This morning I woke with a heavy heart and a head full of grey. There wasn’t one reason; there is nothing wrong in my life. I’m sure you have those days too, when your heart matches the cloudy sky and the moment your feet hit the floor you are confronted with your inadequacies, insecurities and anxieties. Today was that day. And those days send goosebumps down my arms because of the terrible fear I have that those days will turn into those dark periods that last months instead of hours. Which of course gets added to my list of worries. It’s a lovely Catch-22.
So I prayed. I prayed for all of these things weighing on my heart. Prayed that prayer of St. Francis of Assisi to make me an instrument of peace in the places that are dark and hurting. Prayed for God to be enough when all I seem to be yearning for is human validation, in all its gloriously deceptive emptiness.
I turned on my radio to the Christian station, which sometimes I eschew because the music seems unimaginative. Today I needed it and He knew and He spoke, like he always does when we listen. The song “By Your Side” by Tenth Avenue North came on right before I got to work and these words hit me like a ton of bricks:
Why are you striving these days
Why are you trying to earn grace
Why are you crying
Let me lift up your face
Just don’t turn away
Why are you looking for love
Why are you still searching
As if I’m not enough
To where will you go child
Tell me where will you run
To where will you run
‘Cause I’ll be by your side wherever you fall
In the dead of night whenever you call
And please don’t fight these hands that are holding you
My hands are holding you
Oh man guys I almost started crying right there. It’s amazing how we have been set free from those things that chain us, permanently, forever. Yet it’s as though we run back to the very cell whose locks were broken open, crawl back in it, shut the door whose hinges are shattered and then start shouting for God to let us out of our prison. We scream for help and He gently reminds us that we’re not beholden to these things anymore. He let us out. We can walk free. We can take off the orange jumpsuits and look up at the sky. We don’t sleep behind bars anymore.
Sometimes I think if we were better able to see the big picture our lives and our choices would be so easy. If we weren’t so sadly and beautifully broken and could actually understand the purpose of everything without getting seduced by the things that glitter along the way, it wouldn’t be hard to pick sides. The decision that seems impossible because you know what you’re being called to do but you also see all you’d have to give up – it wouldn’t even be a question, because the grandeur you’re being offered is indescribably better.
I’d love to remember that more easily.