Maybe it was the full moon, wrapped in shimmery silver wisps. Maybe it was the resounding sick to my stomach feeling that followed a fear factor care group event. Maybe it's the weather, once again turning cool and reminding me to bundle up.
Whatever it was I seemed to crave connection like a quilt to wear around my shoulders on those chilly early February days.
I spent hours sitting on couches, sometimes talking and other times just sitting pressed up against the people I love.
I thought about how my life is changing. I've said it a lot recently, but it always feels true. It feels like I'm on this train going 200 miles an hour and the view is great and the trip is good but there are times when I just want to get off and catch my breath.
Just give me a minute. Time to process, and understand, and breathe.
Twice Paul whispers it: "I have learned..." Learned. I would have to learn eucharisteo - learn to live it fully. Learn it like I know my own skin, my face, the words on the end of my tongue. Like I know my own name
We were sitting in Chapel today and we were asked to reflect on grace. Grace. I say it often, that in this current state I'm in I'm overwhelmed by grace. Literally, physically and emotionally I feel ransacked by grace. But in this moment of stillness I heard a whisper: If you really knew the extent of my grace, you would know what it means to not be left standing.
If I truly understood grace... It is grace enough that I'm alive, that there is breath in these lungs and blood pumping through my body. It is grace enough that I can talk and walk and eat and exist. But to be attending college, to be surrounded by so many people who care about me, to be given this opportunity to love, is this not too much grace? How is it fair that I am given this many grace days all in a row?
Now in the Bible a name... reveals the very essence of a thing, or rather its essence as God's gift... to name a thing is to manifest the meaning and value God gave it, to know it as coming from God and to know its place and function within the cosmos created by God. To name a thing, in other words, is to bless God for it and in it.
The past few days I've struggled against the idea of identity. I know who I am, but what happens when everything shifts? Just slightly, and not bad, but still noticeable.
At a school this size it's impossible to avoid the labels, and for the most part I enjoy the ones I've been given. But there are moments when a slight comment makes me cringe, when suddenly people act differently because you have become labeled by your relationship.
I wonder what it is that makes these labels stick. I wonder why they matter so much to me.
I wrote a list yesterday of all the things that I am: daughter, sister, friend, girlfriend, student.
And in all of the naming I whispered tiny prayers: "Thank you, God, for family and friends, for new connections, for the ability to learn."
I said them over and over, until the words were no longer things that I was but things that I was given. I am not the labels, but I have been blessed with the opportunity to be a part of each of the things I listed.
Joy is the realest reality, the fullest life, and joy is always given, never grasped. God gives gifts and I give thanks and I unwrap the gift given: joy
My gratitude list is growing, and my heart is becoming gentler still.
The way she grabbed my hand this morning and on the back of it drew a heart
The way life seems to unfold gathered around the table with the people I love
Laughter echoing and good morning texts and clean laundry
Red roses and friend dates and the way a short sentence has the power to change the way I think about life
I find I'm craving the beauty - the real, deep kind. I name the little things, and in them give thanks, and it is in this living my life as the offering held high that I begin to understand the gift.
Eucharisteo - it's the word Jesus whispered when death prowled close and His anguish trickled down bloody. He took the bread, even the bread of death, and gave thanks
A friend said something to me the other day, which is that we don't stay because it feels good, we stay because it is good, with those words reverberating off of something inside of me.
Where I am right now, it is good
I may be feeling too many things and not thinking enough. There are days like this, when the only way to truly feel is to let the emotion wash over me in waves. All of it comes, and I acknowledge it in whatever form it presents itself.
Happiness, overwhelmed, confusion, fear, a desperate longing to control the future, a feeling as though life has shifted ever so slightly and I need to once again regain my footing.
All this feeling has me fluctuating between needing silence and solitude and yearning to be close.
I've spent hours clinging to the mighty hand of God, echoing a cry similar to Jacob's when he prayed "I won't let go until you bless me."
I've spent equally as much time sitting on the couch, sometimes needing the chatter of conversation while other times asking friends to just sit with me.
In all of this I find that sometimes the only words that make it off my lips are "thank you."
Life change comes when we receive life with thanks and ask for nothing to change.
My life is unpredictable these days, crazy and the kind of beautiful you have to fight for, fast and all kinds of lovely.
I never imagined I'd be here, surrounded by so much grace.
I am grateful
May nothing change
Quotes from 1000 Gifts by Ann Voskamp