teedbit whilst sitting outside in 70 degree weather sipping ginger tea | God is good thus life is good
[home] Dad wraps his arms around me in a side hug when I come home, pulling me close. It’s his birthday in a few days and I make it a point to come home to spend time with the fam. Momma immediately starts pulling out food for me to eat, noting that the weather is nice outside and starts ushering me out the door to our lawn deck. Dad pours some sake for the both of us and we clink dinky shot glasses to celebrate my promotion. The four of us sit outside (momma, dad, granny, and I – we’re missing Dan all the way in Seattle but what can you do (I’m their favorite anyway, HAH, jkjkjk)) and listen to my dad lecture me. He always does it out of love but without fail, it rubs me the wrong way, every single time. But, he’s trying to cheer me up (I’ve been rather down the past few months and I assume it comes from this quarter life crisis moment where I’m trying to figure out what I want to do with my life but really what can I expect? I’m still a child. 23 and still a naive, foolish, arrogant little brat…what hope do I have in trying to predict the outcome of my remaining (maybe) 60 years of life?) and tells me that life is going to be hard. Jobs require hard work – even if I don’t like what I’m doing now, who’s to say I’ll like what I think I like now, later? Everything comes with their own stress points; everyone deals with their own problems. “This is the hand you were dealt.”
He seems to notice at one point that I’ve clocked out when he pauses and says, “Look, you came home and we’re happy. Isn’t this nice? (he motions with his hands towards the company around the table) We just want you to be happy. What more can you ask for?”
It makes me want to cry. It makes me happy and sad. Family is wonderful. Coming home is wonderful. Sitting and eating outside in breezy, summer weather amongst good company is wonderful. There’s a peace there. But more than that, I want him to know, there is even more than this in life. There’s Jesus Christ. There’s living life with an exuberance and passion for Him and watching His power unfold through foolish and feeble people like myself. There’s wanting more than what’s here and hoping in the heaven to come. I think all these things in the span of a second and deflate a little as I realize – I think I’m okay with fam. I think I’m okay with home. What more can I ask for? Perhaps, I don’t want anything else because with it comes too much suffering and pain. Suddenly, I find myself reevaluating if living for Jesus is worth it.
In the morning, I read over all of psalm 119 (a passage I turn periodically to when I feel far away from the Lord). There used to be a time where I could spend an hour with the Lord, easy, talking non stop to Him, telling Him what I’m thankful for and asking Him for what I need help in and imploring Him to show up in the lives of my unbelieving friends and family. These days, I’m lucky if I can get two minutes of solid prayer in a day. The task of swallowing piping hot ginger tea for my pitifully sore throat forces me to slow down my morning routine and sit still as I read through psalm 119. It seems so repetitive to me, yet, as each person beseeches God to carve His commandments into their heart, I start to yearn for the same thing.
I sit silently and try to pray. I don’t really have much to say these days besides, “I’m sad and I don’t know why; I’m so frustrated that I can’t pray to you anymore, Lord; help me, Jesus.” This time, I just think about my dad. I remember what he said the night before; “look, you came home and we’re happy.”
I think of God as my Father and imagine Him telling me to come home. I think about Jesus waiting for me to come to Him every morning and heart breaking as I busy myself with making breakfast or working out or talking to Judy instead. I wonder over how happy my dad is (to the point he’s asking me to stay saturday night and forget about going to church sunday morning because he wants me home as long as possible) simply because I came home and wonder how much more happy the Lord would be if I just came to Him. I think of how much my dad loves me and wonder how much more the Lord could possibly love me – if my dad as a sinful human being can love me like this, how much more can a perfect God want me? It boggles my mind and I am stuck trying to figure out how much the Lord loves me when I feel Him say, “Come home to me.”
Subsequently, I start screwing up my face as I try not to cry – it does a multitude of things to me, both happy and sad (“yo God, I’ve been trying to, you’re just not letting me come home”; “omg what you want me home, you’re not mad at me for being an insolent brat??”; “I don’t know how to come home, I don’t know what to do anymore”)
But, there’s a peace there – even if He’s not giving me all the answers. I feel the Lord’s love wash over me and wonder, “what more can I ask for?”
Home is not always easy to come back to. It’s an hour commute. It takes away a good half of my weekend that I could spend with my friends in Philly, friends I don’t get to see often with my busy work schedule. It decreases the amount of time I have to clean my apartment, get my to do list items checked off, etc. It messes with my eating and sleeping schedule. It drives me crazy when the parents drive me crazy. But, I think about the deck and the patio table and the breeze and my family members sitting around me and realize it’s worth it.
The psalmist in psalm 42 cries out to the Lord, berating his own heart, “why are you so downcast, o my soul, why so disturbed within me?” There’s no resolution to the psalm – God doesn’t pick him up out of his misery or give him any answers. There is no certain end to his suffering. Yet, he still says, after his rebuke to his own heart: “Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise Him, my Savior and my God.”
It kills me to say this (because I think part of my identity is tied to being happy?) but, I am not doing particularly well. Feelings of hopelessness and despair threaten to overwhelm me everyday and I do not know where it’s coming from (my guess is that I’m way burned out from work and mad stressed about the upcoming busy season but who knows). Buzzfeed, youtube, and social media implore me that I will find more solace in zoning out rather than praying to the Lord. I am finding it quite hard to resist.
But, I know, I know, if not with my heart, now, but definitely with my mind – I have seen the faithfulness of the Lord and I know He is steadfastly walking with me, persistently molding me through my growing pains and daily aches for what I can only hope is an exceedingly fruitful, glory – filled future. Honestly, all I can do in the time being is to just hope in that.
Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise Him, my Savior and my God. Psalm 42:11.