Friday was a bad day for me, a dreary bookend to a week marked by anxiety, uncertainty, and confusion. It is a few weeks now that we’ve been back from the honeymoon of rest and sunshine, and life is falling back into a sort of rhythm, but the drabness of work and confusion over next steps is familiar is a sickening sort of way. Sometimes I am unsure of what to say to God over my tea and cereal in the mornings. I am uncertain of what I am waiting for, but there is a deep ache within me that longs to be satisfied. I stumble over words to give voice to this weight in my chest: purpose, meaning, clarity, journey, story—and sometimes, cautiously, I try out more specific words: music, travel, grad school.
But the most frightening part of it all is that I often feel like a stranger to myself. I concentrate mostly on making it through the days, the weeks, checking things off my to-do list and falling back to auto-pilot Monday through Friday (a guarded re-awakening seems to come, at last, on the weekends). Things feel flat and grey.
So I drove to the apartment on Friday after work, couldn’t bring myself to pound my feet on the treadmill, a space of two hours before Chris would be back to our little home with his smiles and his questions. I curled up in a blanket and finished the last chapter of a novel I’d been working on (yes, it made it into my spreadsheet). I wandered around the tiny space and I opened all the blinds facing west so the sunshine would stream in. I felt blank.
I pawed through a box of things-yet-to-be-unpacked, and my hand fell upon the guest book from our wedding. I picked it up. I sat on the couch and opened it. I read every comment handwritten on those pages, and I was feeling blank, blank, blank until suddenly I was crying. Before Seattle, I would not have understood this sensation. I have always been a little self-conscious, striving to be deeply in touch with what I’m feeling, but now that I’m older and life is a bit more ambiguous, this has happened a few times—this strange sensation of being startled by my own tears, whether from joy or grief. I was crying, and as I held the book and wept, it was because these people believed in me. They believed in Chris and I together. They knew our story, how hard we have fought to keep our love healthy, all the counseling and the prayers and the forgiveness that has gone into making this thing last and grow. They saw where we came from and they anticipated good things for our future. They prayed guidance and peace and joy over our marriage and our new life together. They know me. They called our wedding “Spirit-filled,” and this wasn’t just one guest, this was multiple entries by different individuals. Spirit-filled. When I’ve been feeling blank.
And reading those words of delight and wisdom and blessing, I caught a glimpse of who I am, and it was a holy moment. I still don’t know when I should quit my job, or if I should go to this grad school, or if my panic over music is crazy or divine. I don’t know these answers, still. But I remember. I am a person who is beloved, determined, passionate, committed, blessed. I remember also that I married a man who is compassionate, tender-hearted, reliable, witty, sincere. And we are surrounded by amazing people, people who believe we are capable of being light and salt even though they know so well how broken we are. This is why we served communion to every person at our wedding, because we wanted a tangible way to say, We are all connected. We are all dependent. We need each other. We need you. We are doing this thing together. And even through their words, their Spirit-filled words written on a page of paper, they were doing this for me. They were reminding me I am alive, and I have something to offer, and even feeling blank for too many days does not cancel out my realness, my being.
Thank God. In my darkest moments, you are the ones who help me to remember, believe, hope. Thank you.