Another point for the big sister.
What's her tally up to now, anyway? The number of times her wise words have hit my heart at exactly the right moment? Ah, gee. I'm not good at details, so the exact figure evades me. It's probably too high to count anyway.
I talked to Rachel this weekend. The pressure is off with Rachel. No need to impress her, entertain her, ask insightful and thoughtful questions of her, or sound mature. Phew. Don't we all need more conversations like that? Maybe Rachel wishes I made a little more effort to sound mature, because typically our conversations go something like this:
Me: Blah, blah, blah, my life is hard, and I am confused, and blah, blah, blah.
Rachel: Pause. [Insert wisdom. Given in a gentle, gracious, and firm way.]
Me: Longer pause. Oh. Wow.
(By the way, Rachel, thanks for still answering the phone when I call. You're the best.)
The revelation of Saturday's conversation? Here it is. I realized that if I were to tag last year with one word, it would probably be loss. The past twelve months have held several Big Hard Things, India being one of them. And the subdivisions of that city Loss are named Tears, Grieving, Loneliness, Questions, Fear. Did I meet Jesus in a more raw and real way this past year? Absolutely. Am I sorry that it was hard? No. I think the dark makes the light all the more beautiful. But after all of the fallout, I have hoisted an enormous burden onto my shoulders, the burden that, hereafter, I expect everything to be equally as hard and even possibly more painful.
"Lara," Rachel said, "You will have seasons of suffering in your life again. But you don't have to live expecting everything to turn out that way. God is also a God of joy. Of redemption. A God who leads His people out of the deserts and into the gardens."
Lightbulb. I am not believing for myself what I dare to dream for other people--that God will turn my tears to laughter, that He will show me more of His abudance than I knew existed, and that He will restore the seasons of cracked riverbeds and bitter heartache. God is graciously filling my life with good things right now, but I am turning my head away, scared that it will all slide away or evaporate like dew.
I want to be willing to mourn with those who mourn. I do not want to be afraid of the heavy, dry, even desperate seasons of life. But, maybe, just maybe, it is time to join the dance for a bit. Rejoice in the things God is blessing me with. Open my heart up to His healing, His love, His grace. Receive the gift with joy instead of running away frightened.
Thank You, Father, for Your gifts. The dark was a gift, and now, the light is gift too.
For Aaron, who wants to know me and stays even when it means sharing my pain.
For Megan, who makes Bolivar a fun place to live and rocks the 5 am workout with me. You get it, girl.
For new friends I wasn't expecting but thoroughly enjoy.
For a cell phone to call the friends who live far, far away.
For the job of substitute teaching which I am enjoying way more than I ever thought possible. How neat to get paid for something I love!
For my family, who eats my outrageous meal experiments and who loans me the mini-van when I need a set of wheels and who prays for me and with me.
For Bolivar. For this season. For life.