Last January, I wrote two words in my journal – courage and kindness. I was entering into a hard year and even before I lived it, I knew. I knew I was going to need courage and kindness in order to make it.
Change was rolling within and around me. We were deciding our future plans and the gravity of the decisions weighed heavily upon us. Our decisions set forth a wave of changes for all those around us. Some of those waves brought joy. Some of those waves brought grief. All of it touched the core of who we were and who we would be. All of it forced me to trust that God was doing something in our lives that I could not understand.
Courage: Showing up even when it very well might be painful or frightening
Kindness: Showing up together and recognizing that that which is painful or frightening is not the other but something that is beyond the both of you.
Rereading my 2016 journals has been a brutiful task. There were hard days with which I wrestled with pen and paper. There were days that I needed quiet time in order to continue showing up. There were days it took intentionality to see others as my companions rather than my opponents. There were days when I could see that this, too, could turn into something beautiful.
Our sabbatical year is now five months gone. Seven months remain. I know not the exact ways this journey is changing us but I simply know that it is. More waves of changes will come upon our external world once we pack back up to return to Louisville in July. But for now, we stand in the calmer waters. We have space to listen, notice, and learn. We have time together. We have a life to live.
Of course, there is an impulse that grows nervous in this waiting. Fear would warn me that joy can only live if my grip is tight on the familiar. Fear would have me believe that hope depends on a controlled attack to keep the unknown at bay.
This season, I remind myself that God has entered the game. The Holy One is interrupting our lives. The gospel reminds us that God faces suffering with open arms and embraces the fear-filled with tenderness. The fearful impulse boasts only false promises. The only God worth worshipping is the One whose very being is tender affection and relentless attachment – whose very being is Love.
When I am doubtful of my strength and overly curious of the purpose in all this, may I show up. May I show up and know that we are all walking this terrifying journey together. May we walk it with hearts oriented to the Love that entered the game. Throughout it all, may our lips pour out not only questions or worries but also assurance that we know how the game ends. Love wins. Always. Forever. Amen.