Tuesday, September 16, 2008

i don't know nothing except change will come

nerves. sometimes, i am a bundle of them. this is one of those times.

starting new things is not a skill i have. it doesn't come easy to me to go to a first day of classes, or move somewhere different, or begin a new job in a field about which i know very little. some people are great at this; thrive on the energy that they get from big-ticket change.
sometimes i think i'd rather do data entry or make coffee forever, just so i wouldn't have to go through any more big changes in life.

and then, just when i get comfortable in my complacency, the words that my friend michele told me come to mind. i can't recall word-for-word the conversation, but it went something like this:

michele: so you say you want to become a better, more alive person. what are the events in your life that have shaped you into that kind of person so far? when have you sensed God alive in you?

laura: well, like when people have given me lots of stuff for free and easily and quickly, too, so i'm not inconvenienced by waiting. when i do the same thing for a long time and i don't have to change or become uncomfortable.
(michele is kind of a hard-ass. she didn't accept this answer, so i tried again).
OR, when things have been really hard in my life. my first day of eighth grade, when i was so nervous all day long that i thought i was going to throw up and prayed 'God, be with me' in my mind so much that i missed the intro to advanced algebra. going to westmont college and stumbling through the first several weeks in which i thought i would surely cave into homesickness and anxiety, and then didn't because i knew God was with me and he showed himself through friends and words. traveling to europe with people i didn't know, which sounded like a good idea before the reality of 14 weeks and half a world worth of removal from my base. a few conversations with friends stand out, mostly because they saw something in me that was not admirable and told me about it and walked with me as i confronted the truth and brought my darkness into the light. those are all times i felt shaped by God.

michele: okay cool. so keep looking for opportunities to do those things. you say you want to be more loving and gentle and honest and light-filled? then keep doing hard things, and not just set a goal to do one hard thing a week, but do them all the time, and make sure you don't leave out the really big ones. in fact, chase after those the most because it sounds like that is where you have the most trouble seeing God.

laura: damn.

and for all her crazy ideas and eight million purses and sugar-crazed (or sugar-free) ways, she was right. is right. so now, as i am two days deep into this new job and wake up before my alarm, as an anxious pit forms in my stomach and i lean into worst-case scenarios and wonder about the future . . . right now, i know that Jesus is with me and i know i can only thrive if i continue to remember that and act accordingly.

i really like this prayer from this brother robert guy who was part of founding the taize community in france . . .

'Christ, Savior of every life, you come to us always
Welcoming you in the peace of our nights, in the
silence of our days, in the beauty of creation, in
the hours of intense inner combat, welcoming
you means knowing that you will be with us in
every situation, always.'

that is a good thing. he is with us now and even always. and with us through every up and down and long, flat road that we can encounter. and in some places, we need to see him especially.

thanks mm.

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