“What’s in that big black bag out in the garage?” H asks me from the dining room. I’m in the kitchen.
“Clothes,” I tell him, “All the clothes I brought with me but haven’t worn since we moved to London. I don’t want to discard them yet but I need to make room in my tiny closet.”
Tidying up closets, re-organizing drawers, cleaning up flower beds, and decluttering my desk – all seem to happen as soon as dark winter transitions to the slanted light and open windows of spring. But maybe the act of putting things right in May is an outward sign of an inward seasonal shift.
Restlessness has been a part of my circadian rhythm since I was a little girl.
The irony is not lost on me that I wrote a book on the theme of rest.
When I began this blog six years ago, I referred to myself as a nomad. That word seemed hyperbolic to some but the truth is, the longest I’ve lived in one place is seven years.
Growing up, I wondered what it must feel like to return to familiarity on the regular. How wonderful to expect peace, security, and love when you walk through the doors of a childhood home.
Last week, after disembarking from the tube, I walked past a father ranting to his young son on the platform. “Your Dad isn’t going to go to jail just because he is drinking a cold beer on a hot day.”
The sun was out but I was wearing a coat and scarf.
That father’s dismissive response was like a page of my story being read out loud. A reminder of what it sounds like to have anxiety and fear carelessly disregarded by the most important person in your world.
Turning around, I searched for that little boy’s face. I needed to see how bravery and hiddenness look while the mind silently screams, “Someone, help me!” The language of co-dependency doesn’t require words, it understands restlessness from within and empathizes with pain.
And innocence holds the hand of God while looking down at pavement and searching for hope in the cracks.
Walking up the steps toward the kiosk, I prayed comfort and protection for a small boy growing under the shadow of his father’s addiction.
Perhaps I have a permanent propensity toward wanderlust and change, not because I’m a nomad but because my soul remembers what my mind forgets.
The adrenaline rush of new beginnings bring joy and hope. But making change happen instead of waiting on God comes at a great personal cost.
Creating, producing, and planning new things can be a subversive coping mechanism for avoiding uncertainty in the middle place. Between the beginning and the end of the story God is writing for us, we are prone to become bogged down, bored, and bewildered about how life will eventually turn out.
And here we are in the middle month of May, when all those new year resolutions seem distant and overzealous.
But become addicted to the adrenaline rush of new beginnings and miss the abundance God has for you in the wilderness.
You will never know what you don’t know if you avoid the discomfort inherent in waiting periods.
I had to live in London for two years before discovering what I need in a wardrobe. It was only after leaning into the learning curves of a new culture that I realized my foolish assumptions while packing boxes.
In the garage, that giant black bag of clothes next to a box springs that won’t fit up the stairs represents plans, dreams, and projections that have unknowingly hemmed me in.
We like to start over because we do not know how to wait.
The certainty of a bad ending is easier to navigate than an uncertain, open-ended detour in the dreams we envision for ourselves. Fix, solve, process, numb, or deny the situation altogether – we’ll do just about anything to avoid diving into unknowns.
How do we determine a new beginning is providential, not a self-imposed fix for inner restlessness? Ask yourself some hard questions.
What do I need to learn? Where have I made assumptions? How have plans, dreams, and projections unknowingly hemmed me in from God’s grand perspective?
Knowing we are deeply loved makes waiting less lonely and more hopeful. As for me, I am poor and needy but the Lord takes thought of me. (Psalm 40:17)
He thinks of all his children walking with heads down and trying to make sense of senseless situations.
He is thinking of you now.
Will you wait for him to come?
As for you, O Lord, you will not restrain your mercy from me; your steadfast love and your faithfulness will ever preserve me! Psalm 40:11