Sitting here at my desk I am acutely aware that my leather swiveling writing chair has become a stranger to me. What used to be my familiar companion now feels more like a seat for a visitor. I look at my planning calendar for the past three months, and it mimics a chaotic list of frenzied graffiti. I have been blazing through these recent days. Today, I have become still and ready to return to this chair.
This morning, as I watch the trees outside my window submit their branches to the hot summer wind blowing through them, I consider how they are the same trees when they are still as when they wave gracefully orchestrated by the wind. Being a seeker of identifying how the natural teaches us the spiritual, I pause and ponder this reality of the lovely trees. Sometimes I can read the Bible repeatedly but not entirely grasp it until I look into the trees, or at the moon, or at the ants building their home in the cracks of the pavement when I am out with the dog. Like a translator, the natural elements created by my Father tutor me in the most stunning classroom, at the most auspicious moments.
Taking the dance of the trees into my heart, I can understand how to conquer this perception that my life has swept me away from my life. I have to resist perceiving myself as a guest in my world, but rather understand that my expectation of what my life should look like is the intruder here. My preconceived agenda is the tactical alien trying to move things around without permission, not the circumstances that befall me. My life is what is happening while I am deciding what my life should look like.
Life is in motion. Just because I don't feel like I can keep up with it doesn't mean I can't, or that I am not. I might be limping, but I am not chained. Routine has been my steady partner since my first child was born. Routine has driven me to maintain standards and accomplish wonderful things. It provided consistency for my children to stretch and grow before a steadfast backdrop so growth could be measured. It created the opportunity for spontaneity. It settled my heart from day to day and imprinted discipline into my movements. It fostered an environment where I could gauge the changes in myself and others. I understood routine, and in my poetic, childlike reckoning, I believed it understood me.
Ah, how the "mighty" have fallen. Plop.
In the past three years so much change has been hoisted upon my routine that it has crumbled under pressure. What previously was a beautifully carved life now exists in pieces in a pile, scattered in disarray. I am striving to put them back together, but sections are missing. I can build and sculpt with the pieces I have, but that image will never look like it did with the modifications that have inevitably altered everything. My children have grown and moved on. I taught them to do this, and I am glad they have. Stiil, it's bittersweet and different.
I've moved back to my hometown, and away from the future I was building for 15 years. What feels like a million other changes have occurred in the tiny bones of what comprised the structure of my world. Now we prepare to embark on another move, closer to an environment more conducive to my work and what is good for my husband. Boxes stand at the ready, an ominous reminder that the winds of change will sweep across my life yet again.
Therein lies the challenge. I want to see these events as my life rather than a distraction from it. I desperately want to create new routines that shield my gaze and shelter my mind, but I am in between two fires and not yet to the next camp. The only covering I have right now is the open sky with its mysterious vastness. The comfort I long for lies inward, and I am struggling to touch it. True rest is imprinted upon my heart by my Father Who sees my every step, hears my every cry, and reaches for my trembling hand. Whispers of this contact caress my face at my darkest moments, but it eludes my eyes. I simply have to believe. Trust.That's a word that haunts every cell and fuels every bit of light.
I don't recognize myself right now, so it will be interesting when He does see it timely to provide me with a mirror. In the wilderness I walk on, enduring the lonely desert wind. Life feels out of control in this leg of the journey. There are no walls or a hallway, just a rope, a gusty breeze, and a long, hollow desert made up of miles and miles of forgiving but redundant sand.
Am I the girl who trusts in the manna? Am I the girl who can sleep under a different piece of sky every night until I reach the camp? Am I the girl who can believe that my echo in the desert does not mean that I am lost and alone?
For people like me, traveling in this way teaches me everything while it comforts me none. I am learning things in this desolate voyage that challenge almost everything I ever thought. I buck and kick at this season in vain. The season is upon me. I am in step with what feels like a riptide taking me under. I am supposed to be traversing this broad desert with only the slightest sound of a distant bell toward which to orient my compass. Routine has gone from being a tool for childrearing to being a prop to avoiding the things I have to learn on the unnamed road. I flail and whimper. I stand and walk. I survive. I become who I need to become to live out my destiny. This doesn't happen for me when life is predictable and comfortable, but rather in the throws of stumbling into a blinding light of a million thoughts to a darkened night of the concealed. I emerge from what was known to what is hidden so I can see more of what there is to learn. And as I do that, I feel like I know nothing.
The kaleidoscope into which I blink and squint is perfectly imperfect to my limited view and understanding. I can identify the shapes and the colors but cannot fathom their placement. In a chaotic sort of way, it's beautiful, but with each turn of the lens, everything changes.
The shadows fall, and the sun is like a razor, yet the Lifter of my head has given me a rope to hold on to and a wilderness. His eyes are on me. The camp is ahead, and a new routine will be born out of need. I suspect once I settle my writing chair will be familiar again, though the trees will be different. I will watch them hearken to the breeze, and likewise, I will share the stories of the wilderness wind where a girl discovered herself all over again.
Are you wandering in your own wilderness? Lift your eyes and see your covering. It never ends. It's a trail to eternity. When all you knew is gone, all you can be with some faith is waiting. I'll meet you there.