In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. It was beautiful. There were no wars or fights, no cell phones, no panic attacks, no cafeteria food. It was perfect. Then a deceiver entered the scene and ruined everything.
Fast forward to the rest of time. Life is, at least in some aspects, miserable. Sin and pain and brokenness cast shadows and cause destruction at every turn. There is a great separation between humankind and God.
But sometimes, when we least deserve it, when we least expect it, God shows us his presence and allows us to experience Him, to be surrounded by him. This doesn't mean he speaks aloud or shoots bolts of lightning from the sky. It doesn't mean that we are healed of all afflictions or have "all the answers." I'd like to show you what it means for me.
August 21, 2010
~I've been on the road with my parents for two days, with two days left to go. We stop at the Wall Drug Store in South Dakota, a giant tourist trap with lots of junk you can buy for a ridiculous price. We've been walking around for a few minutes, and I'm looking at some insignificant souvenir, when my dad calls me across the hall to show me this:
August 13, 2010
~It's my last night at camp. I have been working 11-12 hour days pretty much all summer. It has been exhausting. My entire being is wrought with TIRED. So we have an impromptu bonfire before curfew. And I sit... and inhale... and exhale... and the fire to my left reassures me that the coming months will be endurable, and that the last three months were worth their trouble.
August 7, 2008
I have no photograph for this moment, but it is the one that started each similar moment after. I would like you to picture a younger me, a me that most of you don't know. In the past month I've been fired, helped my father paint an apartment complex, was convinced by the Holy Spirit to go to college, and currently am at the end of a 2-week mission trip in South Dakota. In the coming weeks I will be packing up my life and flying across almost the entire country to start school in a place I've never been.
It's the end of a long day. We said many painful goodbyes to the kids in Wakpala and drove most of the day to find a camp ground. It has grass. And plants. And I am lying underneath the wave-like branches of a willow tree.
The wind is warm and soothing. My aching body is surrounded by the softest grass I've felt in years. Beyond the leaves above me I see blue sky. There are birds singing, crickets chirping, cicadas making their obnoxious noises in the distance. My friends are nearby, talking amongst themselves. My recently-washed hair is all blown to the grass above my head and I can literally feel all the tension leave me, like the dirt beneath me is soaking it up.
I am aware of reality. I am terrified of what's coming, of doing something all on my own. But I trust. I have come SO far and I know now, to trust.
September 11, 2010
In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. Now there are wars. I have panic attacks and arguments and get sick. But I still remind myself of trusting Him, and seek moments so similar to it that I cannot help but look--cannot help but gaze into stained glass windows or feel the heat of a fire, or immerse myself in grass and willow trees and wind. I remind myself of that moment every day. It's what got me here.