There are seasons of life in which we wake up each morning with the fulfilled dreams of victory, love, satisfaction, and resolution ringing in our ears. The morning air rushes in with the promise that anything can happen, God is nearby, and we are really loved.Worship is, at these times, a gift - a way of saying thank you. Thank you, God, because whether I was aware of it or not, whether I sought you through the experience or not, I see you in it now, and I am so grateful for your kindness toward me.
There are other seasons of life, however, whether we're comfortable with admitting it or not, in which it feels like we're at the bottom of a well - deep, dark, and muddy. In our worst moments, we can no longer see the mouth of the well, and we sometimes wonder if there even is one. Worship, at these moments in particular, becomes a rope. Even if we have no strength to climb it, our cold and lonely fingers wrapped around its braid become a symbol that we are still connected to something, someone, in the world above - the world with skies, trees, rivers, and kind people whom we miss terribly.
And then there are seasons in which we feel that perhaps nothing is terribly wrong, and nothing is terribly right. We are somewhere on the plains, in the middle of the country, looking for miles with no trees to break our view, no valleys, no mountains. We are well air-conditioned, well fed, well attended by people who neither agree with us too passionately, nor disagree with us too strongly. We are happy, we guess, but we don't think we remember how happiness feels, or whether it is what we thought it was. Worship is, at these times, a bell. It rings to remind us that life, while it may seem vapid and featureless, is truly a tremendous affair. It is birth and death, suffering and resurrection. The clear sound of that bell on the wind tells us that the lull of comfort does not mean that God is far off or irrelevant. He is always near and always in love, always holy, and always coming... He is coming. He will finish things here, and begin a new kind of kingdom - a world without end. He will reign over his subjects who have been changed to be like Him, full of love, peace, and joy forever and ever. May this King be praised. Amen.
If I'm honest, I've been somewhere in between the second and third category for a while now. I miss Tuscaloosa. I miss my friends. But somewhere in it all, I feel like I must be here, now, for a reason. I've talked it over with Kettle, and he's pretty insistent that we stay where we are for at least a year, even if we get married before that year is up. And deep down, I know he's probably right. Staying is the right thing to do - for now. There have definitely been happy moments to this point, but sometimes those get drowned out by the fact that I am lonely and feel like I've been shoved out into the real world half-dressed, hair still wet and no makeup on. Kettle has been great, but I've missed having the support of a group of friends like what I had in Tuscaloosa.
On the other side of that, I haven't done all that much to start building up that support system here. I'm not sure where to start, and, even though this might be just an excuse, work keeps me pretty busy. Really, though, I think I've let myself get sucked into a humdrum, everyday pattern, and it's not good for me. I'm trying to break out of it. I've decided that I'm going to try harder where I am rather than spending so much time pining for where I was. Yes, I still miss it, but I am here for now, and I need to make the best of where I am. I feel like I have been doing that as far as work goes, but other areas of my life - no.
I'm going to make more of an effort to spend time with people other than Kettle outside of work (although I'm sure Kettle will tag along, which would be great :)). When he and I do spend time together, we are going to do something besides sit around his house and watch TV. I hope we can find a church home HERE rather than trying to go back to Tuscaloosa all the time, because even if we both want to move to Tuscaloosa, we both need the support of a church community here until the time comes to move. I am also going to start going to the gym regularly and eating better. I am going to take time for myself to do things I love to do, like read or take photos or play my guitar (and, again, Kettle is welcome to come along ;)).
Basically, I have decided that I want to be the person described in the first paragraph. I want to wake up every morning looking forward to my day and what it will bring. I want to feel like life is an adventure, not a bad fair ride I want to get off of. And I think this is a good first step for me, deciding that I am going to work toward that.
In other news, Heroes comes back tomorrow night, and I am excited for that! Even though I may have to watch it from work ... BOO!!! Other fun things to be excited about: I have a vase full of flowers on my dresser (courtesy of Kettle), I bought a sweet picture frame at Target yesterday for $1.25, I got to talk to two U.S. Congressmen for a story on Friday (and they were really nice!), I get to go to lunch at City Hall tomorrow (via the mayor's personal invitation), I designed my first front page this past week (with lots of help from Matt), I am officially reclaiming my bedroom (meaning I made my mom get all her stuff out so I can hopefully unload some stuff from storage), and Kettle is coming over in a little while. So, yeah. Things have been tough some lately, but they are getting better.