Let me tell you about living loved.
When I was in high school, I had this friend from church. We didn’t see each other very often; she was homeschooled and I was at a public high school, but we talked in Sunday School and we visited each other’s houses in the summers and we caught up on life when we could. Somewhere in the middle of my senior year, amidst all the other stress and strain of college applications, AP exams and normal teenage angst, she started texting me every morning. Some days it was “Have a good day!” but most days it was just “Good morning Allie!” It was a little thing, and after a week or so I had to admit I was perplexed and a little bit flustered by the pressure to reply, day after day. But despite my hesitation, it didn’t take long for that exchange – just that quick little “Good morning!” or “You, too!” – to become a part of my everyday routine rather than another item on my to-do list. We’ve lost touch over the years and I’m still not really sure why she choose then and there to reach out to me, morning after morning. All I know is that we settled into a rhythm of supporting each other in the smallest way possible, and every day, it made me feel valued.
Recently I reconnected with a boy who makes me smile and now that we’re dating, he typically texts me good morning, too. About a month into our relationship, he was out of the country for eight days and I wondered at how quickly something and someone can become a part of the rhythm of your life.
I haven’t written in a long time and there’s a lot of reasons for that, but the most obvious in my mind is that there’s very little rhythm to my life right now. Senior year is supposed to be the time when you enjoy the ride – I’m not sure what kind of ride everyone else is on, but mine is a roller coaster and I’m clinging to the handles of my seat for dear life. Here’s the thing though: I love roller coasters. They taught me a lot about life about a year ago and the context has changed since then, but all the important things have stayed the same. Life is messy and complicated and I make mistakes a lot, I get scared a lot, I get in scrapes a lot. But a lot of times the beauty happens when I’m flat on my back, because the Lord uses those moments to get my whole entire attention instead of just a bit of it.
And then those are the moments remind me to give my whole entire attention to the people in my life that are dear to me when I’m with them, instead of just a bit of it. This coaster might have some loops that tear my sight from one spot on the horizon to another, but the position of the sun doesn’t change and that is the community in my world. Last week I laid flat on my back under a tree and stared at the sky with my headphones in my ears and I just let my brain think until all the thoughts ran dry. And by the end of my mental wild-goose-chase, all I had left in me was to thank God that there are sunshiney days and rainy days and that He shows me the beauty in both when I’m on my back.
This is what I’m trying to say, wrapping up all the thoughts I’ve not gotten down on this corner of the Internet in the past few months: When there’s no other routine to follow, we have to find our rhythm in loving the people around us as hard as they’ll let us, as long as we can. And if we’re going to commit to that, we have to open ourselves up to the belief that we are loved back, and trust God to fill in the gaps going each way with a love we’ll spend this whole life chasing to comprehend more deeply and fully.
It looks like a lot of things, but right now, for me, it looks like jumping out of an airplane or daring to ride the tallest coaster. It looks like doing instead of analyzing, speaking truth instead of sitting in fear, and writing for myself when I should be writing for school. It looks like spur-of-the-moment Colony House concerts with brand-new friends, like matching elephant pants, like Oreo truffles, like learning how to use chopsticks, like driving down Natchez Trace with Ben Rector on the radio. It looks like losing control for the sake of living loved.
It may be a while since I’ve written over here – but I actually had the beautiful opportunity to write a post on living loved for my friend Emily Conrad’s February series! Check it out here.