When I come home I often wonder if I feel something similar to the way a soldier feels when he comes back to America after being on a battlefield for so long, though I won’t pretend like I would ever know what that really feels like.
When I came home, after a five-hour bus ride with one transfer, I stepped into my room and was shocked by how quiet the air was, how still. All I could hear were crickets, and while I remember coming home last year and how beautiful they sounded to me, this time was so much more comforting.
When I come home I often wonder if I feel something similar to how Frodo and the Hobbit company felt when they first entered Rivendell after being so aggressively pursued by the Nazgul.
This morning I got up, talked to God for a while, made sure everything was packed, and headed out the door to go to the internship. Last night it was hard to sleep because I was thinking about the piece I’d written and, quite honestly, I was wondering how to “fix” what I’d done, somehow make the way some of my classmates probably think of me now—sneaky, selfish, and haughty— go back to something closer to the truth.
But as I talked to God this morning, I realized that I couldn’t really apologize for anything without looking like I hadn’t meant what I said, without virtually denying that God is sovereign and He is the only thing worth pursuing, that things like abortion and premarital sex tear people apart from the inside out and create wounds that can only be healed by Him, that people do fall hard from the pedestal they sit on if only for them to acknowledge that, this whole time, God was waiting for them to turn to Him. Apologizing would make it seem like what I wrote about God was untrue, uncertain, wavering, when it’s actually not; it would make it seem like I wasn’t totally firm in Him and in what His word says, and while I have spells of doubt, God always uses those to reaffirm reality and to remind me of who I am in Him and who He is in Himself.
There’s nothing to fix.
I worked all morning, editing, mailing things, reading, rejecting, reviewing queries, talking to the people in the office. It was probably one of the best days I’ve had there 🙂 Alex asked, before I left in the early afternoon, to run something to the accountant.
“Okay,” I thought, “I can do this. This is my chance to show I’m completely competent and totally capable of doing simple tasks. Yes.”
Well, the mini panic attack I had afterwards as well as how I felt coming off the subway around Penn Station said otherwise. I navigated my way to the appropriate building without any real problem (mostly because the building was a billion feet tall and had the address engraved in great, big, bold numbers on the facade). I got to the correct floor and found the office. But then it there was the task of actually finding the individual.
I knocked on the office door and was greeted by a very surprised and startled young woman. I quickly apologized and voiced my thoughts about her obviously not expecting someone like me on the other side of the door, whatever that meant. I asked her where the accountant was (I used the actual name of the person, I didn’t just say “Where’s the accountant?”) and she pointed me down a few twists and turns throughout the office to another smaller office in the way back of the section. When I reached my destination, the door was shut without anything on the outside hanging from it, no fall decorations, no name, no title, no anything. Just a gray door. And I could see from the open strip at the bottom of the door that the lights were turned off. And yet, as I stepped up to the door, I heard someone talking on the other side. I was already running late for my bus, and I wondered what I would do if I’d come and she wasn’t here.
Well, I would slip the envelope (which was the item to be delivered) under the door, reaffirming that this was indeed the correct office of the correct person in the correct building several times…which is what I did. I felt icky leaving, but I wasn’t sure what else to do Agh! But I did my best, and for now, that will have to be enough.
I got on the correct bus at the right time and ride was relatively uneventful. I listened to music, read, thought, looked out the window and enjoyed the fact that I could see nothing but changing leaves for miles. I love the City. It’s amazing in it’s own way and adventurous in other ways. But this place, this is my Shire, and I have missed it.
After just catching my bus out from Binghamton, I made it to Norwich on schedule. I was dropped off, however, in the midst of the Pumpkin Fest and homecoming celebrations. Already I’d forgotten that this is the time of year for fall festivals, seasonal merriment, and homecoming. I can’t really remember the last time I went to a homecoming dance, or football game, though I’m certain it happened.
