The last few months have forced many of us to become all too familiar with ourselves. We have had time to think and think some more. This can be a good thing for people who have neglected themselves, forgetting how to listen to their own voice. Listening to self is important, but it should never be the only voice we seek.
When our world changes, and we are forced to be outwardly silent, may God be able to break though the madness of our own minds and bring his peace.
When this storm has passed, we will all have leaned much about ourselves. Be it rain, or early morning dew that collects on the threads of self, let it show the things we have forgotten.
May it teach us things we have never known before.
Through it may we persevere together with the people we hold dear. Holding on to love, and the one who loves us the most.
The cord in this image could represent many things. For me and mine, it’s God.
I used to choose a seat closest to the doors, in the single cubbies to either side of the true passenger compartments.
“Why do you sit here all alone? It’s dangerous for a single girl.”
I had never thought of it as dangerous before the question. I enjoyed the nods and light conversation with strangers. Many of them dressed roughly, carrying bikes, or oversized backpacks.
I remember one early morning two backpacking couples joined me in the cramped space. The men sat on the ground closest to the sliding doors. I moved my backpack to make room for the two women, tired and clearly already stressed. They didn’t speak Dutch or French or even German, but their chitchat was earnest and careful.
One man wished me well on my journey in English, nodding at my bag as proof I was a kind of comrade, before departing.
The contrast from those small cubbies to the larger passenger compartments with row after row of benches is striking. Few words are ever spoken. Everyone keeps their heads bowed, their minds busy on themselves, appearing to ignore everyone else on the commute. Even so, with the clatter of the train, the call of the ticket master, and the shuffle of shoes, there is a strange companionship.
I have spent quite a few hours waiting on train platforms. In the early morning, or late in the evening, I have found them to hold a strange peace.
Everyone has somewhere, and nowhere to go. Everyone is expectant, yet bored. Isn’t that just like life can be?
I would finally reach my destination in the shadows of night. Night grows and shrinks things. It hides and reveals. It is a different world than daylight, and many people fear it. But I don’t. I know that is only because I have been kept safe. I am blessed.
Night has always been my refuge. Not a time of hiding, but a time of quiet. A time when others retreat, leaving the streets almost empty. The dirt of the day is pushed to the sides, and lays waiting for the morning to come. It’s hidden in the shadows, but it still whispers to the world all the stories it holds. Every cigarette butt, every discarded coffee cup that missed the trash can. Even the caked on muck, scraped from boots at the end of the day. It will all tell you a story, if you only stop and listen.
I remember going for walks on the beach. In the sun. In the spray. It was on a beach in the Netherlands where he asked. I said yes.
It was February. His lips were blue. The sand stuck to his bluejeans as proof he had kneeled when he asked.
The wind was blowing, and his nose was dripping from the cold. He was beautiful, just like the beach at six AM.
Sometimes love hurts. If you’re separated, it hurts. If you’re isolated together, the constant rub of a partner’s shoulder can hurt. Transforming for the sake of love hurts. But for us, it’s been worth it.
We all go through the slow transformation of life. I choose to go through it for, and with you.
Winter like I know it has still not really come to my new home. It has only teased us with a few day long romps through white, but that’s alright. It will be thoroughly enjoyed when it decides to make our new home, it’s home. If only for a short time.
I was not sorry to see 2020 leave. I was equally dissatisfied with 2019 and 2018 as well. I find my memories of the last 5 years fragmented and sharp.
But those shards hold truths I need to revisit. Sometimes puzzling through the mess is how we find out healing.
That is what life is, after all, an endless journey of learning. Each day holds possibilities for answers, healing, and growth. Painful or pleasant, learning is something we all do.