clarity (or, a lack thereof)

My prayers are often for clarity.

“God, please make sense of this” I ask, sometimes with tears, sometimes in the earlier hours in the morning, sometimes in the afternoons as I head down the 101.

Make sense of where I am, make sense of what I’m doing, make sense of these gifts, these people, this place, this timing.

I grow frustrated and weary when the clarity is lacking – it feels absent. I feel confused.

But I learn, in the midst of my angst and frustration, that God does provide glimpses of clarity – or maybe it’s not exactly clarity but an affirmation of trust, an ability to keep moving, even if the steps feel quite slow, or possibly aimless, or a little confusing.

It’s the coffee date with a friend who says something to you that you haven’t thought about for a year – and realize that something you’re doing, is the exact thing you hoped to be doing a year ago. I forgot about that, I say to myself.

It’s the check list boxes that you do get checked off, which come with a small boost of confidence. I’m doing okay at this! This is kind of fun! I say to myself.

It’s finding yourself in a hospital room, sitting with  a sick friend, asking the doctor questions, and being grateful that you know the questions to ask, and you can bring a small ounce of encouragement in a dark situation. I have gifts that can be used. I say to myself.

It’s the small voice I hear in the back of my head that says “wait”. It’s a hard word to hear, but it feels like an answer, and I’m trying to obey it.

It’s my roommate, practicing her sermon about Jesus and the wine at the wedding. She brings a whole new meaning to those verses – the expectation of the Messiah, how he acts in ways no one was expecting, and how he meets Mary in her moment of need, and brings perspective to a situation that seemed very dire (not having wine at a party was a big deal). My roommate preaches the truth that God communicates and acts symbolically, poetically.

Symbolism and poetry are not the kind of communication I usually want. I think poems are beautiful, I love discussing symbolism – but when it comes to my life? I’d much prefer things to be spelled out. I’d prefer it to be more clear than a poem.

But I wonder if God’s love for us, his love for me, is so expansive and so deep – that he doesn’t want to just communicate with words written across the sky. He wants to be discovered, heard, felt, touched — known in deeper ways, known in meaningful and powerful ways. I don’t think that depth can happen with things spelled out on a piece of paper, or shouted from the sky. Sometimes truth is like that, but more often than not, it’s more subtle, poetic, symbolic.

I won’t stop praying for clarity. But I’ll pray too that God would help me to be patient as things become clear in ways I don’t expect, and that I’ll wait when I’m in the fog, and trust that he’ll pull me through. And God is close. My prayer this week is to experience his closeness..

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