In another lifetime I wrote a different blog.
One full of prayer and grace and carefully crafted essays that I was brave enough to share with the locals because I wasn’t actually local. I was over 8,000 miles away. I stumbled across that blog tonight and I sat in bed crying, with my husband asleep next to me, as I remembered that girl. She seems so brave to me now. She boarded a plane with strangers, found solace in the Indian sunsets, relied on daily ramen noodles, and rode into the village on the bench seat of a beat up jeep to help care for the lepers. Those words she wrote… oh, what she says to me now… I need to hear it. Life is good. Community is good. Give thanks for joy and grace.
Lord, let those words soak deep into my days and permeate those dry, deprived places. Navigating life, personally and professionally, can wear a girl thin. I’m in the last stretch of school, which means a breadth of opportunities and also fear of losing each one, of making the wrong decision, of saying the wrong thing, of not checking off each to-do box. Never again will I be in this moment, with circumstances both so big and so small. So I can’t help but be grateful when I know some where half way round the world is a priest who once told me to take it slow, to avoid the temptation and downfall of “proving oneself.” I won’t allow myself to feel the frustration of still treading through those same thoughts; I’ll only be satisfied that she recorded those words to remind me yet again of such basic truth.
In another lifetime, maybe I was braver. In a different way. But I’m pretty brave now too. I’m brave enough to say that it’s still not all figured out, that I can find comfort from my college-senior self, that I still believe life is good. Community is good. Give thanks for joy and grace.
Weddings feel like goodbyes. Let me say from the beginning that I do not disapprove of weddings, for I am secretly one of the Emotional Ones, the ones who will feel all the feels, both joy and sorrow, while hiding my teary eyes with sunglasses and a smile. Though my natural pull may be more inclined to notice the sorrowful, weddings are certainly some of the most joy-filled days in our lives, and my heart is so grateful for what the covenant of marriage means. The sacrifice of self and the promise of overflowing love point us to the beautiful and bigger love of Jesus. And I will say it a million times over: that marriage, though challenging and soul-struggling at times, gives me a small glimpse into that beautiful and bigger love, that hope for eternity. My heart is full of gratitude for the opportunity to watch my brother take that leap of faith over the weekend. But even with so much goodness, weddings still feel like saying goodbye. Goodbye to yesterday, to the person you were. Goodbye to roommates and twin beds, to a family of five, four, three, or two; so long to simplicity of holiday scheduling. To an identity you’ve clung to or maybe despised. Maybe it’s goodbye to dreams that dissolved into greater desires. To putting your own self first. To the luxury of disregarding your own messes. It’s goodbye to two people who will surely come back different and changed, beneath the surface, in ways even they cannot be sure of just yet. Some goodbyes can be so enriching, so life changing, so good deep down. Weddings feel like goodbyes because the event marks another milestone, acts as a reminder of this trip of a lifetime continuing to carry us forward at what feels like light speed, into unknowns and new identities.
. . . . .
His bride was walking down the aisle, and he couldn’t take his eyes off her. I couldn’t take my eyes off him. I watched as he and our other brother stood at the altar, both with teary eyes, reminding me that being one of the Emotional Ones is more than okay, too worthy to say goodbye to.