Do you ever get the feeling that at certain points in your life, you are not at all qualified to deal with whatever circumstances have been delivered to you? I’m pretty sure that one goes back to human nature, but man, I could be wrong. The “could be wrong” feeling is a pretty consistent theme in my life right now, but I have faith that even in the most epic of my self-inflicted disasters, God will provide. He provided in the most epic of my non-self-inflicted disasters, so why wouldn’t he now? His love is infinite and unlike anything I have ever owned or recognized fully, so he’s pretty qualified in my book. He existed before there was time, when it was all a freaking void, before humans had graced the earth with their murderous, slanderous, riotous, and generally seasonally demented presence. I have no idea what his love is like, but I have a lot of ideas about what it isn’t like. A lot of the time I write because I am not just trying to express things, but because I need to see all of it typed out on a page or written in my beloved chickenscratch to really understand the extent of how much I believe it. It’s a confidence thing, it’s a faith thing, it’s an honesty that heals thing, and it isn’t mine. The ability to heal doesn’t belong to me. The ability to listen isn’t mine. Patience as a whole was never mine, or yours, or any of ours. Justice isn’t any of ours. Kindness is a struggle for basically all of us. The Truth is something we don’t really like, at least when we are most aware that it isn’t ours.
I have only known Jesus since March 25th, 2014, at 6pm. Me and my friend Nikki prayed in the office of our study abroad agency, and nothing has ever changed except gotten more awesome since then. I don’t really want to go in to the nuts and bolts, but I was raised in a church off and on, and it didn’t really ever help all that much. When I finally left for study abroad, it was an unrecognized, unstated goal, except in a few brave writings that I still didn’t believe in. So much of my writing I have never believed in, there are so many entries that were written for me and me alone because an audience was straight up dumb when I had to worry about things that would legitimately make it harder to bear being alive.
God is so good. I just went to google and figured out how long it’s been since March 25th, 2014. 8 months, 2 days. By tomorrow, which is Thanksgiving, it will be 8 months and 3 days. It is so outside of my understanding what all he has done. I know a lot of it is written down, pressed like the flowers I also took from Chile into the pages of my Google Drive, or in the pink tub in my room. I haven’t looked at much of it. I can’t bear to just yet, but I will over winter break. Peace. It will be so nice to see how all along his love was in me and I didn’t even know it, and his goodness protected me and his grace surrounded me. I have never known much of what that looks like in action, but I can read about it in a way that makes me remember and makes me forget to be scared of remembering. His goodness was enough then, his goodness is enough now, his goodness was always enough, and my handwriting has said so since I was too young to know what any of it meant or know that Jesus was the entry point.
We didn’t talk a lot about Jesus in the church I was more or less raised in. We talked about a lot of things that really never made all that much of an impact on me. We talked about a lot of theology that never really helped me, and from conflict and the pain that we carried around between, over, above, and underneath all of us, especially together, it didn’t seem to help most of us. It wasn’t easier for us to live our lives knowing that God would always provide. It wasn’t easier for us to bicker less or generally trust him to deal with our conflict. It wasn’t easier for us to just be still and trust in the name of Jesus, because we never spoke it.
Goodness is a gift, and grace is everywhere. It is in the bottom of frozen lakes (please don’t jump in; it is also in the air you breathe and risking your life isn’t fair or necessary). It is in crayons. It is in bars of soap that make you feel like a unicorn because THEY HAVE GLITTER ON THE TOP. It is in failing marriages, it is in fear, it is in death, depression, addiction, starvation, and generally every other facet of the dark you can possible think of. I believe that the darkness is inside of us, we only realize it when walk through the dark. But I also believe that Christ’s Holy Spirit is in all of us that shines out of the dark, we just have to ask for it. We can ask for it quietly, to ourselves, in our own words. We don’t have to be with others to ask for it. We don’t have to be in a church on Sunday morning to ask for it. Depending on the strength of those things, it may help, but God is good in an individual, alone, peace kind of way, and you don’t have to be afraid of anything that you don’t have to find him, because the truth is you aren’t alone. The disciples in the Bible were pretty shitty people by the standards of their day. Everyone who has ever made significant headlines or is a major character in the Bible is broken as hell, and I’d bet you $5 most are more broken than you. A lot of heroes in the bible are a still broken in a way that is relevant to today. Some were prostitutes. Some were tax collectors that oppressed Christians on a regular basis and did their best to make sure they died. Some were the ones most loudly and disingenuously waiting on the Messiah, which they brutally murdered for no good reason, except so that they would not receive the corresponding punishment. So that none of us would ever have to be broken alone, so that we could all understand that even in our imperfection, we are infinitely loved and none of our failure ever made a difference to the God that existed before the void.
