I am, and will remain, one of approximately seven people worldwide who actually watched all of seasons 8 and 9 of the office. There’s a scene in there where Jim and Pam aren’t getting along. A friend who recently divorced told them that he knew his marriage was over when the fighting stopped. Pam then tells Jim “I think we should fight about it.”
Faith used to be a love song. It used to be a voice in my ear when I was beginning to falter and a reckless pursuit, chasing and being chased. That feels like so long ago.
I haven’t felt the ‘Jesus high’ in years. It used to be a pounding heart and a trembling voice. I used to sing songs in church with a smile and a bounce in my toes, but I don’t do that anymore. These days I sit half slumped in the chair, and more often than not I’m wondering if I even recognize the girl who used to raise her hands.
I came to Oklahoma, but that isn’t all it was. The fact is that sometimes things fall apart. Sometimes you don’t notice the boat is leaking until you can’t see the shore anymore. You wake up and you’re having a panic attack, and you don’t even have the strength to resent God. Sometimes you get busy, and you start thinking about yourself. You start thinking about the weather. You start thinking about anything and everything but the one thing that used to be important.
Faith was never something I constructed or whatever. It was always something that was making me. And maybe that’s the reason I’ve felt so undone.
I decided I should fight about it. I decided that faith doesn’t mean believing in something you have in reach or something you can prove. I decided that faith doesn’t mean I get what I want, or even what makes me happy. I decided that love is more than pretty words, or good feelings, or doing the easy thing.
I didn’t know a lot of things when I decided to follow Jesus. I didn’t know that I would end up back in Oklahoma City. I didn’t know how hard it would be to give up everything I loved in Texas because I honestly believed that there was something better. I didn’t know when I read verses saying ‘foreigner’ and ‘exile’ that it would be nothing more romantic or adventurous than grad school and a job working nights in the town I have lived in since I was two. This is not what I wanted, and it might never be that.
I don’t want you to be worried about Jim and Pam. They’re this dream couple, right? Season four? Everything is magical and happily ever after. But things fall apart. It’s the second law of thermodynamics. But they work it out. In the end, Jim has to realize that the thing he made can never make him as happy as the thing that made him. And he does. And it kind of seems like the hardest thing he has ever had to do.
Then comes the fairytale ending that seemed unstoppable, and then seemed impossible for a bit. But I think we do ourselves a disservice if we forget that it was really, really hard to get there. Sometimes. But I just didn’t want you to be worried. About Jim and Pam.
It turns out okay.