When Everything Changes

I wake up to rays of sun spilling over my pillow and unfamiliar furniture standing guard in the corners of this tiny room. Slowly I shake the fog of sleep from my mind and reality comes into focus, like that of a photo with no depth of field and colors that blend from the background into the subject one may be trying to focus on. I check my watch and it’s 9 o’clock, that doesn’t seem right. I close my eyes, open them again and check my phone; the time shines from the lock screen: 8 o’clock. Colorado time.

I’m in Colorado, in Nana’s half furnished home. I pull my hair half up, swing my legs over the edge of the bed, and catch a glimpse in the mirror at my puffy eyes from tears shed the night before. Sun spills in as I start to open the blinds in the bedroom, kitchen, and living room and my soul dances inside me as I’m greeted by the mountains cloaked in last night’s rain clouds. I rummage for a mug in her cabinets, find a handmade mug with an inscription on the bottom reminding one to ‘Be Fearless’, and turn the coffee pot on. As the coffee starts to brew, I feel a rush of nostalgia and the marks of new beginnings accompanied with the stark loneliness that comes from being in a town with no way of getting around and not knowing a soul.

“Nana, I wish you were here. You’ve already missed so much and I just want to tell you about it. I wish you were with me as I make us breakfast and I could tell you about how I’ve changed my major and what my first year at Liberty ended up looking like and how my dreams have changed once again. And I’m just so aware of the fact I can’t call you for help in a town you know far better than I and how I’m never going to get to tell you about the adventures I go on or if an amazing guy comes into my life. And I’m a little freaked out by the fact I can smell you right now and this makes me feel 10 again. How have I never visited you here since then?”

I’m pulled back to the present as the coffee has finished brewing and my phone buzzes from my friend’s reply to my text the night before. Tears roll down my face as I read her words, “I think this will be a good few days for you to just say goodbye to her and start saying hello to a new part of your life.” I have never felt so fiercely this reality that my life won’t be the same; that 2018 really has swept me off my feet and landed me in this moment with friends and family no longer alive, my future after college no longer certain, and awkwardly sitting with myself in a body that fits my soul like a sweater that has shrunk and stretched in uncomfortable places.

It’s only May, which is definitely more time than when I sat down a few months ago trying to document what’s happened and wrote ‘It’s only March’. I have come to the conclusion that I don’t know much, as if this wasn’t evident in my life before. The sharpness of the truth that we aren’t promised our next breath can easily lull me to this familiar autopilot numbness I’ve known as of late or fill me with a fiery eternal longing to go and inhabit the unknown, to inhabit the pockets of this most extraordinary side of eternity we are living in right now. Each of these are overwhelming in their own way and I have to remind myself to forever encamp in the stupid-abundant grace I know I possess as one beloved by Abba.

It’s easier said than done, to live a life with arms open, letting there be allowance for the days I open my mouth wide only to be met with the whisper of a most-tired HALLELUJAH. I still laugh, probably too loud at moments, and I never wake up to the once familiar wall of despair I’ve felt in past seasons of loss. But it’d be ignorant of me to try and climb the rock face behind me of my soul’s past mountaintop, when an overgrown path of rediscovery lies before me; beckoning and challenging me to step forward in faith into the arms of the one who knows the crevices and rifts that my world now has in result of this semester.

He is enough. He is my greatest good. He is worthy of my praise, my adoration, my most tired or robust hallelujah. He is the still voice calling over the waves of my doubt and uncertainty, calling me to be still even when it doesn’t look rational or welcoming.

And if there’s one thing I want in life, it is to dwell in the house of my Lord, to slide into the other side of eternity with my hair wild and my lungs echoing with laughter like those of caverns found in the hikes of the mountains that line my soul. That I would arrive in the glory of my King, knowing that I breathed eucharisteo even on my most tired days, that I learned to enjoy both the valleys and the peaks, and that in the end I lived a life stilled before my most wonderful Creator.

Because in reality nothing is going to be the same, but if all I get from this life is Jesus, than I will have lived a most full life.

Only You can quench our insatiable hearts
For our rest can only be found in Your arms
Our lives are Yours for only You can satisfy
Only You can satisfy

“Only You” by Of the Land

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