Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Peace is a Foreign Word

I’m curled up on the couch with Tiny Companion again.  A single bird chirps outside my window and the light creates shadows and designs on the back of the sofa.  I pull the sunglasses out of my hair and settle in.  Such a familiar place… and yet so foreign.  The kitchen sits empty where the table used to be.  Our first roommate has moved out.  The program from a friend’s wedding stands next to my wilting bridesmaid bouquet.  Endings and beginnings.  The framed picture from another friend is displayed close by accompanied by a card with her new address a thousand miles away.  We celebrate the new adventures to come.  The other roommate locks the door behind her as she and her fiancĂ© go to sign a lease for the home they will soon share.  Dreams coming true.

“You’re at peace,” she told me as we sipped our drinks under the tree in the middle of campus.  “I can see it in your body.”  I smiled back at this sister who has accompanied me, and nod, “I am.”  And now that I am alone, the tears fall, for in the midst of all this rapid change these tears of gratefulness, hope, joy, faith, and even a touch of fear of the unknown, these tears say it all: It is well with my soul.  And that may be the most foreign thing for me.  Peace. 

I’ve never been here before.  Waiting without a real plan.  Watching people leave, move on, and yet knowing, most assuredly, it is going to be GOOD.  And if it never gets any better than this… that’s fine with me.  Ann Voskamp, author of the book One Thousand Gifts, says it this way, “I can walk the planks from known to unknown knowing – He holds.”  And so it goes, one step at a time, gathering the manna each day, taking my nourishment from it, wishing I could call it something more than “What is it?,” yet sustained by the fact that it is beyond me.  For what feels like the first time in my life, I’m not grasping.  I’m not reaching and clinging.  I do not have “a death grip on this life that’s in transition.”  Like a child letting her toy sailboat go on the surface of the pond, I feel release.  My life will go.  Our lives will go.  Like that moment at the end of a symphony, I can feel my breath catching, suspended, the moment hanging there, and I wait for the resolution, but I am so captured, so enraptured by the sheer beauty of it, I don’t care if it never resolves.  Let us hang here, suspended, forever.  And yet the moment does come when the final sound wave dissolves and the lights come up and we stand to continue with our lives, when we hug and walk our separate ways to continue our separate journeys.  The experience, however, is written on our hearts, our lives changed forever, eyes and all senses have been awakened to Beauty and the pursuit of grace.  And I cannot limit it all to words as I would like to, but I feel my heart settle, like a bird landing gracefully on a branch, or the last leaf of autumn drifting to the ground, I feel it settle on this fact alone, words from Psalm 23: Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life.  His steadfast love endures forever (Psalm 136).  He is GOOD.