Carolyn brings back a coconut bubble tea and an orange bubble tea straw and I practically scream in delight. I don’t know why orange does this for me but I’m glad it does. Little pick me ups throughout the day are one of the many ways through which the Lord loves me.

[bleu] I survey the collection of polishes that Carolyn lays out before me and pick out the ones I like. They are all a neutral, dark tone except for one bright sky blue. Carolyn announces that we’re going with the sky blue because it’s out of my comfort zone and I laugh and despair at the same time. “You have beautiful hands,” she says as she painstakingly paints my nails and I do a double take. “Uhh…what.” No one has ever told me such thing; in fact my parents pointed out to me over and over again that my fingers are short and stubby, never slender and elegant like I wanted them to be. But, Carolyn keeps reiterating that she thinks my hands are beautiful and I stare at them again. Piano fingers, I thought to myself. They served me well when I played, despite their short reach. She says my hands are gentle and I decide I like that word better. I can be gentle; and if that’s how she defines beautiful, then I will have a less difficult time agreeing. I watch her delight over my hands, particularly over my little pinky finger, and reckon she is much like Jesus in how she loves me for the way I was created and made.

[rain] the only time I’m ever in a bad mood when I walk to work is if I hear a motorcyclist rev the engine so loud it hurts my eardrums. It is only then when I will knit my eyebrows, fling my hands up in the air, and hiss substitute profanities into the wind. But, other than that, not even the rain can bring me down. In fact, it only makes me happier as I make multiple stops throughout my commute to try to capture the rolling fog and the way it breaks over the skyscrapers. It is strange but I feel less restless when it rains. It is strange but I like the cacophonous sounds of the city during rush hour; cars honking, people chattering away on their cells, the clinking of silverware outside cafes and restaurants, steam hissing from the ground, etc. I have even grown accustomed to the daily siren rings of the ambulance. I have fallen so deeply in love with this city and God continues romancing me with it.

[bench] I don’t know if it’s a good or sad sign that work is my favorite part of the day and week. I never fail to laugh during work; the people are just way too interesting and comical; I fit right in. Andrea hisses actual profanities into the air and I chortle away at my desk; she sees me laughing and continues on her tirade with a smile adorning her face. It is the walk back home that makes me feel slightly empty inside (there’s not much to do at home and when there’s nothing to do, nothing can counter my restlessness); I stop in front of Rittenhouse Square and decide to find a nice bench to sit on. I watch a myriad of dog walkers and their dogs and contemplate briefly on whether I’d be willing to get one myself (dogs just make a person so happy, you know?) but then decide it’s too big of a responsibility. That is when all the upset in my heart decides to overwhelm me and as I watch the ground and the feet that tread upon it, I wonder how many people who passed me by noticed that I was in pain.

[persevere] I am perusing the aisles of the supermarket in chinatown when I think to myself, “run away.” As soon as I think it, God responds. “If you run away now, you will never see what I have prepared for you.” I continue walking but my heart stops. He’s right. If I run away, how am I supposed to receive what He plans to give me? It is going to be something good and I refuse to miss out, no matter how hard it is to stay put at the moment.

[Jonathan] I told the Lord that if he didn’t respond to me immediately, I would obey and keep my mouth shut. But, if He wanted me to talk, He’d have to give me the go. I set an arbitrary time limit of thirty seconds and waited. He responded in less and I nearly burst into tears on the spot. Thank the Lord for His provision and thank the Lord for Jonathan.

[piano] Gremo asks us what our hidden talents are and I tell him that I minored in piano in college. He nods his head and asks if it was a classical background and I respond in the affirmative. The rest of the day, I peruse my spotify looking for the piano piece that curiously pops up out of nowhere and sticks in my head. I never find it and it is still stuck in my head to this day and for the life of me I cannot figure out what it is but that’s beside the point. I long for a piano to play and think of what a shame it is to spend sixteen years on the craft only to leave it behind.

[keys] when I walk into St. John’s Hospice, half the GT volunteer team is there already. The rest of the team eventually filters in and I watch silently as they interact with each other with a small sense of discomfort. It is a familiar feeling but it is not overwhelming and I flip out my phone and scroll mindlessly. I wouldn’t have minded if I didn’t talk to anyone there but of course, I wouldn’t have minded either had they decided to include me in their conversations. There is a large bang and we all whip around and realize someone had run their hands over the keys of an upright piano. I look at it with a longing in my heart and someone on our team mentions that he used to take lessons for a few months. The rest of the team pounces on said person and urges him to go up and play but he laughs and waves it off. The team leader asks if anyone can play and I stay silent, deciding whether I want to reveal my ability to play the piano lest they peer pressure me into actually playing it. I hadn’t touched a piano in months and the pianist in me blanched at the thought of performing without any warm up or practice. But, a slight moment of brevity in my heart prompts me to speak up and ask if it was okay to play…and thirty seconds later, my fingers are on the dusty yellowed keys of the upright and I am playing. For the remainder of the two and a half hours we spend there volunteering, I am playing the piano (the team leader promptly kicks me off the serving team and tells me to play for the homeless people eating). Many people come up to me as I’m playing and comment on my playing, telling me to keep playing piano, to play louder, etc. I accept their compliments with as much awkwardness as I can muster and leave flustered but happy. As I wave goodbye to my team (to which I probably exchanged no more than twenty words in aggregate), they all chorus in their goodbyes to me and “thank you for playing, it was awesome!”s. I look up to the sky and thank the Lord for my sixteen years of piano playing and how He allowed me to use it today to realize I have a place among these people, no matter how invisible I may feel.

[sovereign] as I look at the people around who I sit with at work, my new hire tax class, community group, roommate, friends, I realize more and more all the work God put into writing my life. He wrote these people into my life and He wrote me into theirs. He also penned all the events in my life-good and bad- to bring me to this specific place, in a specific state of heart and mind, body and spirit. He engineered everything and when I look at my life right now, I can see how all the puzzle pieces fit together; why this had to happen, why that happened that way, etc. I feel a deep sense of joy because even though it’s not perfect, it is more than I ever dreamed of. It is more than enough.

Jesus, I love you, I love you, I love you.