Sunday, January 27, 2019

truly


I want to live a life that’s truly incredible.

I wrote those encapsulating words at the top of the leather brown, white page journal, carried across the countries by my sister to bring it from Ecuador to me. I was now sitting in a place I’d come to strangely adore, the swing outside the pool house outside the celebrity mansion (not even kidding) my uncle had rented for the side of the family I still wasn’t used to seeing.

The swing faced the river, pulsing and rushing. Just as my thoughts.

We’d rushed through a movie the night before. The sounds, sights, and energy of The Greatest Showman seems to get me. He pursues a dream. He realizes a dream. He lives. He finds talent. He develops the people. He lives a life that truly incredible. And he sings and dances.

I’m likely far too easily inspired and flipside discouraged; propelled and doubting; amazed and jealous; convicted and self-condemned.

I found the Olympics so inspiring when I was a wide-eyed, still wonder-filled and constantly wondering girl. It made me, in my creaky brown chair surrounded by Oregon trail maps in my sixth-grade history classroom-project my “your future: a timeline” assignment to include four Olympic games, all resulting in gold medals (in a sport I left tbd).

I was drawn to the power of the truly incredible.

And it didn’t stop. I’d see Shawn Johnson plastered on coke cans, and I wanted to plaster my life with the thrill of hard work and pursuit I saw in her. I’d walk by a Monet in the Art Institute of Chicago, and I’d want to stare into its depths and draw deep within to create. I’d see the movements of dancing and want to go train for the ballet. I’d hear the piercing solo and decide that the opera was the best place to be. I’d hear and see and watch and listen to the stories of overcoming, the visions of creating, the tales of those who dared enough to try and do, and I’d vow that the truly incredible life was among their numbers.

I was drawn to the power of the truly incredible.

But it was clear to me that my life wasn’t there yet. I’d ride my bike down the only first coated asphalt roads with the gravel from the yet unfished driveways leading up to the not yet built houses. Pedals pumping, my mind raced faster than even my eleven-year-old feet, and once I made it home I made my way right to a piece of notebook paper from a half-started and half-fished, magazine collaged notebook. I titled this fine piece: get motivated. And I wrote a diatribe of how we are made for so much more, how we need to realize the amazing possibilities ahead of us, how we needed to step into the game, fight the fight, take up the chase. Live the exceptional life.

I was drawn to the power of the truly incredible.

Yet I didn’t realize that longing for this type of this big-picture life had incredible power over my small-picture days.

For the days added to days added to days and days, and standing back, six years later, I’d begun to see what truly incredible hadn’t brought me. At seventeen, I was leaving my parent’s house, never to move permanently back in again. And in those moments of change, I realized much of what hadn’t changed: my constant dissatisfaction with the way my life was in the incessant push for more.

College then meant I bore burdens of not meeting my own expectations for truly incredible and lerned to bury the hope for it and instead be buried by unsettledness and restlessness. I started to do some things that were truly incredible, in other ways: forgetting that family is a lifeblood, that friends are meant for support, that loving with my life was a risk but which left untaken resulted in a living death.

But now freshman year of real life is bringing me back, helping me to finally put words to it, this truly incredible restless drive that’s been as an undercurrent silently championing my days.

I was sitting next to her at a faded, light pink, slightly sticky four-top table, my chips drowning in salsa even as her plate seemed to be drowning in salad leaves. She was asking how it was to have my sister now moved in with me as I was now still slightly surprised, walking into my home and seeing her face once more, my old world and new world colliding.

You know, it’s crazy. Having her here is reminding me of how selfish I am. I am rude to her in a way that I’m just not to everyone else. Things she does that shouldn’t bug me totally do. I shouldn’t care that she thinks to ask if my friends have food allergies, what day the garbage comes on, and at what time the dog eats. But I do! And it drives me crazy.

And it echoed in my heart, later: what if you learned to love her, actually?

I’d been standing by the TV as a friend opened up about the anxiety that had started to creep back into her nights again, getting hit with the pain and wishing violently that I could take it away. I’d sat next to her on the denim blue couch and did what I knew to do best, sometimes: bring laughter.

And it echoed in my heart, later: what if you learned to trust her, actually?

I’d been scrolling through pages and pages of the latest release I was working on for work. It was approximately 11:38 PM, and the five hours of sleep per night this week were making me feel like I was back in college again and then like I suddenly had aged a decade cause I couldn’t comprehend how my sprightly self had pulled that off for so long. But the words were becoming more than a part of my job and becoming something the Holy Spirit was working through. That the gospel doesn’t just start our walk with the Lord, it’s the pool we swim in (Greear). That it’s not the way according to which we’re supposed to live; it is the storyline of our very life.

And it echoed in my heart, later: what if you learned to believe it, actually?

I’d never seen Hercules. When his friend Meg appeared on the screen as I appeared through the door back from work, I’d scoffed. Manipulative, girly white women. On the top of my list of things I can’t stand that I can’t stand. But the minutes kept ticking, and Meg grew on me even as Hercules genuine goodness baffled me. Him, passing his test, glowing yellow-gold, being embraced by his family, sees Meg walking away and pulls her in and the words “For a true hero isn’t measured by the size of his strength, but by the strength of his heart.”

And it echoed in my heart, later: what if you learned to live with your heart, actually?

For, I’ve always been drawn to the power of the truly incredible.

But, I’m learning that maybe it’s truly incredible that I’ve been so incredibly blind to the truth. Maybe it’s not so much that our life is a chasing after achieving the magnificent, but it’s opening our eyes to the reality that life is magnificent.

Love, actually.
Trust, actually.
Belief, actually.
Life, actually.

That we love because we are loved. That we trust because we have an unshakable trust. That we believe because we have hope. That we have life because we chose to remember His death.

That it’s truly incredible we’ve been entrusted to bear his image in all the ways He imagines our days. In the way we get to be faithful to remembering to delight in Him in the now. In the way we get to hold our relationships even as He holds our futures.

That He, end game, is the power of the truly incredible, and our hearts are so restless until they find rest in Him (Aristotle). And we, end game, are chosen to be His.

What truly incredible power.
 

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I definitely don't want this to be a monologue. What are your thoughts? Questions? Ideas?

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