The idea of waking up unnerved me. Doing so meant leaving behind the blissful oblivion found in sleep and the warmth found beneath familiar blankets. But I turned on some soft music, took out my journal, and managed to spend some time in solitude with God. I realized I was afraid for the day to start. I didn’t know what to expect.
Not always faring well in new social situations, I found myself completely drained halfway through lunch and on the verge of tears in the middle of our group devotion time. We sang a hymn together, read scripture, and prayed, and I found myself hesitant to come before God. I felt ashamed. Here I was, finally in the place I’d longed to be since last fall, and I wasn’t enjoying it.
I had a little over an hour before class began so I walked fifteen minutes back to the apartment and tried to decide how to take care of myself. I waffled between having a good cry and turning the angst into something creative, finally opting for the latter. My camera found its way into my hands, and I wandered around searching for meaning and life in the rooms, bare except for our few belongings stowed away in drawers and on shelves. Slowly, I felt calm return to my heart, if not peace.
For the past few days I have felt wave after wave of nostalgia, longing for the way things used to be and grieving the fact that they had to change. Perhaps the spaces I inhabit have changed so much over the past couple of weeks that I’m desperate for some sort of consistency. So, I miss the familiarity and certainty I used to have, and it hurts to think about how that was broken.
After I unwisely went down a rabbit trail of disappointing memories, Maddie sat next to me and just listened to me rant. She has exhibited such patience in the midst of my unsettled thoughts, even just over these two days, being faithful to share wisdom, understanding, and encouragement. It’s making me tear up a little just to think about how she continues to show me God’s love. Last night I was feeling a considerable amount of despair about my mental health, and after listening to my semi-cohesive rambles she said, “I keep hearing you say the word ‘less,’ and I want you to know that the Eliana you are now is not less than the Eliana from before.”
Light pierces through darkness, and God has shown me that in small ways throughout the day. I may still feel heavy, weak, and unable, but I know God is faithful to provide and he will carry me through. He walks with the sojourner, the one who feels that they don’t belong, and he reminds us we’re never truly alone.
I’m learning how to find the beauty in a falsely desolate situation.
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