When I drive down roads bordered with burnt orange leave-covered trees, bunched together with trees that find themselves barren, I am forced to look up. It’s as though their color calls me to attention and reminds me of the importance of now, the beauty of this moment. These same trees that I drive by day after day, taking for granted their beauty and the importance of their existence, become a megaphone for the whispers that beckon me all year long. A reminder that life is too short.
Earlier this week I vomited out some thoughts from my head and the journey I’m on right now. I’m in this place of transition and waiting. I graduate in December and I’m not exactly sure what’s next. It’s a tricky little booger, this transition, because I’ve caught view of a vision that has captivated my entire being, causing me to make decisions with the best intentions of the vision put first, and yet I don’t know what the next immediate step is. I can see the whole dang staircase, so beautiful and grandiose, leading to all my dreams and self-actualizations but I can’t look down and see the next step. Do you know this tension? It’s the pits.
About a month ago, I made an unofficial, unspoken deal with Jesus that I was going to put aside this second week of November to just focus on writing. I imagined a beautiful week away at a cabin in the woods full of coffee, cozy sweaters and sweet time with my Jesus. The one condition was that I needed some answers as to what’s next so that I could focus fully on writing and be free of the stresses and weight of what’s next. Sometimes Jesus is good with ultimatums, He honors them and appeases me. Sometimes He’s gracious to my stubborn fits and reminds me sweetly how much He loves me, knows me, and is in control.
This week of writing turned out to be the latter. I didn’t follow through on lining up the cabin situation so I ended up staying with a friend, a good enough amount out of the city to get away but close enough, domestic enough to not be fully immersed in nature as I had hoped. The interview that I was waiting for that is the next step to the answer that I’m waiting for got postponed. I still haven’t heard from another perspective job. So, our condition was not met. I still have no idea what’s next. I did drink some coffee. I did go outside some. I wore cozy sweaters. But if I’m being honest, part of me felt like this week was a complete disappointment. Part of me was waiting for a big, “Aha! I’ve got it!” moment. That moment didn’t come.
I’m glad it didn’t. Because at the root of that idea is the lie that God left me at some point, that I’ve been feeling around in the dark, with no direction, no day-to-day guidance in the little steps that lead to the next step that build that beautiful, grandiose staircase. Instead, this week brought a reminder, like a soft hand on the back of my shoulder, lifting me up and giving me a little push. This week whispered, “I’m in every moment, stop waiting for the big moment. Enjoy the little with Me.” This week pulled me out of my rut of waiting and brought me back to living.
It’s so easy to wait for the next thing and forget that today is the next thing. Today is here. Stop waiting for tomorrow. Live today. Then after today, comes tomorrow. Through it all, He is with me. He doesn’t leave in the little moments and appear in the big. He is through it all, in it all.
Just a little example, my friend and I went thrift shopping on Tuesday. I’ve decided that even though I don’t know what’s next, I can still begin to prepare for what’s next. Some things are not dependent on knowing. Part of that is creating a space that is my own. So we set out to find me some furniture of my own. I had budgeted in my head for a few different pieces but if we’re being honest, my little heart wanted a desk. Not just any desk, I had a picture of the perfect desk. As we went to thrift store after antique store after flea market, hope was quickly dwindling that the desk existed. I told Allison, “I think we might just have to make the desk I want.” I described to her that I wanted a desk with an iron/metal base but wooden drawers still and we could find something cool to make the top. Her face told of her unspoken thoughts. She said it wouldn’t be easy, but we could get it done.
We went to a few more places. There’s this one area in Clarksville that has a few warehouses full of stuff, a type of flea market. We pulled up and they all looked closed but Allison assured me that they always looked closed. We pulled up to the one that was open and my heart found hope again. We walked in. Allison headed to the right and I snapped at her, “Where are you going?” My instinct is to go left and work around the place clockwise. I think her instincts knew something I didn’t. Nonetheless, she snapped back at me and then followed. We walked around and found our way to the right side where there was a plethora of wood-based furniture, from dressers to table and chairs to headboards. I was looking at a dresser when I heard Allison say, “touche,” which drew my head up and I laid my eyes upon. There she was, the perfect desk I had described to her. If that wasn’t enough, I looked at the price. I had budgeted a max of $75 but wanted to find something around $40 and have some extra to clean it up. The sticker said $69 but was marked down to $59. I’ve watched enough flea market flip to know I wasn’t paying $59 for it, though I would have. I asked Allison to bargain for me. She told me to be a big girl and get my own desk. So we took another lap around the warehouse.
I worked up the courage to ask the lady working what the best she could do was. I was going to offer $45 but thought I’d see how low she would go first. The place was split up into booths so she had to call the actual owner and asked her the best. Sure enough, she said $40 and I said sold. We ran to the ATM, I came back and the desk was mine. Then we went through the maneuvering of getting her into my little Corolla. It took some work and taking apart, but we got her in. I got into that car with the biggest smile on my face.
I knew that this week didn’t go as I had planned but that desk was Papa saying I was right where I was supposed to be. He’s so gracious and kind to me. He knew the desire of my heart, that making a place of my own would start with a desk, sinking down to my core and affirming my need to write. He told me, in a way I would know and trust, that He’s got me.