I sometimes wonder if I will ever be happy. I look around at other Christians, and they seem miserable. They go through trials the same way the world does, sometimes in an even worse state. I have been pulled away here or there by the words of some church-goer who tried telling me how to live. The rules were more numerous than the 613 rules God gave the Jewish people. I was confused. Did Jesus come to free me or give me more rules?
It wasn’t until recently that I realized it was ok to leave those people behind and find ones that were living the way I wanted to be living. Who lived quiet lives… Hell they just lived. They weren’t worrying about what others were saying about them. They were going through life living, and praying and Jesus- He was intertwined in them like the threads holding rope together, so deeply woven, so innate, so genuinely …just there. No pushing or pulling or diatribe bible verses. No, “well the bible says.” No judgment. No part-time Jesus. Nothing part-time about it. These people, married to Jesus’ heart and soul were committed to the life, to the heart of who He was. They were moving, moving forward and moving inside where He was. They were inside the song. They were smiling. I have found, they are mostly… old.
It may seem strange to see a thirty-something year old woman listening ever so intently to the words of a silver-haired grandmother. Or surround herself with people much older than her. Or commit herself to knowing the way of the saints. But standing among those that have lived, and have changed and are all the wiser for it is a gift.
Relationships are found in the strangest of places. If we’re open to God’s calling and Spirit, we’ll meet people we probably would have never met on our own. I want to meet the people who have a song in their heart. The living ones. The ones that can laugh, the ones that are filled with happiness and love.
Most people pretend as they go along. I have never wanted to be one of those people. And that’s what continuously draws me into Jesus, the light that I know leads me to joy. The light that I see in so few people. I wish people would put away their bible verse clad dish towels and jump into a cold lake, drink a beer once in a while, escape to watch the sunrise, stand still, run and not stop. I wish more people would just be who God created them to be.
I, like many, have struggled to be who I am, especially as a Christian. I never believed it was ok to be happy. Maybe solemnity required me to be just “content” or dramatically forlorn. Maybe it required tragic music. Maybe I couldn’t dance, or drink wine if I felt like it. Maybe the rosary around my neck drew more attention to me having to be perfect. Until I realized, that’s not my God, that’s me, listening to them. We bring so much of our past into Jesus. We try to fit our lives neatly into every verse in the bible. If it doesn’t fit quite right we squeeze it in, no shove it in to a place that doesn’t fit. It’s exhausting, right? I am exhausted just talking about it.
Time to take a break. Get my nails done. Live, whatever. Following Jesus doesn’t mean solitary confinement. I would say for me it’s more like gen pop. One day I may leave that prison I created for myself and actually jump into the water. Day by day, who’s coming with me?