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Archive for the ‘everyday hard work’ Category

Sometimes, as much as I want what I want, when I want it, I’ll get a moment of clarity. It usually happens much after the fact. Like, I’ll look back on a situation and think, “Yes, that was right; I didn’t need that. This was much better after all.” But, very rarely, maybe once or twice, it happens amidst something. Before the clear evidence that something is indeed better really takes root.

But, I’m thankful for those moments, present and retrospective. They’re why when I’m babysitting and I say, “You can’t a bag of marshmellows because it isn’t good for you,” that I smile to myself and think, ah, this is why those gross injustices we feel as a child take place. Because often my parents were acting out of knowledge I didn’t have. And I’m thankful for that.

Reconciliation is the same way, I think. I think it looks like God saying, “Ah, but that isn’t good for you.” Unfortunately, God also gives us the option of saying, “I just am going to take the bag of marshmellows anyway, but thanks for the concern.”

I say that because, marshmellows taste better than vegtables.

If for no other reason that we were told to put them away.

Still, God creates this thing for us, this possibility, and he breathes it everywhere. In trees, in sunsets, in old friends’ smiles. He is constantly urging us, pursuing us with it. “Be reconciled,” I imagine he wispers many nights. “Come back.”

And when we do. When we are. He says, “Now reconcile with each other. With the trees. With the sunsets. And most of all with your old friends.”

Oh, were it so easy.

Because, we don’t always come back. To God. Or to each other.

I am reminded of my friend’s words, that not all things are reconciled on this side of heaven. I ache for that hope tonight. I believe in reconciliation. It gives me hope. I am rooted in it. I work at it. Sometimes, I am foolish, stubborn, prideful, but it is apart of me.

Reconciliation is beautiful when we take apart of it.

And life is just so damn hard without it.

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A few months ago I was about to graduate college. I was about to have a degree that I loved, but no earthly idea what to do with it. So, I waited. I prayed. I trusted.

I didn’t do this things unfailing. Often, I’d get antsy and take control. I’d forget to pray and worry instead. And I’d anxiously agonize and doubt. But, the idea, the constant replay in my life was the same. Wait, pray, trust.

But a month or so from graduating, my roommate made a hard, brave decision to move back home, which derailed my plans. I needed a job, roommate, or place to live. So, I waited. I prayed. I trusted.

I didn’t do these things well. I oftened whined. Too often I took to unfaithfulness. I tried to micromanage. All of these things fell away, though, I continued to wait, pray, and trust, and my prayers were answered. Though, not at all like I expected.

So, then I moved home. I needed a job. I waited. I prayed. And I trusted.

I’m getting better at this. I still falter.

And now? Life is shifting. I feel it. I’m terrified of the things before me, and yet, three words continue in my head.

Wait.
Pray.
Trust.

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I had a conversation with a friend last night which summed up some thoughts I’d been having on the subject. The good, hard work of life. The work of taking this theology and these ideas of who God is and bringing it down to everyday life. This is hard. But, truly, this is important.

I think of this on days when I feel so tired and I don’t want to drag myself out of bed and I don’t want to be sweet and generous. On days when isolation and self-indulgence seem much, much easier. And, admitedly, some days I think of this and isolate and self-indulge anyway. I crawl into bed and watch the Office and don’t answer my phone when people who love me fiercely call to see how I am. This wallowing can’t do any good for too long. It’s just a broken disguise for life giving rest.

The good, hard work reminds me on these days that I am doing something, that this being alive thing maybe the simple truth of it all. That sometimes it is good and enough if the greatest thing I do all day is to love one person (even myself) a little bit better, then that’s revolutionary. The good, hard work reminds me that this life, the light should truly shine in all corners of my ragged self. And that those places where I’d rather wallow in darkness are simply lies. And there is an everyday work to shining light places of yourself into dark places of yourself. We want these grand footings, these sure places, these places where we can then control, navigate, and, “No thanks God, I’m doing just fine.” And all the while God is right there sojourning on with us. Crying and weeping and sometimes screaming, although, I’m sure with much more grace and love than I do it with. But, if nothing else it makes the hard, good, everyday work of it possible. Because God is an everyday sort of person, and though it’s hard to see, it’s the work of redemption. Slow. Hard. Sometimes a little painful even.

And this sort of hard work, it takes courage. It’s in the folds of the dailiness. It’s in the mundane moments. Today, for me, this courage was simply waking up. It was knowing my car currently wasn’t starting and that I had stayed up too late. It was desparately wanting to fake illness and stay home all day long, curled up in said bed watching said Office episodes. I didn’t want to ask for help with my car. I didn’t want to go nanny boys are are rascally and often rude, but still sometimes cute. Last night, that hard, courageous work looked like admitting fault to a friend. Writing a facebook message to someone I didn’t much know. But, in these small ways, in these daily ways, through this hard, good work, we’re courageously creating pieces of light, here and there, we’re building communities, and sometimes we’re just planting trees for the next person to sit under. It’s that simple. It’s that hard.

But, in the end I love it. I love it because it is always good because God is always good. Even when it hurts like hell and I can’t remember that God is good, God is still good. And that’s the sort of thing I can hold onto.

And when I can’t hold onto it, that’s the sort of thing that holds onto me.

www.incourage.me

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