Friday, September 21, 2012

Look Around, Heart of Mine

This week I turned 28.  I'm trying not to blink because I'm not ready to be 30 yet.

When I was a kid I couldn't wait for my birthday to arrive.  I'd go to bed the night before the big day with butterflies in my stomach, and then spend the night tossing and turning with dreams of eager anticipation for the next day's festivities.

But in the days leading up to my last two birthdays the joy of completing another year is mixed with chest-tightening anxiety.  The problem isn't that I now discuss eye creams with girlfriends at parties, or am beginning to realize the benefits of a good fake tan to enhance 'youthfulness.'  Although I admittedly do not relish the effects of gravity.

The truth is, I haven't been able to figure out why, exactly, flying toward 30, 40, and 50 is making my palms all sweaty.  But on the morning of my birthday I woke up and I knew.

My heart has been suffering from amnesia.

Unlike my tendency to lock my keys in the car or hop in the shower still wearing clothes, this has nothing to do with age.  My heart has always been prone to quickly and easily forget things it should never forget.  The Old Testament stories of the Israelites remind me this is a human tendency we will always have to fight.

This week my amnesic heart has been looking back on the difficulties of the last two years and fearing what the next year holds.  It's forgotten, of course, that the last two years, although dark and painful, have been some of the best years of my life.  

They've been the impetus to extensive soul renovation, and they've pushed me into closest intimacy with Jesus.  They've made me live the Christian paradoxes of being emptied yet filled, and losing my life to find it.  And of course it's always infinitely better to live good and beautiful Christian truths than to merely admire them from afar.

So now I know that I know that I know that I know that Christ's divine life swallows up all of mine, so that even suffering cannot evade the redemptive touch of his goodness.

And yet here I am fretting that my future will somehow fall outside the domain of God's goodness.

Silly, forgetful heart.

I've spent a lot of years trying to find an antidote to this heart amnesia that slowly poisons and kills my joy.  Every antidote I've found requires that, in some way, I center my heart on God's goodness in my life, minute by minute, hour by hour.  And so that's what I've been doing this week.

And you know what?  There are a lot of good things about being 28.

I love that now I am totally okay with wearing socks and flip flops in public places like, say, Dairy Queen.

I love that I have girlfriends who like picnics as much as I do,

and that the wind on September 17th whispers of fall--of pumpkin spice bread, boots and scarves, and crisp evenings.

I love that I have students who like to laugh about topic sentences and semicolons, and that my dad calls me sometimes just because he's thinking of me.

I love that I just stepped into my neighbor's kitchen to borrow three brown eggs, and that she emailed me today to tell me how much she loves me.

My loveliest friends and neighbors

I love that I got a video early on the morning of my birthday featuring one of my childhood best friends wearing curlers in her hair and singing an original celebratory song.

I love that I'm heading to Colorado next week to meet up with my family, and my second family, the Longs.  I love that we have scads of memories galavanting about foreign lands together, and that we still love each other somethin' fierce after 21 years of friendship.

I love that my mama recently sent me a care package full of gluten-free goodies that included this necklace from my childhood,

and that I have a little sister who knows the joys of Cabbage Patch kids, and who can style hairdos now that would put her old dollies' to shame.

I love that the beach is just an hour away,

and that the sky is always there. Always.

My thoughts are bubbling and swelling like boiling sugar now, pouring out my fingertips onto my computer screen.  And I love that my mind is filling faster than my fingers can type, remembering dozens, and then scores, and then hundreds of ways God has poured goodness into my life this week, straight from the treasure chest of his glorious riches.

Look around, heart of mine, and remember.

© by scj

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