Monday, December 31, 2012

the promise of evening

Thirteen years ago this evening, I would have been standing in the church parking lot, at youth group, sipping the champagne someone snuck into my Styrofoam cup. I would have been laughing at our pastor's jokes and watching my breath make patterns in the air. Tyler and Mike had already run off unnoticed, so they could hit the OFF switch on the church's power grid at midnight. I think of who I was back then, and what I thought life would hold for me. I think of my young faith, my belief that my plans wouldn't change, and my incessant hope for the future. Thirteen years later, having survived everything from Y2K to the Mayan Misunderstanding, I am grateful I can reflect on yet another year of life.

Something I read this morning shone a light on me, like God broke his silence for a minute to remind me of his plans. Here's the story:
Carolyn Myss, who writes about healing, went to Russia a few years ago to give a series of lectures. Every single aspect of getting to Russia that could go poorly, did. Then in Moscow it turned out that her reserved room at the hotel had been given to someone else. She ended up sleeping on a stranger’s floor. Two mornings later, on a train to her conference on healing, she began to whine at the man sitting beside her about how infuriating her journey had been thus far. It turned out that he worked for the Dalai Lama. And he said gently that he believed that when a lot of seemingly meaningless things started going wrong all at once, it was to protect something big and lovely that was trying to get itself born — that, in other words, perhaps it needed for you to be distracted so it could be born perfect.   (Anne Lamott)
I have yet to write about much of what happened in 2011. If you read much of my blog over that time frame, you'll see a lot of meandering and not a lot of detail, a lot of promising to write and never doing it. The reason is, it was a terrible year. It started fine enough: a handsome priest was showing interest. I had just gotten a new roommate. I had a best friend I trusted. And then Spring, which is known for rebirth, brought forth instead its paring knife. Priests can hold you down. Homes can be swept from under you. Friends can lie. What seems permanent can crumble, without warning, without asking, without grace. What started as a year of promise turned to ash and left me stranded. Church doors closed and God kept quiet. By the time September came, I had been carved of anything that felt human. I was stronger, yes, but I was tired. My fall and winter were spent indoors and grieving, and in the public eye I kept up my denial.

What a different year 2012 has been; what a marked change from 2011. Like a giggle that up-rises and surprises you, so is the year gone by. What bliss brings love, and so much healing, too. I want to be un-cheesy and tell you that my year has been great for other reasons, and it has. But I owe most of what this year has brought to the man that brought it. I fell in love this year, and will be forever in awe at his grace, his quick wit, and his beautiful spirit. In a quiet moment at my house last night, rolls in the oven, soup's near done, I penned a letter to the man who's changed everything. I can see him all over, in all the things he's touched, in the softer pieces of air he left hanging just for me, so that everywhere I go has no sharp corners. I can see him in all things because he is always on my mind. My heart lives to remind me of him, with the flush of my cheeks, with warmth and happy palpitations. From him I have learned what love really feels like.

As I read that story by Anne today, I saw the truth. Last year's pain arrived merely to stay me, to bring me to my knees so I could not move, so I would be here and looking when perfection came. Perfection has come, and he's a wonderful kisser.

If your head is bowing under the weight of a heavy year, know that I too have been there. Know that what feels relentless will always end, and good will come to you. This is, after all, New Year's Eve. Nothing, not earthquakes, not conspiracy theories, not death or devastation, has been able to stop the sun from rising again. This is the promise of evening: in the evening, we will not find our end; there will be a dawn to greet us soon enough.

May the new year bring you joy where it's been missing,
peace where tumult has yet reigned, and love where you wouldn't expect it.

photo credits: For Auld Lang Syne


Mama said...

I just love this to pieces. I could not be more thrilled for you. I too, look forward to a better year than this last one. There were many good things but painful transitions too. Love you!!

Anonymous said...

Fantastic. I love it. This makes my heart smile and giggle.

anita said...

I haven't visited AC since I left on vacation. I'm back now and am loving the new look. And the new words. You always make my heartrate catch up with my soulrate... Thankyouthankyouthankyou. <3
Extravagantly blessed and ridiculously happy 2013 to you!!!