This is the view from where I sit on the eve of another year. Not literally, of course, but “literal” has never meant much to me. Literally, the view is more about scattered toys and laundry piles and cough drops (I’m trying and failing to remember a holiday season that didn’t feature some virus or other).
But, the real view, the shaped-by-a-river-of-prayer view? It looks like this: quiet, peaceful, empty, yet hopeful. There is something just over the horizon … I can sense it … almost see it. I don’t know exactly what it is, but I know that it is good.
It’s a far cry from last year’s view. Having moved to Florida only a few months before, having just determined to take a break from university teaching, the future looked blank.
Then, it was emptiness. Now, it is expectation.
What happened in the between? What has brought me from one to the other? The answer, I think, is month after month of not-having and not-doing. Waiting, you might call it, though it often felt more like grieving.
I stopped teaching. I didn’t start serving in our new church. I didn’t make many new friends (though, there are a few – you know who you are!). I didn’t organize or join a church small group. I watched my husband volunteer in the kids’ classrooms while I moved in small circles between house and yard and house and library.
And what am I left with at the end of this year of nothing? A finished manuscript for a memoir, this blog, and many, many new plans and dreams. Dreams that are entirely unrealized yet somehow substantial in their promise and their beauty.
I am living the upside-down values of Jesus’s kingdom. That which looks empty is full. That which has died brings life. Beneath the piles of laundry and the scattered toys, between the crumpled tissues and half-empty medicine bottles, there is water becoming wine.
We may still be living in darkest winter, but I sense the nearness of spring. And, so, I dip my toes in the river and pray the season in. My prayers are merely a welcome for all that God long ago determined to give.
“Ask the Lord for rain in the springtime … He gives showers of rain to all people.”