I wrote twenty three unfinished blog posts last week. One for every time I thought I had the world figured out. It was one of those weeks when you hear the voice of God in a dream, stay up until four in the morning in uncertain tears, and drink whiskey while you watch a poorly advised movie starring Kevin Durant. Playing intramural basketball. Screaming at people you’re supposed to love.
I went to church and they were talking about Ruth. Six verses, and the pastor finished with Ruth on her way to the threshing floor. He admitted that he didn’t want to resolve the story. He wanted to let the hope and worry hang over us. He talked about depression. He talked about God’s hand, moving unseen somewhere. He talked about the desire to desire healing. He talked about hope being fragile, and then he took a little notebook and asked for prayer requests. Right there in front of everyone, like it’s some kind of phi lamb meeting and everyone is twenty years old and wearing yoga pants instead of this random assortment of God Himself knows what. And people are asking and listening and praying like we always knew each other.
I don’t know the stories behind these faces. I don’t know what compelled these people to be in this room, standing there, asking a mixture of friends and strangers for some kind of intervention. I may not know how the stories turn out. I may not toast the praises over lunch or hug out the hard things. It’s all just hanging in the air like smoke on the fourth of July.
We went on a tour of the city. We were going to see all these organizations doing good things. We were going to learn all the dynamics. We got sidetracked at the day shelter talking to a man named Jerry who used to live in the neighborhood our guide has fought for the past six years. We got sidetracked hearing him talk about God’s faithfulness and scripture and disappointment. Listening to him tell us all the things he wants to see grow up from the cracks in the sidewalk. Looking at a bunch of seedlings and compost on a farm in the middle of downtown Oklahoma City.
We plan to finish the tour at some point. But it’s already changing me.
I may never know if the plants grow or the fish have babies or the building goes up for sale or the highway cuts through after all and paves the whole, beautiful community over in cement. I may be in California or I may be oblivious, or I may be dead. After all, maybe this is the last moment on earth…
I don’t want to spend it angry. I don’t want to spend it lonely. I don’t want to spend it at all…
I may never know if this struggle is worth anything. I may never be able to draw a line down to this impossible year of my life and say I see why. I may never tell the story with a knowing smile on my face.
He may live to be a hundred. He may be sick. He may die in a car accident next month.
And I might never get the closure or the apology that I so desperately want.
What I loved about church today was that depression isn’t my fault or God’s fault…it wasn’t anybody’s to fix. It just…is. One day it may not be, one day it may be again. But can you believe God is moving, even in this? Can you learn to love the questions?
Can I stand here, with the knowledge that I may never be able to *do* anything? That I have to leave this unresolved? That my best efforts are completely garbage, at any rate?
I may never really finish this blog post, because I may never understand these words that God is saying. But it’s such a gift to sit here and know that He is speaking.