A few nights ago, I went on the most wonderful run, and oh yes, my friends, it is fall indeed. As I ran, the wind whisked through the leaves, leaves colored green to yellow to orange to red like fire, and I could hear the trees creaking in that erie way they do when the cold settles deep inside of them like it settles now already in my bones. I ran past a football field and thought of being sixteen and caught up in that strange and completely different world that is high school (thank God it's over). Canadian geese honked loudly in the distance as I passed Reed's Lake, bringing to mind nights at the wetlands in Midland with my dad when I was young; I never loved it quite as much as he or my sister did but was drawn in whatever small way to something in nature and thrilled to make my dad so happy just for having come. I ran down these streets that I've run down so many times before, past houses and down sidewalks whose shapes have become so familiar, and the smell of fall nearly overwhelmed me...
For whatever strange reason, after a day that seemed rather inconsequential, happiness was overwhelming me as well. And the mystery of changing seasons and the memories bombarding me and the hope of the future threw me into this strange place of beauty and I felt so deeply that the world is new the world is new the world is new.
And then the next day started so well. I went to the farmers' market (which, as many of you already know, is one of my most favorite things in the entire world), and the farmers were all bundled up and my toes were cold and I wandered through with the handful of other people that come out to sparsely populate the Wednesday morning market. I bought apples and tomatoes and zucchini and eggplant and onions for my house and talked to one of my favorite farmers, a darling old man with surprisingly straight, white teeth who I first bonded with early this summer over the beauty of swiss chard. I went to breakfast alone at Gaia, and it was warm and wonderful and peaceful. I talked to the waitress and listened to the rapid flurry of Spanish bouncing between two Puerto Rican men and a little girl sitting up by the window and wrote and drank a copious amount of coffee.
And I was feeling relatively, surprisingly positive about life in general.
Then I went to work, job 2, nonprofit 2, currently part-time/temporary but with promise of becoming part-time/not temporary. At the end of a few mundane-but-not-so-bad hours of sorting and filing, I found out that the possibility of the job becoming more permanent had lessened significantly.
And suddenly I did not feel quite so positive about life in general.
None of this should have been surprising. I knew, first of all, that things weren't completely settled in my life, and they never will be because life just isn't that way. And for weeks now, I have been telling people that I think that this phase of life I am entering into is one in which things will remain in flux, up in the air, shifting constantly. Whatever happens next, I realized mid-summer, is very unlikely to be a full-time job. With health benefits. Check back in a few years, and even then don't count on it. I've become quite okay with this.
And yet. And yet, I am tired, I am tired of being tired, I am tired of being confused, I am tired of the puzzle pieces of my life not fitting together. (Yes, Kyle VZ, don't you worry, Old Stacy will never go away completely.)
And this is the thing: loosening our grip on our lives, choosing peace (thank you Ryan), knowing that life is hard and crazy but choosing to enjoy living anyway... these are things we must do every day. Of course it's still hard. Of course things are still uncertain. I have to throw up my hands and give it all over, every day.
As part of my job at Crossroad Bible Institute (part-time job 1), I read through the Bible studies completed by our students, who are currently in the US prison system (more description of this job later). Yesterday, I read the following in one man's prayer:
"Le entrego todas mis cargas, mis angustias, pesares, anhelos, deseos, planes, mi vida, mi ser y que sea lo que Dios quiera." (More or less, "I give him all of my burdens, my distress, grief, yearnings, desires, plans, my life, my being and that it may be what God wants.")
All of it? Wow. But yes, all of it. I give him all of it today, I'll probably need to do it again in an hour or so and tomorrow I'll do it again. And to really mean this is terrifying, but it's the only right option. So may it -- all of it -- be what he wants.
And I know even now that it will be good, and it will be bad. May I choose to enjoy living, regardless.