I’ve alluded to it a couple times, or at least told the story around this story, so I figured it was time to fill in some of the spaces.
March was one of the hardest months of my life. I’d like to share more details about why, but some of it isn’t yet safe to share publicly, so I’ll see if I can help you understand. I read a blog post in February from The Rabbit Room on the idea of a home. It is a gorgeous piece and the only thing I can say about it is that reading it felt like arriving home after a long journey — and that’s a beautiful thing. You can go read it here. The author, Jennifer Trafton, said “setting is a character,” and that really struck me. My house was a character in my story. It’s not the things of the house or the appliances; it’s not even the layout or the bones of the place. It’s the breath of it. My home was a person in my story, and when we had to abruptly leave it the first of March I turned to see if that character would be following. Instead I saw that what had been flesh and bone to me had turned back into brick and mortar. They couldn’t join me. The leaving of my home was the death of a character integral in my story for the past three years. Actually, it would have been better if that character had died. Instead I had to be the one to walk away; to mournfully look over my shoulder as the gate latch fell and know that I could never go home again even though it would stay waiting there for me. That broke a part of me I didn’t know I had.
Thus the month of March left me with a great deal of depression. I wasn’t alone in it, God was grieving with me, so it certainly wasn’t bad, but it also definitely didn’t feel beautiful. And that’s not usual for me. I felt hollow, and despite reminding myself, and God reminding me, I still felt hopeless. Hopeless that my story was still going to go on. That the character that left my story didn’t mean the end of my story. That when I walked out the door there would still be life for me out there.
Thursday hope broke through.
And it used a storm.
I was 6 months behind on our state car inspection (HOW?! I don’t know. We had an infant, that’s my excuse.) After I picked up the car I went the long way home while listening to a new, instant-favorite artist The Gray Havens. I didn’t have the baby and I needed to explore, and God met that need with a prairie. I’ll share my journal excerpt describing my time with Him there:
The mountains off in the distance formed the back border of the frame, while the cypress, redbud, and dogwood trees that dotted the field formed the sides of the frame. At the top, at the steepest part, was a straight line of forest, with trees so bent and twisted, and yet old and strong, that I could only imagine it as the edge of the Blackwood. And so, the kingdom of the twisted and broken formed the last border of my frame. And the frame held peace. Life, coming alive. A storm hit the prairie and the long grasses “bent and kissed the ground.” The trees creaked and moaned as Your breath swept across them. Some bent with it, welcoming rain and resurrection, while others were threatened to be toppled by the sheer force of it all. And then the rain came. Large cleansing drops followed on my heels as I walked, and I knew because I heard them clap off the blades of grass at my right and left. Yet not a one hit me, as if I brought the storm. And even in those moments, though nothing intentionally significant happened of my own doing, I met myself there. I met the me that’s wild and free, who explores without fear and laughs at the rain; who welcomes it and the howling winds as nourishment for her soul.
And I liked the me I met in the prairie.
This line in Andrew Peterson’s book The Warden and the Wolf King perfectly summarized the emotion of it all: “…And he loved the Janner that he saw through the Maker’s eyes. He knew himself as he was known. He saw, and was still.”
In the storm I saw how He saw me, and I liked her. I liked the girl I met in the prairie. I saw Him, I saw Him seeing her, I saw her, and I was still.
As I processed my time in the prairie and the concept that brought about yesterday’s blog post, I penned these words:
I so long to avoid the pain of being in the middle that I go one or the other, and since recently I haven’t had the time, energy, or bandwidth to be fully submerged, most days I’ve spread my towel on the sand and made a day of laying there. I’m near You, I don’t want to leave You, but You betcha I’m fighting off anyone/anything that’s gonna pull me to the edge and dip my toe in.
But the girl I met in the prairie would walk straight for that water’s edge with an air of royalty, knowing precisely where she belongs and who she is. And she wouldn’t pause at the edge, but she’d let her footsteps carry her until no more of her lingered on the surface. I want to be her.
And I do. I so do.
March was the loss of a character and the “me” I was in that home. But so far April is the birth of a character, the “me” I was in the prairie, and I’m ready to see what all this means.