s sweet on your tongue.
But…I don’t know. Maybe instead of praying for clarity and trying to figure out what on earth God is turning us into, we could spend some time going and doing what is there. I’ve been somebody’s daughter and somebody’s sister for 22 years, but somehow I’m just realizing what that means. How to be that.
I wish I’d started sooner. I wish I’d stopped chasing some plan and just opened my eyes. I wish I would do that now.