“But it is in the present- not in the past, and most certainly not in the future- that we are able to see the landscape, to feel the range of our humanity, to travel every uncomfortable mile.”
My despair is no match for the divine.
When the ugliness of my humanity flares up, the symptoms are easy to spot:
Spontaneous arguments with my husband on a Saturday.
Hopeless, circling thoughts, like a vulture doing loops around roadkill.
Hiding away in my bedroom, letting shame peck at me.
An inability to crack a smile.
Ruminating on long lost dreams.
Failure and fear stand up on center stage.
Angered over every annoying antic of my children.
Giving up makes more sense than trying again.
An immediate antidote for my melancholic mood is to take a walk outside. It doesn’t even have to be long; just fifteen minutes works wonders.
Once I’m far enough away from the front door, I sigh heavy and simultaneously let out an “Oh God…”
It’s become my signature prayer when I’m in a place of discouragement. I know it’s clunky and unsophisticated way to start a conversation, but the fog clears rather quickly when I don’t dance around reality.
I dare not try to make this sound magical, but there is an immediate connection I feel with the supernatural when I don’t try to cover up my current state of misery.
I’m not at all into priming the atmosphere for an encounter with God. I’m finished with fancy clothes and shows and flashy lights and fresh songs.
All we really need to do is stop pretending we’ve got our junk organized and instead open up our unsightly storage closet and let it all spill into a heaping mound.
His response isn’t what you’d think.
If I listen in, meandering through the meadows of my mind, I manage to make out the language of my heart. It sounds foreign at first because unfortunately we’ve been trained to forget our mother tongue.
I can always pick out his words because of the way they bring me back home, uncomfortably close to my humanity, when all I’ve been trying to do is run away. Branded with relentless love and affection, his voice sometimes feels offensive to the part of me obsessed with a perfect performance.
Instead of handing out holiness points and hammering on the ways I need to become a better, the words I decipher through the dense and heavy clouds sound more like a plea to not just accept myself as is, but to celebrate myself right there in the disastrous mess I sometimes feel like I’ve made.
Furthermore, as I continue to sift through the sand of competing voices in my head, I start to make out the sounds of indestructible hope.
Oddly enough, the more I wade into the rubbish of life and the anguish of being alive on this earth, the more evident the threads of his goodness become.
I don’t come back from these walks with clear answers or explanations to why it is so damn hard to be human most days, but by the time I go back inside and shake the mud from my shoes, I feel held by grace, heard and seen by heaven, and hemmed in on every side with an illogical kind of love.
I don’t believe the uncomfortable miles we traverse are a signal for us to stop or turn around, but to press into the pain, dare to touch the hurt and breathe heavy. Our heart thrumming out of our chest could very well be a song of peace, not panic.
In the practice of being captivated with the mystery of this mayhem, allowing ourselves to enter this sweat-soaked reality and own our haunting desire to not take one more step today, we run smack into his face.