Last week, I had to write an essay. It was pretty important, and I put a lot of work into it. But what I finally turned in was very different from my first draft. And I really liked my first draft. It was metaphorical and vulnerable, but it shifted and reshaped and became rather determined and focused… and I have no idea where that came from.
But that first draft with its touching metaphor couldn’t stay in the discard pile. I meant to just paste it here, but most of it is pretty boring, honestly. So I kept the foundational imagery, and built a different thing on it. Here:
“I am neither better nor smarter, only luckier. And I should be ashamed of thinking I knew everything, because you can know the whole world and still feel lost in it. So many people are in pain–no matter how smart or accomplished–they cry, they yearn, they hurt. But instead of looking down on things, they look up, which is where I should have been looking all along.” -Mitch Albom, Have a Little Faith
I remember what struck me about this passage when I copied it into my journal over a year ago. In the middle of a relentless attempt to know the world, I realized I could feel lost in it. That was frightening.
I forgot this, and I came home feeling so strong and sure and ready for…
(…what did I think would happen?)
That day of feeling strong and sure could not hold up against my forgetfulness. I am not as strong as I thought I was. The lost feeling did set in, and I am not immune to the questions and the doubts. Things I really wanted to happen did not happen, questions came (and still come) that I do not know how to answer, I try to fit everything together into something that makes sense, and it just doesn’t. Everything I saw and experienced doesn’t seem to matter here… or rather, it matters so much that I don’t know what to do with it.
Everything is confusion and stagnation and pushing forward to no avail, and I get angry with God. I am screaming silent questions, and I don’t understand, and I am not happy, and don’t you love me?! Don’t you love any of us?! …and something about this rings too familiar.
Oh yes. The wrestling.
We are back to that. I think at different times, we all always come back to that. Isn’t it wonderful and terrible that there is always more to wrestle with? God has said that he will be proven strong in our weakness, but my own weaknesses seem so great that all perspective is lost.
How amazing what can bring it back for a bit: the ones who know me. A day of celebration comes, and they all come, and my heart is bursting with the presence of those bursting the seating capacity of our living room, and I am no longer the outlying, quirky hippie sister. I am again myself, I am normal, I am ok. I am always Katie,
I am always loved,
and I always, always, always forget.
I forget, and disobey and wrestle. I know that my wrestling is as infantile as my baby niece fighting sleep. I want comfort and peace, and I fight exactly that because I want it so badly. I will no more disobey myself to peace than Lily can kick herself to sleep.
I know this well enough to write it, so why does it not seem to work?
Does God change or leave or not know?
It’s just me. I just forget. The things that God showed us and walked us through in eleven full months are not meant to be forgotten. Somehow, I would have learned them right here, too: I do have a purpose, and I do have a direction, and I am not a letdown. I will know that if I just remember to look up. New doors are opening for me. They are not quite what I expected, and I will probably still wrestle. But in the wrestling, He stays close, and I can remember.
Another amazing thing reminded me of this in a way I’d rather not confine to words. I’ll leave you with that.
- Who brings out the best in you? What keeps you looking up?
- Re: wrestling, this clip also makes a good point. Please watch it.