As I was getting home from work the other day, I saw my neighbor outside in his front yard feeding birds. And I kind of watched for a minute while I gathered my stuff and I smiled because I get it. I get how animals can become your family. Even animals who don’t live under your roof.
And then I watched while he got into his truck and backed out of his driveway.
And knocked our other neighbor’s garbage can over.
And kept driving.
And so I went over to pick the garbage can up and move it off the road, and I thought about how isn’t that just the perfect example of the complexity of human beings!? We are such contradictions.
And I found myself wondering, “Did he not care that he knocked their garbage can over? Is he just mean?” But I don’t think so. I think he was embarrassed because he probably suspected I saw it happen. And I get that too.
When Will and Gabe stayed with me, they kept pointing out when I was talking to myself or my pets or the TV. And I would roll my eyes and laugh and tell them, “That’s because I’m alone so much!”
And I mostly found it funny, but I also found it curious because I hadn’t realized how much I talk aloud to things that can’t talk back!
Or maybe I did realize it, but I didn’t realize it was weird!
I still do it, though. I’m okay with being weird. 😉
I catch myself when I’m talking aloud to an essentially empty room now, though. And it makes me smile and think of the boys and how I’m not really that alone if someone knows me well enough to tease me about the frequency with which I talk to myself.
And so I’m talking to my cats or the toaster or my own self and there’s just fine print, this gentle whisper, that I’m held. By Him and by others who love me. I exist in their hearts even when I’m alone.
I am loved. I belong. I fit.
There is a place for me in this world. And it is a gift. A soft, comforting thought on which to lay my head as I fall asleep at night.
To Him, yes.
But also to those I love.
I don’t know how to settle my brain and heart as scenes from my 28th year of life flood through my brain without my consent.
And so I ask Jesus to give me a new script. How does He see my upcoming birthday? How does He want me to feel about turning 29?
Like I don’t deserve it?
Embarrassed because what right do I have to celebrate something I didn’t even want?
Of course not. And yet that’s mostly how I feel.
And I miss my mom.
Or maybe I don’t. Because I remember many painful birthdays from when she was still alive, when I went to bed crying and feeling unloved.
Maybe I just miss being delighted in. Being someone’s daughter.
But I still am Someone’s daughter.
And I know that. And it sustains me. But it doesn’t feel like enough. And what is wrong with me that my heart is so full of ache even though I’m trying my hardest to give it wholly to Him?!
…How does He want me to feel about how there are more people in this world who passionately dislike me than who passionately love me?
It is all SO painful. This messy, complicated world, in which I can’t grasp onto anything and call it mine and secure and trust it not to leave.
I can grasp onto Him, of course. But not tangibly.
And so that’s my prayer as of late. “How do I find a home in Your arms when You aren’t here?”
I know that He loves me, but how do I make that really matter to my heart? How do I make it matter enough that I can confidently say that I don’t need anyone else to love me because I have Him?
And what is wrong with me that so much of my insides are screaming for something I can’t exactly name?
And so I lay it all down as best as I can. I give all of it to Him- a sacrifice. Because what else can I do but run to Him over and over and over again with all the things I can’t control and don’t understand?
And I say, “I trust You.”
Because that alone stops the screaming.
I trust You.
And it’s beautiful. When I refuse to think about what was or what I don’t have or my fear about the future, I am able to breathe deeply. Because today? It’s good.
Thank you, Father. Thank You for all You’ve brought me through.
Thank You for how You love me so relentlessly.
Thank You for carrying me through this beautiful, brutal world.
Thank You for helping me to see it–in all its bruty–as a gift.