The past year brought with it a wild number of new things, lost things, beautiful things, frightening things, hard things, great things. It’s been at once everything and nothing one could expect from a year of getting engaged, getting married, leaving college, leaving California, and embarking on this fantastic adventure they call “being grown up.” Being grown up? What a ridiculous concept. Andy and I find ourselves more and more like children with each day, more acutely aware than ever that every single thing we have — from our furniture to our jobs to our food to our friends to our very location in the gorgeously strange American SouthEast — all of it is a gift, a mystery, a bright flicker of the miraculous.
And we’re finding that this is a season of small, small things. A season for learning to cook a meal together, learning to check the air in the tires; learning to wash the mirror and learning to kill a cockroach; learning to be a family and learning to why family is such a difficult thing to be.
This year I have a job that requires that I simply fill a seat and smile every now and then (give or take a couple chores). Before this I’ve been a teacher, a worship leader, a copy editor, an RA, a tutor, a camp counselor, a barista, even a manual labor worker. None of those jobs are very impressive either, but hey, I just finished college. I’ve never been paid to do something so unnecessary before. This year, the highlights of my day are when I’m asked to distribute the mail or to cut out strips of paper. This year, I fill my mind with books and scripture in an attempt to restrain my brain from flittering off into the future, the ifs and whys and all else that strangles trust, peace, rest.
As a dear friend and mentor once told me, this season will be an exercise in the mundane. I will write things, but they won’t be the best things I’ll write. I will cook things, but they won’t taste like my mom’s recipe and they won’t look anything like the photographs. I will say things, but most things I’ll say will be a little bit wrong, a little bit too loud, and I’ll probably trip over the words as I speak them.
Just like in all the years before this one, most of the work in our lives that will happen in the seasons to come will not be of our own doing. The most important work in our lives will be God’s work, or even friends’ work, leaders’ work, everyone else’s but ours. We will be humbled and quieted and sharpened and smoothed; we will come out with more wisdom and patience and faith, and with bigger eyes and hopes from all the God we’ve seen.
We’ll share meals and share our home; we’ll sing songs and tell stories; but mostly we’ll stand together like November trees, letting the winds and waters pull our dying leaves down so we’ll have space for new things to be created in us.
The music in our hearts this season isn’t as loud or impassioned as last season’s was. We wanted to see God’s enormity and power, we wanted to burn and shout. We were waiting for miracles, we were waiting for big answers, we were waiting for our wedding day, we were waiting for Jesus. Now, we’re listening for God’s whispers, looking closely for shifts of his light, we’re singing “Holy” and speaking “Thank you, thank you,” and still waiting for Jesus and that Wedding Day that’ll be a zillion times more exciting than ours. We’re doing grace like we never have before, and drawing closer to Jesus now that we directly feel what it is to be forgiven a hundred times every day by the same person. We’re doing love, and knowing without any doubt that the stuff didn’t, could never have, come from our own hearts. We stagger, gasping and astonished as we count the gifts we’ve been given. And we find ourselves right where we began, in that “already and not yet” of the Christ-follower’s predicament, singing songs of joy and mystery as we wait, wait, wait.