It is Tuesday evening
Outside the rain gently falls on dry ground. Inside the dishwasher hums. The fridge murmurs and the house is still. The boys are asleep. Husbandface is out.
It’s just me and this quiet.
I sit at our table. A beer rests beside me and I munch on cookies fresh from the oven. The table bears the marks of son2’s earlier breakdown over pouring milk over his cookie, despite being told not to, realising it was horrible and my refusal to give him another one. I smile wryly at the small tired boy whose eyes closed almost as soon as his head hit the pillow tonight.
I sit and contemplate the gathering gloom of a cloudy evening.
It’s been a strange few weeks. I haven’t wanted to write any reflections here, mainly because I had no reflections. We’ve lived and breathed. We’ve shouted and sighed. We’ve despaired and longed for night as soon as we have awoken each morning. We have laughed and rejoiced. We have worried and been confused. We have been tired. Oh so tired. We have been worn out and spent. We have hated our life and we have looked around in awe at the grace gifts in our gaze.
We have longed for escape, planned for escape and sit on the verge of escape in two weeks time. We have looked to the future with fear and anxiety. We have got through the days. We have drunk beer and watched tv. We have drowned the pain in wine and chocolate. We have run and cycled and got drunk on nature and endorphins again and again. We have had faith. We have prayed. We have rejected and felt like there is no-one watching over us. We have clung and we have felt abandoned in the cold night.
We have prayed with friends, we have connected with others. We have felt alone, so so alone. We have remembered we have been loved. We have been touched and held and cared for. We have been loved. We have been forgotten. We have been heard. We have been misunderstood. We have been unsure, unconfident, unlovely. We have felt the stirrings of hope. We have known deep despair.
We have lived and breathed through these last few weeks.
We breathe through each day. We know nothing of the future, how we will live and earn money in a few months time? We have big decisions that feel too big too make. How do we make them? What governs our choices in this time of uncertainty? Should I get a job? What job would I even get when I have little experience except in a very specific, hard to find jobs that exist in it, line of work. Should we move somewhere more affordable? Should we move so I can find a job in this narrow field of work? What about our community, our support networks, our friends who are family, our roots that go so deep? What about Son1’s lovely school he is breezing through the transition into because we have worked so hard at being in this one place? What about our love of this place? How much do these things feed into the basic need to have shelter, clothes, food and relationship?
Trapped in an airlock we wait for the pressure to equalise somewhere. For suits to enable the space walk or pressure to enable the return to some kind of life through the inner door.
Stuck in the fog. Not knowing which way the steep drop on one side is or the bog on the other, or if indeed they are there at all.
Thirsty in the desert not trusting which way the true oasis lies or which way the mirage fools us.
2 weeks time we get in a big van and run. To something different. To each other. To a search for a bigger reality than our circumstances. To set sail and to live with each other even if we never make it to see any horizon in the distance.
Yesterday I read this:
“We have an idea that God is leading us to a certain goal, a desired haven. He is not. To God the question of our getting to a particular end is a mere incident. What we call the process, God calls the end. God’s purpose is that you depend on him and his power now. God’s purpose is that you see him walking on the waves.
No shore in sight.
Just the absolute certainty that it is all right because you see him.” (Oswald Chalmbers)
I don’t really know what my faith looks like at the moment. I feel a bit like a house torn down and I’m trying to work out if the foundations are sound so rebuilding can start. I want know what lies beneath the rubble. Whatever. I like the sound of the above. No shore in sight. No success. That seems like life right now and I long, oh I long to know some certainty that seeing Jesus is enough. That seeing Jesus will help us in this storm. No matter how long it goes on for.
I know the pat answers, the it’s ok because God is in charge, is probably doing something amazing, will maybe use this in the future, is doing good in the midst of it and so on. They are easy to trot off and yes they might be of help. BUT. Sometimes, well lets face it, most times we just don’t know. We can’t say with certainty why any of this stuff happens. We live in a beautiful but crappy world. I think looking for meaning in all of this might just lead us down the rabbit hole of insanity.
Maybe we don’t need more meaning. Maybe we need to see Jesus.
To meet the One who holds us, who has walked this confusing road before and who stands in our storm. Not making everything ok or less confusing but just being here. Calling our names.
Tuesday group happened today (it is Tuesday after all) we looked at the weird confusing events of the resurrection. The fear of the body taken away. The confusion of what, where, and how that enveloped Jesus’ friends and the joy that over took them when they realised it was really him. There was no need to fear anymore because here he was, back and as confusing as ever. But still. He was back with them.
I love Mary’s encounter with Jesus at this point. The guys have headed back to town, tomb empty, confused at all they have seen. Mary’s grief seems to be too strong. She cannot cope. She cries and cries and through the tears chats to some angels who simply ask why she is crying. It is too much. ‘They’ have taken her Lord. It is too much. Through the pain another voice asks why she is crying. Again she expresses her longing for the Lord. One more word is enough.
I wish we knew the intonation of their voices. However it was said, it is the voice that calls her name that turns her tears of grief to those of joy. It is seeing her Lord and hearing him say her name that brings the wonder into the pain.
I know this Jesus. I know he knows our names and I long to hear him more, to see him so we can gingerly walk on in the fog, so we can wait patiently in the airlock, so we can drink deep in the desert.