Choice

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I was told once, a long while ago, to not be afraid of the tears because the tears mean I’m alive.

These months must be extreme aliveness then because the tears keep coming. Sometimes for no reason. Sometimes in public. Often in darkness. Sometimes for joy, other times for sadness. Sometimes they come because of loneliness. Sometimes fear. And then sometimes they just fall.

Sometimes it all overwhelms me. I sit in the solarium balcony, staring out the floor to ceiling windows. Students move through their days, oblivious to the watching eyes. Groups, one, two, are they happy? I’m not. I try, I really do. I want to be happy. And sometimes I am. But it fades. And I’m alone again, sitting in my dorm, hearing conversations through thin walls and shouts of community out my window.

I was told that joy isn’t something that comes after the storm. You don’t do the storm and then have the joy and the faith after it is dealt with. You have to claim it in the midst of the storm and lean on that because without that, you have nothing and the storm is going to wreck you. It’s wrecked me. But no more. I won’t submit to the wreckage. I choose something much harder and something I don’t really even know how to choose. Joy. I’m not waiting for it to come to me. I’m chasing and pursuing in hope that it overwhelms me.

I’m choosing to notice the way the trees are finally donning their leaves and it looks like a green mist is seeping through the mountains and how the stone wall is always warm and how those two who pass outside the window are so filled with love and the way he looks at her and the way her laugh fills her eyes. I’m choosing to wake up early just so I have a few minutes to read or to write or just to sit. I love that morning still. The morning darkness is like my mom’s arms that welcome and beckon and mean safety and rest. The night darkness threatens to smother.

I choose to capture my thoughts. The mind wanders so easily but I won’t let mine drag me to the darkness. When the thoughts creep in, threatening to bully with loneliness, anxiety, I touch my hand to my pocket where the crumpled paper reads hope or glance at the back of my hand. “Abba, you are greater than this.”

I choose my posture. I won’t submit. My head won’t bow. My shoulders won’t bend with shame. I won’t hide behind headphones or exhaustion. My daddy told me he gave everything for me so I do not have to be afraid anymore. I’m safe now, nothing will reach me. The darkness is just darkness. The darkness is alone. It doesn’t have me.

I choose to worship when I would rather lie down and give into the pressures of the semester. Sometimes it’s a meek worship. My father knows me, though. He knows my heart. He loves to hear my meek worship. He loves to fill my heart with girlish giggles and unabashed dancing. He delights in my choice of joy. He multiplies my meek attempts with an abundance of goodness. Because he is my Abba, my Daddy.

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