My husband's alarm wakes me up, as it regularly does. I rarely set my own anymore. He is king of the snooze -- so his cell phone, set ambitiously at 7, is a persistent enough rooster for both of us. I stretch my feet for the cool laminate floor, and he snuggles further under the covers. I smile. It is our morning routine, and I don't mind it. Much as I love him, I also love the new freshness of an unspoken morning, a sun-spattered world with curtains cupping out and back, crickets' chorus already in session, and the reassuring rumble of the garbage truck as it lumbers around the block.
Coffee is an early order of business, and then sometimes breakfast, sometimes not. Today, breakfast it is, whole wheat blueberry muffins, from Deb, with a tweak for cupboard's necessity and another for curiosity's satisfaction. The nights and the first starts of morning have just given up their hot, sticky closeness, and outdoors, there is more room to breathe than week or two ago. Breakfast on the back deck, and I am early enough to catch air's chill before the sun tops the black walnut tree.
For the voice of God. For rain to puddle in the dry, hard, cracked heaps of a human heart. For a directive to cling to and remember when the clamber and clack of this visible world swells loud.
Lately, the voice hasn't been very audible, even in the silent poundings of soul's speech. Lately, the pages of a Book I believe to be glorious and life-giving truth have seemed mysterious and dull. Lately, I have somehow done a better job listening to idols that are mute and deaf than to the Eternal, Almighty God. Figure that one.
Yesterday, while running, a why-haven't-I-thought-of-this-before notion breezed right in, like a visitor thrusting open the screen door and bam -- I'm not alone in the house anymore.
"If you died tomorrow, would you want to be remembered as the girl who had the cute house or the girl who looked like she stepped out of a catalog?"
"Of course not," I volleyed back.
"Then why do you live like it?" the inquisitor continued. "Why do you give so much of your daily energy and time to things which are ticking down to that pile of wood, hay, and stubble?"
And that was almost enough to make me plop on the sidewalk and weep.
Somewhere down life's lane, Aaron and I want to move overseas and live in another culture. A place where there are people who live in oppression and poverty, precious people who don't have the luxury of choosing what to mix up for breakfast and who have never met the man who was God, the Jesus who has saved us and filled us with new bread and wine.
But this dream feels very far down road and around bend, as the immediate path appears pretty straightforward. For the next 3-4 years, we have committed to work for an organization that disciples teens, and here we are, small-town Missouri. And here, the choice to live simply, the decision to store up treasure in heaven, isn't as cut and dried. I find myself wanting to parcel up those tough standards with brown twine and put them in a storage unit for a while.
That's not how He works, and He is not letting me forget.
An idol is an idol is an idol.
Following Him is supposed to be radical, wherever I am. In a country where watered-down faith gets you by, or in a country where owning a Bible gets you death threats, letters with bullets inside.
Do not work for food that spoils," the voice says when I stop and listen. "But work for food that endures to eternal life." (John 6:27)
Keep teaching me, I whisper. This is a hard light to follow, but on the heels of fear follows joy. I can feel the beginnings of a thunderstorm.