a letter on waiting and grace

I close my eyes and noise of the rush, rush stops around me. Silence fills my head – quiet fills my mind, but I open my eyes again and I sense the rush, rush, with all five of my senses. My brain takes it all in again.

Everything is broken, and nothing is resolved. There’s nothing I can do about it. I raise my voice enough to take in a deeper breath, then quiet it back down again. Frustration doesn’t fix the things that aren’t working.

Part of me says it would be better if someone else was in this room with me, and I wasn’t on my couch alone. But even if someone was here with me, it’s likely all I would be doing is complaining.

This space is the hardest space for me.

The long hours at work are getting to me — they weren’t this morning, but they are now, as I’m online at 8pm on a Friday waiting for information and planning a full day of work on Sunday. I’m longing for a weekend where my computer is shut, a weekday I’m not reaching for my phone when I’m out with friends on the off chance an urgent email comes through. There are other things getting to me too (uprooted fears meeting the surface are never easy, but they are worth the struggle).

Freedom doesn’t come easily in this space, and I find my mind wondering if there’s enough grace to cover this, enough peace to carry me, enough perseverance to stay calm through the mess.

I think of Peter, stepping out into the water. I think of Rahab, Daniel, and David, I think of Paul. Ordinary people called to purpose through deep water. Can I ever be like them?

I want to see miraculous things happen. I want to be humble, and kind, and even-tempered, and stand my ground where standing my ground is due. But I find myself trading these things for counterfeit strategy in the means of stress, fear, annoyance, and frustration.

The middle of the story is hard for me.

I love telling stories after they’re over – hearing where something ended plus the “but-look-where-you-are-now.”

The Uber driver I had who told me he once took a one way Greyhound bus from Seattle to D.C. with two duffel bags to spend the summer with his brother because money was tight at home (thirty years later, he lives in the Seattle area full time and works for a large tech company, driving on the weekends for fun). The girl behind the cash register who asked me where I got my glasses as she handed me some tea. Our stories are weaving all the time, creating new endings, and turning dust into beauty.

When I think about a story never being over, part of me feels joy and the rest of me panics. I don’t know if I know what to do without an ending.

I look at the unfinished pieces, the loose ends, the untied shoe strings and I trip over the what-could-be and what-could-have-been in so many areas of my life that I spend the length of forever underneath my potential instead of living into it. I do everything I can to fix the failures and complete the stories instead of living into grace.

I talk about grace a lot, but I learn about it all the time. I seek to understand, but grace is never something that will be fully understood — a missing ending that I’m learning to be okay with.

A big part of grace is the waiting. It’s the email I’m waiting for in my inbox, the timer of my lamp to turn on, the three days after the cross that led to the resurrection.

Jesus said, “It is finished” in the middle of the story. He said it before the resurrection, before the Holy Spirit, before the veil was torn.

I see the way grace finishes the story in the middle, step by step, process by process, wave by wave. It transforms time and melts the ice of frustration into lakes we learn to walk on. It folds our failures into origami. It comes at us so quickly that when we fall, we don’t brace ourselves. We fall freely, and hit the ground without pain. It weaves the loose end of the tapestry back into the pattern to keep it from unraveling.

We close our eyes again. We wait for the grace to come in and whisper stillness; in its fluidity, we are free. The mess doesn’t change in the middle, but grace shifts the story. This is why we wait.




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