I’m sitting in the middle of my dining room in the robe I’ve been wearing all day that has what looks like dirt on it. It’s 2 o’clock in the afternoon. I couldn’t manage to pull myself out of it, so I relented to the cost of cozy. My goal was to be dressed by 9:00am. Maybe tomorrow.
Upon further inspection, I realize the spot on my robe isn’t dirt—it’s chocolate. I don’t really eat chocolate unless it’s in brownie form, and I haven’t had a brownie in months (to my dismay). So, I have no idea where that spot came from. I sink even further into my seat feeling the weight of the meaninglessness and hopelessness of the world I’ve found myself in.
I look back.
I reflect on a life before we were thrown into the collective pain and despair of a pandemic, the one where visions and dreams and wonder prevailed and nothing ever felt impossible. The world felt like it was truly my oyster and what was to be, was completely ‘up to me.’
But now, I am here. And here is not there. Here is where the past seems to hold the present, and instead of a warm embrace it chokes the life out of any promise of goodness.
My phone buzzes.
It’s time for school pick-ups. I jump to my feet, slip out of my slippers and into my other comfy slides, and contemplate leaving my robe on… I reluctantly remove it and pull on my favorite jacket that still provides comfort but also a little more warmth. (And it lets me look like I got dressed for the day.) It’s still pretty cold in Seattle this time of year, but I’m thankful for the culture here that allows for many a robe-drop-off morning.
As I waited for the bell to ring and for my son to hop into the car and debrief the day, I kept thinking the thoughts from the dining room while haphazardly scrolling through and responding to a few Instagram DM’s and comments. When I see my son approaching, I shut off my phone and lay it down in the console.
“Hey bud, how was your day?”
“It was good. Except, I got this paper cut on my finger in sixth period. It’s already healing, though.”
His last sentence struck me. How in the world is his finger already healing? Age was likely on his side. My wounds these days seem to take a lifetime to heal. Bruises remain for days on end; cuts don’t seal up as quickly as they did even a few years ago.
In that moment I noticed so clearly a connection to what I’d felt earlier at home—honestly, to what I’ve been fighting to overcome the past couple of years: the idea that healing will not come. With the ebb and flow of both collective and individual traumas I’ve encountered recently, I’ve battled with thinking that everything will remain the same. That suffering will continue. That pain will not subside. Maybe I’m too old for things to change? I sometimes think to myself. Perhaps I should accept the way they are… Lies.
The truth is that we don’t have to be young to receive healing. We don’t have to arrive at a particular stage in life to experience freedom from the bondage of negative thought patterns and behaviors that keep us stuck in the same place and, ultimately, leave so many of us feeling hopeless, purposeless, and altogether empty.
It is true that sometimes healing can come fast. It runs its course like a sprinter setting a new world record. It is also true that it can come slowly, working its way through heartaches and pains, bumps, bruises, and obstacles of life at what seems like a snail’s pace. But whether slow or fast, it comes.
The faith of my youth takes center stage as I remember what it was like to grab hold of this truth when I wasn’t jaded and tainted by global despair or the very real pains of my own life. As the memories and emotions of those times collide with my experiences of a very real God who sustains me and causes me to thrive over and over and over, my faith is stirred.
I have learned—and sometimes (read: all the time) I am still learning—the art of contentment, what it looks like to trust God in the ‘messy middle’ when things seem chaotic or when I can’t seem to make sense of what’s in front of me or around me. I am learning that if it doesn’t make sense to me, that just means it makes sense to God. I can rest in the consistency of His grace, mercy, and timing. His ways are always far above and better than my own.
This same experience also tells me that He’ll use just about anything to remind us how much He loves us. Sometimes that comes through a still, small voice, and sometimes it comes in the form of a quick-healing paper cut on a child’s finger.
What truth are you grabbing hold of today that’s helping you avoid retreating or giving up?Leave a Comment