I don’t do it often, but this past weekend, I let myself be lazy. (The excessive get-back-in-your-pajamas-at-2-o’clock-and-make-it-to-the-bottom-of-that-pint-of-cookie-dough-and-binge-watch-Netflix kind of lazy.) Underneath the World’s Softest Micro-fleece Blanket, I sat snug on my couch and positioned my body so that I was looking over my dining area (because my apartment just looks bigger when I sit that way). A How I Met Your Mother rerun was playing in the background just loud enough to muffle the creaking floorboards and hippopotamus-like stomps of my grossly inconsiderate upstairs neighbors – and I just lie there staring at the grey wall across the room. The bouquet of fresh flowers my mom bought the week before were fighting to hold their own in the burgundy vase on the kitchen table, and the sunlight strewn in like soft column shadows through the vertical blinds.
Each subtle blow of the autumn breeze ushered in a halcyon symphony through the cracked screen door.
For what seemed like hours, I sat there cozy with my thoughts. Usually this – the sitting with my thoughts thing – can be kind of dangerous and thrust me into a spiral of worry and eager anticipation – but this weekend it was different. For whatever reason, my mind was a hideaway and there in the shelter of my open and airy apartment, I got a real life peek at Isaiah 26:3.
I thought about how no more than six months ago, this apartment was colored differently. Walls splattered with the paint and personality of another. Different appliances, different furniture and a different DVD collection. I thought about how, at some point, when he or she decided it was time to pack up and move on, it was scrubbed and vacuumed and tidied up just for me. I thought about how the painters came in – with buckets and tarps and rollers and brushes – and primed the walls into a fresh canvas that would give me an even fresher start. I thought about how my dad and I went up and down the steps about a half-million times, in the middle of the late-spring Carolina heat as we unpacked my two-door Honda Civic and unloaded 24 years of stuff into 767 square feet. I thought about how, for two days, my dad and my how-on-earth-did-I-get-roped-into-this friend, Scott, labored over Ikea furniture while I tried to learn the names of all the tools in my new toolbox. I thought about how each time they asked for the Phillip’s head; I laughed and then seriously asked, “One more time… is that the one with the plus-sign on the end or the other one?” I thought about the looks they gave me and how they rolled their eyes and eventually just started asking me to bring them water and turn on the air conditioner.
I thought about how it felt driving my dad to the airport the morning of his flight back to New York, knowing that night would be the first time I’d sleep alone in my very own apartment. I thought about how I’d remember that night forever and probably tell my kids about it one day and lie through my teeth about how brave I was – just so they wouldn’t be scared. I thought about how I cried on my way to work that first day alone and how I swore I’d never be comfortable in this new place so far away from the familiarity of thick smog and salty air. I thought about how there were moments when I clawed and scraped and scratched around for faces I might recognize – just people who knew me and who I could do life with, but things were complicated and I just couldn’t call. I thought about how I felt homesick on Sundays when people had family dinners with their real-life moms and real-life dads while I sat around eating re-heated quinoa with Ted, Marshall, Lily and the gang at McLaren’s.
I thought about how for the past year, I had clenched fists, white knuckles and a stubborn-as-a-pit-bull refusal to let go of something that wasn’t mine anymore. I thought about the debilitating pain that comes with realizing that certain things may’ve never really been yours to begin with and I thought about how when hurt people hurt people, it’s just an opportunity to show mercy to a mercy-hungry world. I thought about the ways I’ve learned grace – how it’s an all-around game-changer when you dive thick into the mess of it and decide you’re going to let it be your lead. I thought about how putting someone’s best interest before your own can sometimes feel like falling on a rusty, jagged sword, but how sometimes – and maybe most times – that’s what we are called to do.
I thought about how sometimes, change knocks you out like a nasty stomach flu and getting back on your feet means letting it run its course and resting in its effects.
I thought about how as much as you try to make it; this life just ain’t about you.
I thought about how through the trial and the change, there is One who promises to be faithful.
I thought about how even through our deepest doubt, He is.
It’s crazy though, because as gradual as it is, one day you just wake up and realize all the little ways that a gargantuan transition has slowly started to morph into the recognizable. The once glaring and impossible-to-ignore “newness” of a situation suddenly seems to have become pleasantly familiar.
Piece by piece.
Bit by bit.
Peace by peace.
Sometimes, we bash the mundane. But other times, we crave it.
When we’re buried deep in the underbelly of a change, our hearts necessitate a constant.
When we’re bogged down in the insipid day-to-day, our souls implore change.
I thought about how over the past six months, I’ve become okay with this road to normal. And when it’s bumpy and long and I am reminded over and over again that I’m not quite there yet, I remember that His ability to be both constant and bring about necessary change is just the grace I need to make it through.
Change is uncomfortable – but stagnancy is dangerous.
Word of (completely unsolicited) advice? Embrace the unknown. The views you get glimpses of on the way to the known are auspiciously breathtaking to say the least.