What's been Inspiring you Lately?
Mornings. I wake up with tired eyes to an alarm, thirsty. Sometimes a child is crying in the room next to mine, signifying breath and new life. Most mornings it is a serene waking. I roll out of bed. The coffee pot is usually full when I finally get downstairs to leave, but the smell of coffee always wafts upstairs as I walk in the hallway to the bathroom. I get dressed inside my bedroom. The shuffle of bible pages being turned, seeking, constant, thin on my fingers. The sound of my car automatically starting reminds me there is always a “go” for each new day. I plug in my podcast and hear Annie Downs laugh and ask more questions. I am inspired by the mornings. They always come again like a promise kept. Holy and peaceful. A reminder that slow is how we always start.
The Sunlight. It hits the trees and they make shadows look like artwork on pavement. Sometimes the sky bursts in shoots of orange and pink against a backdrop of blue and yellow. I will look at the way the sunlight hits earth and think that a quickly snapped photo couldn’t do this kind of handiwork justice. So I take those holy seconds to enjoy looking out my windshield during the morning commute and glance in my rearview quickly as the sun sets at the end of the day. The sun circles. An orbit on a journey rising in the east and setting in the west. Never-ending, helping earth and the cosmos perfectly align. I am smaller than an ant to men walking on the moon. But even so, I take up space. And so do you.
A conversation. This happens best in the front seat of my car, or any car. Particularly late at night after a friend and I have taken a long drive somewhere or nowhere. Home. I think you can go anywhere with language, a mouth, and ears. Miles wide or valleys deep. My mind soaks in stories like a sponge and my eyes are always searching for the truth in every action made around me. Intentional. Who are you… really? Where did you come from? Who are you becoming? What inspires you? I stick to deep ocean waters like a whale because I find deep fun and riveting; I come up for air sometimes, quickly evaporating into deep blue when the conversation leaves me feeling dry. This has nothing to do with the people in question and more to do with the depth of water I find myself treading in. I am inspired by a given challenge and the patience that grows in it.
Endings. My family and I recently lost someone before the holidays and it caused me to question what I would do if I knew I had an end date coming up. I began to think about what heaven must be like. My newsfeed has recently been speckled with the bad news of death and it all feels heavy. Can there be a good God in the midst of loss? Grief is a process. Life does, in fact, have an expiration date, though. I was reminded recently that funerals are not about the ending, but celebrating the short line in stone between the entrance and exit date. Permanence.
Piles of notebooks stuffed in countless boxes over the years. If stacked upon one another; the notebooks would pile high from the floor, up well past my hips. Some of the notebooks make the journey with me as I go from place to place because the truth they hold still hit close to home. Every year a new page turns and I mess the date up for about a week. This year, I wrote January 2, 2019 as January 2, 2016, the year I was traveling from India to Nepal. I took a look at that entry from 2016. The entry, of course, is stacked with loaded questions only travel could buy me, but leads back to a place I’ve been meditating on again. Isaiah 49. The Lord called me and made my mouth like a sharp sword. He is a redeemer of all things. There has to be redemption somewhere in all of this. Somewhere.
Questions. Photographs. Scribbles and pictures drawn by children. Coffee. Early mornings and late nights. Long car rides and lyrics from musicians I love and newly find on spotify. Relatable television shows. Movies. Laughter. Food. Traveling: the type of moving where I’m always sitting still. Nomadic in nature, I don’t own a lot, but what I do own, I value and take care of. People. Books. Clothing. A well-worn bible that circumnavigated the globe with me, a constant reminder of a season finished. A new bible still working its way in to underlines and highlights that serve as my lifeline. A sea-foam green moleskine notebook I work through with a pilot pen. Documents on my computer. So many documents. My writing. Some writing not my own. I keep it all as a means of inspiration.
Clear as glass memory. Cement walls in Ugandan slums. Children regarded as nothing. I hold an eight pound, eight year Vanessa in my weak arms and look in her walnut brown eyes. She smiles. I hold it together as the cycle of endless searching unfolds before me like a movie. Months later, a rose. It’s an offering of peace — just for a moment. Heat. Neon light fading out Thai stars on the beach. Dirty. Hope. We’ve released lanterns in the sky to finish our last night in Thailand. But something is wrong. I’m walking on a sandy sidewalk with one of my leaders. I’ve cracked. Finally. We sit down on a brown park bench. A pool of light revealing everything. “Your eyes are beautiful when you cry.” Tears. Unraveling the very organic nature of all human experience.
Pained and Long, but Cushioned and Full-of-Grace. Loved.