This is not exactly my normal type of post in which I write on a topic and offer a solution, but more of a post in which maybe you will find some personal truth here, and maybe you will not relate at all. Still, it is my truth. One that has been extremely difficult for me to come to terms with because it sounds ungrateful, but I can assure you, it is not.
Truthfully, as I write these words I sit with tears silently spilling from my eyes in a coffee shop exactly an hour away from my new home address. It had been one of favorite coffee shops when we lived in the area for a few years. I had originally convinced myself I needed to make a run this direction for an errand…and for the coffee. And then I arrived and realized, who am I kidding? I gave up caffeine.
Nevertheless, I walked in the door of my favorite coffee shop ever, bypassed the coffee for a chocolate cupcake instead, and made myself cozy to write. At one moment I asked myself, “Why am I here?” I mean, who drives an hour to buy a cupcake and sit in a building an hour away just to write?
I miss it.
Just another thing that I miss. And maybe I am lucky to have so many people and places I once called home that I miss?
And I realized that I often go back to places that are familiar when I feel lost. Places that feel like home.
Whether we realize it or not, the places, smells, tastes, people and atmospheres that we experience on a regular basis are imprinting themselves in our brains and on our hearts in the sneakiest little ways that inevitably creates this network of “safe places” we will always long to come back to again and again to ground ourselves when life starts to feel unsure.
As I chatted with a friend I said, “I have no idea why I’m here. I think I just came here because it feels comforting.”
It’s why I love coffee! And family, and chocolate cupcakes, the ocean…and my mother in law’s couch.
All of which I’ve mostly been forced to give up altogether or greatly reduce for one reason or another.
It doesn’t matter if we are five or fifty-five, a millionaire or have $20 in our bank accounts – life has no respecter of persons, sometimes life doesn’t make sense and we just feel lost. It is then that we are most are drawn to places and people with whom we find the warmth respite of comfort… of home.
But if I am deeply honest maybe I would have to admit that I am here because I’ve been feeling lonely and am struggling to ground myself in this new place, far from everyone and everything I knew. I miss knowing people, coffee dates, not having to use my GPS to navigate the city, random beach days with friends, and being able to swing my family’s places anytime I want.
I miss not feeling lost.
They say that living away from the place you’ve always known gets easier with time. Four years later, I’m still waiting for that time to come. Maybe it will, and maybe it won’t.
This is just my current issue. I don’t know what yours may be, but maybe it feels similar.
Pain is pain, and it connects us all with a thread that makes us all the more endeared to one another.
I think this is how the death of a close loved one must feel, or the of a loss relationship. That feeling that life goes on and you move forward but there is that thing, that person, that place missing that you can never get back.
A hole of sorts in your heart.
And so we try to fill that hole with everything we think will fit. Anything to get rid of that chasm between what we once had, and our current reality. Some of us catch ourselves doing it, others don’t and we feel prey to numbing ourselves with too much pleasure, distractions, or addictions.
The issues may be different, still we are all the same. Pain is pain.
And familiar places and people and relationships and whatever “home” is for each of us will never complete us, and they certainly don’t have the power to make us happy. But they do matter.
This is a post with no neat and tidy ending. No answer. No concrete resolution because I don’t have one! I am still in that time in between season of being where I have currently been planted, and figuring out “why am I here? for what purpose?” Maybe it was never for my own comfort. And I am okay with too.
But I am still human, and I waiver and lack understanding at times.
Truthfully, the other day I was thinking deeply about the things I felt disappointed about, feeling a bit abandoned by God to be honest and especially in need of comfort. I felt that familiar, gentle tug inside my heart reminding me of the Holy Spirit who has never left me. And rather than run to Him, I looked up to the sky and said, “I just don’t understand you right now and honestly, I’m a little mad at you for just leaving me here with NO PLAN.” Fully aware of how ridiculous that may sound, but willing to bet that God isn’t threatened by the the most brutal doubts of my humanity.
But what I’m learning here is the importance of allowing ourselves to be honest about exactly where we are, how we’re feeling, of processing that truth, and of grieving loss – whatever kind of loss that may be – and the freedom to even sometimes admit that, “I feel disappointed.”
The truth is, the cross is not some happy, clappy inoculation against the wrestlings of our humanity. It is also not a business plan or self-help recipe to help us live our best life now, and we need to stop pretending like it is because when we do we reduce the Gospel to a fairytale.
My current truth is that I love Jesus. I adore the cross. I am deeply grateful for my life. I miss coffee. I struggle. I don’t understand why my friend has cancer or why people we love die or leave us. I wrestle with doubt and unbelief and trust, all the things that don’t make me a very “good Christian.” I get lonely and disappointed at times. And I miss home.
I’m not even searching for resolution, I think I just needed to free myself to say it out loud so that I don’t have to keep pretending I’m stronger or better than I really am or that my life is more perfect than it really is. It’s far too heavy a load to carry.
This is me freeing you and I both to stop sugar coating our truths, “Christianizing” our loss and disappointment away like to have them is some massive lack of faith and we have failed. It’s okay to feel so that we can heal.
The cross was never for those who have it all together…or those who have made this world their home. But this Jesus I have come to know is the gentle shepherd who is not displaced or offended or disappointed by our worst truths.
A shepherd who is never disappointed in us when we doubt His leading and wander off, and then turn our disappointment towards the one who came to find us.
And so, if you are reading this and you find yourself feeling a little like you’ve been dropped off in the middle of Egypt in a strange land that you do not understand, or your heart relates to any of my words; I have no pretty little bow-tie ending for you other than this one truth I am sure of:
You are not alone – “Me too.”
I sure do love ya’ll,
p.s. I may have skipped the caffeine but not the cupcake. 😉