I recall one sunny afternoon in first grade. The lights were out, while I was inside with my friend Frankie working on spelling. I even remember thinking how the grass could move when no one was moving it. Were there ants marching underneath or was God blowing them? My little finite six year old mind imagined the endless possibilities, but didn't think much of the present reality of...wind.
There I was with my long, golden blond hair, staring at the word 'elephant.' I never had to stay in from recess, but apparently I was daydreaming a bit too much. I was a bit relieved to be inside, resting, & thinking about the shards of grass & the universe. Inside that dark, cool classroom with my friend, while everyone else ran under the Arizona sun with beads of sweat dripping down.
I hated sweating. My dreams of who I would become, and where I would go. How to possibly beat my older brother at something. I dreamt of singing on a stage & acting, about sharing love with others. Little did I know that this gift of imagination, dreaming of endless possibilities could also plague me.
Life felt like it was crashing all around me. It reminded me of lying on the couch as a young girl with the flu & my head would spin & get dizzy. My stomach turned and I wondered if I would ever get better. I hated getting sick. But what I hated more was the anticipation of going through pain.
My heart can be very hopeful for others, or even myself, when I'm not in pain. That gift of dreaming & imagination cloud my vision when pain comes into view. It's the not knowing when, or if, it will ever end. Will it ever get better? Will I ever get better? and the spiral of questions continues and my mind terrorizes me.
V's birth & life has brought these fears into focus. The uncertainty of being a new mother. Having the expectation that I should "love" this new job & love "everything" about this little beauty. I feared that this good gift would be taken from me. I felt hopeless. When she turned four months I turned to Ben and said, "she's not going to die." He replied very confidently, "No, she's not."
I would find out later that she would be diagnosed with developmental delays, a possible chromosomal deficiency & a tsunami of worry hit me. Except, I would survive that tsunami; but, it felt like just barely. That is how my heart, stomach & mind felt last summer...like I was paddling for dear life to get breath.
And when faced with all the crap the media spews out, my mind raced into the "what if" game. I feared death. I feared the reality of dying. I feared that my daughter would be taken from me. I feared that she wouldn't find good friends as she sat by herself playing & the other girls her age ran on ahead. I feared so much that it felt like I was hooked to oxygen to breathe.
But...God broke through with glimmers of hope. Do you know the kind? Those little cracks, crevices that might go unnoticed if you don't eye them just right. Like looking at catepillar's cocoon thinking it's dead, but in reality something far more beautiful will emerge. It's a transformation. It's redemption on Earth.
I saw the good gift I was given to imagine & dream. To see the world as a better place. To find peace amidst the war that raged in my mind. To find the dreams of that little girl and grab tight to them, because it was like Aslan giving Lucy another door to enter into Narnia. Except...it was for me.
When I read about people losing hope & feeling too much of the world's labor pains, I relate. I know what it's like to feel the need to fill in as the Savior. To want to shout against the injustices & angst. To get so burdened with more & more & more, and not have any clue as to where.I.will.begin. I know it. It's the curse of empathy & dreaming.
I'm reminded of Jesus being near, of being mindful of this moment, to live in the present, to let today be today & tomorrow taken care of, to sit in the grace of a loving Savior whom I ultimately trust & believe is good.
I smell my oldest hair to know it. I stroke my youngest cheeks to know it. I run my thumb over Ben's nose to know it. I take in the physical of what I do know & I cling to the hope of a redeemed creation. I don't watch the news much at all. I don't follow news updates because it's too much for my soul to bear.
I work at staying present in my home, my neighborhood, my community, in order to bring hope to people I rub shoulders with day to day. I daydream about how I can bring a bit of that redemptive hospitable love to those friends & strangers. That's what I'm called to do. To share my story & listen to their story. To be mindful of this present world I've been blessed with.
Please Share: How do you wrestle with dreaming & staying present in the world? How do you both eschew a global serving & community serving model? If you combat worry, anxiety, & fear, what do you do to run from them & embrace peace & hope? How do you find shalom?