Last night I received a fortune cookie with the words inside “Necessity is the mother of all accomplishment.”
There is a sort of melancholy that comes with nomadic wanderings. You know you have no real home, but you long for one none the less. As though somehow if you were to ever find it, something would at once come alive and something else would die. The fear is that which would die is more vital than what would come alive. But then, you never really know, since home is never where the heart has been. In fact, come to think of it, you aren’t sure where that is either.
I was driving home from work yesterday listening to a song entitled “Your Love is a Song.” The lyrics interested be as they were a word picture and yet the chorus was regarding love being a melody. The confusion led to a brilliant moment of kaleidoscope epiphany. It was as though I could see the melody in the moment outside my car window. The colors, the wind in the trees, the setting song, my eyes followed a movement and saw in between the lines. As if a giant highlighter had finally pointed out the love I couldn’t have seen otherwise. There is a consistency, permanent sort of thread that ties time together in a secure before and after through nature and no matter how many buildings, how many streets, or cars or people that seem to clutter the landscape, the melody keeps moving through. It reminded me of the moment Joshua had the eyes to see the army of the Lord.
Most days I struggle to keep my head above water. I complete menial tasks provided by boss’ that would prefer I was as stupid as I look and endure the constant skepticism and denigration of the work I do and it’s really starting to chafe. I watch my bank account readily, like the dial of my gas gauge as it goes up and down. The nomad deep inside bickering with the overgrown child that still just wants some peace and count down the days to my eventual escape.
My desire to live a life full of grace and freedom conflicts with my upbringing and cultural demands creating an anxiety of what I am verses what I should be. Peace is hard to come by and joy, still elusive, so when out of the blue moments come along and sweep in unexpected and rare, they are all the more powerful. I was awed by the love in between the complication.
That’s the thing about grace though. It isn’t grace after you sin and in a perfect moment of redemption. It is grace as you ask for forgiveness and it isn’t grace when you need it. It’s grace in the shades of grey. As buildings pock-mark the landscape obscuring the love expressed in unabashed nature, the sunlight and green and wind move in and around and at times even through. Nothing changes the essential nature of nature and neither does imperfection mar the existence of grace. It is in around and even through life. When I am struggling as hard as I can to find peace in God and end up searching for my clothes in a strangers room; when the anxiety of the future bares down so hard I can feel my windpipe constrict and the only thing I know soothes is bingeing on Jack in the Box and 30 Rock; when the last two decades of chaos sends me to behaviors that only make the guilt worse and I wake sweaty and tossing at 3am, unable sleep, that’s when grace is accomplished.
Rather than demanding change in return for forgiveness, a wind blows through and says “It’s not always fair… and my love and grace are the larger than the demons in your head.”
I’ve made a lot of bitter mistakes in my life. Choices made on bad pretenses, good pretenses with bad motives, bad motives with decent outcomes that only prolonged the bad decisions… they co-mingle often. Patterns eventually proved how truly sad and unfortunate my decisions and beliefs and in that, what seems almost too late, only now am I starting to part ways with those decisions. Desire sent me spinning, necessity grounds me in truth and grace keeps me sane.
In between the indecision, low self-esteem, mental gymnastics and absurd hope and symphony comes through. I read a line from a book of a fellow nomad that has embraced his despair only to find the long awaited answers. The love does not ask me to stop wandering, to stop struggling or to finally understand, it just teaches me how to see the beauty between the buildings, to breathe deeply when I pass by a blooming rose and remember, beauty has no purpose, and neither does grace. I will wake tomorrow, will sleep tonight, will do the best with what I have for this moment in time. Courage will not replace fear, but see-saw back and forth with it, as I play hide and seek with the shadows in my mind, facing doubt, shame and anxiety.
Some tasks are monumental in difficulty and miniscule in affect, but they are mine.