I navigated my way to where I knew my mom would be waiting to pick me up, and I found her easily. Navigating through the streets of New York has definitely helped me counter the fact that I’m so directionally challenged. I’m getting much better at it. Of course, now that I’ve said that you’ll probably read about me getting lost on the subway and somehow ending up in New Jersey at two in the morning. But we’ll save that for another time 🙂
Mom and Jimmy greeted me. It was getting late now, and I was ready to go home. We drove through Dunkin Donuts (Jimmy was hungry) and headed home, talking about all sorts of things. It was almost as if I’d never left.
We arrived shortly after picking up Chinese takeout for dinner. Gracie was at a sleepover, so only Dad was home. We spent the rest of the evening watching Captain America:Winter Soldier and eating our food. I can’t express how grateful I am that God gave me the gift of being able to come home when He did.
I’m sitting here on the kitchen floor, writing this, and I won’t lie: part of me doesn’t want to go back. Part of me, the cowardly part, just wants to stay here where everything is familiar and safe and comfortable and live here forever and never leave…but I know that’s not what God has for me. One of the problems that my classmates had with that piece I wrote was that the protagonist was doing things God wanted instead of what she thought would make her happy.
“Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart,” Psalm 37:4.
You see, trying to pursue what I think will make me happy is like chasing a cloud. The cloud will always be moving, and usually the cloud I’m looking at in one moment is never the same cloud I was looking at in another moment. The things that make me happy may stay relatively the same, but they won’t last forever, they can’t fill me up, they can’t satisfy me. When people try to satisfy themselves with the pursuit of happiness, they usually settle for something less than what they thought they wanted. Make sense?
With God, there is absolutely no question about His being the true joy-giver. He keeps me steady and roots me down, so I’m not swayed by difficulty or circumstance or disappointment, but rather welcoming towards these things, because they will, as they always do, make me stronger in Christ and more able to withstand the attacks of the enemy. It’s true that when I decide to be a stooge-face and step away from God’s loving arms and out from under His protection I do fall prey to doubt and despair, but only temporarily, because He always brings me back. But I can’t live without Him.
God is what I delight in, what makes me happy. Therefore, by default, I do what He wants, what He asks. Pastor during church one night was preaching on how we should obey God because we are loved instead of obeying God to earn His love. Well, when God asks for me to delight in Him, He becomes what I want, and it’s not because I’ve been brainwashed or had “religious upbringing” or have been sheltered, but because God, when you see Him for who He is and really learn to enjoy Him and decided to spend time getting to know Him, He is by far the most wonderful “person” you will ever encounter for the rest of your life and onward. He’s just so….agh! I don’t know. He’s just…yeah 🙂
At church one Tuesday night, one of the girls in my group (she’s wonderful 🙂 )said “you’re (speaking in general) just different. You can’t help it and you can’t blend in even if you wanted to. You’re already saved and you’ve been changed.”
How true! Even if I wanted to be away from God, even if I wanted to be like everyone who lives without Him, I wouldn’t last very long, and I would always be thinking about Him and what He’s thinking. In times of doubt and frustration when I just want to give up, I find myself frustrated with the God who gave me life and love (which, honestly, what right do I have to be frustrated with Him?) but simultaneously thinking about how much better off I am with Him than without.
I wouldn’t have survived the pain and depression and the flashbacks of that unhealthy relationship without Him coming in and destroying it all at the source. I wouldn’t have been able to even consider going to Pratt without Him. I wouldn’t have survived countless difficulties without Him. I would’ve curled up in a corner and given up.
So when the wonderful times come, when I’m able to come home during the semester, when I get to go visit the Brock’s for a few days, when I have the opportunity to stay the weekend at Jenny’s, I can appreciate them more and see God’s hand more clearly in my life. I’m glad for the battle. I’m glad for the difficulty. I’m glad for the absolute madness of it all. And part of me, though I’ve definitely gotten caught up in this and probably will again, because I’m human, wonders why I would choose any other way of life, choose any other god to worship, any other material or emotional idol to obsess over, when the only One worthy of my praise and my love and my awe is right in front of me.
And oh, how He loves.
“He is jealous for me,
If love’s like a hurricane, then I am a tree,
Bending beneath the weight of His wind and mercy…”