I guess this really all comes down to a struggle. A struggle for freedom and for joy and for meaning. A struggle against self-pity and aimless monotony and insignificance. A refusal to just buckle down and get by and merely exist. An invitation to explore and engage and live abundant.
It comes after bitterness and anger, surrender and forgiveness. Acceptance and obedience.
It comes after seven short months filled with long days of motherhood and a mere week after receiving the title “pastor’s wife” (and what does that even mean). It comes after 3 months of stay-at-home-momdom and 3 years of hit-or-miss blogging.
Most specifically, it comes after a teary-eyed car ride with a Sara Groves soundtrack. It comes after a decision to be honest and to do the hard work of being present and attentive to my heart. Even when it hurts.
It’s pretty much a guarantee that if I find myself in the car for longer than 5 minutes and my ipod is not tuned to the Glee Soundtrack, (no, stop, don’t leave!) I’ll get a little teary-eyed. Sometimes I get a lot teary-eyed.
“Speak to me until I understand
Why our thinking and creating
Why our efforts of narrating
About the beauty, of the beauty
Why it matters”
a few (I’m not a scientist, but probably 94.5%) of the posts I’ve written on this blog are a result of a teary-eyed car ride and a good use of the repeat button. Sometimes I love being so sensitive to art and to words– I love the feeling of something beautiful growing and exploding deep inside of you, washing over all your wishes and worries with beauty, calling forgotten thoughts out of dusty corners, inviting you to be really alive.
But sometimes, it’s inconvenient. Sometimes the words expose a lot of things that I don’t want to think about. Like it might happen on the way home from Target when you thought everything was fine and you were just going to the store to get baby food, but the tears in your eyes and the ache in your heart tell you that you’re struggling with feeling insignificant. That the monotony of the day to day is standing there, threatening to devour your heart like a hungry lion. That loneliness has planted itself in your heart like a thorn. And that the piano and cello and the beautiful echo of Sara Groves’ voice is about to split you right open.
And that moment, driving down the road towards home, tears threatening to spill, it’s in my memory like a freeze frame. I can either listen or I can ignore. I can do the hard work of building or I can let the opportunity pass me by. I can choose whether or not I will enter the struggle. Will I fight for beauty in my heart or will I choose to let life happen to me, let it shape the person I become. I reach for the volume knob, still undecided. I turn the music up.
“Like the statue in the park
Of this war torn town
And its protest of the darkness
And this chaos all around
With its beauty, how it matters
How it matters”
And it happens, the music splits me right open while I’m driving. And I’m not taking the easy way out. I’m saying no to the self-pity that wants me to think that my life is insignificant. I’m saying no to the society that says careers are more valuable than children. I’m saying no to the idea that picking up cheerios and making dinner and playing with blocks are beneath me.
But I’m also saying yes. I’m saying yes to significance and worship in the every day. I’m saying yes to adding to the beauty and not subtracting from it with self-pity and complaining. I’m saying yes to making an effort.
And that’s what this is. Ten weeks of choosing significance over insignificance. Ten weeks of exploring the thoughts that these teary-eyed encounters call forth. Ten weeks of choosing creativity over monotony. God has made me this way. And I want to make the most of it. And so here we are. And here’s my anthem.
“Show me a love that never fails
Some compassion and attention
Midst confusion and dissention
Like small ramparts for the soul
How it matters”
Please join me! Would you consider joining me in building ramparts for our souls? For ten weeks, starting on October 15, join me in choosing beauty over monotony. For me, this means that I will be exploring a different song that has spoken to me each week by writing, thinking, and praying about it, with the goal of helping myself think biblically about my life and my situation. Basically, I’m going to use this avenue to struggle faithfully. For you, it might mean baking, painting, crafting, writing, photographing, singing? Anything you would consciously choose to do once a week for the next ten weeks with the goal of adding your voice to a chorus of voices that give glory to God by adding beauty. If you do choose to do so, please come here on Tuesdays to add your voice so that we can celebrate beauty with you, value the things God values, and be reminded of what matters. That gift the Lord has given to you, friend, oh, how it matters.