Your life matters, even if you are spending it alone on Thanksgiving. Your life matters, even if you are spending it in a home where no one will appreciate that you were up since 4am cooking the meal that is taken for granted in the name of goodness. Your life matters even when you can’t give thanks. Your life matters even when you are afraid to. Your life matters if you have never had enough food to eat to even dream that Thanksgiving and the typical customs of the Western world would sponsor a day devoted to overeating and consuming as much as possible. Your life matters because he loves you, and even if I have never met you, his love means that I love you too. It means that you aren’t alone. It means that even if every church experience you have ever had makes you want to vomit and forget, you are loved by an infinite God that is much greater and beautiful than any of us can imagine, much less me with my 8 months of Jesus.
Love is worth it. I was going to write about things I don’t know about love. I was going to talk about marriage and things I am afraid of, but screw that. The God that provides each and every one of the things I take for granted on a regular basis holds me in the palm of his hand, just like he holds my Pomeranian Ella in his hand. We are going to find out the results of blood we had drawn yesterday at the Vet, and I am scared that she is slowly going to die before my eyes, if she hasn’t already started to. But when I was alone, and in the dark, she was my only friend. She cared for me when I didn’t believe in God. Anybody that tells me that animals can’t feel is someone I do not care to talk to when I think of Ella, because Ella loved me for no good reason and was a substantial reason I didn’t kill myself. I am scared to watch her go, but the love she had for me for no good reason will come for her just like it holds us both in his infinite hands. I’m not afraid, I will hold her and cuddle her even if she doesn’t know who I am, even when she’s scared that something terrible is destroying her mind, even if she doesn’t trust my mom and comes and sits in my lap because she is so terribly afraid she can’t be still. She is my dog, and she has always been called my child. I have never dealt with death before, my grandparents were distant and gone before the time I was 14, and I’m legitimately scared. But Ella is more than a friend, she is a best friend, and she is more like a child to me than anything I could ever imagine at this point. It is so scary, but she will be safe. And it will never have had anything to do with me.
Love is worth it. I have already mentioned on this blog that I love someone who is taking his sweet time, and he has no idea how long I would wait. He still calls me impatient. I still call him dumb. He has no idea how long I would wait, and he has never asked, and it is still enough. He acts so young sometimes because I think he’s scared. He hasn’t told me, but I don’t need told. He is such a beautiful person, though. It’s hard to be in love with a beautiful person that doesn’t know they are such a beautiful person, and gets scared when you try to tell them. God is good, and I know that he will provide just the same. I am not sure of what his choices will be, what he will decide to ask for, or whether he will ever answer the yes or no question I first asked with words. He often uses words stupidly, because he is scared. It never made any difference to me, and it never made any difference to God.
I know literally nothing about love except what I know about God. I have never seen it work. But God provides when it doesn’t work. God provides when it’s too scary to work. God provides when he says stupid things, and when I’m legitimately upset about Ella, and when I decide to write because I can’t bear to talk about most of it. God provides when I am miserable, when was trying out new churches and when my semester went up in flames. God provides with hopefully mostly A’s and B’s, and so much redemption for the teachers I have judged and who have judged me. God provides with honesty, and honesty heals, and love is good, because it’s his. God provides.
I was going to write something special for Thanksgiving, and maybe I still will. But God is good every day of the year, and that doesn’t change. There is so much that fades away, he is not one of them. Goodness isn’t bought, or stolen, or manipulated, or discovered, it’s asked for. It is free. It is now.
And he loves you.