Journey Alongside

Something about Spring’s teasing charm reminds me of the blossoms on the bushes outside my college apartment building. In my memories, I can feel the warmth of the asphalt on my bare feet, heading to the soccer field to study. And in remembering, I realize that small parts of me are held by those people who journeyed with me. For, they contributed to the growing of both my heart and mind.

Living life with people is one of the most vulnerable experiences. The most humbling. The most beautiful.

So many nights of two a.m. pancakes and neck massages as you make notecards on a floor that never got vacuumed because you “just couldn’t handle anything else.” They never once ask why you waited to write 15 pages until the night before the paper is due. No one ever says a word when your laundry pile stacks up and you resort to wearing swimsuit bottoms for underwear or when you cook so much broccoli that it smells up the entire hallway for days. The dishes stack up and the bathroom needs cleaning and for all of this–there is abundant grace.

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They send you to class with coffee and invite you to break bread with muffins. They curl your hair for homecoming, but appreciate that on most days you feel most “you” in Chacos and holy jeans.

They light up life with laughter.

And in the hardest of days, when the anxiety attacks come again–when you feel so dark and dirty and misunderstood–they sit quietly and let you cry. And in the middle of the night, you wake up and they are still there, with the light on. They allow you to question God and doubt your purpose. In doing so, somehow they help you discover what that purpose is.

They read your poems and listen as you talk about literature they have never read; they encourage you to run half marathons and tell you that it’s okay to dream of traveling the world. In the midst of this, they somehow become your world. 

There are certain moments that wash over me throughout the week; there are moments I am reminded of what treasures of friends I’ve been given–moments when I realize that certain friendships have been walking, breathing, human testaments to the Lord’s great grace. So often, I get frustrated by the fact that those who lived life with me so closely currently live so far away. And then I am reminded that they still choose to walk with me, encourage me, and help me further realize what sort of person I want to become.

For really, we are all constantly journeying to become.

The following admonition and prayer is an excerpt from the book Jesus Feminist. a friend sent it to me earlier today, telling me that it reminded her of me. She reminded me that she is still the one waiting up with the light on. She is, from afar, spurring me to be who I’m created to be.

Because really, I want to be all of these things. May I remember that in the midst of uncertainty, I do have a ministry and a work. And that it really did begin long ago. May I remember that those that journey with me are such a rare and special gift.

“Proclaim the kingdom of God with your hands and your feet and your voice to every soul in your care and influence. May your soul long for prayer and for the Scriptures, may you keep secrets, may you give away your money, may you share your meals, and may you sit alone in silence outside under the sky and be satisfied. May you change the bedding in the middle of the night without anger after yet another childish accident, may you hold babies and comfort the dying and be the voice of knowledge tempered with grace and wisdom, and may you never forget how to sing and be silly. May you make room in your life to be inconvenienced and put out, and may your be Jesus with skin on for a few people. May you be fearless, and may you eat good food.

I pray that no matter your tool or method (mothering, preaching, cooking, writing, organizing, washing, teaching, building, money making–all of your whole life encompassing it all) you will walk in knowledge of the sacredness and purpose of your calling. I pray for dreams and visions, for the active leading of the Holy Spirit, and I pray you would never forget that Abba is very fond of you, and oh, what a friend you have in Jesus.

I pray for perseverence and for discipline; I pray for speech seasoned with salt. I pray that when you are bored and tired and discouraged and frustrated, when you feel futile and small and ridiculous, you will never, never, never give up. 

Your ministry, your work, begins now and it began long ago.”

 

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