I hear the rain against my window, slow at first and tentative, like a bird tapping on the glass, seeking entry. Then it picks up and the thunder rolls slowly from the horizon, a wave of swelling sound. Come out. It was almost as if I heard the whisper audibly. I step out onto my front porch, shielded from the rain and the gusting winds. Suddenly, lightning fills the sky over and over again. I’ve never seen it like this. Hardly any pauses, each flash brighter than a midday sun. In this wild light, every leaf, every blade of grass, stands in stark relief. It’s as if my vision is miraculously perfect, and I can see every detail of the world around me, but only in flashes. Illumination, enlightenment, and then I’m plunged back into darkness.
I sit on the porch as heaven trembles and rumbles and flashes around me. Sometimes, we hear God in the still, small voice. But sometimes, he really is in the storm.
“His way is in the whirlwind and the storm, and clouds are the dust of his feet.” Nahum 1:3
This is all I want
To catch a moment for you
To let you feel the wind thread its fingers through your hair
To help you smell the sweet-warm fragrance of honeysuckle carried on the breeze
To hear the whispering of pines, brushing furtively against each other
Leaning into each other’s arms, sharing sap-slow secrets
Speaking a language you don’t know, but you feel like you understand
This is why I write– to capture this for you
Even if I only capture shadow shapes and the dim memory of flowers
I try to share it with you, because you aren’t here
And I need to know that I won’t feel the immense glory of this world
I also wanted to share with you the lyrics of one of my favorite hymns. Its words bring comfort to me, especially as I embark on a new and uncertain phase of life. May the simple beauty of this song comfort you as well.
Be still, my soul; the Lord is on thy side;
Bear patiently the cross of grief or pain;
Leave to thy God to order and provide;
In every change He faithful will remain.
Be still, my soul; thy best, thy heavenly, Friend
Through thorny ways leads to a joyful end.
Be still, my soul; thy God doth undertake
To guide the future as He has the past.
Thy hope, thy confidence, let nothing shake;
All now mysterious shall be bright at last.
Be still, my soul; the waves and winds still know
His voice who ruled them while He dwelt below.
Be still, my soul, though dearest friends depart
And all is darkened in the vale of tears;
Then shalt thou better know His love, His heart,
Who comes to soothe thy sorrows and thy fears.
Be still, my soul; thy Jesus can repay
From His own fulness all He takes away.
Be still, my soul; the hour is hastening on
When we shall be forever with the Lord,
When disappointment, grief, and fear are gone,
Sorrow forgot, love’s purest joys restored.
Be still, my soul; when change and tears are past,
All safe and blessed we shall meet at last.
In the time it took the good Lord to create the heavens and the earth, I will complete and turn in my masters thesis. That’s right…one week from today, I will give my paper to my advisor, and everything will suddenly be out of my hands. It’s exciting! Right now, I’m doing a lot of the tedious editing, like making sure my citations are all just so, and checking my grammar with a fine-toothed comb. But soon, so soon, it will be done. I will be free, and that is both exciting and bittersweet. Other than that, I haven’t got much to report on right now. Just wanted to let you know where I am in this whole process. I plan on following God’s example, and upon completion of my own little creation, I will rest.
The music of Ingrid Michaelson hums through my headphones, laced with the occasional whirr of the coffee grinder. I am surrounded by friends, strangers, strangers that I wish were friends. The cushions on this bench do practically nothing, and I am uncomfortable, but I stay here for hours. I don’t want to leave, because even though I’m alone, I’m with them. Hearing the overlapping voices, the intertwined conversations, the laughter peppered throughout. I will miss this place. I’ve decided to start saying my goodbyes now. One goodbye a day, for the rest of this time I have here on this dot of the map that I’ve come to love so much. Today, I say goodbye to the Student Union, with its ridiculous temperature fluctuations, its eclectic outdated architecture, its lack of sufficient space. It has become the hub of my graduate school life. I come here to work, to talk, to eat, to write. I love running into people here, and enjoying unexpected fellowship instead of working like I “should.” But really, this is what I should be doing…soaking up every minute with these beautiful, crazy people. The clock is ticking, and I feel its hands pushing on my back, forcing me forward second by second toward a future that is still blurry, out of focus. This moment, right here on the bench in the Union, however, is crystal clear and perfect. And for now, it’s all mine.