Well, I’m randomly having insomnia on this quiet night. I will briefly write.
I’ve begun the last quarter of my senior year here at SPU. It’s bittersweet, to be honest. I often think back to the person I was when I first walked on to campus, through Tiffany Loop, and up and around Ashton Hall. I was hardly the same person as I am now. I was afraid of so many things, and although, ironically, this is still the same, it’s seems like the primary characteristic of mine that’s been flipped on its head.
I don’t define myself so much by my fear anymore and for that I am forever grateful. Class presentations, raising my hand in class once a year, making announcements on Wednesday nights to open the group worship services, going on long walks with women that hate me for leading them on, getting up in front of people and singing my own songs, dancing at local shows with strangers (I am also a stranger to myself in these moments), leading a team of ministry leaders, and countless other experiences have brought me to a place in my life where I’ve begun to name myself as just another human being trying to figure life out—no greater or less than anybody else in that respect.
There’s something quite freeing in identifying myself with other people. I do not subscribe to a sort of Christian theology that tells me exactly what to think and how to live. What I have is a little speck of knowledge of a story that is all-encompassing, all-reconciling, and all-powerful—enough to breathe life into dead places. I deeply believe that God created this universe and intended for all of creation to live in glory. I don’t know exactly what the afterlife will look like, but I believe that this will be a reality where all of our pain and suffering will be no more. Noticing other people and seeing myself in them helps connect me to the Christian story and the Christian hope that’s both eschatological and in the here and now.
I write this to remind myself what it is that I believe in because I have been struggling so much these days to hold on to hope. These are the nights where all the thoughts of my brain take a vacation and suddenly all I know is my own insignificance in spite of everything I’ve come to know about God. I continue to be my worst enemy. The real truth is that my own thoughts about myself tear me down inside, and sometimes I can sense myself falling away from the person God has created me to be.
But, interestingly enough, the Church is currently in the middle of celebrating Passover. It’s a Jewish holiday, which celebrates when God delivered the people of Israel out of Egypt from nearly 3,000 years of slavery. Thankfully, God has never stopped setting his people free. I hear about it all the time and I believe I’ve experienced it. But, I would be lying to you if I said, “Today I feel free,” because the reality is that I feel enslaved. I’m taking 19 credits worth of classes this quarter, struggling to stay afloat, trying so hard not to become jaded by all of these rigorous theology classes, and attempting to keep my health in check and my loneliness contained.
And still, at the center of my desire, in the pit of my stomach, at every turn in my walk, and every room I enter, I’m hoping that I meet someone who changes my life completely and listens to my thoughts, and cries with me when I hurt, and laughs with me about the little things, and dances with me in the kitchen, and comes over even when there’s nothing but silence and a room for remembering our minuscule attempts to be more like Jesus that day.
You are everything to me and that’s probably unhealthy, but the reality is that you are my hope. You are my courage and my ability to wake up after nights like these. You are my reflection that looks back on me and reminds me of what I’m defined by. You are not my bones. You are not my imperfections. You are everything that I am not, everything that I’m quite possibly not ready for, but I already feel in love with you. I’ve exhausted my ontological language for the existential experience of missing someone I’ve never met. But if there is one thing I am certain of, it’s this: You are already here and maybe you are God.